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September 2019

New Innovation with a Historical Start

By Scott Kauffman

Besides being one of the most famous athletes in the Golden Age of sports, golf icon Bobby Jones also was recognized as one of the great innovators and entrepreneurs of his era. In some respects, what the forward-thinking World War II veteran accomplished off the course – designing a revolutionary matching set of irons for Spalding Golf Company in 1932 and creating/co-founding Augusta National and The Masters, for instance – are nearly as extraordinary as his Grand Slam-winning exploits.

When Mosaic Clubs partnered with the Jones family last December and formed Bobby Jones Links, the new golf operator set out to embrace the famed golfer’s character and entrepreneurial/inventive spirit. The Alpharetta, Georgia-based company (not far from Jones’ Atlanta roots), even officially describes itself as an organization “where history and innovation play.”

An example of Bobby Jones Links’ innovation at play is the namesake Bobby Jones Golf Course that reopened last November after a yearlong, $23 million renovation by the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation. Located in the heart of nearby Atlanta, the course originally opened in 1932 as a tribute to Jones.

Nearly a century later, in a fashion that Jones himself would surely approve, the course boasts an assortment of technological advances from the state-of-the-art indoor instructional building that will be used as the home course for Georgia State University to the first fleet of Shark Experience golf carts in Georgia.

While many courses charge extra for the Shark Experience, allowing the ultimate in Bluetooth connectivity, GPS yardage info and other digital-driven entertainment features, the carts are complimentary at Bobby Jones. Meanwhile, the historic layout will continue to serve as a test facility for new equipment and industry technology with the goal of sharing golf and the Bobby Jones story with the greater Atlanta community and the entire state.

If that’s not enough innovation in honor of the golf immortal, Bobby Jones Links recently pulled off another counterintuitive business achievement when it announced it was transitioning The Georgia Club in nearby Statham into a private club, of all things. Indeed, at a time when more private clubs are going in the opposite direction and becoming semi-private at best, or just flat out closing what with just 3,708 now left in America, according to the National Golf Foundation’s latest 2019 Golf Industry Report data, the Georgia Club will officially turn private this November.

This financial feat was marked with a big July 3 event when more than 2,000 members and guests from the surrounding golf development showed up to celebrate membership growth of more than 700 percent under the management of Bobby Jones Links since 2011. And golf is playing a big part of the growth with annual rounds increasing to 42,000 from 17,200 during that same period.

“This impactful level of growth in membership and home sales showcases the strong need in the Statham community for an exclusive golf and club membership experience,” said Kaitlin Looby, vice president of marketing and sales for Bobby Jones Links. “Achieving this milestone of transitioning to a private club is a testament to The Georgia Club’s members and neighbors who make the club one of the premier communities in the Southeast.”

If anything, it’s a pure sign that the slogan behind Bobby Jones Links – where history and innovation play – is more than just some marvelous marketing catch phrase.

 

 

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