August 2006; By Roger Graves
Launch monitors, simulators can enhance revenue and help customers at golf ranges
Call them golf simulators, swing analyzers, launch systems, clubfitting systems, golf performance monitors or even high-tech golf games. But for PGA Professionals and golf range owners and operators, also call them moneymakers.
Many PGA members are adding "range enhancements" such as launch monitors, golf simulators and swing analyzers to their practice, learning and lesson centers to bolster their line of golfer services, attract customers during any type of weather 365 days a year and to provide an additional profit center to their operations.
PGA Professionals nationwide are taking the guesswork out of club and ball fitting, and helping their customers select the right equipment by utilizing launch monitors and swing analyzers that measure exact clubhead speed, backspin, sidespin, vertical angle and side angle of every shot. It's a win-win proposition. Better golf for customers. Better business for PGA members.
David Bennett, PGA head professional at Stowe Country Club in Stowe, Vt., was looking for a combination launch monitor, swing analyzer and golf simulator to jump-start his lesson business and give him a magnet to draw customers to his facility 365 days a year. He was looking for a profit center to carry him through the winter months in New England, when the range at Stowe Country Club is traditionally closed, so he purchased the P3ProSwing™ system.
"Two winters ago (2005), I purchased the P3ProSwing™ system for under $1,000 and hoped to get five to 10 interested people," observes Bennett. "I offered a simple program: a one-hour lesson a week for each student for 15 weeks.
"My goal was to teach 30 hours a week inside my clubhouse during the winter. Within two weeks of starting the program, before any advertising or marketing, I had sold out all 30 spots. And I had a 35-person waiting list. This winter, I expanded to 60 golfers and my facility was busy from start to finish."
Bennett discovered that if you give golfers a good reason to patronize your range - rain or shine, summer, spring, winter or fall - they will respond and your facility can generate year-round revenue.
"Without the P3ProSwing™ system, my winter lessons program wouldn't work and I wouldn't have as much interest in the shoulder seasons either," says Bennett. "Something like this can generate revenue all year. The system gives golfers visual analysis of all aspects of their swing, along with statistics and comparison and improvement tracking options. People understand their swing better and talk to each other about getting so much feedback. Once they see how the system works, everyone loves it and it has helped me become a more effective teacher and clubfitter."
Greg Dowdell, PGA head professional at Maplegate Country Club in Bellingham, Mass., added the P3ProSwing™ to his range and instruction repertoire to give him year-round capacity to teach and keep his members and a local college team in the swing of things. The P3ProSwing™ combines a golf simulator and a swing analyzer that shows precisely what the club is doing as the player swings through the impact zone. Teachers can use the P3ProSwing™ like a state-of-the-art launch monitor to measure clubhead speed, launch angle, ball speed and spin characteristics, or it can be used to play a simulated round of golf.
"One of the features that we enjoy most is the golf course feature, where we are actually able to play a round of golf indoors during our winter months here in Massachusetts," says Dowdell. "Our members, our local college golf team and even my staff enjoy the variety and flexibility it gives us to look at our swings any time during the year. It gives us an opportunity to give lessons and work on our games on a year-round basis, which is very important.
"We love all the capabilities the P3ProSwing™ has in showing the clubhead at impact, including clubhead speed, the angle of attack and ball speed. Not only do the kids enjoy it as well as my lessons, I've improved my own game with the P3ProSwing™ ."
PGA Professionals also like the latest technology, because it delivers additional revenue streams for golf ranges and all golf facilities.