Firstly, The Party Hole is not a golf-related McDonald’s style operation requiring multiple tens of millions investment in a strictly pre-determined one-size-fits-all format nor is it virtual or simulated golf. But The Party Hole will benefit from the market awareness created by these operations, which prove the demand for the sports entertainment package we offer.
The Party Hole answers the same questions as, and has similar wide-ranging appeal to, Twenty20 Cricket, Rugby Sevens, TV Darts and more traditionally ten pin bowling and pub 8 ball.
So, what is The Party Hole?
The Party Hole is a combination of fun and golf, and gets its name from professional golf’s popular on-course activity which targets the same combination, but in our case for participants not onlookers. The Party Hole mixes social and competitive activity in the proportion each individual participant dictates.
The Party Hole platform
While every implementation of The Party Hole platform will address the unique circumstances of the host location, (including facility and space availability, hours of operation, impact on club members and neighbours, and financial capacity to invest), the core of the concept involves using standard golf clubs and balls, plus kid’s clubs, to hit shots from a covered and/or outdoor bay to a variety of targets, playing a series of games and scoring systems. Golf balls of various colours will help with scoring as happens in lawn bowling. Particular attention will be focused on games that young first-time participants can feel successful at, and at which they can compete with their previous scores and older family members.
The Games we play
Proposed Games and scoring methods
As an introduction to golf and some of its language, the games will include golf terms such as handicap, par, bogey, putting, chipping.
The Party Hole Fun 9 — For first-timers, non-golfers and young players.
- For 9 hole layout, 5 putting and 4 chipping holes.
- Synthetic grass for putting holes, painted holes, OOB lines, swimming noodles as bumpers.
- Synthetic grass for tees on chipping holes, with integrated rubber tees.
- Standard golf balls for putting holes, coloured practice balls for chipping holes into chipping net.
- Par is 2 per hole, handicaps are calculated as 18 less the players age. Maximum score is 5 on any hole, with score bonus if more than one of the five chipping shots finish in the net.
- Score card has provision for 6 players across, holes listed down, with handicap deducted for net score.
- Score cards are intended to be presented to players at the end of the game, along with Certificates for PB’s.
- The Party Hole Cafe is the “half way hut” for playing groups intending to go around twice.
- This is the most important infrastructure to leave in place, where practical, for school holiday periods, for drop ins or entertaining kids while parents are playing, particularly twilights.
Pitch’n’Putt for more accomplished players.
- Can be played by singles, up to a group of 6
- Each player has 20 differently coloured balls to identify their shots ( Number of shots can be varied up or down, usually between 10 and 25)
- Part 1, the Pitch, is to a circle target, either on a target green or on reasonably flat ground, using joined noodles.
- After all players have played all their Pitch shots, the players move to Part 2 on the putting green and are entitled to Putt from about 3 mtrs for bonus points on each shot that finished in the target circle from the Pitch. Length of putt may vary within a group to offset putting skill variations.
- Scoring: 5 points for each ball pitched into the target circle, 3 points for each putt holed, 1 point for each putt into the circle around the hole.
- Score cards will have provision for 6 players, with scores for Pitch and Putt and the total. Certificates will be presented for each PB. Course records will be posted for each Pitch’n’Putt course.
- Target is 3 concentric circles, worth 5, 3 and 1 points. The winner within a group of up to 6 players, is determined by the least number of shots to reach exactly 101. Targets can be 20 to 50 mtrs from the tee, with shorter distances for younger players.
- One player will need to be able to see the result and call it for the player, or a staff spotter may use a chair like a tennis umpire to adjudicate.
The Fun Police
- The targets are the Fun Police cut-outs on upright poles that allow them to spin when hit.
- The winner is determined by the least number of shots required, which are played in sequence within a group, to hit each of the targets.
- Target distance 20 to 50 mtrs.
More advanced Games.
A choice of tees may be available to equalize the contest if there is a skill difference within a group.
Most tees will be synthetic, standard golf balls, practice putting green.
Practice/Warm up/ Stand-by facilities
Each implementation should include a practice green and chipping hole for warming up and keeping players involved while they wait for their hit-off.
Fun ideas to add to Games
This list is intended to act as a Menu at The Party Hole Reception to help players decide which version of the games best suits the abilities of their group, and to add variety to their visits.
To replace cumulative scoring methods, single or better-ball match play can be introduced to lessen the pressure on younger and less skilled players. Most holes won determines the winner(s).
Younger players and first-timers are given a piece of String about 30cms long. Before play, it is decided how many times each player with the string can use it to get out of trouble or hole out. Can replace handicaps or be played in addition to handicaps.
When two players tie in a match-play version of any game, the hole jackpots and is worth two holes on the next hole, and three on the next if it jackpots again.
Three players play a four-ball better ball match. The highest handicap plays with the Ghost, who pars every hole.
Party Ball for teams of 3 or 4.
Each player takes turns to play the Party Ball. The team score per hole consists of the Party Ball plus the best other score within the group.
Before play starts, younger and less-skilled players are allocated a number of Caddy Kicks to kick their ball into play or out of trouble.
Each player is allocated the number of Gotchas ( shouting during another players shot) they can play during the game.
Instead of deducting a handicap, each player is allocated a number of Mulligans – shots they can replay without penalty or counting the original shot.
Players are allocated a number of Metoos for the game. Each Metoo allows the player to place their ball next to a good shot played by another player.
Playing Time and Targets
Typical playing time is from one hour, which could extend to two or three hours including socializing, which represents much of the appeal to participants, and much of the financial return for the host location via food and beverage income. As an example of expected time duration for different niches, kids’ birthday parties could run for two or three hours, and school holiday activities could stretch to half days or longer.
