Cover Feature – January 2009

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Linda Talbot is the creative force behind one of golf’s most successful and innovative marketing tools – The Big Summer Golf Network ™. The BSGN has spawned many imitators but no rivals. The reason is simple. Ms. Talbot keeps her eye on the ball – the game of golf always comes first.

In the autumn of 1992 Ms. Talbot conceived of a cooperative marketing network wherein club owners would commit themselves to one “off peak” rate reduction program, market it under a single, unified banner and keep the monies generated from what remained after the expenses of producing the Big Summer Golf Card® were deducted.

The key feature of the program lies in the simple reality that nearly all financial gains generated by the sale of Big Summer Golf privilege cards are returned to owners and operators. “Some of the “life skills” that are inherent in the game of golf, such as honesty, integrity, courtesy, respect, and perseverance, should also always be present in business,” says Talbot. “Too often we teach and preach what we do not live out in daily life. Our business reflects our dedication to golf’s real lessons. We’re all enormously fortunate to be able to live by the rules of the game in our daily work environment.”
As a result of this spirit, The Big Summer Golf Network has been able to return millions of dollars to member clubs since its introduction in the spring of1993, while allowing Big Summer Golf Card® holders to play millions of summertime rounds on many of Florida’s greatest courses. “When I started this business there was very little camaraderie between facilities,” says Talbot – “I mean everyone acted as though they were protecting some type of secret at their golf facilities. Over the years that attitude had changed along with the industry itself. People became more open and willing to share their experiences, good and bad, at open forum meetings. At our semi-annual course meetings one item is always on the agenda: “Can We Be Smarter?” And, we encourage course operators to avail themselves of some of the timeliest and most thought provoking materials we come across such as: Outside the Ropes published by Jim Koppenhaver and his group at Pellucid Corporation.”

To the question, “Can We Be Smarter?” the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
“My hope is that course operators will be able to meet all of the economic and regulatory challenges they may be facing for the next indeterminate period of time and in doing so, will also take the time to review all marketing programs for both the actual cost, and the more dangerous hidden costs.”

Today the Big Summer Golf Network is the premier privately owned summer golf program in the country. The future has never looked smarter.