How Would You Like To Win A Golf Course?
by Jeff Harrington
For amateurs, it probably will feel like the pressure of the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship combined, and all riding on a single seing.
Five lucky golfers will find out, taking a shot at a new Buick LeSabre and a chance at winning their very own golf course in an intriguing promotional contest sponsored by Buick Motor Division in conjunction with the 39th Buick Open golf tournament.
The five grand prize winners in the "LeSabre Winning Drives Sweepstakes" have each won a trip for two to the 1999 Buick Open, August 5-8 at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc. On Sunday, August 1 they'll tee it up at Warwick's famed Par-3 17th hole for a single crack apiece at a 2000 model Buick LeSabre, and possibly the title to their very own golf course if they make a hole-in-one.
The promotion, which ran from mid-May through June 30, was developed early this year by Buick public relations staff and the marketing firm McCann-Erickson, according to Buick Brand Manager Joseph J. Fitzsimmons Jr. The hole-in-one event is underwritten by Lewis London/Momentum for up to $2 million.
"Buick, as a company, has a tremendous heritage and investment with golf and the PGA Tour, and we're always looking at ways to tell folks about that commitment," Fitzsimmons commented. While the concept of a hole-in-one contest is a familiar one, he added, in considering what prize to offer, the question was raised: 'What is the ultimate dream for most golfers?' The answer: owning their own course, of course!
Buick touring pro and 1999 Ryder Cup team captain Ben Crenshaw was featured in the promotion, comparing similarities in achieving the "perfect drive' in golf-control, comfort, reliability and consistency--to the "perfect drive'' of the 2000 LeSabre.
A total of 14.6 million entry forms were circulated, as magazine inserts, in GM Mastercard billings and on the Internet, containing a "scorecard" that entrants could take to any Buick dealer and compare to a display showing Crenshaw's scorecard. Every scorecard was a winner, with prizes ranging from sleeves of golf balls, hats and clubs to the five grand prizes. In the event that all five grand prize entries were not redeemed, a second-chance drawing was to be held in early July to select the remaining finalists.
Once they step onto Warwick's 17th tee on August 1, here's how the contest will unfold: Each of the five participants will be given one chance to shoot for a hole-in-one under USGA rules from a location designated by Buick officials at least 160 yards from the hole. The one whose ball stops closest to the pin wins a 2000 Buick LeSabre Custom SD model. If a hole-in-one is made, that player also wins title to his or her own 18-hole golf course. If two or more players should beat the huge odds and make an ace, they will shoot again, with the one getting closest to the pin winning the course. Regulation USGA clubs and balls will be provided. A representative of Warwick Hills will judge the contest.
The golf course prize includes title to an 18-hole USGA regulation golf course located within the 48 contiguous United States and selected by the sponsor.
"Buick will purchase a course and title it in the golfer's name," Fitzsimmons said. "It won't be Augusta National, and probably not Warwick Hills, but there are a number of courses available around the country. We've already identified several that would be satisfactory.
While the five finalists had not been identified at the time of this writing, it's a safe bet they're somewhere spending plenty of time on the practice range.
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