Short Shots: Useful ideas for those who plan, or play golf for business

Originally published November 2006 inSuccessful Meetings

All for One, One for All

At the most recent customer-golf event held by Successful Meetings and sister publication MeetingNews, host property Pinehurst Resort allowed a truly unusual competition to take place on its outstanding Pinehurst #8 course, designed by world-famous architect Tom Fazio.

The competition was called the "Diamond Shootout," in keeping with the name of the overall event: "Diamond Invitational." Each year, the Invitational brings together 30 meeting planners and 20 suppliers for three days of networking over golf and fine dining.

The Shootout took place after the last holes of the regular tournament were completed, and matched the 12 best-scoring players from the tournament in a head-to-head competition. In fact, all 12 golfers played the same hole at once, with the 10 lowest-scoring players on that hole advancing to the next hole. If there is a tie between higher- scoring players, they must have a one-shot chipping contest to see who advances to the next hole. This entire process is repeated over five more holes until only one player is left standing as Shootout champion.

This year's award: a trip to Scotland for six days of golf, paid for by Successful Meetings and MeetingNews. This year's winner: Steve Linton, a worldwide sales director for Texas Instruments.

Best of all, the Shootout enables all other Invitational participants to follow along on each hole, making for a sizable crowd that not only cheers players on, but also tests players' nerves. A photographer captures all the action and the Shootout's highlights are then shown in slide-show format at the closing dinner that evening. Because it is so unusual, "People remember the Shootout for a long time after the event," says Andy Finn, senior v.p. of sales for Pinehurst.

So the Diamond Shootout succeeds on every level: It fosters healthy competition in a setting that's also conducive to building camaraderie.


Stretching for Success

Ask any golf teacher what makes for a consistent, reliable golf swing, and he's almost sure to say just one word: balance. The good news is that balance can be taught and reinforced through golf-specific stretching routines. The better news is that players who adopt a stretching routine can also ward off the most common golf injuries: back, shoulder, and knee strain.

And the best news of all is that more and more hotels and resorts are creating golf-friendly stretching routines that can be taught to a meeting group by either the golf or spa staff as part of the group's recreational opportunities.

For instance, at The Breakers Palm Beach, a Golf Pilates program has taken off, with personal trainers leading the activity. According to one such trainer, Venessa D'Angelo, Golf Pilates is designed to restore muscle balance by lengthening tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and enhancing stability in the body's "core" muscles of the abdomen, hips, and lower back—all of which increase strength and power in the golf swing. D'Angelo adds that she and her staff can also "evaluate the posture and movement patterns of individual golfers to determine where their imbalances occur," and advise on which exercises would most benefit each golfer.

Now, you might ask how planners can get their mostly male golf contingent to engage in Pilates. The solution: Simply tell attendees that besides top women pros Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park, golfers who use Pilates to enhance their game include PGA stars Rich Beem, Rocco Mediate, and even Tiger Woods.

One stretching program that has been used at many resorts is that of Katherine Roberts, a Scottsdale, AZ-based fitness expert who in 2000 created the Yoga for Golfers program. There are now 36 instructors around the country who are trained in her method of using both yoga exercises and mental focus for enhancing the golf swing, and who will travel to your meeting destination. Roberts also has a line of instructional DVDs, books, and even a wall-mounted poster that golfers can use to stretch at home, at their own pace. Such items make interesting pillow gifts for meeting attendees.

Finally, if you want to appear less New Age and more middle-age in the stretching program you offer attendees, PGA National Resort and Spa's resident fitness expert Randy Myers regularly leads a golf-focused stretching routine for guests that he has turned into a pocket-sized guide called "Better Health, Better Golf." In the guide, Myers demonstrates 15 stretches, all of which can be done while the participant uses a golf cart for support—making them perfect for use before the round begins, and also in the middle of the round to stay limber and avoid injury. The resort also sells the booklets as pillow gifts.

Golf is indeed a game of balance, and a stretching and strengthening routine that your attendees can bring home will benefit them for years to come.


* Want to help your attendees get limber even before they get to the resort for your meeting? Have them log onto www.titleistperformanceinstitute.com and click on "Golf Fitness Academy." There they'll find photos guiding them through various exercises that can be done at home to get them ready to play golf without strain or injury.


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