Who doesn't love to see the beverage cart coming when they're playing golf?
Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, New York, raises the experience up a notch. Their Atunyote Golf Club might have the most unique beverage cart in the country -- a replica of an orange classic car. Miles Blundell, the resort's director of golf operations, said the "1930s roadster" cart has been around roughly a decade.
“Guests love it when they see it," he said. "They are surprised by how unique it is. It is amazing how many guests want to take pictures with it, or sit in the driver's seat for a selfie. It resonates. Guests appreciate the extra level of attention we give to the golf experience. The beverage cart is one of the ways we do that."
Golf Advisor's Matt Ginella got to take it for a spin during the filming for the Golf Advisor Round Trip show about Turning Stone that airs at 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, April 30, on Golf Channel. In addition to the coolers on the sides like a traditional beverage cart, the hood and trunk open up to serve more drinks. A beverage dispenser in the trunk can pour shots from bottles of vodka, whiskey and other premium liquors.
Unique beverage carts are hard to find, and I can't help but wonder why? Obviously, custom golf carts cost a pretty penny, but it would seem the return on the investment is worth it. Brundell believes his unique beverage cart boosts food and beverage sales on the course, although other golf operators aren't so sure about theirs. What one-of-a-kind beverage carts do help with is marketing and social media buzz.
In 2017, Walt Disney World's golf courses near Orlando rolled out character-themed beverage carts - Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy - on the Palm and Magnolia courses that hosted the PGA Tour for many years, the shorter Oak Trail course and the nearby Lake Buena Vista course.
Alex Forsyth, the director of sales & marketing for Arnold Palmer Golf Management, which manages the Disney courses, says the new refreshment carts bring smiles to the faces of golfers.
"They have been a great hit. Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd will make you more memorable," he said. "For us, if it generates more sales, then that is a bonus, but for sure it is another unique photo opportunity when you come to Walt Disney World for golf. Hopefully, if you stop the cart for a photo, you'll probably be enticed to purchase something, too."
About four years ago, the Butterfield Trail Golf Club, a nice Tom Fazio design in El Paso, Texas, debuted its "Chuckwagon" beverage cart, but it's not always in use today.
Even the most traditional golf resorts like Pinehurst Resort in the North Carolina Sandhills are getting creative with their beverage carts. The Pinecone isn't a mobile cart like the others. It sits stationary on The Cradle, serving food and drinks near the third green. Twelve Adirondack chairs are located in the same area, creating a hangout spot for players to stop and relax or for non-players to soak up the setting around a punchbowl green. Music begins playing on the course at noon and continues until sunset. The Pinecone sells four draft beers and a full cocktail bar, including the popular 'Blue Driver' with vodka and blueberry lemonade and the 'Transfusion' mixed with vodka, ginger ale and grape juice.
The Pinecone can be hauled by a truck as a trailer on road trips. It has traveled with Pinehurst President Tom Pashley to special events at the Winter Park Golf Course during the PGA Show in Orlando and Sweetens Cove in Tennessee. I spotted a similar one at Pebble Beach Food & Wine. It seems the Pinecone and its clones are like the Visa tagline: They're "everywhere you want to be."
Would you like to see unique beverage/refreshment carts at more courses? Let us know in the comments below.