It’s cool that Fairways Membership reached out to major champion and Northeast Ohio native Jason Dufner when looking for a recognizable golf face to discuss their new 2020 & 2021 membership.
So in an email Q&A, I asked Neil McGrew, the Director of Sales & Marketing for Fairways Golf Membership, about the process in choosing Dufner as their new spokesperson, and what it was like to spend time shooting their videos on the golf course with him.
Q: What was it like working with Jason Dufner?
Neil McGrew: Working with Jason Dufner was a great experience. While I can’t speak for anyone else, I know I was nervous leading up to the day of the video shoot. But those nerves didn’t last long, with Dufner’s occasional jokes and relaxed demeanor. It quickly became a memorable experience in regards to getting to meet and work alongside a Major winner (2013 PGA Championship). It was also a really cool learning experience being able to work with videographers from steps A to Z.
Q: How did Fairways choose him?
NM: When getting all of the details ready for The 2020 & 2021 Fairways Membership, I knew I wanted to focus on a few main ideas:
– The Fairways Membership is a locally established offering focused on providing the state’s best golf value to greater Cleveland area golfers.
– We are not your typical golf company. Instead, we are more present and transparent with the area’s golfing community. We strive to be easygoing in terms of making your golfing experiences enjoyable with each visit.
– Golf has a problem with accessibility, an abundance of choices and the price to play. The Fairways Membership brings all of those together and offers a simple, easy to use solution.
From that standpoint, we drew up a list of notable Ohio golfers and golf personalities. It was a fairly obvious choice to reach out to Jason Dufner and see if he might be willing to help us continue to make a positive impact on the Northeast Ohio golf community. Jason Dufner is from Cleveland and still supports the area’s sports teams and local communities. He’s also down to earth and someone most of us can relate to – whether he’s teeing it up at Mallard Creek or Pebble Beach.
Q: What was the process of engaging him as a spokesperson?
NM: After some searching and touching base with a few people, I was able to reach out to and get in touch with Jason Dufner’s agent. As a PGA Tour Professional, his schedule is fairly busy, so we selected a date as soon as possible and got to work on planning the video production.
Q: How long did it take to shoot the videos?
NM: Overall, we worked with Jason Dufner for about 6 hours. It takes a lot of time (and a lot of video that ends up on the cutting room floor) to put together a piece like this. While 6 hours may not seem that long, we are very grateful that he was willing to take the time out of his schedule to be a part of The 2020 & 2021 Fairways Membership.
Q: Who helped with video production?
NM: For the video production, we worked with another local company called Clockwork 9. After talking to a few companies, Clockwork 9 was recommended. After talking to them for a few minutes, I could tell they were as excited as we were about the opportunity and shared our enthusiasm in producing a great video that would entertain and engage the golfing community in Northeast Ohio.
Q: Do you know if Dufner still has any family here in NEOH?
NM: He does, and he returns to the area frequently. In fact, he was able to give his uncle a quick lesson on the driving range here at Mallard Creek in the time between finishing up the video shoot and leaving for the airport.
He didn’t offer to look at my swing for a lesson. He must have seen my action and realized it was a lost cause that no lesson could fix lol
Q: What has been the reaction of FM members to the partnership?
NM: So far, the reaction by our current (2018 and 2019) members has been fantastic! For the past two golf seasons, our members have enjoyed being a part of The Fairways Membership and all of the benefits it provides. For some, the membership is a great way to play more golf and enjoy the savings it provides with each round over the course of two seasons.
For a majority of our members, though, there’s a sense of community that being a Fairways Members has. Whether it is having course staff who knows you by your first name or meeting new golfing friends through the membership, taking advantage of equipment demo days or having the first opportunity to register for events, Fairways Members have become a strong and impassioned group of golfers. I think that having Jason Dufner on board as a supporter of the membership and being able to see him talk about golf as a whole, the local golf industry and The Fairways Membership has been really cool for them to see.
In fact, our membership renewals have climbed and the number of membership spots already having purchased is up 9%. With that in mind, we do expect the 2020 and 2021 Fairways Membership to reach capacity faster than any of our previous memberships. As of now, fewer than 30% of the total membership spots are still available.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to join the Fairways Membership community? Use the code DUFNERNEOH to join with some big bonuses: 4 18-hole guest passes and 4 18-Hole Cart Fees ($64 value) and more!]
Q: Any other future appearances or promos planned with him?
NM: We spent about half of the day filming the video shoot for the feature video. Then after a quick lunch break, we then filmed some funny skits with Dufner and some of our course staff and golfers. We’re still in the production process of getting those ready and available for viewing, but they are pretty funny and should be coming out soon!
And if the timing works for everyone, we will hopefully be able to work with Jason Dufner much more.
Q: How did his game look while hitting shots/chips/putts?
NM: If you have ever been to a PGA Tour event, then you know it is impressive to see any professional golfer play. During the first part of the filming, Jason teed up driver on Hole No. 26 at Mallard Creek. That hole is a little over 380 yards from where he was teed up and it was a foggy with dew on the grass. I figured he was hitting it pretty well, but I was surprised when we got to the top of the fairway to find 11 of the 12 balls he had hit were within a good 15 feet of one another and all of them near the end of the fairway – about 30 yards short of the green.
While his driving was nothing short of impressive, his putting was the true spectacle. We all know that PGA Tour golfers can putt, but seeing a truly great putter roll putt after putt after putt into the hole with ease is jaw dropping. It didn’t matter which way it broke or if it was downhill or uphill… he just made the putts. I don’t think many of us get to see golfers who are that gifted at putting, and it certainly put into perspective just how talented these guys are as a result of their time spent practicing and working hard.