A downward turn in the economy had people digging deeper into the coupon pile, driving a few extra miles to save 10 cents a gallon on gas and begging for bargains during the Christmas holidays.
And with rounds of golf leveling off in the Triangle during cost cutting times, more than a few eyebrows were raised when Fred Smith purchased the Tom Kite-designed Eagle Ridge Golf Club in early 2010.
Fred Smith Company already had Riverwood Golf Club in Clayton and Hedingham Golf Club in Raleigh under its semi-private golf course and athletic club umbrella when the Eagle Ridge deal was struck in late December.
With development in a thriving area of North Carolina coming to a virtual standstill in 2009, Smith saw the Eagle Ridge purchase as a sensible extension of his family-friendly formula that seemingly has escaped the grasp of others in the golf industry that spent the better part of the year gasping for life preservers, not looking for additional investments.
All good marketing and PR firms tell you to advertise more, not less, and try to create a positive buzz when times are tough, so you’ll be ahead of your competition when the economy makes its upward turn.
But no cart fees? Free range balls? No initiation costs? Has Smith created pure golf suicide or is it crazy genius?