\nThere's the hard way to get on the PGA Tour: sweating through Q School, where you grind over every putt as if it's life or death. And now there's the easy way: the PGA Tour's "Tour Club," a newly formed program that offers its members access to TPC private and resort courses, luxury accommodations and VIP-access to Tour events, as well as top-notch instruction.
\nThe idea behind the club is to offer clients and their guests access to some of the nation's top golf courses as well as a special, inside-the-ropes experience at PGA Tour events, which could include helping set the pins for the final round or walking the course at the Masters with a Tour pro or former Augusta National caddie. The big-name courses include TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville, Fla.; TPC Jasna Polana in Princeton, N.J.; Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, Ga.; and the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas. The entire portfolio contains more than 35 courses, with many more affiliated clubs. And unlike many private club memberships, you don't need to play with your client for them to play the courses.
"Companies are excited about the fact that the Tour Club allows them to entertain across private venues around the country 'on demand,' and to participate in a 'backstage pass' experience at selected Tour events," says Ben Addoms, founder and chief marketing officer of the Tour Club. "In the end, the fact that the Tour Club offers flexibility, variety and value is what makes it stand out from the crowd."
\nCorporate memberships start at $200,000 and annual dues at $39,000. The fees for individual members are still being determined. Privileges include access to the more than 100 PGA Tour tournaments and events each year, golf instruction from PGA Tour academies and your personal Tour Club concierge to schedule tee times, lessons, rooms, flights and special events. Tour Club customers include Fortune 500 firms as well as law firms and accounting firms any business that knows how golf can help cement relationships with clients, Adams says.
"Four or five hours playing golf together and talking along with lunch or dinner offers more 'face time' than attending a game," Addoms says. "The same is true of a day or two spent at a tournament together behind the scenes. When you combine golf with the ability to travel together for a few days to a great resort or a private club, share hospitality in a residential setting, and combine it with experiences in the area beyond golf then you have the ability to take relationship building to a whole new level."
\nAddoms says the Tour Club would help companies monitor how much money they generate out of their Tour Club memberships, in effect proving its value to companies. "The Tour Club offers a level of tracking, reporting, and accountability that has never before been available in sports entertainment," he says. "Companies can calculate their return on investment by correlating their spending on specific clients or partners they entertain with the Tour Club to increased sales."
\nThe Tour Club is operated by Golf Club Holdings under license from the PGA Tour. For more information on the company, visit pgatourclub.com.