Dream Big Lessons Learned in Staging BMW Championship
Lessons Learned in Staging BMW Championship
By Tom Buck
Hoosiers have perfected the recipe in staging successful national sporting events.
Chalk them up: the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium; the Big Ten Championship football and basketball tournaments; men’s and women’s basketball Final Fours. And, every summer, there are a couple of well-attended car races you may have heard of at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Next up is the 2012 BMW Championship, the penultimate event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, to be hosted at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, September 3-9.
Lessons, ones that apply to every workplace, can be drawn from turning a golf club tucked away in a quiet community into a player on the national and international scene.
First, it begins with a vision.
In order to have a successful golf championship, there must first be a golf course that will challenge the players’ skill, courage and intelligence. Being chosen to host the BMW Championship is an honor and a testament to course designer Pete Dye.
In 1962, with 10 course designs to his credit, Dye embarked on the creation of a signature course that would not only offer a fair test of players’ abilities, but would also challenge them against varying factors of wind, length and severity. In 1964, Crooked Stick Golf Club was born.
Although 48 years have passed, Crooked Stick’s layout has withstood the test of time.
It may seem that a championship-caliber course is the only important factor in choosing a venue to host an event of this magnitude, but there are other key lessons for aspiring event venues, as well as businesses.
- Staying true to tradition …
Crooked Stick Golf Club has remained true to the values and traditions that were established in its early years. Distinguishing itself with the quality of the golf experience, as well as its membership, has set the club apart from all other golf courses in the area. Despite economic downturns, Crooked Stick has been successful in keeping its standards high and retained full membership.
- … but being willing to adapt and forge relationships
There is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to the logistics, marketing and operations aspects of hosting a large-scale event; no rule book that says how to attract 150,000 spectators. But you can get ahead of the game by developing relationships early and investing in infrastructure. Crooked Stick’s relationships with the Western Golf Association (hosts of the event) and the PGA TOUR have been invaluable in attracting the BMW Championship. And while the course has adapted to the modern golf game with added bunkers and extended tees, its signature design remains pure.
- Strength in numbers
Hosting a high-profile event like the BMW Championship requires support from a variety of sources, including TOUR and tournament officials, major players, local government and public safety officials, club members, patrons and area businesses. With more than 2,600 volunteers, including 168 Crooked Stick members, and corporate hospitality sales approaching record numbers, the BMW Championship is poised to make history. The support for an event like this builds gradually, but the broader the involvement (corporate, volunteers, fans), the greater success at the end. The key, though, is to start the process early.
- Plan ahead … and dream big
While focusing on the task at hand, it is important to also look ahead to build on the current experience – and develop more relationships. There is no substitute for getting out and knocking on every door, looking under every rock. No dream is ever too big.
The BMW Championship is expected to have a $30 million economic impact on Central Indiana and draw more than 150,000 spectators. This will be the first time Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and many other major names will play in the Hoosier state, proving that Central Indiana can compete with the best.
It all started with a vision. Through tradition, adaptation, support and dreaming big – the perfect recipe in staging a big-time event – Crooked Stick has positioned itself to be a player in the years ahead.
You can do the same with your next big task.
Author: Tom Buck is BMW Championship co-chairman for Crooked Stick Golf Club. For more information on the September 6-9 event, visit www.BMWChampionshipUSA.com