The golf course can be a valuable tool for getting business done while creating an unforgettable meeting experience. From receptions on the course to interactive golf-themed wellness and team-building activities and even charitable tournaments customized for a group, golf can provide a fun and engaging way to bring attendees together -- even for those who don't think of themselves as golfers.
Here are my top tips for golf-inspired meeting activities.
1. Incorporate Wellness
With expansive rolling greens and beautiful outdoor settings, golf courses can be the perfect location or backdrop for health and wellness activities. I've seen everything from yoga sessions on the greens to group walks and jogs along the course. One of my favorite activities is "speed golf," where groups play a round as quickly as possible without the use of a golf cart. The activity helps to shake up a more traditional wellness program by adding a fun and competitive element.
2. Find Ways to Involve Everyone
The game is not for everyone, so it is important for planners to provide options for all attendees. For example, we have 27 holes of golf available for our guests, making it easy to split the course up for two or three different activities. With a versatile course, planners can feature a traditional 18-hole tournament for those who want it, while the other nine holes can be converted to a frisbee golf setup or other activity.
Planners can also consider a "scramble," in which more experienced golfers are paired with less experienced players in a foursome. This format helps to take the pressure off and provides a more relaxed experience to encourage bonding time among participants.
3. Use Golf for Team Building
The game of golf doesn't always need to be serious, and in fact sometimes its better when it's not. One of the most memorable team-building activities I've encountered is "All Sport Golf," in which players get a golf bag filled with different types of sporting equipment, from soccer balls and tennis rackets to hockey sticks, and use the equipment to play "golf" on the course. Another great way to use a golf in a less traditional way is to turn a course into a putt-putt setup. At our resort, we provide glow-in-the-dark putt-putt at night, which is a big hit among meeting attendees.
4. Incorporate CSR
In my experience, golf can be one of the best ways to tie in corporate social responsibility. I've worked with many groups to set up customized tournaments in which the proceeds benefit a charity that is important to the organization. These types of tournaments can make a big impact on attendees, as they are able to take part in a fun day on the course while giving back to something they find meaningful.
John Hernstat is the director of sales and marketing with the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa. He has more than 25 years of experience working in the hospitality industry, where he has helped to coordinate countless unforgettable meetings and events for his clients.