GolfSouth Set to Play With First Ad Partner

Erwin-Penland Will Promote 28-Course Circuit in the Southeast
ATLANTA–The first agency search by GolfSouth, a manager of East Coast links based in Greenville, S.C., concluded about a long one-iron shot away at local shop Erwin-Penland.
The agency prevailed against four competitors to win a purse that will total between $750,000 and $1 million in billings. Erwin-Penland will be responsible for all marketing activities, including print and broadcast advertising, media buying and public relations.
According to GolfSouth vice president of marketing Roger Beasley, the agency’s primary task is to build customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.
“We’re dealing with an industry that’s becoming a commodity very fast,” Beasley said. “Nobody’s building cheap golf courses, and that’s placed us in a situation where there are so many good courses, it’s hard to build loyalty. Rather than take the typical tack of just discounting, we want to offer added value.”
“This sounds ironic, but our goal is to make it so they don’t have to advertise,” said agency partner Allen Bosworth. “We want to play off the notion of reciprocity, where [golfers] know that when you join one [GolfSouth] course, you join them all.”
The seven-year old sports management company owns and operates 17 golf courses stretching from Maryland to Florida. GolfSouth also manages 11 courses in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area.
“We want [golfers] to sample our full menu of courses and understand there’s something bigger going on here,” Bosworth said. “We want to hit those four buddies who play together all the time, who want to play a circuit.”
GolfSouth would only say that the other agencies pitching were located in Richmond, Va.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; and Atlanta.
One Southeast agency representative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said in conversations he had with GolfSouth personnel last summer, the advertising account was worth closer to $300,000. Erwin-Penland officials dispute that amount.
“If it were that low, we would have it spent already,” Bosworth said.