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The Smartest People In The Room

Continued (page 4 of 4)

GD: Has the economy affected your trips?

‘You feel like you have to be the peacekeeper which puts you in a awkward situation.’

BARBARA: People had to dig deeper into their piggy banks this past year, but they would go without food rather than skip the trip.

NEIL: Our trip is called the Ponce de Leon Invitational. There was talk about having a "Recession Ponce" this year, where we'd stay in some of the guys' homes and we'd play at a club where a lot of them are members. That was evaluated, and we decided not to do it. We just made sure the Sea Island lodging and golf price was going to be no more than in the past.

BOB: What you're hearing is that most of us are traveling in the value season. You don't hear most of us going to Scotland or Ireland in June or July. That's kind of the corporate environment, or at least it used to be. And I think golf resorts are starting to reel from not having that business anymore. Can we now go to Pinehurst in June and get the value package? I think it's going to be interesting going forward with the way the economy is.

GD: We've talked about camaraderie, venue, service, price. Going farther down the list, what other things are critical? Lodging?

DAVE: Accommodations? We're packin' them in like carp. If you want your own room because you want to get your eight hours, you're going to the wrong event. Sleep is like way down at the bottom.

GD: What about food? Do you focus on it?

ROY: Not a lot. We've figured it out. There are a few good restaurants over there in Scotland, and we know where they are.

‘What you're hearing is that most of us are traveling in the value season.’

DAVE: In our deal, we include lunches Thursday through Sunday. Instead of having 130 guys come in and say, "I want a hamburger; I want a hot dog," and then they have to go make it, it's just done. They give us lots of food, and they don't charge us very much.

CALVIN: But we're different—we're usually just four foursomes.

DAVE: But you can negotiate on your deal—a lunch or something.

NEIL: At La Quinta this year we got box lunches for one of the rounds, then every day they gave each player a little voucher for a free drink. Just ask for a couple of things and they might say, "Sure." The guys get kind of excited about it: "Hey, a free drink!"

DAVE: For our scramble on Friday afternoon, they'll make you a Bloody Caesar or a White Russian. So as every group drives up, free drink! And they all think it's the greatest, and they all get a picture with the girl.

GD: Nobody ever gets tired of free stuff. On that note, let's eat. Lunch is on us.

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