Author Archive

Bride at Sunset

By: Tenna Merchent on October 5th, 2014

I ran across this image while searching for something else for a marketing effort. The sun is getting ready to set, and lovely bride model Cati Merchent is standing on the east side of the  mound surrounding the 15th green. You can see the fairway tree in the distance behind her veil. Her veil is supported by a golf cart camera left. Thank you Cati for helping out!

Beautiful bride Cati at sunset.

Beautiful bride Cati at sunset.

Signing with Casper Golf

By: Tenna Merchent on April 23rd, 2014

Signing with Casper

Last week we signed a management agreement with Billy Casper Golf. I can almost hear some of my golf friends roll their eyes. Many golf insiders look down their noses at golf management companies. And having researched the subject a great deal, there is good reason. But as the saying goes, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

Some people who are already aware this change was going to take place were nervous. That’s natural, most people don’t like change. But from our analysis, our staff, the golf course, and our clients will be better off with the addition of Casper Golf.

I want to share why we selected Billy Casper Golf.

Service & Quality

Casper uses a training program developed by the same organization that helped Nordstrom’s create their training. They will use this training with our staff to make sure everyone at our course gives you the same high quality service and attention. A golf course has a culture and it is important that every staff member understands and embraces that philosophy. Casper will help us ensure we are achieving that goal.

We have talked to other golf course owners who have relationships with Casper Golf, and they are very pleased with the service given to their clients, the quality of golf course, food and beverages, and proshop merchandise. And our contract says it has to stay as good as it has been 😉

Attention to Detail

As a golf course owner, Purgatory Golf Club is like one of my children. When the bathroom counter is messy, I wipe it down. When the toilet paper is low, I replace it. When there is a cigarette butt on a fairway I pick it up. Mike Cutler of Casper golf told me that he used to randomly tape cash to trash. The first time somebody picked up a piece of trash that had a $5 bill taped to the back of it, the news raced through the staff. Everybody was now excited to pick up the trash. That small act was brilliant.

Depth of Knowledge & Experience

Casper oversees 170 golf courses. Their culture is very focused on testing an idea, and if it works implement it, if it does not abandon it and move onto the next one. It would take me an eternity to come up with, much less test every idea they have already implemented or thrown out. They are also replicating the successful experiments each course has on it’s own at other interested courses.

They have handbooks and policies and procedures for everything. Handbooks by themselves do no one any good. But Casper actually uses theirs. And it’s existence and use demonstrates they have faced all of these issues, thought them through, and made careful decisions. Our staff will be trained on these well thought out choices and will better understand what is expected from them.


A company that is managing 150 golf courses gets better prices and more attention from vendors. A vendor has to take a big buyer like Casper more seriously than an individual golf course. Getting better service for less money is good for Purgatory Golf Club & our clients.


Casper’s culture is to see opportunities. They love to research and find out if something works. They want everyone to be on board. They use a lot of big words, but it is their way of attaching meaning, and importance to an idea.

We have come to the conclusion that they are a good fit for Purgatory Golf Club. I told them they would be our golf course nanny. They laughed and said they had never been call that, but hey, I am entrusting them with my baby.

PS. Mike & I will still be involved, but hopefully doing more fun things like playing golf with guests, taking awesome pictures, maybe Mike will even be able to teach a lesson or two!



Greek Chicken Flatbread

By: Tenna Merchent on January 31st, 2013

It really is possible for you to eat healthy food at a golf course. This yummy Greek chicken flatbread sandwich is made with pieces of boneless chicken marinated in Greek spices and olive oil, then grilled. The chicken is combined with fresh chopped tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, mushrooms and creamy feta cheese, all folded up in a toasted flatbread.

Sounds pretty healthy to me, what do you think?

What Should We Name our Coffee Table Ebook?

By: Tenna Merchent on January 29th, 2013

What should we name our coffee table ebook? Yes, this is a new and different book than the other two I have described to date. You see, publishing takes a long time. I’m impatient, very impatient. We have so many cool things in the pipeline, it’s just killing me. So we’re going to put out a coffee table ebook because it can be done quickly, very quickly.

So what do you get in a Purgatory Golf Club coffee table ebook? You get a book full of beautiful pictures of the golf course, normally at sunrise or sunset, because that’s when landscape photography is at it’s best. There will be very little text, because most people really just enjoy looking at lovely images.

You will also get images of the clubhouse both interior and exterior, as well as lovely images of the practice areas such as the driving range and short game practice area. You’ll be able to read/view it on your tablet, computer, or your phone.

So, what do you think we should name our coffee table ebook?

2013 PGA Merchandise Show

By: Tenna Merchent on January 25th, 2013

The PGA Merchandise Show is going on right now in Orlando. We spent the whole day there yesterday. We studied the app and made favorites so we could make sure we saw the vendors we were most interested in visiting. Mine were:

  • The new product zone, where only brand new products are allowed, and I got in trouble for taking pictures. BTW, there are no signs saying no photography.
  • My preferred GPS vendor, and I liked what I saw, but sadly one of the reps was very sexist. That has motivated me to make sure we have a very strong policy statement on treating every guest with respect, no matter what their appearance.
  • Yardage books

Dick Merchent’s of course was the range ball vendor machine. He was in heaven looking at that equipment.

