Talamore Taps State Sign Program
Talamore Golf Resort is the first golf course in Moore County to participate in an N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) program designed to boost tourism - and the public is taking notice.
"I started getting bizarre phone calls from people telling me they like my signs," said John McDougald, director of golf operations for Talamore Resort. "That's how I knew the signs were up."
The signs - three, to be exact - have been up since April 7. They are part of the NCDOT's Tourist Oriented Directional Signing (TODS) program, which was established in 2001 with the goal of boosting tourism in North Carolina by providing qualifying businesses' signs on DOT highway rights-of-way.
Talamore, which is on Midland Road in Southern Pines, is currently the only golf course in Moore County to participate in the program, and is one of four in NCDOT's Division 8 so far. The division includes Chatham, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond and Scotland counties.
It is unclear how many of the more than 40 golf courses in Moore County are eligible for the program.
Kelly Miller, president of Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Course and Mid Pines Inn and Golf Course on Midland Road in Southern Pines, said he would be interested in learning more and exploring the possibility of participating in the program.
"We probably will look into it,' Miller said. "As I recall, we looked into it a while ago, and basically we were told 'no.'"
The blue TODS signs include the business name, distance to the property and directional arrow. The signs are reserved for rural areas at intersections and are not placed on freeways, interchanges or on exit ramps.
"We look at it (the program) as a service to the traveling public," said Blaine Ritter, the program coordinator for Division 8. "The program is directed to bring tourists to the area."
To be eligible for the program, a business must meet certain requirements, including:
n It doesn't restrict access to its facilities by the general public
n It doesn't discriminate with regard to race, color, age, sex, national origin, disability or other category.
n It is properly licensed by all appropriate state and local agencies regulating the particular business or activity.
The business also must have 30 percent of its products and services unique to tourists' interests, and tourists must account for at least 40 percent of the total revenue of the business. Or, the business must derive 51 percent of its income or visitors during normal business season from the traveling public not living within a 20-mile radius of the facility.
Ritter said there are other criteria for golf courses:
n The course must provide clubs for rent or for free to all players.
n The course must get players on the course within 30 minutes of arrival
n The course must be open eight hours a day, six days a week.
Talamore also had to update the sign at the course entrance on Midland Road to include hours of operation.
McDougald called the application and approval process to get the signs long and tedious but added that he thinks it will be beneficial to the resort.
"It is a nice added tool to help people find their way around," McDougald said.
Qualifying businesses are required to cover the cost of making the signs as well as an annual fee of $200 per sign.
Businesses that don't qualify for the program include shopping malls, -furniture stores, drugstores, movie theaters, community business districts, appliance stores, automobile or truck dealerships or garages, churches, real estate offices, livestock sales facilities, sand and gravel factories, grocery stores, gas and/or service stations, bars, lounges, adult establishments (including video, book or novelty stores), medical facilities and restaurants.
McDougald said he hopes Talamore's involvement in the program with pave the way for future collaborations that will benefit all the businesses in Moore County.
"We want to work with other resorts in town and the state to make it easier for the visitor," McDougald said.
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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