Jon Isaacson still isn’t sure how his family talked him into dressing into tropically-themed clothing to attend the Wyndham Championship last year.
“I remember hearing about the contest they were having and just thinking ‘no way am I going to do that,’” Isaacson said. “Then, my wife told me about what was being offered if we won and I thought it might be fun for all of us to try.”
So, Isaacson and wife Joanna, along with their children Caroline, Madison, and Morgan, searched their house for any kind of beach clothing they could get their hands on for the first “Tropical Wear” contest the tournament sponsored as part of its “Escape to the Wyndham” marketing campaign.
“I remembered having this Nemo fish that I thought would make a great hat,” Isaacson joked. “We just had a lot of fun with it.”
Joanna Isaacson said it was neat for the family to scurry to the local Party City to round up hula skirts and any other garment or accessory that would give them an edge.
“Anything we could find, we went for,” she said. “I mean, who can argue against Nemo?”
The family didn’t have to endure any strange looks from fellow tournament goers on shuttles buses on the way to the course. Jon is a member at Sedgefield and ended up parking at a friend’s house who lives near the course.
“I’m not sure they recognized us when we arrived,” he said. “But once we made it to the course we were getting some interesting looks. We walked around there all day dressed up before going to the actual judging. When we found out we had won, we all started jumping up and down. I guess we fit the mold of what they were looking for. It was pretty exciting.”
Joanna Isaacson said she heard some grumbling from some spectators on the course.
“I heard one person say ‘I guess some people will do anything to get on TV,’” she said. “But we weren’t trying to get on TV. We were trying to win the contest.”
The family was awarded a seven-night vacation at any Wyndham property and has appeared in advertisements that feature defending champion Sergio Garcia leading up to this year’s tournament. The family decided to use their free vacation at the end of July in Orlando with a trip to Disney World.
“We wanted to show Nemo some thanks for helping us win the contest,” Isaacson joked.
This year’s tournament will be the fourth year of the “Escape to the Wyndham” theme, which was selected as the PGA Tour’s best ad campaign last year.
Wyndham Worldwide officials and tournament staff have taken lots of pride in their efforts to make the tournament a family-friendly atmosphere.
“Wyndham Worldwide’s mission is to put people on great vacations – and being on the golf course is certainly a vacation in itself,” said Alyson Johnson, the Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications for Wyndham Worldwide.
“We strive to make vacations fun, relaxing and most of all, memorable. The Wyndham Championship was another opportunity to create that “vacation” experience families wish to achieve when taking a break from their day-to-day lives.
“The concept was and is a perfect fit with who we are as a company and each year, we continue to add vacation elements to the tournament to generate brand awareness, excitement and to increase fan involvement. We want the tournament to really be a family event and having additional elements that kids can have fun interacting with is important to us.”
To enhance the theme this year, the Wyndham will introduce two new hospitality areas.
“Margaritaville at the Wyndham” is a free-to-the-public hub that evokes a vacation spirit by the shore. Inspired by the Jimmy Buffett song, this area will feature live entertainment, fun concessions and comfortable indoor/outdoor seating.
The “Wyndham Adventure Zone Presented by Sunbrella” will provide the littlest fans a fun escape in the form of bounce houses and a rock climbing wall. A caricature artist and golf swing analyst will be in that area for adults to try too, as well as a three hole Wyndham putting challenge.
DJ’s from Rock 92 will once again judge the “Tropical Wear” contest, and anyone viewing the tournament from home will be encouraged to participate through social media.
“In addition to the on-course contest, we will also be encouraging fans watching the tournament at home to join the party,” Johnson said. “Viewers should put on their best tropical wear on Saturday and send a picture to us via social media channels. Fun and creative shots will be shared online and on the Scoreboard on 18.”
And of course, there is the experience of the natural beach area beside the 15th green which has been prominently featured on television broadcasts since the tournament moved to Sedgefield in 2008.
“We have created an amazing guest experience at the “Sweet Spot,” Johnson said. “Patrons of the tournament win exclusive access to the Wyndham Beach Viewing Platform to enjoy the great views and also experience Wyndham Worldwide hospitality with complimentary snacks and beverages. The Wyndham Beach allows us to share a bit of who we are with the CBS Sports and Golf Channel audiences.”