Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Course of Business Local Promoter Uses Golf to Help Firms Entertain Clients

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Course of Business Local Promoter Uses Golf to Help Firms Entertain Clients

Article excerpt

Byline: Earl Daniels, Times-Union business writer

For Patrick Gearhart, golf is more than just a game.

It is a way to do business.

Gearhart, owner of Tee-It-Up Golf Promotions & Sales Inc. of Jacksonville, uses golf to help companies entertain clients.

"Instead of spending six hours in a building for a business meeting or seminar, they can spend six hours in the open on a golf course to entertain clients," Gearhart said.

His aim is to take the legwork away from companies who want to stage a company golf outing.

Some of Gearhart's clients are at The Players Championship, the PGA Tour tournament being played in Ponte Vedra Beach this weekend, and he is taking the opportunity to schmooze with them as he prepares to do business with them later in the year.

Golf, whether it be a tournament or a leisure game at a local course, has become a popular way for corporate executives to establish business ties that can lead to deals.

Instead of entertaining clients while watching golf, like many will do this weekend at The Players, Gearhart helps companies entertain clients while actually playing golf.

This past Thursday, Todd Venderbush, a Charlotte, N.C., account executive for Compuware, a Farmingham, Mich., computer software and services company, was at The Players to entertain clients.

Venderbush met with Gearhart about doing future golfing events for Compuware.

Tee-It-Up plans the event, makes the banners and brochures and orders other merchandise.

"These are executives who are playing golf with other executives," Gearhart said. "These are people they do business with or people they want to do business with. They learn about each other. They may learn who their wife is or who their kids are. It's not about whether they can play good or not."

Gearhart has set up two company golf events for Compuware at Windsor Parke Golf Club and the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club.

Gearhart's company does golf events for celebrities and professional athletes, including Jacksonville Jaguars player Kevin Hardy, who hosted an event to entertain other athletes. …

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