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Grass is greener on Summerfield golf course

Golf pro Rob Lindsey has started new traditions


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - MARKETING BACKGROUND IS A BONUS - Rob Lindsey, who started at the Summerfield Golf Club 1 1/2 years ago, has transformed the pro shop and added new activities while marketing the semi-private golf course.The Summerfield Pro Shop is the happening place to be since PGA pro Rob Lindsey took over March 1, 2011.

He has gotten more residents playing and greatly increased the number of people from outside Summerfield hitting the links; he also has transformed the Pro Shop, filling it with the latest clothing, equipment and accessories that are sold at competitive prices.

"The Board of Directors gave me a marketing budget, and I have gone heavy into print," Lindsey said in between checking in golfers and answering the phone. "That has not been the norm for golf the last few years as a lot of courses have switched to the Internet. But I decided to jump right in last year and am doing it again this year.

"It's been very successful for us, and it's gotten the word out that this is a semi-private course. We wanted to make the public aware that there is this hidden gem that has been here a long time. After people try it once, they come back.

"Our whole theme is to get people out playing. They want the best value for their money, and our product is the best in the area with the right price. I feel we're succeeding in marketing this and advertising our specials.

"Now we have a twilight special after 5 p.m. in which it's all you can play for $12."

Regular fees to play the nine-hole course are $11 for residents and $13 for members of the public; two popular specials have been the "Monday blues" in which a round costs $10 and a Tuesday special in which two outside people can play for $22, or the residents' rate.

Placing banners at Summerfield entrances along Durham Road that read "Public golf" helped bring in outsiders.

"We got calls from people saying, 'I never knew you were here' or 'I didn't know your course was public,'" Lindsey said.

Coming to Summerfield with a marketing and merchandising background, Lindsey said of the Pro Shop, "There wasn't much in here. I brought in lots of merchandise, and the shop has been well supported by the residents and the public.

"My strategy is to price to match the competitors' - like Dick's. I want to give my vendors and guests the best price I can."

Every spring, Lindsey does inexpensive "fittings" in which he checks out golfers' clubs to make sure they are a good fit and get people ready for the season.

"One of the things I've done for the residents is to add new tournaments," Lindsey said. "They seem to like them."

The first Glo Ball Tournament was set for the end of August (playing in the dark with lit-up balls), and Lindsey has added match play to the women's club repertoire.

"The men have played that a lot," he said. "Golfers play head to head against another person for a hole. Whoever wins the most holes wins."

The Spring Handicap runs for a month for both men and women to determine the top players. Players must declare at the start of a game if it is going to count as one of their five rounds, and the best four of five are used.

"This gets more people playing in the spring," Lindsey said. "I may add a fall one too. I'm trying to introduce one or two new events each year to change it up."

Because of all the interest in PGA events, Lindsey has devised a game called the Pro/Am Open that runs concurrently with the four big annual tournaments.

"Our players pick a pro and combine their score with their pro's to determine winners," he said. "Our players play a day before so they can watch the pro tournament."

A new Summerfield golf website has been set up at GolfSummerfield.com because "I said, 'Let's get the name out there,'" Lindsey said. "It will sell homes. You can't pinpoint why people buy here eventually, but having the golf course can't hurt.

"I love being here - this is the best job of my career. I've had some good jobs, but I'm having the most fun I've ever had. The relationships I've built will last forever."

For more information, call the Pro Shop at 503-620-1200.