Merion Golf Club hosts US Open

USGA executive director Mike Davis takes Gary Williams on a tour of Merion Golf Club in the video above, and you can get a hole-by-hole look at the golf course here.

Getting vacationers to your golf course

It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing and the weather is definitely turning up north, and all the golf fanatics are trying to get in their final rounds of the year. It’s a frustrating time for golf fanatics, but for owners of golf courses and resorts in warmer climate areas, this is the calm before the storm. Golf travel season is about to kick into gear, and if you own a course you want to make sure you grab as much of that business as possible.

One thing to consider is online advertising. Most people research vacations now online, and you have to have a great website and be registered in the search engines. Once you have that, you can buy targeted ads on Google and Bing to drive traffic to your site of guys looking to book golf vacations. This can be a very effective tool. Social media can also help, especially if happy customers are encouraged to follow your page on Facebook. They’ll post pictures with links to your page, and then as you post stuff it shows up in their timeline. All of this makes it easier for them to share information and photos about your course with their friends, who then can also become customers.

It’s important to get impulse customers as well who check into nearby hotels, so you have to have good brochures that are placed in spots where tourists can find them. You can save costs by searching for online printing services like using brochures printing or other web stores to get quality stuff.

So be prepared and make the most of this upcoming vacation season.

Nick Watney wins WGC-Cadillac Championship

Here’s another example of the importance of putting.

In a duel between the young and strong, victory often goes not just to who will search for greatness successfully, but who will search for greatness without making the dooming mistake.

For Nick Watney, 29, in Sunday’s back nine of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on the TPC Blue Monster at Doral Resort & Spa, that calamitous error always seemed to be waiting at a tee. Yet, Watney skewered each such moment with archer-accurate putting.

That left the bad moment to be found by Dustin Johnson, 26, the 54-hole leader, on the 16th hole. Johnson’s bogey there and Watney’s flourishing finishing birdie on 18 for a 5-under-par 67 gave Watney a two-shot win with a 16-under 272 total.

Doral is a very popular resort located in Miami.

Donald Trump tests his brand on golf courses

Donald Trump has plastered his name on countless products, and now he’s trying to take advantage of the real estate recession by picking up golf courses on the cheap.

Donald Trump is betting his name will boost the value of his golf courses even as the premium for the brand declines on condo properties and ratings slide on his show, The Apprentice. The real estate developer turned TV personality has acquired nine golf properties in the U.S., including four since 2008. In July he started building a £750 million ($1.15 billion) golf course and resort in Scotland.

Trump says putting his name on the courses increases membership and the fees he can charge. Elsewhere, the record is mixed. The Trump name hasn’t prevented the failure of real estate developments in Florida and Mexico. Nor has it helped his New York condos sell for more than comparable apartments in the city, according to Sofia Song, vice-president for research at StreetEasy.com, which compiles real estate listings. At the same time, Trump’s hotels in New York and Chicago are outperforming their competition based on occupancy rates and room prices.

With the Trump name appearing on vodka, health products, mattresses, furniture, cuff links, shirts, ties, and a seminar company, the brand has been devalued, says Josh Feldmeth, chief executive officer of the New York division of consulting firm Interbrand. “He has cashed out.”

The article goes on to explain that there are disagreements on the value of Trumps brand. The golf lifestyle demographic seems to be in Trump’s sweet spot, so this branding push might make sense.

Golf clubs and country clubs having tough time in recession

As you probably expected, the recession is having an adverse impact on golf course memberships and country club memberships.

Recession-battered golf courses aren’t just coping with lighter crowds. Some are edging perilously close to bankruptcy. Courses from Florida to Arizona, where golfing was once a daily exercise, face major cutbacks or foreclosure.

Myrtle Beach, S.C., a once-booming 70-mile strip of beachfront property nicknamed “Golftown, USA,” has been hit especially hard: Where there were about 125 golf courses in 2006, there are now around 100.

“It’s just a shakeout of golf,” says Donald Wizeman, CEO of Myrtle Beach Golf Association, which produces a website for golfers traveling to Myrtle Beach. “The real estate market is so depressed here.”

Things are just as bleak in Arizona. Eight golf courses in the Phoenix area have gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy since commercial properties started facing serious financial problems in 2008, according to IonDataExpress.com, a real estate analysis firm. Many more are reducing their hours this summer, says Tom Stine, co-founder of market researcher Golf Datatech.

You should also expect to find incredible deals for golf travel and green fees on courses all around the country.

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