Rethink your driving range

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The game of golf is changing, right here, in front of the first tee. There is a new breed of golf practice center that is now based on entertainment, fun, competition, amazing food & drink, plus a great deal of sizzle. The golf driving range many of us grew up with is going the way of the horse and buggy.  Although Topgolf is the leader in this new space, there are two additional organizations creating these new golf entertainment centers for the now, and for the future. People get introduced to the game through these centers and begin to understand golf with much entertainment value added. It is designed to be a great experience, a real fun time with family & friends.

Although these centers are built around the true theme of funthey are not places for the serious golfer to work on their game. Because the old 20 acre practice range is fading away, we see an opportunity for the golf course range to create a experience as well as develop a profit center within the property.  There are millions of golfers who love the game, love to practice, and want that special place to work out their swing issues. Although there are many ways to develop this practice range, here are five ideas to consider:

1) Every great place to practice must have very good practice balls, good turf and good mats.  There can be no exceptions.  This is the formula to attract the serious golfer

2) You need enough distance to hit all clubs, and enough netting on the sides to protect people and property

3) A short game area is a must to go along with #1. You should have a large putting green as well as a chipping/pitching area

4) Have balls always accessible as golfers will pay for lots of balls when they are trying to figure out a new thought. Think about having a practice range concierge.  Having a person on sight during prime-time hours will create loyal fans, added sales, and opportunities you could never otherwise capture

5)    Create a practice menu of food and drink.  Golfers who practice a great deal will love the new options to stay, to practice, and to eat.  Keep it simple, easy, and without the mess

6)  *Bonus: Think about adding a club fitting station as well as instructors.  In a property with a great practice area, club sales, and instruction are easy and important add-ons for the business.

There is an opportunity to drive more revenue beyond the additional rounds or additional members. The practice area done well, built for the serious golfer, will draw golfers, will keep them on property longer, and will add sales with great margin opportunities.  Don’t just build on what you might have in place, but reimagine what can be.  The new entertainment centers are great for the game and for the people who enjoy them.  Think however about those serious golfers who want to work on their game.  Don’t think about the range as an area to warm up before the round, imagine it as a new business model right in front of you.  With 5-7 million very serious golfers, practice will never go out of style……neither will low scores or that next great swing thought.  Thank you.

Jack Dillon writes the highfives blog.  Jack has been in the golf industry for 45 years, so far.  He is a Toastmaster, presenter.  Have Jack visit your next meeting and speak with your team.  Jack has been creating strong service cultures for decades. Contact Jack at 407-973-6136.  Jack lives in Florida.


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