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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
August 16, 2017

Deer Run Driving Range Photo Courtesy Nick Peters
+ click to enlarge
Deer Run Driving Range Photo Courtesy Nick Peters
Deer Run Clubhouse and 18th Green Photo Courtesy Nick Peters
+ click to enlarge
Deer Run Clubhouse and 18th Green Photo Courtesy Nick Peters
RJ Smiley

Deer Run Golf Club has an ever expanding base of loyal customers who "Have fun at the Run." Staff treats each golfer like they were their grandmother.

An anonymous satisfied customer stated, "Its not any one thing that makes it so much fun to play golf at Deer Run Golf Club. It is the total collective environment."

Tom Abts, golf professional and general manager of Deer Run, believes that a golf course should be run like a quality restaurant... a restaurant that is identified by it's specialty, like it's ribs or it's pasta, but not its ribs and pasta. Tom believes that with today's fickle consumer, you must provide them with the product and the service they desire or they will take their business elsewhere.

Tom knows that Deer Run Golf Club may not appeal to every golfer. He does not try to attract every golfer - though he welcomes every golfer with open arms. Tom knows that Deer Run customers are golf lovers who have respect for the game. They also have respect for their fellow golfers. Deer Run customers respect the golf course and the golf course maintenance staff respect their golfers. Tom explains, "Our staff at Deer Run works hard to provide the best 'overall golf experience' each and every day."

You see Deer Run ads a lot of different places. But Tom spends his advertising dollars for a different reason than most golf courses. Each Deer Run ad is intentionally designed to induce a pleasant memory in the minds of his current customer base. Reminding those satisfied customers how much fun they had on their previous visit to the Run. The ads unconsciously make each customer feel that they are a part of something special.

Deer Run ads contain no phone number and no website information. Think about it, when was the last time you saw an ad campaign like this? The last that I can recall was after the Twins won the 1987 and 1991 World Series. When you advertise being a part of a winning experience - you must be selling a winner!

On a recent trip to Deer Run Golf Club, I had time to observe the interaction between staff and customers. R E S P E C T!! Tom told me that one word - Respect - represents the attitude that is continuously drilled into staff, including new staff members and veteran employees, each and every staff meeting.

When a golfer enters the Deer Run clubhouse it is not an accident that they first encounter a pleasant person standing behind a counter that resembles a podium. "Welcome to Deer Run." The consumer relations professionals, who mans this important position, are not taught a memorized script. They are told to treat and talk to that customer like she was their grandmother (if that is appropriate) or their favorite uncle, or their favorite high school teacher, etc.

As customers move through the pro shop portion of the old farmhouse and into the bar/grill golfers they are welcomed to Deer Run with complementary beverages. No, not alcoholic beverages! Nor special colas, sodas or sport drinks, customers are welcomed to Deer Run with refreshing All-Americans beverages: ice water, lemonade, ice tea and coffee. The self-service liquid refreshment buffet starts with an antique Coke-Cola cooler where the ice is kept. The liquid buffet area, including ice and beverage containers, is operating room clean.

While we are in the Irish Pub, we tried one of their handmade patty fresh (never a frozen burger) hamburgers. Each burger along with all other entrees and daily specials served at Deer Run are prepared like they were, you guessed it, being served to their grandmother.

On the driving range, Deer Run has the new digital-age machine that places a ball on your tee, automatically. Where else but Deer Run! Remember the pleasant thought producing ads? The range is nothing special, but the tees are!

When golfers reach the first tee the starter is again there to explain today's special situations on the golf course and any other information that he deems necessary for his grandmother and her friends. The starters, rangers and any other employee you will encounter on the golf course have the same grandmother attitude.

Truth is, with all these personal welcoming encounters, the customers know the golf course they are about to play will be the very best it could be prepared for today's golfers. After all my grandfather and his buddies might be next on the tee.

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