Southern Dunes Golf and Country Club

If you are a golf course owner or superintendent, you are aware of the anemic revenue today’s practice range produces. Everyone has been to TopGolf and seen the effects of what it looks like and generates when it’s done right. Today it is possible to do this on a 10-30 bay Microsite level and hit a highly profitable sweet spot. This article is not about the viability of “off-course” golf aka evening golf entertainment. This is about ‘the rub’. It’s about the HOW. How does a facility go from practice to a vastly more utilized, optimized, and actualized plot of land that will be able to do three things? Out earn your golf course, feed your course and teaching programs a consistent crop of “could-be golfers” and finally develop a multi-revenue stream operation that creates a vastly more sustainable golf course or range model.

The Viability Of Evening Golf Entertainment

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT – Provides vastly more revenue and actualizes your real estate far better than the traditional “handing out buckets of balls” business. It provides multiple revenue streams, which provide for a safer, risk-free business model that creates jobs and organizational stability over time. To reach this it requires planning on your location, field design, building design, and ancillary activities designed to provide a destination ‘activity anchor’ worth investing in. This means you need to go all the way or don’t attempt the leap.

THE BIG MISTAKE – Giving too little and expecting too much. It’s vital to note that a tee line scoring simulator, no matter how much marketing it has behind it cannot bring you into the night. If it is only alone (Trackman, Toptracer, Inrange) it can only provide you a modicum of entertainment that seldom supports an evening operation. As a result, the big mistake in leaping into evening entertainment is that it must be impactful enough to shoulder a legitimate restaurant of at least 20 tables to be doing its evening job. Thus, if you only provide half the bowling alley hoping to dupe the customer into hanging out, the data is against you no matter what sales rep is speaking to you.

MISTAKE #2 – This relates to #1, Don’t make a dormant field. If you want to “hit it out of the stadium” month after month, putting in a pure synthetic field with nothing but colored fringe is going to prove to be disappointing on the revenue side for a number of reasons. It starts with needing overhead lights which, turning night into is not great for evening date night. Second, it’s a misnomer that you can ask someone to pay $50 for the table before they order anything if all you are giving them is a one-dimensional field and a simulator. It simply does not have the evening interaction an automated field can offer. The truth is that automation and weatherproof tech are here so venues can now afford to make the leap with minimal risk.

How to avoid this mistake. Give way more than you think you need to, and if you do it right it will return for years to come. This giving comes in the form of a vibrant, compelling experience from the moment customers walk in the front door to sitting down, to experience the awesome art-directed live field before them, just waiting for them to pull out their phone for a snap.

Shooters Golf & Bar

THE BEST PRACTICES – Plan at least a year in advance. Don’t go too big, but not too low. 20-30 bays is a sweet spot that generates multiple high-margin revenue streams while not reaching the threshold where you will need extensive human resources and hiring costs.

SET UP – This isn’t golf. This isn’t buckets of balls, sit-around golf. You will need to earn your money at night, but there is a whole lot more of it.

EXECUTION – Don’t disregard that your evening venue requires more than a range picker and dim-witted attendant. It requires customer service and a customer-facing attitude from when they walk in the door to when they leave.

THE FINANCE – You will have upfront costs, but 3 to 5 times the return on your practice range each and every year. Contact us to find out how.

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