This is a piece originally posted on Sioux Falls Business with Jodi Schwan.
An afternoon at a GreatLIFE golf course may be the ideal place for your next business outing.
Hidden Valley at 1708 E. Redwood Blvd. in Brandon comes fully equipped with a grill and a picnic shelter that holds more than 80 people, so even though Tony’s Catering is right down the road, general manager Steve Reiter said groups often bring their own burgers or hot dogs, and bosses stand behind the grill cooking and serving their employees.
Group outings at Hidden Valley generally cost $20 per person for both the green and rental fees, regardless of whether the group plays nine or 18 holes — making it easy for people to stop playing at any point if they have limited time or are simply done golfing.
The par-3 course has relatively scarce water and sand hazards, making it easy for even the most novice golfers to play.
“It’s nice because they’re surrounded by people who are similar,” Reiter said. “Everyone out at Hidden Valley kind of moves along at the same pace, so nobody has to be concerned that they’re the person holding everyone up.”
According to Reiter, groups that have used the course for business outings in the past said they weren’t as intimidated as they thought they would be because they weren’t concerned with holding up groups of golfers behind them.
“No matter how unskilled they are, they can play a hole in a reasonable amount of time,” Reiter said.
Unlike other courses, Hidden Valley isn’t too strict about how many people play a hole at once or how quickly they move through the course, which Reiter said is vital to maintaining a low-pressure environment.
Larger courses often have employees out making sure people maintain a steady pace because increased course difficulty means it could take up to five hours for a group to complete 18 holes — whereas Reiter said the Brandon course can be done in less than two hours.
At the Fox Run course in Yankton, head golf professional Matt Drake usually is the one out making sure groups get through holes in a timely manner.
“If we have situations like that, then I actually have gone out with them and play a hole or two just to catch them up with the next group and have some fun with them,” he said.
Drake said playing with groups helps keep the pressure off and is a fun way to get to know the golfers out enjoying the course.
“I really consider Fox Run to be the hidden gem of GreatLIFE,” Drake said of the 18-hole course, which can be completed in less than five hours. It comes with a full pro shop and a full menu at Duffer’s Bar & Grill.
“The course is great,” Drake said. “But our food is even better.”
Group outings at Fox Run usually cost $30 per person, and the course’s even mix of easy and challenging holes makes it fun for any golfer, Drake said.
All the courses also have fully functioning pro shops that offer sets of rental clubs for about $5.
“It’s a nice way for them (co-workers) to interact with one another,” Reiter said. “We’ve always felt it’s a great way for companies to bring people so they’re all close together.”