Casino Gambling…Not for Me!

I spent this past weekend at a casino and golf resort in upstate NY. While I was there to play golf, I spent some time in the casino areas…mostly for restaurants. I enjoy the occasional games of chance and playing cards in particular but the entire casino environment leaves me cold. They are noisy, garish, and always filled with a sense of desperation. While waiting for the valet to bring my car I spoke to a woman who had won and lost $800 that night. She told me she shouldn’t have come…she was behind on her rent, had no food in her refrigerator, and had recently lost her part time job as a cashier. It’s this type of desperate view, that somehow a casino is the answer that destroys so many lives. I’m fortunate enough that losing or winning a few hundred dollars is not going to really impact my life…but if it would, I certainly wouldn’t risk it in a casino!

Turning Stone Casino and Golf Resort

I spent this past weekend at Turning Stone Casino and Golf resort in Verona, NY with my youngest son TJ (27). He gave this trip to me as an incentive to recover from my chemo therapy. We stayed at the “Lodge” at Turning Stone, which is situated adjacent to their Golf Clubhouse. The Lodge is a 4-star property with all suites. Our suite was very spacious with a separate living room and a large bathroom. Several suites have large patios with hot tubs. Service in the Lodge is outstanding as they try and accommodate all your needs and wants. The also have an outstanding restaurant on premises called Wildflowers!
Golf at Turning Stone is destination worthy! They have 3 PGA Tour quality layouts…Atunyote, their top ranked course has hosted many PGA Tour events , US Open Qualifiers, Nike Tour and LPGA contests. Kaluhyat, their most difficult course, is a very tight layout that leaves the clubhouse and doesn’t return until the closing hole. Shenandoah, is a links style course with holes separated by tall fescue grasses. Each course offers unique challenges and as a group offer an exciting and diverse golf experience for anyone looking to get away for a buddy’s golf trip, or family golf event etc. Each course is meticulously maintained and offers tees from 5800 yds to over 7300 yds…great challenges for even the lowest or highest handicaps!
As far as Casino gambling goes, Turning Stone offers a complete range of games of chance. I personally would rather spend my money on the golf course than in the casino but I don’t judge others who find the thrill of money won sweeter than money earned! The main casino complex and tower also house various entertainment venues, night clubs and 16 restaurants of varying quality and expense. We ate one night at Pino’s Italian and one night at Peach Blossom (think PF Changs!) Both were very good and reasonable…but neither compared to the gourmet offerings we experienced at Wildflower in the Lodge!
The main enjoyment however was the time I got to spend with my son, TJ! It was great being able to have hours of conversation during the rides up and back ( about 4.5 hours from NYC…Turning Stone is located just off exit 133 on the NY Thruway between Utica and Syracuse). We solved all the worlds problems, discussed life, love, careers, and especially golf! We played 5 rounds of Golf in 4 days…including a pair of 75’s (his lowest rounds ever) for TJ. I didn’t play very well averaging around 95 but I’m still in the Cancer recovery mode and not quite back to normal yet. As life moves on and your kids grow up it becomes harder and harder to carve time out of their schedules to really have any meaningful time together. I’m so lucky that with his busy work schedule, live in girlfriend and full-time social life that TJ wanted to spend this time with me! That’s the best present that any parent could wish for!

Golf Trip of A Lifetime

Over the long Labor Day weekend, my wife Janie, my two sons (Brian and TJ) and I spent 4 days in Pebble Beach California playing golf. I have been there several times in the past but never before with my family. Getting to share the worlds greatest golf destination with them was really special. The trip was a present from my son Brian and his wife Pippa to celebrate my 60th birthday, and also TJ’s college graduation. We stayed at the Inn at Spanish Bay, one of my favorite hotels and played 6 rounds of golf! We started of with a superb 9 holes at the Pacific Grove Municipal course before a spectacular round at the Monterey Peninsula CC Shore Course! The next day we played Spanish Bay in the morning and the MPCC Dunes Course in the afternoon. Saturday we spent all day at Pebble Beach and Sunday we finished up at Spyglass Hill!

We had perfect weather, great food and accommodations and we all played well ! Janie claimed bragging rights for the trip with an avg. score of 82, followed by TJ 84, me 85, and Brian 86 ! It really was a golfing trip of a lifetime and should be on any serious golfers bucket list! I have played golf all over the world and Pebble Beach was and still is my favorite course and the Monterey Peninsula my favorite golf destination! I think holes 4 through 10 at Pebble Beach is the most spectacular stretch of golf holes in the world!

NJ Seafood Industry Issues

This summer, as part of my work with the NJ Agricultural Departments NJALDP Program, I spent some time meeting with key members of the NJ Department of Fisheries. Fishing is not as simple a process as one might think. It is extremely regulated and burdened with political rules and regulations that seriously hinder any commercial fishing enterprise. It is almost to the point where putting fish on your table will become problematic. NJ Fishing fleets in particular are even more regulated than fleets from PA, MD, CT, RI, NY or MA. Some fish are even banned from NJ fleets while other states capitalize on our over regulation. Many commercial fishing fleets are family owned and operated and it is getting harder to get young family members into the business. These regulations, tariffs and rising cost of entry are choking the NJ fishing fleets almost to the point of extinction!

