June 29, 2017

Brian Tolnar: Hold a Free Family Range Night to Grow the Game and Draw in New Customers

Brian Tolnar, the 2013 Western New York PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year, Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities, and Player Development Award winner, and the 2016 NOPGA Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities, is the PGA Director of Golf at Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, Ohio.

Brian Tolnar on the importance of holding a free Family Range Night to grow the game and draw in new customers:
One of the most successful events at my past two facilities has been our free Family Range Night program, which our facility hosts once a month from April through October. The event kills two birds with one stone: growth of the game and new customer merchandise buying development, especially junior golf and beginner golf clubs. Each month, our PGA Professional staff offers free lessons for 90 minutes to anyone who signs up for the event. It’s open to customers of all ages, and we encourage all participants to bring a friend. Each program averages 80 to 100 people. The program’s success has been so great in the Youngstown, Ohio, and Rochester, New York, golf markets that we were featured in PGA Magazine and were invited to speak at the 2016 PGA of America’s Youth & Family Player Development National Conference in Orlando, Florida (PGA Show Week) via Bob Baldassari, National Player Development Director of the PGA of America.

Brian Tolnar on the business impact of holding a free Family Range Night to grow the game and draw in new customers:
The program has proven to be a great way to train customers and educate them on the golf business, all while giving us the opportunity to nurture them as loyal customers. When parents bring their kids into the golf shop, I can almost guarantee everyone walks out with something – from headwear, to gloves, tees, shirts and clubs. After taking over a golf shop that lost nearly $25,000 in revenue the year prior to my arrival, we needed to massively overhaul the way we did business and adjust the merchandise concessions business model. The Family Range Night program was one of the avenues that helped up grow our customer base almost immediately. We average an additional $700 to $1,000 in golf sales on the evenings we host the Family Range Nights, and I would gauge the yearly revenue in merchandise sales to be around $5,000 to $6,000 since the program’s inception in 2015.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email btolnar@yahoo.com