Las Vegas ParAm golf tourney a smashing success in debut

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Cold drinks, great looking caddies in a fun atmosphere on a cool golf course -- what's not to like? Which is exactly the way the first Las Vegas ParAm Golf Tournament went over this month at Bali Hai Golf Club.

Las Vegas ParAm golf tournament
It was a fun atmosphere at the Las Vegas ParAm, but there was some pretty good golf played as well.
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More than 100 players turned out to join more than two dozen Parmates for the inaugural event conducted at the MGM Grand Resort & Casino and the South Pacific-themed Bali Hai G.C. Aug. 13. The event included VIP parties at Studio 54 and the Tabu Ultra lounge at the MGM Grand, two nights at the MGM Grand, limousine transportation, auctions, music and a scramble golf tournament.

Joe Dahlstrom, director of operations for Walters Golf, said the tournament went so well that organizers are already trying to figure out what to do next year. He said the tournament might be moved up to the early spring or winter after the holidays in 2012 and might include a more competitive format.

"Instead of making it a highly competitive tournament, we made it about having fun and a good time," Dahlstrom said. "Many of the guests were raving about it, and talking about wanting to come back next year."

Las Vegas ParAm: One big party

This year's event even included a DJ on the golf course. There was also a full bar, while Parmates, who were bid on by teams before the round, used spray bottles to help cool off competitors in the triple digit heat. Parmates, by the way, are specially trained and attractive caddies who are available at Bali Hai Golf Club and Royal Links Golf Club, both of which are properties of Walters Golf.

Despite the party atmosphere, though, some of the competitors were serious about their golf in the scramble competition.

"We had some teams that were 15- or 16-under par, which was surprisingly good," Dahlstrom said. "But it was really a mixed bag. We had guys who were really into the golf and guys who were there just to have a good time.

"Regardless, I think it was well worth their investment to stay at the MGM and play golf with us."

During the two-day event, competitors got to know each other. Dahlstrom said in many cases twosomes were paired up with other twosomes they didn't know and developed friendships.

"It's just about smiling," he said. "The world's not in a perfect place right now when you turn the news on. Everybody got a chance to get away, play a little golf, have a few cocktails with the nice young ladies caddying for them and meet new people."

Possible new format for 2012

Tournament officials are considering changing next year's format to favor a more serious competition. There might even be handicaps involved, Dahlstrom said.

Another thought is to include some sort of skills competition, such as a putting contest before the event. An announcement should come in the near future.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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