Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2000

A profitable combination: Golf ‘n tan

August 17, 2000

It isn't often you get to work on your short game and your tan at the same time, but that's the allure of Eudora Riverview Golf Course.

The Big Sigh and I played a leisurely round (in 2 hours, 12 minutes) last Friday and I was quickly struck by the entrepreneurial spirit.

Maybe it was the twosome behind us. They chose to play without shirts, which would be something of uncommon occurrence on 99 percent of golf courses in the free world.

Imagine a golf marshal's surprise at say, Dub's Dread, of moseying along on his appointed runs and seeing a group of golfers who opted not to wear shirts.

He'd get to give them an earful.

And they would deserve it.

Golf is a sport with its share of etiquette.

That's the allure of a place like Riverview. Golf etiquette goes out the window. It's a place where Happy Gilmore adorned in surfer shorts and a hockey shirt could have gotten his start without all the negative scrutiny.

Jim Bigger is trying to turn his former soybean field into a golf course people will come from miles away to play. He has a 10-year plan and God willing he just may get there.

He spends most of his days tending to the course, be it mowing, treating the lawn with chemicals or pulling weeds.

In other words, he's a busy guy.

So busy that he doesn't see what he's missing.

He sees the forest, but not the trees.

What he needs is a marketing director someone with a vision. Like Bill Veeck, former owner of the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox, who once helped sagging attentdance by sending a midget to the plate with a bat.

Of course, Veeck was also responsible for the now-infamous Disco Demolition night in the late 1970s that resaulted in a near riot and a forfeited game by the White Sox so whatever we decide, it has to be done tastefully.

A little public relations and Riverview might be the most hopping spot in town.

Think about it: Get a tan and play golf at the same time. How many golf courses can make that claim?

Please, don't try to tell me about those newfangled golf shirts that supposedly let the tanning rays through. I don't buy it.

Bigger can corner the market on these two pastimes both of which are proven to be staples for the summer months. Heck, people won't mind playing golf in the blistering days of August if they can come out of it with an enhanced pigmentation.

I would predict that it would be a popular thing for women golfers, too. And we all know if the women show up, the men won't be far behind.

Make Friday afternoons bikini day.

Heck, the course wouldn't matter. Even on a fledgling course like Riverview getting a tee time might prove to be difficult. Bigger would have no choice but to raise the prices, but people would pay.

They'd pay whatever necessary to play his course.

And all proceeds would go to the innovation and improvement of the course.

Bigger doesn't have a lot of money, but he does possess the two things necessary to make this work: A golf course and the sun.

He could make some side cash by opening up a little space in the pro shop for the sale of suntan products and sun block. In the winter months, when the sunshine has gone away, he could have one of those indoor video golf ranges and some vertical tanning lamps.

People would pay dearly to keep their swings and color going year-round.

The Big Sigh and I did notice one little potential problem. It seems the topless guys who are proving to be the inspiration for this entire topic, still wore golf gloves.

Now I've heard of a farmer's tan, but this was ridiculous.

Imagine having a tan line from the wrist down.

Ridiculous, indeed.

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