John Pershern: Organize a Ryder Cup-Inspired Event

John Pershern, is the Michigan PGA Section Secretary, Eastern Chapter Sponsor Chair and the PGA Head Professional at Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan.

About five years ago, the PGA Head Professional at a neighboring club and I decided to start a fun, competitive rivalry by organizing the Lakeshore Cup, named because our clubs are less than a two-mile drive down Lakeshore Drive from each other. This Ryder Cup-style event is a two day, 12-person team event. Each club organizes 12 players to play a two-man team event on day one at one club, and singles matches on day two at the opposite club. When we first decided to do this, I wanted to not only make it a friendly competition between two neighboring clubs, but wanted to generate more interest in the events at our club throughout the year. I came up with a point system in order to qualify for the Lakeshore Cup. Points are awarded for participation in certain member events as well as for order of finish in those events. The Men’s Club Champion, Senior Club Champion, and President’s Cup Champion (all three are match play events) qualify automatically, and then the top nine on the points list round out the 12-player team. I captain the team and my staff and I are on the course with the players encouraging their good play. After each day’s play, we gather around the scoreboard to share cocktails and hors d’oeuevres. There is a friendly wager where the winning team takes all, but the main goal is to have bragging rights and get to know members from our neighboring club.

The business impact has been very successful. Our tournament program saw a 24 percent increase in participation in the first two years and has seen another 10 percent since, with many of our events being oversold. This has driven not only tournament revenue, but also food & beverage as well as prizes in the golf shop. We also order two team shirts for each qualifying player and bill their account which adds even more golf shop revenue each year. The idea of promoting the points list, which awards not only order of finish points, but more importantly participation points, has been the driving force behind our tournament program very well attended.