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How to make money out of golf in your pub

By Sky Sports

- Last updated on GMT

Ryder Cup Golf on Sky Sports in pubs

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The biennial festival of golf that is the Ryder Cup is just around the corner and exclusively available on Sky Sports. Here’s our guide for how to get people swinging round to your pub for the occasion.

There’s been the miracle of Medinah, Darren Clarke’s tearjerker and Jack Nicklaus’s sporting last-hole concession. The Ryder Cup makes memories and brings out a passion and quality in golfers that no other event quite manages.

On the same level, it brings out a whole new appetite for golf among sport fans. With that appetite comes a willingness and desire to watch the finest golfers of Europe and America in the communal atmosphere of the pub.

Unique drama


Manager of the Flying Horse​ in the City of London, Andy Bryce, agrees that the tournament represents a unique appeal compared to other golf events. “Like in Athletics, nobody watches it for four years and then the Olympics comes around and everybody is a fan. The Ryder Cup is the same thing,” he says.

It is of little surprise that the Ryder Cup brings golf fans out of the woodwork like no other sport. Stroke play regularly provides entertainment and drama, but while the courses vary, the formula remains the same throughout all the majors and other tournaments. The Ryder Cup, as a match play event that only comes around once every two years, has a unique and special aura to it.

On top of this, it has a very simple formula: the finest golfers of Europe face off against the best golfers from the US. On top of this, going into 2016’s Ryder Cup Europe and America’s leading golfers are tantalisingly closely matched; with this year’s four majors being evenly split between Europeans and Americans.

Watch the all-time Ryder Cup highlights​ chosen by Sky Sports pundits.

Balancing act


With each day of Ryder Cup play taking place over the best part of 11 hours, there will be occasions when the audience in the pub will be split. At those times, it’s just a case of being smart with multiple viewing cards and being sympathetic to the needs of everybody in the pub – even non-sports fans.

Bryce says that the Flying Horse is already making preparations for balancing the sporting action on Ryder Cup weekend. “Golf is much more visual,” he says. “We would probably not put the volume on the golf [all the time] because more customers request football commentary.”

Telling the world


Once you’ve got a plan for when you are showing the golf on various screens at specific times, how do you tell the world that you are going to be screening the Ryder Cup?

As well as the standard A-boards and word of mouth, pubs – including the Flying Horse – are increasingly using pub-finder app, MatchPint, to advertise the sport that they are showing. 

MatchPint​ allows pubs to list the sport they will be showing, with customers then able to search for pubs near them showing particular events. The app does not usually attract a wealth of customers searching for the golfing action: golf isn’t even in the 10 most popular sports searched for, but MatchPint co-founder, Dom Collingwood, crunched the numbers from the last Ryder Cup to find that in 2014 it attracted 25,000 searches for pubs showing the event. 

This figure compares very favourably even to the huge pub sports of football and rugby: “In terms of day-to-day searches, [it] is equivalent to a decent, if not spectacular, Premier League game – Manchester United v West Ham if you will,” Collingwood says.

See the latest on the Ryder Cup at Sky Sports website ​ 

A positive time difference


Usually when a sporting event is on the other side of the Atlantic, the time difference leads to more negatives than positives. Yet with daytime sports, like golf, the action takes place almost perfectly in pub opening hours.

The Ryder Cup​ this year takes place in Minnesota (30 September to 2 October) , which has a time difference of six hours. MatchPint’s co-founder, Collingwood, agrees that that time difference represents an opportunity for pubs to capitalise on: “There are two key crowds you are trying to attract: the post-work Friday afternoon crowd, and the sports-watching weekend crowd,” he says. “Get the message out on Friday lunchtime that the golf is on and the best Friday ever is taking place at your pub! 

“During the weekend, the opportunity lies more in keeping sports fans in the pub, so make sure you’re talking about the golf during the day, have it on in the background, and get everyone’s attention switched to the golf as soon as the football finishes to maximise customers that stick around.”

Ryder Cups of the past tell us that come the end of the weekend, it is impossible to predict what drama will have unfolded and who will triumph out of Europe and the US. The only thing that can be predicted is that sports fans will be looking to watch the drama unfold in the pub.

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