Wednesday, June 17, 2015

There's a lot to like at Trafalgar

I always enjoy visiting members at their facilities.  The passion they utilize on the job always shows through.  I always learn a lot and often get the opportunity to share that information with other members, in newsletters or on my blog. 

One such visit occurred recently and offered some insights into one member’s efforts to grow the game.  15-year GCSAA member, Mark Prieur, at Trafalgar Golf Club in Milton, Ontario, has undertaken several initiatives.  I learned quickly that my visit took place on Ladies Day.  Flag sticks were wrapped in pink VinylGuard with correlating cup liners.  This simple set-up is enjoyed by the members, and was inexpensive to accomplish.

Another area of the course has seen quite the buzz lately, too.  Prieur has had past experience with beekeeping and has resurrected the practice at Trafalgar.  While this is not unique to golf facilities, it was my first up-close experience with a hive.  The hive will help pollinate the clubs small vegetable garden and is located next to an adjoining farm.  Prieur explained that the hive should produce nearly 100 pounds of honey in the fall.

Growing the game long term begins with engaging children.  Prieur and the staff have developed a six-hole loop that is tailored perfectly for children.  The loop includes a “road hole” finish, at a grueling 29 yards long!  The loop utilizes unused space adjacent to the first tee. The pins are cut down to approximately five feet tall and sunk into cups into the middle of push-mowed greens.  Tees are marked using old rope stakes with hole yardage stenciled on the side. 

The space is packed on weekends, with member’s children and grandchildren utilizing the course.  The users need to be shorter than the flagsticks and often are slightly taller than the fescue areas that surround the fairways.  Maintenance takes very little time and labor, and the returns have been great!  Trafalgar now offers camps for children five years old and up, utilizing parents as caddies.  Offering the program to non-members has turned the small, once overlooked space into a revenue stream for the club.  Growing the game, and the bottom line! 

Feel free to reach out with questions. I can also connect you with Mark Prieur. 

If you have successful ideas or initiatives that others might enjoy, let me know and I will do my best to share.

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