Transforming the Golf Fan Experience

Escape to the Wyndham was the theme for the PGA Tour stop in Greensboro where Tiger Woods, Davis Love and Jason Gore stole the show at Sedgefield Country Club this weekend. Judging by the picture on the left, were we in the snow covered mountains? Or from the picture on the right, at the beach? In fact we were many hours from either.

WyndhamSnow WyndhamSand

The fan experience always starts with the drive, the traffic and the parking. In this case there were multiple parking options and no traffic at all when I attended. The shuttle buses stop right outside the gates of Sedgefield where greeters donning Wyndham shirts welcomed us with a resort key, and a tee time sheet. The key was to be used at the Wyndham Escape pavilion where your key could unlock a dream Wyndham vacation. I didn’t win. And I wish the tee time sheet had a course map but we found it a sign inside the gate with a QR code to the online map.

When you enter the gate you walk past sponsor alley where multiple sponsors had  tents for activation lining both sides of the path. There were local and national sponsors including HondaJet, the ACC, and Geico as well as a Polo merchandise shop just to name a few.

Off the putting green with “snow” and fir trees and the nearby sand sculpture was Maragaritaville. It’s a gigantic tented bar with of course, margaritas, bar tables, lounge chairs, corn hole, concessions, and live music. If you needed a break from the sun, the rain or the action this was a true escape. I felt transported to the Keys and totally on brand for Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the main division running the sponsorship show.

WyndhamMargaritaville

Throughout the property the tournament staff included resort themed touches including a beach with models in swimming attire and a tiki bar.

WyndhamChamp2

Apart from Tiger’s group you could get extremely close to the golf action on a classic old course. We followed Webb Simpson and Jason Gore’s groups on the front nine and were just a few of several hundred following these groups.

Looking back on my time there, I’ve never been a part of such an immersive brand experience that was totally integrated to the event. Wyndham added to the fan experience, never detracting from it, but giving fans who aren’t all about golf plenty of options to enjoy the week long event.

On social, @WyndhamChamp was extremely active and engaging with fans using the hashtag #AtTheWyndham. In a pavilion behind the clubhouse a twitter vending machine caught my eye. Walking up to it I wondered what was in the branded white boxes inside. I followed the instructions on screen and found out instantly. My shades were a nice reward for following the tourney action on twitter.

The crowds came out to the Wyndham Championship last week to see Tiger Woods try to make the FedEx Cup but with a tremendous fan experience I know many more fans will return whoever is in the field.

Mike Mahoney

Mike Mahoney is a sponsorship sales executive based out of Charlotte, NC with nearly 10 years of sponsorship sales experience. Prior to selling in the sports world he worked in major account sales at FedEx and SAP. You can follow him on Twitter (@mahoney) or connect on LinkedIn.