The Day I Took Golfers to a Nightclub
Hello friends of Go Golfing, Peter McCarthy here. Next month, June 2020, marks 25 years in the history of Go Golfing.
While we can’t do what we love and we’re not in a position to run golf tours, tournaments or holidays for you right now due to the travel bans and the social distancing regulations, I thought I might share some of the history of Go Golfing and some of the funny stories we’ve had along the way.
LISTEN TO PETER TELL THE STORY OR READ IT BELOW
OUR FIRST FULLY-ESCORTED GOLF TOUR
Despite running our first golf event in 1995, it wasn’t until around the early 2000s that we did our first golf tour. It was to Canada and we weren’t even meant to be the hosts.
A New Zealand company approached me and said, “Look we got this tour to the Canadian Rockies and if Go Golfing wants to promote it to its clients, we will give you $500 for every client you book on the tour. “
I was a young guy, hunting dollars. I was keen.
So we promoted it to our database and we got 20 Go Golfing clients onto the trip.
When I contacted the golf company in New Zealand I asked them “how many have you got” and they said, “One.”
I went well, if we got all of the people then I am going to host it. So I packed my bags, and embarked on my first overseas trip ever…
THEIR CONFIDENCE IN ME WAS QUICKLY DIMINISHING
So I head over to Canada in charge of 21 people. I got to say, there were 21 singles on this tour, no couples, and we had the same number of men and women.
Anyway, the tour started in Vancouver, we headed from there to Whistler, then Kelowna, Banff, and finishing in Calgary in time for the famous Calgary Stampede.
Let me just say, I hadn’t exactly prepared myself well enough for what was coming my way.
Before the event, we’d had 5-6 years of running golf tournaments – and we were pretty bloody good at that, I mean, the Mitsubishi World Masters was growing and had quickly become the largest amateur golf championship in the southern hemisphere.
Yet nothing could prepare me for what was going to happen in Canada.
So it started out with the opening night and it was quite good. The next day we were going to golf and that’s when people started asking me questions.
“How far to the course?” Never been there, I have no idea.
“What’s that tree called?” Oh, I don’t know, deciduous?
Every question they asked, I didn’t have an answer. Their confidence in me as a host was quickly diminishing.
We arrived at the next hotel and I had people who had forgotten their toiletries or they had forgotten their camcorder charger. Yep, that’s how long ago this tour was.
So these people were coming up to me demanding I organise the return of their lost property – which I did.
I got it all there and it cost about $35 per item, so the toiletries guy is happy, he hands over the cash. Meanwhile, the camcorder guy says “mate one of those leads is $8” so he gave me $5.
I quickly learned when you round up these golfers make sure you get them to check they got all their stuff.
IT WAS A TOUGH START, AND IT ONLY GOT WORSE
Fast-forwarding and we still had golfers leaving their stuff behind everywhere – golf courses, hotels, buses, you name it.
Pete’s couriers would have made a fortune on this tour.
Anyway, it was a tough start, and it only got worse.
As we were travelling from Whistler to Kelowna – a 7-hour trip already – one of the clients tapped me on the shoulder and said: “Pete, I think we are going the wrong way.”
I said, “What makes you think that?”
He replied, “Well the last sign I saw said so many miles and this sign, that we just saw, said we were even further away.”
So I have gone and told our French-speaking driver that I think we are going the wrong way.
He looks at his map and decides to do a U-turn in the middle of the highway. That causes major concern for customers who paid for a pristine golf tour experience.
To cut a long story short, we arrived at Kelowna 11 hours after we departed Whistler. I went around apologising to everyone and admitted the tour so far just wasn’t cutting the mustard.
I said: “Tomorrow night I will shout you all dinner at the brasserie.” We were in a beautiful hotel in the Okanagan Valley overlooking the lake and I thought it would best to take them all out for dinner.
“HEY GUYS, THIS IS MY FIRST TOUR AS A HOST”
So we sit down to dinner the following night, and my opening lines were “Hey guys, this is my first tour as a host.”
