Pinehurst’s Talamore Golf Resort steps forward with a major expansion of facilities and services — while planning more growth in 2015 and beyond.
By Brad King
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (March 2015) — After overseeing nearly two decades of growth in America’s birthplace of golf, the powers-that-be at Talamore Resort took a long look at their facilities and services. Recognizing the need for younger groups of golfers, they performed what they called a “relevancy campaign” to help determine where the industry is headed and ensure their offerings met the needs of the resort’s members and guests.
Focused on being much more than just a bed and two golf courses designed by a pair of legends of golf course architecture, Talamore wanted to provide its guests a reduced need to “get out and around” once they arrived by providing reasonably priced food and beverage on site including a hearty, complimentary breakfast.
The result is more than simply a major facelift of the Talamore Resort facilities. It is a transformational and full-fledged modernization — and it is focused specifically on the areas that golfer’s value most.
Most noticeable greeting resort guests when they enter Talamore’s main clubhouse is the new “Llama Pen” Sports Bar & Grill — already jumping with March Madness festivities.
Talamore Golf Resort first made headlines for its famed stable of llama caddies along with unparalleled customer service. Today, it has grown to become one of the Pinehurst area’s premier golf getaways, which is why more than 90 percent of Talamore’s customers return or refer new business.
Also newsworthy, the resort recently introduced a cutting-edge Alumni Club to reward its longtime visitors, a villa pavilion that regularly hosts Pig Pickens of all shapes and sizes, a top-shelf breakfast bar to start the golfer’s day off properly — even a new cell tower for when and if one needs to check on things back home.
Meanwhile, on Talamore’s two golf courses, masterpieces designed by Rees Jones and Arnold Palmer, head superintendent Keith Osterman, who helped guide the resort during its original “glory days,” has returned and both golf courses are already in pristine condition.
“During our meeting with the sales staff, we drilled down,” said longtime Talamore Resort General Manager John McDougald, whose guest-friendly business skills earned him a 2014 cover story in Golf Business magazine.
“The pie is only so big and if anything it has shrunk,” McDougald said. “People coming to Pinehurst on a shoestring budget were not getting the ‘experience’ and that ruined the idea of ever coming back. Now, the experience is coming back to Pinehurst. We wanted to remain simple and convenient — the ‘center of the universe’ for our guests. We are ‘ground-upping’ our total experience.”
McDougald said the Llama Pen has been a very popular addition. “We have had a huge call to provide this service onsite for our in-house guests,” said McDougald. “TVs abound with sports, sports and more sports in a comfortable setting overlooking our famous finishing hole. It doesn’t get much better than this.
“Our guests love the flexibility that our golf vacations offer. The Llama Pen adds to their flexible list of options, as it will give them a walking distance spot to hang out and watch their favorite sporting events.”
Talamore’s clubhouse, pool and cabana are all conveniently located next to the Talamore Golf Villas, which offer top-shelf amenities and panoramic views, and were constructed soon after the club’s opening.
Talamore started its new Alumni Club as a unique way to reward its numerous return guests with a host of special features including their personalized alumni card, complimentary range balls, automatic entry into a monthly golf vacation, complimentary breakfast and more.
In Talamore’s unheard-of deal, the resort’s multi-year veterans will be issued cards with their photos and receive a roster of benefits. “We have guests that have been coming to visit since we opened in 1997,” said Kristin Blanchard, one of Talamore’s long-time Golf Package experts. “A staggering 9 out of 10 of our guests are repeat visitors with many groups in the ‘10 Years in a Row Club.’”
Another popular new feature at Talamore is the Pavilion at the Villas — equipped with a fireplace, flat-screen TVs, comfortable seating, a plethora of BBQ grills and everyone’s favorite corn hole toss — in the middle of the Talamore Villa campus. Quickly becoming a major-league hit, the pavilion is regularly the site of Thursday night southern BBQ featuring a Pig Pickings’ and other southern favorites. Best of all, it is complimentary for Talamore guests.
Talamore’s new breakfast bar in the Talamore clubhouse from April thru October on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays features the best southern and traditional breakfast favorites. The centerpiece to the breakfast is the soon-to-be famous Dollie Llama waffle station with toppings galore — again, included with all Talamore Golf and Travel packages this spring,
Finally, a new cell tower is being erected that will give the Talamore Villas better cell service. Coupled with the industry’s new WIFI enabled mobile phones, this last key modern feature will be part of the Talamore villa experience.
“In conjunction with a new survey process for our in-house guests, we developed a bold new direction for our facility,” said Matt Hausser, Talamore Resort Director of Golf. “It is the Talamore and Mid South team’s way of saying ‘thank you’ and providing outstanding additions that will enhance their resort guest’s experience and make their vacation even more memorable.”