Spotlight on | Golf

Davie Golf and Country Club takes a relaxed approach

 
 
David Benben of Sunrise sets the ninth-hole flag at Davie Golf and Country Club on Dec. 16, 2011.
David Benben of Sunrise sets the ninth-hole flag at Davie Golf and Country Club on Dec. 16, 2011.
MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

Special to the Miami Herald

For many people, golf is a serious game — sometimes way too serious. Miss a shot, and the expletives can start flying.

Davie Golf and Country Club is doing everything it can to get away from that grim-faced approach.

“We want people smiling,” says Dave Harris, who has the title to back up what he says. His official position at Davie is director of marketing in charge of fun.

“When we hire our employees we let them know that they are ambassadors of fun,” says Harris, 62.

Some examples of that fun are posted on signs around the course, such as:

• Play the tees that make you the happiest.

• Play often . . . laugh more.

• Gamble some . . . and laugh even more.

• You’ll remember friends more than your scores.

• Love of the game lasts a lifetime.

And then there are the instructions at the first hole and 18th.

On the first hole, with music coming out over a loudspeaker as you hit your first tee shot, you are told, “Relax, fun starts now.”

And as you come to the 18th practice, a sign blurts out.

“Our mission is to love, serve and deliver fun to all,” said Harris, who does just that.

“Music on the first tee adds to the atmosphere,” Harris said, although he admits there might be a couple of golfers who would rather grimace and concentrate on their shot instead of listening to Elvis Presley singing “Hound Dog.”

Harris is the more-than willing employee of Greenway Golf and its chief operating officer, Ken Campbell, who is an avid advocate of making golf more fun and less serious.

“Ken pretty much brought that philosophy to the golf course,” said Harris, who carries a 19-or-so handicap but enjoys every swing he takes — even if there are too many of them. “We want to differentiate ourselves from other facilities.”

The Davie course, to put it mildly, is interesting to play. The greens are laced with ridges that make putting an adventure. Tap a downhill putt a mite too hard and you might end up five yards off the green and scratching your head and laughing in bemusement (if you embrace the attitude the course is striving for). When putting you feel like you should be playing with a red, green, orange or yellow Putt-Putt golf ball. Only thing missing is the windmill.

The course used to be known as Arrowhead, but it was taken over by the state of Florida for a while so it could create a drainage runoff from I-595. Thus, there are ample lakes and water on the course.

Currently, the course is owned by the city of Davie.

Plans include a new clubhouse/pro shop by the end of next year instead of the trailers that now serve as those facilities.

Some of the other unique innovations at the course also include free scratch-off tickets for discounts on food and drink and merchandise, and occasionally you will find a tub of apples on the course for a quick pick-me-up snack.

“I like coming up with ideas to help foster the ideas our owners want to create,” Harris said. “Our goal is simple. It’s to let people have fun.”

THAT’S A FACT, JACK

Are you upset about your high handicap? Don’t feel too bad. Eighty percent of all golfers will never achieve a handicap of less than 18.

Read more Golf stories from the Miami Herald

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