Marketing Integrity Lesson From Tiger Woods And Pebble Beach

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Marketing integrity is doing what you say you are going to do. Even if it is hard.

Do you need to make some difficult decisions about your brand, your marketing, and your product or service? Have you publicly declared you are going to make changes?

If so, what happens if the changes are going to be hard?

Even for the place Golf Digest dubs “the top public golf course in America,” the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, marketing integrity matters.

Small business and independents can take a lesson from this historic company.

So, you want to golf Pebble Beach? Get in line. If you want to golf the famed Pebble Beach, the greens fees are $595 per person. If you can get a tee time.
But there is a more egalitarian back door. Pebble Beach now has a par-three, nine-hole course that you can play for $65. Same great views, amenities and history.

“It is a prime piece of golf real estate, but the quality of experience was not on par with the rest of Pebble Beach,” John Sawin, vice president and director of golf for Pebble Beach Company, told me in February of 2020. “We are always looking for new attractions; we are always looking for new draws.”

In December 2019 Pebble Beach and Tiger Woods announced their collaboration for a redesign of the par three Peter Hay course. And then the pandemic hit. Like every business in America, likely they had to deal with labor shortages and supply chain issues. But Pebble Beach kept going.

In March of 2022 I revisited Pebble Beach to see the fruits of their labors (note to my editors and the IRS, I paid my own way there and for greens fees). The course, the putting green and the new golf academy lived up to my high expectations.

“Pebble Beach has always been a special place to me,” said Woods, a California native who came up through the youth golf ranks, when he announced the partnership with Pebble Beach.

Woods also had to soldier on since the deal was announced.

Tiger Woods

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A 15-time major golf tournament winner, Woods stunned the golfing world in April of 2022 when he made a dramatic return to the Masters in Augusta, GA after suffering serious leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021. The Masters appearance capped an incredible comeback after nearly 17 months away from golf.

tiger woods

There is a marketing problem in golf today: for many people it takes too long to play 18 holes and it costs too much money for the average family. Woods and Sawin have helped change that at Pebble Beach.

But the message of this column is about marketing, not about golf. Here is the lesson for every business. If there is a part of your brand that is underperforming, tear it up and create something better. I am not saying it is going to be easy. In fact, it may be very hard. For Pebble Beach and Woods, the journey has been difficult. But to borrow a line from baseball, “the hard is what makes it great.”

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