By: Ryan Parsons, Senior Associate
In the world of golf, a familiarization trip (or FAM) for media is essential to tell the full story of a new course. FAM trips are designed to give golf writers, course reviewers and social media influencers a first-hand look into the product that’s been created.
With the opening of the “reimagined” Pinehurst No. 4 course, our team had the privilege of assisting Pinehurst Resort in hosting an esteemed collection of journalists and content creators. With careful strategy and targeted outreach, the Pinehurst / Buffalo team devised a two-day fall golf retreat that was symbolic of the enjoyable atmosphere the resort created with No. 4.
Here’s an inside look into a FAM trip at the Cradle of American Golf.
A Night at the Brewery
The trip commenced at the brand-new Pinehurst Brewing Company. The brewery, housed in the Village’s steam power plant, encompasses what Pinehurst is all about in 2018. It caters to crowds that value a local, authentic and relaxed atmosphere while preserving relics that tell the story of its past.
The brewery provided the perfect setting for our guests to share stories and relax before the main event. Local beer, Carolina barbecue and a lot of laughs started the trip off on the right foot.
Breakfast at The Deuce
The next morning, the group convened at The Deuce, a bar that sits adjacent to the 18th green on course No. 2. One of the best hangout spots in the entire Village is on the patio of The Deuce, where people can sit in rocking chairs and watch a steady stream of golfers try to tame the former and future U.S. Open finisher.
After a hearty southern breakfast buffet, our guests heard remarks from Pinehurst’s owner Bob Dedman Jr., President Tom Pashley and course architect Gil Hanse. This was a key moment in shaping the narrative around Pinehurst No. 4. Delivering the story of the project to media immediately prior to its unveiling was an essential step in keeping the intended message top of mind.
The number one priority: “Have fun.”
Hanse was charged with striking the ceremonial first tee shot. After he jokingly attempted to tell the group of nearly 30 to put their cameras away, he hit his drive right down the center.
As is his M.O., Hanse humbly remarked, “It’s airborne.”
When we welcomed Gil Hanse back to hit a ceremonial tee shot on his new design of Pinehurst No. 4, he hoped it wouldn't be seen online.
Editor's Note: He split the fairway. pic.twitter.com/9mub892jgF
— Pinehurst Resort (@PinehurstResort) October 22, 2018
Soon after all foursomes had tee’d off, Hanse began working his way backwards to spend time with the media as they play. He walked three holes with each group, giving a first-hand account of the work that went into the sandy, minimalist design. Providing our guests time with the most popular name in modern golf course architecture while taking in his latest and greatest was a cherry on top of their experience.
With inspiration from Donald Ross' original design and the addition of "sandscapes", Gil Hanse has made his mark on another course at Pinehurst Resort.
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) October 13, 2018
A Reimagination Realized
As the groups finished their rounds and walked off the 18th green with smiles plastered on their face, we realized the intent of the design and the message we set out to convey came together in perfect harmony.
In a piece for Golf Advisor, legendary golf writer Bradley Klein compared his 2018 experience on Pinehurst No. 4 to his first round on the course when it re-opened in 2000: “That round was work. This one was fun.”
It appears we achieved our goal.