• Irene Levy Baker

Golf Outings and Group Experiences

There is some debate about who said, “We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.” But whether it was Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw or American physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., the sentiment rings true. The quote is, perhaps, the ideal way to begin an article on group experiences and golf outings - team building events that use play to help colleagues get to know one another better, to bond with one another and work together more cohesively.

The quote can be found on the “about” page of TeamBonding’s website. TeamBonding

offers more than 100 different experiences in cities around the world. It’s the perfect

resource for companies that aren’t sure what type of team building event to plan, don’t have the contacts or the time to handle the details, or just want someone else to do the planning so they can participate in the event.

TeamBonding offers indoor and outdoor events, including events that are charitable, high-tech, related to music or food, comedy/improv, and games such as escape rooms, game shows and scavenger hunts. They provide team building experts who customize events based on

a company’s goals and budget.

“Today, five generations are working together,” said David Goldstein, COO (Creator of Opportunities) at TeamBonding. “Team building events bring people together with common experiences to help them work together as a team.”

He said that escape rooms, scavenger hunts and philanthropic activities, such as building bicycles for kids or making food for shelters, are especially popular.

Elmwood Park Zoo, a charming, 16-acre zoo based in Norristown, PA, is home to more than 100 exotic and endangered animals and a variety of experiences for groups. Team building at the zoo starts in its zip line park, called Treetop Adventures, which features challenge games and zip lines that run 50-feet above the ground and provide a bird’s-eye view of trees and

animals alike.

According to Chelsea Nejbauer, marketing manager for the zoo, “Elmwood Park Zoo is the only place in the state where you can zip line over live animal exhibits.”

Elmwood also offers a variety of add-on experiences to round out a group’s adventure, including an animal meet and greet, where participants can have a close encounter with a wild creature - such as a velveteen lop rabbit, red-tailed hawk or a hedgehog - and learn fun facts about the animal from a zoo educator. Attendees age 21 and over can cap off their event with a visit to the Zoo Brew Beer Garden.

For groups that enjoy a gathering on the greens, the Leatherstocking Golf Course at The Otesaga Resort Hotel provides an award-winning course in a spectacular setting. The resort, which opened in 1909, is a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It boasts old world charm with a Federal-style facade and features a portico supported by 30 columns.

Leatherstocking is an 18-hole course on the shores of Lake Otsego in Cooperstown, NY, and is among the top resort golf courses on the East Coast. In 2019, the course made Conde Nast Traveler’s list of “Top 50 U.S. Golf Resorts” and Golfweek magazine’s list of “Top 200 classic courses.”

Here, groups can customize their experience with a short golf clinic, half-day golf school, or by having a scramble-style tournament, said Tim Quirk, PGA director of golf. He said scramble format tournaments are popular for groups that include less experienced golfers who may be intimidated by a full day of golf. They also give everyone a chance to participate.

As part of group experiences at Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell, PA, golf can be played with a bit of a twist. The country club offers groups an “Escape Course,” where teams follow clues and find challenges to complete while playing a not-so-normal game of golf.

It’s a fun, more active alternative to being locked in a traditional escape room. The country club has also cooked up a culinary event called “A Near Chef Experience,” where groups learn and interact with the culinary team and then sit at the chef’s table right in the on-site kitchen.

Golf takes a whole different swing at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, PA, a casino and entertainment destination with the area’s only TopGolf Swing Suite. TopGolf is an interactive sports and social gaming lounge outfitted with high-tech simulator bays. Colleagues can compete in virtual games, including a Topgolf target game, baseball pitching, quarterback challenge, carnival classic and zombie dodgeball. Plus, participants can play eSports and video gaming on its giant screens.

“Our skilled Topgolf team makes planning your event as easy as 1-2-3,” said Scott Love, director of hospitality at Harrah’s Philadelphia. He suggests keeping team members fed and hydrated by adding food and drink packages to their outing.

Truly, nothing builds a team like a shared adventure - from hitting a ball on the greens (real or virtual) to zipping along above the giraffes. Playing and engaging together helps foster stronger bonds, increase morale, improve communications and create a stronger team.

Irene Levy Baker is the owner of Spotlight Public Relations and author of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia Before You Die as well as Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia.

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