Marjorie Jones on the importance of bringing in outside speakers as continuing education:
Our busy public driving range in Manhattan is open year-round. As one of 12 professionals at our facility, I realized that bringing in outside speakers would enlighten us and give us different perspectives. The whole idea is education. There are many ways to teach golf. I open our speaker events to the Metropolitan PGA Section members, and I want them to see our facility. The majority of them are with country clubs outside the city, but they have members who practice here. The talks give our staff a different way to look at things or solidify what they already know. They also provide good networking opportunities. We talk about what we heard over food and drinks afterward. My speakers may or may not be local, as we have a lot of great speakers in the New York metropolitan area that are great to draw from. Examples of speakers I’ve had are Mark Broadie, a Columbia University professor, on tour statistics; David Lee on his “Gravity” golf system; and Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, known for the “Stack and Tilt” swing model. I get the word out about my speakers through the Met Section newsletter, and I open the events to LPGA Professionals, too. A space on the first floor at Chelsea Piers seats 80 people, which is usually large enough for our speaker events.
Marjorie Jones on the business impact of bringing in outside speakers as continuing education:
I believe a well-trained staff can increase your revenue. Since the speaker program at our facility represents continuing education for our professionals, specific revenue cannot be determined. However, I have seen outside professionals who attend our events send me some of their students for lessons. Word spreads and people come see our facility. The largest group I’ve had so far was 50 people. I charge $50 per person per event, which covers food and speaker fees. I plan to expand the program, securing speakers farther in advance and getting the word out sooner. This will result in larger audiences and more ongoing education for our staff, and, ultimately, more revenue for our facility, too. I’m currently planning speakers for next year.
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