March Madness???…How Crazy does a Billion Dollars Sound?

Once again we find ourselves on the verge of that frenzied time of year called March Madness! For most,  it connotes a time of great college basketball …and it is! But for those of us in Sales and Marketing…it represents a resurgence following the post-holiday slow down. It signals the start of Spring and sales tend to rise in most industries during the next 3-6 months!

During the past year, most of my clients have seen the power of synergistic social media and what better example can there be than the $Billion Dollar NCAA Bracket Challenge issued by Yahoo / Quicken Loans…and underwritten by Billionaire Warren Buffet.  Since Mr. Buffet is notoriously careful with his money, it must be said that the odds of picking every game right throughout the tourney are about the same as your chances of being bitten by a shark while walking down the street!

Be that as it may, the contest has already received over 80million hits and the participating teams have not even been announced yet! There are multiple ways to access the entry form  across several social media formats and while the risk of losing is practically nil for Yahoo/Quicken/Buffet…their companies are generating an unbelievable win by creating activity and impressions which will absolutely translate into higher sales and profits! This was a genius Marketing idea!!!

So what’s my point…every sales effort can be strengthened with a well planned and executed social media strategy and you should not delay …contact me today and lets get a little crazy during March Madness!

Streamsong Resort…The Bandon Dunes of Florida

Readers of my blog know that I am an avid golfer! Every year, my three best buddies and I get together for a long weekend of Golf and catching up. This year we convened in Marco Island over Super Bowl weekend.  As the most avid golfer of the group, I decided to fly in a few days early and visit the new but highly touted Streamsong Resort in Ft. Meade, Fl. Tampa, Orlando, and  Ft. Myers Airports are all about equal distance.

I had read a lot about this golf destination and even  had reports from friends who have played there. In a nutshell, it exceeded all my expectations and then some!  Streamsong is a great test of golf. It currently has 2 outstanding courses with plans for 2 more and a 9 hole par 3 layout. The courses were built on an old phosphate quarry and there are massive dunes to contend with and significant elevation changes…very unusual for Florida golf courses!  Like Bandon Dunes, Whistling Strait, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach…this resort is for serious golfers  and not just casual vacationers. It is also not really a place for beginners either as both the Red course and the Blue course are very  demanding tests. My recommendation would be to wait until you are a solid 18 Handicap or better to play there ( that’s also my advice for the other aforementioned golf destinations). A few things to note… There are two very upscale lodging facilities on the premises, The original Clubhouse Lodge and the newly opened Hotel… Both offer top drawer amenities… You must use a caddie whether you walk or ride…they have excellent practice facilities so leave yourself ample time to use them before your round…it is a top tier resort and is priced accordingly so don’t be surprised! If you are a serious golfer, Streamsong Resort should be on your bucket list!

After Streamsong I drove down to Marco and had a great long weekend of fun in the sun, golf and friends! We played The Rookery( very good), Lely Resort (average) and TPC Treviso Bay(great), we stayed at our friends house at the Hideaway Beach Club in Marco and had superb meals at the clubhouse! All in all it was a great start to my 2014 Golf Season!

NJADLP Meeting in Trenton

As an advisor to the NJALDP…New Jersey Agricultural leadership Development Program,  I had the opportunity to meet with Doug Fisher, The secretary of Agriculture in Trenton. Secretary Fisher covered a wide variety of topics important to the NJ Department of Agriculture.  One thing was very clear to me…the NJ Dept. of Ag. Is considered to be the most effective, efficient and powerful  Ag. Dept. in the US.

From a marketing perspective, the idea of “Branding” NJ products has “taken root” and is becoming a strong marketing platform. Programs like “Jersey Fresh” and  “Jersey Grown” have been expanding and are starting to get more TV, Radio and print exposure. Successful branding is a cornerstone to increasing revenue!

March “Marketing” Madness

Basketball Tourney Triggers Social Media Avalanche!

As a certified “Hoops” junkie, I love March Madness because you get to see great college basketball with lots of games over a few days. The one loss and done mentality makes for great sports drama and there are always upsets which serve to constantly remind the underdog to never lose hope and to persevere against overwhelming odds!

As a marketing consultant, I realized that “March Madness” like the “Super Bowl” ,the World Series and other seminal sporting events are now great examples of the synergistic effects of social media intercourse. Following the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, there were 17 Million Tweets, Facebook hits and Google searches within 1 hour of the finalization of the tournaments brackets…and since then, the topic has surpassed 100 million. For all my clients who are not using social media or who don’t have links between their websites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. are missing the opportunity to interact with their customers on a multi front synergistic platform that is sure to increase their business.   So call me today and lets discuss how Social Media Programs can benefit your business If for no other reason than it makes the office betting pool more interesting!


NJ Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City

I recently attended the NJ Agricultural convention in Atlantic City as part of my prep work for next weeks first NJALDP workshop. Having attended hundreds of conventions before I was expecting the same old same old but I was surprised to see such a limited number of vendors on display in the convention space. Most were heavy equipment dealers. Very few were supply vendors. I spoke to many of them and asked them what their primary marketing strategy was and the majority said “word of mouth”. Very few were internet savvy and showed little or no desire to learn more. Cleary this is a business community that could benefit from an upgrade in technology and its uses to generate revenue.