One guy stands up and says “No s**t, Sherlock!”
I was on the back foot. Although slowly but surely they saw that I was genuine and keen to help and I said to them “you tell me what you need, and I will make it happen.”
One guy stood up saying “hey we need an esky full of beers on the bus” and a girl says “hey we need wine in it as well!”
I was like “Consider it done.”
They then said “We need cards, we want to play card games.”
That’s when I thought, hang on here’s an opportunity. I’ve been playing Canasta, Euchre and 500 since I was a little whipper-snapper, people are going to want me on their team.
This is my chance to redeem myself a little.
Well, things started to improve that night and there was a suggestion that the worst scorer of the day becomes the deputy tour leader.
I had a better idea, “why don’t we give them a promotion and make them the tour leader, and I’ll be the deputy.”
That didn’t sell.
Anyway, there was a little more frivolity, they told me what they wanted, their expectations. You know things like being able to inform them on restaurant recommendations when we got to each hotel, and the like.
By this stage, I learned about concierge. Other people who could help me out.
“I AM PETER FROM THE MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION”
At this brasserie, a DJ came on and three good-looking ladies went onto the stage with him.
I could see all the single men – yeh they were in their 70s and 80s and these girls are in their 20s – I could see the way they were looking at these girls.
I had a thought, so I went up to the girls and said to them…
“I am Peter from the Make-A-Wish foundation in Australia, and see those guys over there, they are on their last dance, last chance tour, they all got terminal illnesses. Anyway, it would absolutely make their lives if you were to go over and ask them to dance.”
Well they go over there, and they get Ted, and Harold, and Brian up dancing, meanwhile other guys are cutting in on them. There is a lot of fun and frivolity.
I HAD ENOUGH OF THESE CLIENTS
Unbeknownst to them, before dinner, I went up to the concierge and asked for a special request.
By this time I had enough of these clients, they were just giving me a hard time, and I didn’t know how the night at the brasserie was going to go down.
Anyway, I had asked the concierge where the local nightclub was and they told me it was only 2 blocks from where we were having dinner.
Fast-forward back to dinner again, we were having such a good night and I was enjoying the company of the clients so much that I asked: “who has ever been to a nightclub?”
And I had people go: “What like a Parish dance? A school dance? You mean a formal?”
Anyway, I had convinced half of them to come with me, and let me tell you the block-metric system in Canada is a lot different to Australia.
The first block was about 800 metres, and the second was about 600 metres.
So those grizzles I had thought I got rid of, they were coming back again.
Eventually, we get to the nightclub and there is a queue of at least 100 metres with all these 20- and 30-something-year-olds waiting to go inside.
So more grizzles come, and again I get an idea.
TED’S GRANDDAUGHTER HAS A DRUG PROBLEM
So I take them around the queue up to the entry and there are these two massive bouncers. The cover charge was like $15 per person, I thought well bugger this.
I said to them “I am Peter, this is Ted. Ted’s granddaughter is in your club, she has a drug problem. We don’t want any problems, if we could just go in we will grab her and be on our way.”
And somehow it worked! In we go, no cover charge.
I can only imagine all the people waiting outside must have been thinking “What is it bingo night, what’s going on here?”
We go inside, there are podium dancers, it’s fantastic.
Anyway, we haven’t been in there for more than 5 minutes, we got a drink and one of the clients came up to me and said “Pete, we love it here but can you get the music turned down.”
And that’s when I thought, it’s time to go and we finished our drinks and headed out.
Long story short, we kicked on and we had a ripping tour.
All 21 of those people returned and would go on to do multiple tours with Go Golfing. One of those people was Tony Tusa, he went on to do a record 53 trips with us.
We’ve come a long way since that first tour and I know what we deliver is far beyond any other travel company in this country, or indeed the world.
Stay tuned for my next fun Go Golfing story next week!