Mark Stewart once had a crazy idea to build a golf course on his family’s old sand pit. Turns out it was a pretty good idea. Tobacco Road Golf Club has been wowing guests for over 20 years now and Stewart is still at the helm of the operation. When the project began in 1998, he took a chance on an up and coming golf architect named Mike Strantz. There was no way to know how impactful that decision would become. Today, Mike Strantz courses have a cult following and Tobacco Road is widely considered his masterpiece. Stewart has always liked taking risks and he’s still at working to make his dream course an even better place for people to have an unforgettable golf experience.
Stewart and I first met a few years ago when I was doing some reporting for the Golfer’s Journal on how Tobacco Road came to be. We’ve stayed in touch since the story came out and have become good friends. He keeps a close eye on trends in the golf industry and we often talk about how things are going at his course and here at my home track in Tallahassee. Now, as the COVID19 golf boom reaches the one year mark, I wanted to catch up with Stewart to see how things were going and what he is doing at Tobacco Road to seize on these generational golf business opportunities.
During our discussion, we talked about the impacts to golf travel, the surge in new players, and what strategies the Tobacco Road team has pursued to capture new business. We also dove into some of Stewart’s memories from the early days and working with Mike Strantz. I’m always impressed with how much he emphasizes the preservation of Strantz’s work there and we spoke on that as well. There is also a fun segment where we dive into Stewart’s favorite movie franchise – The Fast and the Furious. You will get a kick out of that.
It’s always a treat to talk to Mark Stewart and this episode was a blast to record. I’m headed up to Tobacco Road again soon and look forward to seeing that great place again with a new batch of friends. If you haven’t been yet…I highly recommend you go.
To learn more about Tobacco Road Golf Club, Mike Strantz, and all the great ways to experience the course please visit https://tobaccoroadgolf.com/
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