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August 2, 2018

Chris Slattery: Make Your Practice Area a Destination

Chris Slattery, the 2013 PGA North Florida Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, the 2017 West Central Chapter Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, and 2018 West Central Chapter Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA Head Golf Professional at Avila Golf and Country Club, in Tampa, Florida. He is also the President of the PGA North Florida Section West Central Chapter.

Chris Slattery on the importance of making your practice area a destination:
Everyone knows that Florida is chock full of wonderful golf facilities, leaving many options for golfers across the state. When attracting private club clientele, it is important to offer amenities they might not experience at all other clubs. At Avila Golf and Country Club, we have one of the finest practice facilities around, one that members have told us highly influenced their decision to join our club. Our double-sided grass practice range allows members to practice in varying wind conditions, and also prevents them from having to hit into the sun. We have placed an abundance of targets on the range and comfortable seating so members can take a break during their practice sessions, and enjoy a beverage to cool down in the hot Florida sun. The targets help them with proper set up and aim, and also reinforce the notion that every golf shot is hit with a target or destination in mind. The seating and beverage services provide for a relaxing country club experience. We provide ice water and iced mango scented towels to refresh members during their practice sessions. Another popular feature of our practice range is the collection of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls we use so our members enjoy the best possible practice experience. We always teach students to practice like they play, and in doing so, what better way than with the best balls available? In addition, yardage stands are adjacent to the hitting area and updated for accuracy every day. Also, boards are visible that show members the desired divot patterns to educate them on proper golf range care, as well as the appropriate way to practice. We offer a separate wedge range, a chipping green, and two putting greens, all cut to match the speed of the greens on the course.

Chris Slattery on the business impact of making your practice area a destination:
Enticing new members and satisfying existing ones is vital to the success of any private golf club. Offering something special always helps in those endeavors. We have members at Avila who joined our club solely due to the state-of-the-art practice area and the experience they get from spending hours working on their games or just hitting balls with family or friends. Membership continues to thrive at Avila, and much of that success can be attributed to the great practice areas we offer. Our maintenance staff does an amazing job at keeping the driving range, wedge range, and various practice greens looking great and in top condition. It definitely makes a difference in our club’s bottom line. Encouraging members to practice and improve their games helps boost lesson revenue and clinic participation. It motivates members to play more and participate in club events. It increases the enjoyment they get out of playing golf, and when growing the game is a top priority, it makes us feel good that we’re doing our part on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

To email the author of this best practice directly, email cslattery@avilagolf.com