The distance to targets will typically be less than 100 metres, and could include target greens where they exist, vertical free-standing targets with a catching net, or which light up, spin or emit noise when hit. Where the technology such as Trackman exists, it can be incorporated to adjudicate on who can hit closest to a nominated distance or the straightest shots.
In addition to food and beverage sales, core revenue from The Party Hole will be equipment and facility hire (per time slot per bay or per head), augmented by sales of promotional merchandise.
Further revenue opportunities exist via coaching for players looking to improve their golf skills. Perhaps the most significant revenue contribution will come from players, introduced via The Party Hole, taking up a traditional club membership offer.
What are the major facility requirements to implement The Party Hole to best fit our circumstances?
This topic requires further discussion with decision makers within your club, and a guided site inspection. These discussions will incorporate the opposing views of integrating vs segregating this new activity, and the potential for dual use or shared use of playing and practice facilities, which could easily and quickly transform to The Party Hole via free-standing signage and some seating, for what are currently regarded as “after hours” or times that the facility is not fully utilized. The practice putting green could be included as an additional bay for putting and chipping games.
The other major facility consideration is the use of a bar/dining area as a combination of Party Hole reception, café/bar, perhaps outdoor dining in the better weather months, scoring centre and shop.
Some subtle lighting on targets, similar to a downward facing tennis court light, will facilitate after dark operation, and systems similar to multi camera domestic security systems, and the use of camera drones, will assist the scoring methods and add some high-tech pizzazz, all at reasonable cost, and not vital to an initial launch.
How will existing Club Members benefit from the decision to incorporate The Party Hole into the Club’s activities?
Most importantly, the Party Hole will significantly decrease your club’s reliance on membership fees to secure its financial viability. This will provide the opportunity to reduce future fees, or at the least, reduce their escalation.
For the many grandparents within your membership, the ability to host grandchildren of all ages and golf skills at The Party Hole will appeal to most, where the option of doing so on-course is restricted to very few.
Similarly for the elusive 30 to 45 age cohort, the chance to introduce their children to real golf, not the screen variety, in a family-friendly fun environment, will add a significant justification to take up or retain membership. This age group may also be attracted to participate in Twilight events, knowing their kids will be safe, entertained and fed at The Party Hole.
Hosting birthday parties at The Party Hole will add a low cost, safe environment to existing options, and a new style of corporate golf, corporate entertainment and corporate training, which still shows off their club affiliation, will appeal to Members in business.
Partners will also benefit from access to group buying discounts and supplier agreements for golf equipment, signage and promotional merchandise.
What hours of operation are envisaged for The Party Hole@Our Club?
The market’s response will ultimately dictate this answer, but perhaps 6 or 7 days per week until 9.00pm is likely, with some scheduling required for times of peak demand, for example school holidays or weekend kid’s parties. The Party Hole will successfully co-exist with traditional Twilight ( Nine, Wine and Dine) events to tackle several issues, principally the cost and time requirement of traditional membership and 5 hour rounds, and specifically the conflicting priorities of parents in the 30 to 50 age bracket with kids’ weekend sporting commitments.
If The Party Hole café/bar is part of your club’s implementation, it can provide the food and beverage services for Twilight events at no additional staff costs if already open to 9.00 or 10.00pm for The Party Hole participants. Traditional Members with family commitments, wishing to play in Twilight Events will have The Party Hole available to entertain and feed their kids. End of round Pro Shop services could also be provided by staff from The Party Hole, saving the substantial costs of keeping the normal Pro Shop open after normal hours.
How does The Party Hole “grow the game”
The most significant potential of The Party Hole is to introduce large numbers of non-golfers, particularly in the 30 to 50 age group, to a form of golf that meets their demands for a mix of sporting and family activity– more fun, family inclusive, less costly, less time consuming.
Once family and financial commitments allow, a percentage of these non-golfers, bitten by the golf bug, will move up to traditional membership arrangements and the 18 hole format.
What will the creators of The Party Hole provide our club as a Host Location Partner.
The initial value provided will be a Bespoke Implementation Plan, working with the Partner’s decision makers and functional staff to address the unique circumstances of the Host Location, their existing and required infrastructure and human resources, and the local market into which The Party Hole will be launched.
The Host Location Partner will receive further value via their inclusion in The Party Hole’s social media activity and website, which will market the attractions of the concept and individual locations, provide a booking facility and online shop for Gift Certificates and promotional merchandise.
Access to The Party Hole Style Guide for promotional merchandise and signage, the Partner’s Party Hole Membership database (all participants will receive a Membership card and register their details), and progressively, regular updates on “Best Practice” exhibited by other Location Partners will add to the knowledge base to maximize the opportunity presented by The Party Hole. This will include regular online meet-ups as Partner numbers increase.
The Party Hole atmosphere
Every implementation of The Party Hole will be unique to the circumstances and layout of the host location. This is particularly true of the atmosphere, which may be “toned down” while Club Members are in a competition on course, and be “turned up” say from 5.00 or 6.00pm.
In some cases it will be unapologetically fun, loud and addictive. No chance of quiet on the tee with a huge selection of Party songs available for the play list. Food choices will be more hot dogs and Party pies than fine dining. Over 18’s are entitled to their drink of choice, but the over-riding theme is family friendly.
There will be plenty of opportunities for more skilled players to strut their stuff, and everyone deserves to get a bit loud when they better their own PB.
A core element of The Party Hole is an introduction to the culture of golf, including respect for fellow competitors. If this requires a more subdued approach at times, that won’t lessen the fun.