Q&A with Bloody Point Golf Club CEO Kevin McCarthy
Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Daufuskie Island will be easier than ever to reach in 2014, with another Savannah embarkation point proposed from Savannah, in addition to the existing departure points from Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, Hilton Head Island’s transportation options from Harbor Town and Broad Creek Marina, and Bluffton’s May River. And with the renovation of the Bloody Point Golf Club, the launching of Daufuskie Island Rum Company, dinner experiences and more on deck, Bloody Point is destined for a breakout year. We sat down with Kevin McCarthy to find out why his family purchased Bloody Point Golf Club and what they have in store for 2014.
Savannah CEO: Why did you decide to purchase and renovate Bloody Point Golf Club? What is key in making sure this venture is a success?
Kevin: The McCarthy Family purchased Bloody Point at bankruptcy court in 2011 because of our love for Daufuskie Island. We have been visiting Daufuskie for over 25 years and fell in love with the island because of its natural beauty and history. Part of the beauty of Daufuskie is that it's a step backwards in time, allowing families and other visitors to make meaningful connections and memories that last a lifetime.
Our purchase of Bloody Point was not a planned event. We heard about the bankruptcy auction for Bloody Point less than 24 hours before it took place and decided to bid in the hopes of helping contribute to a recovery and renaissance of Daufuskie Island after its years of bankruptcy. We are primarily in the retail flower business, and we are proud to be the largest family-owned florist in America. We are not developers looking to turn a quick profit, we are a family that bought Bloody Point because we want to be a part of the island for a long time and make a lasting impact on Daufuskie.
Daufuskie Island as a whole has relied on the Hilton Head market almost exclusively since the late 1980s when developers first started working on the island. Although Hilton Head is an important piece of the Daufuskie Island puzzle, Savannah and surrounding areas are going to be a much bigger focus for Bloody Point. The key to our success lies in the fact that we will do many things differently than our predecessors. For instance, we are focusing primarily on Savannah residents and visitors, a large market that was underutilized in the past. We hope Bloody Point will become known as a great day-trip or weekend getaway for Savannah locals and tourists.
Savannah CEO: What accomplishments from 2013 are you most proud of?
Kevin: 2013 was a year filled with accomplishments for Bloody Point. When we purchased it out of bankruptcy in 2011, we basically had a blank canvas to work with. Bloody Point was originally designed as a very exclusive private club, but we decided instead to use this opportunity to establish a boutique resort and club, open to both visitors and members. This model has allowed us to achieve a great deal of accomplishments in 2013 including reopening the golf course after a renovation by the Love Design Group (the design company of golfer Davis Love III), opening a 7 bedroom inn for visitors to stay overnight on Daufuskie, and establishing a water taxi system from Savannah.
The golf course was destroyed and sat unattended for over 3 years and nature had taken it back. With a renovation from Love Design Group, we were able to reopen the course in 2013, and provide a challenging but fun experience for golfers of any skill.
Savannah CEO: What is your focus/motto for 2014?
Kevin: The primary focus of 2014 is to really start marketing ourselves and make people aware of Daufuskie Island and show them all that we've worked on over the past couple of years. The island has a rich history and a spectacular story. It's a special place that can't be replicated, and we hope we get to introduce a lot of people to Daufuskie Island this year. Our goal is to have each of those visitors tell us they can't wait to come back. That's what keeps us motivated.
Savannah CEO: Bloody Point will soon be offering a water taxi service from Savannah's River Street or Hutchinson Island. What impact do you see this having on your business?
Kevin: Bloody Point is hoping to soon offer water taxi service from the downtown Savannah area to Daufuskie Island. We are very excited about this opportunity. The visibility and convenience of departing from the downtown area will allow us to reach Savannah visitors who don't know this beautiful island is just a 30 minute boat ride away. Our ultimate hope is that this will help Bloody Point become a great day-trip destination for Savannah visitors who are looking for a unique extension of Savannah's rich history and beauty. If we can get tourists to spend a day on Daufuskie and stay an extra night in Savannah, we would be thrilled. In fact, we like to call Bloody Point "Savannah's North Pole".
Savannah CEO: What makes Daufuskie Island special and a must-add to any itinerary for HHI, Savannah, and area visitors?
Kevin: Daufuskie Island is such a unique destination and makes a great addition to any trip in the Savannah or Hilton Head area. Daufuskie Island is a secluded island paradise with beautiful beaches and incredible history only 30 minutes by boat from Savannah or Hilton Head—it should not be missed. This secluded getaway is hidden between these two huge tourists destinations. If you're looking to get away from the crowds, Daufuskie is the place for you.
Savannah CEO: Why do you love being a Lowcountry business?
Kevin: We are excited that Bloody Point has established a great relationship with Georgia businesses, particularly those in Savannah. Daufuskie Island is a natural extension of Savannah, and has had strong historical ties with Georgia. We love the fact that Georgia has so many great local businesses and vendors that we get to use at Bloody Point and the Eagle's Nest Restaurant. We are proud to use local food and ingredients from local businesses. We have also been thrilled by the welcome and support that Savannah businesses and organizations continue to show us.
Savannah CEO: How do you keep yourself and your team up-to-date in terms of technology, new marketing tools, etc.?
Kevin: We've found that the best way to stay up-to-date with technology and marketing tools is simply to network with other local business owners and organizations. We've discovered more marketing tools and established more strategic partnerships by networking with Savannah locals than we ever thought possible. The Savannah Chamber of Commerce and Visit Savannah have been tremendously helpful in keeping our team up-to-date with new marketing options and technology.
Savannah CEO: What are some 2014 events people should be aware of?
Kevin: 2014 is full of great events at Bloody Point. We have specials every night at the Eagle's Nest Restaurant and many great theme nights. One event that should not be missed is our annual 4th of July Celebration & Golf Cart Parade, with great comfort food, activities for the whole family, a decorated golf cart parade, and watching fireworks from Hilton Head and Tybee right on the Bloody Point beach. We are also having a great Super Bowl Party with a golf scramble followed by a viewing of the game accompanied with pizza, buckets of beer, all-you-can-eat wings, a bloody Mary bar and more. We also have an annual Thanksgiving Dinner buffet that is a must!
Savannah CEO: Who are your target visitors and how are you working to reach them?
Kevin: Our target visitors are primarily families, golfers, and day trippers from Savannah. However, we are also targeting couples looking to plan a destination wedding. We are primarily marketing Bloody Point through online and regional print advertisements. However, we always find that the best form of advertising is still "word of mouth". If people love their experience at Bloody Point, they will tell their friends and family, who will want to visit as well.
Savannah CEO: Anything else you'd like to add?
Kevin: In case you don't know the history of Bloody Point, the southernmost portion of Daufuskie Island has been called that since 1715, when a skirmish between European settlers and Yemassee Indians took place. The name has stuck since!