The Zurich Classic was held this past April on the PGA Tour.  The event changed its format from a normal stroke-play, individual event to a two-man team.  Both four-somes and four-ball formats were put into play.  This was a great move by the tournament committee for a number of reasons, the major one being that it increased participation by top-notch golfers, thus boosting viewership and sponsorship.

In the past few years, the overall field had declined for the Zurich.  In my opinion, the top players in the world were skipping the event because it didn’t fit their schedule, or they didn’t enjoy the course.  The “buzz” was not there, a nightmare for any tournament committee and sponsors.  As a result, the committee decided they needed to make a change to highlight this event.  While New Orleans is a fun destination for both players and fans, with great food and live music, what could they do to get more top-tier players to participate?

The decision they made was to change the format to a two-man team event.  Traditionally, the only time individuals would play in a team atmosphere is if they make the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team.  It’s been decades since the PGA hosted a team event.  Players were excited, and many of the world’s best decided to make the Zurich Classic part of their 2017 tour schedule.

With the revised format, the event channeled the drama and excitement achieved during the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.  As they came off the course each day, the players spoke highly about how much they enjoyed the event and the fans echoed this sentiment.

Not just as golf teaching professionals, but as business owners, let’s apply this model to our own development strategy.  The more fun your students have, from the professional level to the average amateur player, the better.  Golf is meant to be an enjoying, fulfilling and exciting game; sometimes this gets overlooked.  Explore offering more group lessons, join a group of guys during their regularly scheduled Sunday morning tee time, or add more team-style events to your home course.  I guarantee you will enjoy the same success as the Zurich Classic.

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