The drinks brand wanted to strengthen its golfing ties and celebrate a record-breaking year with senior staff.
To reward top performing sales staff and distributors from across Pernod Ricard’s European and US offices after what had been a record-breaking year for the company’s whiskey brands in 2007. Chivas felt that as a major sponsor of professional golf events, it was important to build an ongoing association between Pernod Ricard and the golfing sector. It hatched an elaborate plan to fly a large international party to Scotland’s east coast and St Andrews to play some of the finest links courses golf has to offer.
Chivas wanted to fly in 100 delegates from the US to Edinburgh along with Pernod Ricard senior managers from its international offices. This is a large party to accommodate in May in St Andrews. Because so many delegates were flying in on different planes from the US and Europe, meeting and greeting delegates was more complex than it might have been and some luggage was lost in transit. Scotland’s weather was always going to be a tricky proposition for those used to warmer climes.
Your Golf Travel.com assigned seven event managers to oversee the event, and initially, they were deployed at Edinburgh’s airport to meet delegates and transfer them to hotels. They also re-equipped those delegates without luggage with clothing and hired clubs in the pro shops. The accommodation was shared between the five-star Old Course Hotel, which is set into the 17th fairway of the Old Course, and the Fairmont Hotel & Golf Resort, St Andrews, which has two championship courses. The weather was typically temperamental, but Your Golf Travel.com was able to sidestep the worst of it to ensure that the group was able to enjoy relatively uninterrupted rounds of golf.
On arrival, the group checked in and spent the remainder of the day at leisure. The following morning, the golf started in earnest The group was split in two, with half playing on the Fairmont St Andrews’ Devlin championship course, and the other playing on the new Kingsbarns Golf Links, which is just out of town. Designed by Kyle Philips, the course is the first to be constructed on links land around St Andrews in 70 years, and is on the site of a disused course first played in the 1700s. It has quickly come to be regarded to be as good as the classic championship layouts and is one of the courses used in the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
‘Kingsbarns Golf Links is without the doubt the best new golf course I have played and has views of the sea from every hole, complemented by a decision-making and strategic layout,’ says Your GolfTravel.com corporate sales manager Barry Ross.
At their respective courses, players were divided into foursomes, equipped with a uniform and goody bags. They were also allocated a pre-game lesson with a PGA professional. Once on the course, they were followed by a photographer to capture the day’s events.
The evening’s entertainment was centered on a gala dinner in the Grand Ballroom at the Fairmont Resort. Guests were greeted with a whiskey reception, followed by a four-course banquet with a prize giving and speeches. The evening concluded early as the group had to muster at the course they hadn’t played the previous day at 6.30am the following morning to do the whole thing all over again.
After their round, the Chivas party traveled to the Highlands, visiting distilleries and holding a conference on the future plans for the company at the MacDonald Aviemore Resort in the Spey Valley, which hosted a gala dinner with traditional Scottish entertainment.
On returning from his trip, Pernod Ricard director Alan Greig was fulsome in his praise: ‘There is no doubt that despite the glitches with luggage and the weather, the Americans thoroughly enjoyed their golf experience at St Andrew’s. This was due, almost entirely, to the meticulous planning and organization of the agency team. Their good humor and calmness when things were not going entirely to plan were very much appreciated.’