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Business acumen, civic pride save community golf course
sapelo golf club
The Sapelo Hammock Golf Club is located in Shellman Bluff, GA. The golf club sits on 171 acres of land off of I-95. The golf course earned its name from the Sapelo Island and hammock of oak trees located on one of the course’s greens. Visit for more information. - photo by Photo provided.

Editor's Note: This is part two in the two part series. Part one ran in the previous Courier issue.

Reaching beyond rural Georgia for the purpose of generating more revenue for Sapelo Hammock Golf Club took nerve and initiative. So, to ensure the golf club’s success, a new marketing team was formed. 

This team consisted of active and retired residents who are part of the owners and members group of Sapelo Hammock – all folks with considerable marketing skills garnered from years in the business world. Within five short months, the all-volunteer team has made major strides in marketing the Sapelo Hammock Golf Club name far and wide through all sorts of marketing tools and networks: the placement of advertising brochures in over fifty locations throughout Georgia including official state welcome centers; the development of a new website; participation in Georgia tourism online marketing tools such as Georgia Golf Trail and Visit Coastal Georgia; promoting activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TripAdvisor; sponsoring social gatherings such as happy hours and special dinners, brunches and cookouts; promoting the clubhouse as a wedding and event rental venue; improving area road signage; partnering with the local Chamber of Commerce; placing advertisements in area print media; and promoting memberships----social, golfing and corporate. The list goes on and the unusually talented marketing team has even more new ideas waiting in the pipeline to be implemented. All of this points to increasing revenue year after year so that Sapelo Hammock will never again have to face the same difficulties that they’ve had to deal with in the past. This is business acumen at its finest; turning its operating model around within a few short months and setting the club on the pathway to success. 

This hard work has been accomplished with two major components, neither of which could survive on its own merits: investment in the future of the golf course by the formation and purchase of the new preferred stock and an extraordinary amount of volunteerism; most likely unmatched anywhere in the country by community owned golf courses. It speaks so well for the community and the type of people who live here – small business owners, fishermen, contractors and tradesmen, writers, healthcare professionals, artists, investment brokers, bankers, teachers, government officials, pharmaceutical sales executives, and the list goes on. Yes… people working together on a common focus and gleaming pride in their accomplishments. 

Today, Sapelo Hammock is a treasure of the Georgia coast and is praised as being one of the finest golf courses on the Southeastern seaboard. Besides being an outstanding recreational destination, it is an integral part of the community in that it serves all residents in so many other ways. The club is very much tied into the local economy and brings in visitors from far and wide.

They spend money at the course and keep it viable as a tax paying business. Visitors spend money at area businesses – restaurants, accommodations and retail stores. And as important as the club is for golfers, it is equally important to the residents as a venue for dinners, socials, and musical, educational and cultural events. It is a major contributor to local charities, youth organizations and the local high school golf team. Perhaps most importantly, the golf course helps maintain property values for the entire area and continues as an attraction to bring in new residents. 

The rejuvenation of Sapelo Hammock Golf Club is emblematic of what is occurring in the area. This is the way real change comes about:  refusal to accept dire predictions about the future, gathering together talented people to make things happen, contagious enthusiasm, executing creative and effective new business strategies, and last but not least, harnessing the power of civic pride and love for a community that pulls itself up by the bootstraps and gets the job done. 

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