Clay Merchent was thrilled to get to meet Scotty Cameron, definitely the pinnacle of his week.

For us it’s a time to kick the tires on things we’ve already been considering. We say hi to old friends, and consider new things. We don’t actually make purchases, because we’re not impulse buyers. But it is a great opportunity to see some of the latest and greatest in our business.

Next week we’ll make the orders 😉

Did New Equipment Throw Rory Off?

By: Tenna Merchent on January 22nd, 2013

Did a bag full of new clubs cause Rory McIlroy to miss the cut in Abu Dhabi last week? New equipment is fun, and exciting, and we all want the shiny new toy. And new equipment can improve your game; it can also, in the short run, get you off tempo. Everything looks different, feels a little odd, you have to think for a second because it’s all new.

In a perfect world, new equipment should be used extensively prior to any competition. You need to know how far you hit every single club in your bag, without thinking about it. I’m sure Rory’s clubs were custom fitted just perfectly for him, and if you’re serious about the game, yours should be too. The weight and the length need to be appropriate for your body’s height and weight.

It’s like getting a new phone, you’re all excited because it’s lighter and thinner, but everything is a little bit different, and why can you get your voicemail! But eventually you figure it all out, and it is better and faster, and was worth the pain and learning curve. It’s the same with new golf equipment, you’re going to have a learning curve, just make sure you do it in your practice rounds.

Clay is quick to point out to me that after the 1st round Rory switched from his new Nike putter back to his old one. Reasonable enough choice, there was a lot on the line.

So did Rory’s new clubs throw him off last week in Abu Dhabi, possibly? Will he work through it and get used to his new club, most likely.


The PGA Merchandise Show, What Do You Want to See?

By: Tenna Merchent on January 17th, 2013

The 2013 PGA Merchandise Show is Next Week in Orlando Florida! As golf geeks, we can’t wait for this show every year. We get to see all the new cool:

  • Equipment, drivers, hybrids, putters, wedges
  • Golf balls
  • Men’s clothes
  • Women’s clothes
  • Children’s clothes
  • Shoes, belts, hats
  • Ball marks
  • Awards
  • Spinner vans, yes they have decked out spinner vans

You name it, if it exists at a golf course it will be at the show. There is a whole section devoted completely to brand new products. Some of them are crazy, do you really want a picture of your little girl on your driver head? But some are really cool like the Switch belts we started carrying last year.

If you have trouble with focus, this can be a challenge. It is soooo HUGE, I actually bought a backpack that has a scooter that flips down so I can make around the whole show this year. We go with definite goals of what we have to see, and what would be nice to see.

That’s where you come in, is there anything you want to see. I can take pictures, probably some video, ask questions, get prices if there is anything you want me to investigate, I have 6 days to add it to my list.

So, what do you want to see from the PGA show?

The H2 Wrapped in Indiana Golf Images

By: Tenna Merchent on January 15th, 2013

Marty Schliessmann (brilliant designer extraordinaire) found the images of the wrapped H2. We don’t have that vehicle anymore, but I thought you might enjoy reminiscing.  Yes, we are going to wrap the minivan as we discussed last week. After Marty gets it designed, I’ll post images.

It’s funny, people used to ask to borrow the PT Cruiser and the H2 to drive in holiday parades, do you think anyone will ask to borrow the minivan?

Junior Golf Tournament in Scotland or the Indy 500 & a Little Girl’s Birthday Party?

By: Tenna Merchent on January 11th, 2013

Junior golfer Clay Merchent is struggling over the decision to play in a junior golf tournament in Scotland, or to stay state side and be around for the Indy 500 festivities, and the birthday party of one special little girl.

If you’ve spent any time at Purgatory you’ve met Clay, hit balls with him, and maybe even played a round of golf with him. He’s quite the ambassador for Purgatory Golf Club.

Last night he said, “I may never have another opportunity to play golf in Scotland again!” I pointed out that we can make time to play golf in Scotland, it just requires planning. But he aspires to play on the PGA Tour, and given that fact, I always encourage him to compete in the bigger tournaments.

It’s tough, there is often something else fun going on when there is a junior golf tournament. And of course, he can’t just be there for the tournament. These kids are tough. They are there at least two days before the event playing practice rounds, and if he wants to have a chance, he needs to be there playing a practice round too. So that means about a week gets wiped out of his, and often the whole family’s schedule for any important event. We spend a day getting there, two days of practice rounds, two days of competition, and a day getting home.

Every moment of each trip is special. We have met some wonderful families, and he has made some great friends. Last fall there was a tournament in Monterey California, and we made the time to play Pebble Beach before the event. It was amazing.

Because of the time commitment, we attempt to travel as a family to every other event, and Mike and Clay go by themselves to the ones in between.

Clay and Mike were away at a tournament during the first snowfall. I sent videos of our snowball fight and Clay was very sad to miss it. He’s only 11, and we encourage him to enjoy his childhood. But we also go to these tournaments and see these amazing juniors that have been competing since they were four. Clay didn’t start competing until he was nine. Finding the balance between encouraging him to be a kid, and giving him a solid basis for a career as professional golfer is difficult.

So last night over dinner, I said to Clay, “Let me ask our friends…”

So do you want to weight in, should he go to Scotland and play in the tournament, or stay home for the parties?