Golf is growing in popularity, partly because people are realizing the benefits to overall health and well-being of this outdoor low-impact sport, and also because it was one of the few activities possible during the last two years of social distancing caused by the pandemic. Recent years have seen more people from newer generations drawn to the links than before, perhaps inspired by successful younger professional golfers and a desire to get away from screens and monitors.
Korea has around 500 golf courses, most of them private, open only to members and their guests. If you are not a member of a golf club, or have a friend or relative who is, it is necessary to seek out a public golf course. One that is attracting attention in Korea is Glen Ross Golf Club, near Everland in Yongin. It is a 9-hole public course owned and operated by the Resort Group of Samsung C&T. Like other smaller courses, Glen Ross competes by offering a differentiated atmosphere and service. For example, it recently made golf a little more exciting by decorating its golf carts with safari themes.
Giving a golf course a face lift with a wild flavor
Opened in September 1999, regular golfers at Glen Ross are already familiar with the majestic peacocks that stroll freely over the grass. As with other golf courses, Glen Ross has golf carts that ferry players between holes. Lately, some of these carts have been undergoing a makeover as the latest thing that differentiates Glen Ross from other public golf courses, including its course quality and superior facilities.
Now there is something new: safari-themed golf carts. This look has been achieved with car wraps – huge vinyl stickers applied to every external surface of each cart. One cart resembles a giraffe, a second has zebra stripes, and a third looks like a tiger, which is appropriate given that 2022 is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese zodiac. So now, when Glen Ross golfers report seeing a tiger at the golf course, in this case they mean a golf cart rather than the famous American golf champion.
How golf carts came to resemble safari animals
The idea for the safari edition golf carts came after long consideration, as a way to visually connect the neighboring Everland Theme Park to Glen Ross Golf Club. Given the proximity of the two locations and this year being the Year of the Tiger, linking the golf carts to the famous safari tour trams of Everland’s Safari World was a natural choice.
Once the idea was conceived, continuous discussions with the manufacturer of the wrap stickers took place to obtain images of the safari bus and how the idea would translate onto the much smaller golf carts. Within a month, the first tiger-patterned golf cart was created.
Byun Byung-gyu of Samsung C&T’s Resort Group Golf Marketing Team explains, “When you think of golf courses, you often think of a calm place, but through the collective intelligence of Golf Team, we wanted to change this image.”
Adds team leader Park Jae-hong, “There are now three safari carts running, but we are planning to grow that to 10 soon.”
Bringing excitement to the game and attracting younger golfers
Glen Ross’s 37 golf carts are randomly assigned to groups and caddies without prior reservation. The Resort Group expects that the new safari-themed ones will add a touch of fun and excitement to the game and help to bring together older and younger players.
Customer comments since their introduction at the end of April have been positive. One golfer wrote, “Looking at the tiger and giraffe print golf carts, I feel like I am a child again,” adding, “I hope all the carts are changed to patterns like this.”
One visitor mentioned that their group took many pictures with the golf cart, creating special memories of their time at Glen Ross. Another left the comment that riding in a safari-themed golf cart made them feel like they were actually playing golf inside Everland’s Safari World, predicting that it would become a special feature of Glen Ross.
Golf Team members were pleased to read such feedback, believing that that the friendly and fun image of the theme park will appeal to young people who are still relatively unfamiliar with golf courses.
These days, more and more members of the Millennial Generation and Generation Z are taking up golf as a pastime, showing that the image of golf is changing – it is no longer something just for parents.
Park Jae-hong, Team leader of Samsung C&T’s Resort Group Golf Marketing Team explains, “I heard that golf carts are a topic of conversation between old and young golfers. It is nice that they evoke stories from older golfers who remember the safari buses from Everland’s history and remind young golfers of the theme park. These stories can help draw the different generations of golfers together.”