Golf Course’s $9.11 Promo For 9/11 Provides Yet Another Example Of A Marketing No-No

Good intentions aside, it’s simply not a good idea to tie tragedies in with a company marketing pitch, no matter if it’s gone smoothly in the past. Case in point: A Wisconsin golf course that found itself at the center of angry social media buzz after a photo of a newspaper ad for its $9.11 for nine holes of golf on Sept. 11 went viral.

Despite the fact that the promotion went off without a hitch in the last two years, according to Tumbledown Trails’ general manager, this year the advertisement for the discount incited intense backlash after it was posted online, as seen in this tweeted photo.

The golf course’s management apologized on its Facebook page last night, and tweaked the offer to include a donation to the 9/11 memorial.

We would first like to apologize to everyone that we have upset or feels we have disrespected in anyway. By no means did we mean to do this.
Here is what we will do this Wednesday 9-11;
we will still let all that have tee times booked play for the previous rates we posted.
Then for all other golf that day we would like to donate the $ difference between our normal rate and the previous price for the day to the 9/11 Memorial.
We hope that everyone will now see this as a positive as we really meant it to be. Again we do sincerely apologize for offending anyone & hope that you do accept our sincere apology.
Thank you

But soon after, management also posted a note saying it might close down entirely tomorrow in light of the backlash, which reportedly has included death threats.

Please stay tuned to see if we will be open on Weds 9/11.
We are now worried about what people will do/say to our staff & do not want anything to happen or get out of control.
Sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused anyone.

The promotion began two years ago, notes the Associated Press, and had gone over well in the local community as a way to memorialize the tragedy, said the course’s manager. This year has been a lot different.

“We’re a little hurt by the fact that people are putting such a negative context on this,” he said. “I thought people would appreciate it.”

Wisconsin golf club offers, retracts 9-11 special [Associated Press]