Yep, you heard it right — Copper Creek, the fine Doug Carrick design north of Toronto is offering golfers a guaranteed 4.5 hour round. If you don’t finish your round in that time, they will give you a “voucher” that can be used for another round. I don’t think that means they are giving you anything free — just a break on the costs of another game.
You can listen to the ad on Toronto radio starting on Monday or by clicking below:
What’s the real story here? It is more than just a discount on a round. It is about a course trying to tap into public play in an uncertain market. The notion of offering discounts if a round goes beyond 4.5 hours is interesting — I always thought courses could offer breaks to groups that play in less than a specified time, say 4 hours and 15 minutes. Those who spent more time would pay the going rate.
I assume this will be a spring special only — and have a query out to Chris Neale, director of golf (or “executive golf pro,” as the ad says. Is that like an executive chef?) about what the terms of the arrangement are. Regardless it is a course being creative in trying to attract golfers. Previously Copper Creek was so full (typically upwards of 32,000 rounds each summer) that it was actually very difficult to find a time to play there. I suspect that has changed this year, and now the course is trying to let golfers know there will be availability. How will they enforce the 4.5 hour round? Now that is where they will need to be very inventive.
Update: Chris Neale responds with answers to some of the questions:
We discussed a number of ways of trying to implement such a program. The initial idea was to reward fast play but would likely create mayhem on the course and we weren’t prepared to act as referees between sparring groups. The vouchers will be issued on a graduated scale and we will reward groups playing under four hours. As you know no course compensates you unless you are over about five and a half and then only if you complain loud enough. Our staff is committed to implementing this program but as you are all too aware we will need the commitment of our clients as well. We will upset some people in enforcing this program and quite possibly lose them as clients. My hope is that we will create continued loyalty with the groups behind them.
Additionally, the Copper Creek website now has all the requisite information about the program. And yes, you’ll get a break if you play faster than four hours:
If your round of golf takes longer than FOUR AND A HALF HOURS (4:30) to complete, Copper Creek will compensate you as follows:
4:31 “ 4:45 – $15 Voucher
4:46 “ 5:00 – $20 Voucher
5:01 “ 5:15 – $30 Voucher
5:16 “ 5:45 – $50 Voucher
5:45 or more – $80 Voucher
(Vouchers are for use on your next visit to Copper Creek and will expire at the end of the 2009 season. Only one voucher may be redeemed per visit-per person.)
If you play in LESS THAN FOUR HOURS, you will receive a $20 Voucher
Round time will be measured from the time you leave the tee on your first hole to the time you commence putting on your 18th hole.
All group times will be monitored and recorded throughout the round.
Guarantee is valid only on public tee times.
Guarantee does not apply when delays are caused by inclement weather conditions.
Subject to change without notice.
Players must be at the tee a minimum of 10 minutes before their scheduled tee time.
All players/groups must keep pace with the group in front of them (i.e. in position to hit your next shot when the group in front clears). All groups will have 2 holes to get back on pace after their first warning. A second warning will require that you pick up your ball and physically move back into position. Copper Creek will not be responsible for missed holes should this occur. Players failing to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the golf course.
Play the tees that are appropriate for your ability.
– Red Tees, 25+ index
– White Tees, 15 – 24 index
– Blue Tees, up to 14 index
– Copper Tees, under 5 index and with approval from Pro Shop
Failure to comply will void the guarantee.
We appreciate your efforts in helping us to maintain a healthy pace of play. We are committed to ensuring that the day is enjoyable for you and the golfers behind you.
I’ll be intrigued at seeing if the course really will ask golfers to pick up their balls and move to the next hole. I hope that is the case, but pardon me for being a touch skeptical.