August 22, 2012

Bryan Tunstill: Make Your Practice Area the Staple of Your Club

Bryan Tunstill, a PGA Certified Professional and the 2009 Pacific Northwest PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, is the PGA head professional at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore.

Bryan Tunstill on the importance of making your practice area the staple of your club:
Here at Columbia Edgewater, we pride ourselves on having one of the best practice facilities in the Section. Many of our members prefer to use just the range and the practice areas instead of the course because of how much we improved things at our facility. Our golf range is placed right next to the first tee box. Our goal is to make sure that golfers do not have to walk back to the golf shop for anything before teeing off. We carry golf tees, pencils, scorecards and water right out in front when they head from the range to the tee. We also have brought out furniture and a lounging area, because many of our members like to socialize while they practice on the range. We’ve even gone as far as providing fresh towels and sunscreen for the members before they start out their round. Maybe one of the most important features of the range is all of the instructional tools we provide for free to any members that use the range. I have a bag of training aids and other learning tools that be used at any time, and this caters to our membership. We also feature a tremendous short game area, in which we have developed a two-acre practice area next to our par-3 course. This practice area is maintained very well and helps the golfers practice a wide variety of shots; this includes short and long bunkers, swales, deep slopes and rough lies. It’s been a tremendous addition to our facility and we allow our members to feel completely prepared to play golf.

Bryan Tunstill on the business impact of making your practice area the staple of your club:
Member retention has been huge for us. And so far in 2012, we have gained 70 new members at Columbia Edgewater and we’re only eight months into the year. I think a lot of this has to do with member referral since we’ve upgraded our entire practice area. Because we’ve put so much effort in for the members, we’ve developed a good reputation within the area. We really care about the needs of our golfers and will seek out ways to improve our service and our overall club experience. Having such a wonderful practice area and golf range also allows us to gain revenue in other areas, such as private lessons and food & beverage sales.