Derek DiStefano, the 2017 North Florida PGA Section Northern Chapter Bill Strausbaugh Award Recipient, is the PGA Managing Partner/Owner at The Golf Club at South Hampton in St. Augustine, Florida.
Derek DiStefano on the importance of offering practice facility memberships:
We implemented some major renovations to our practice facility a few years ago. From doubling the size of the hitting area to adding greatly to our short game areas, our facility is an elite practice facility for the amateur golfer, who is our main user. A large portion of the major renovation really catered toward increasing the value of our Full Memberships by creating an exclusive area that is top notch for the Full Members only. On the main portion of our double-sided range is our public hitting area, which was also enhanced in recent years. To ensure a steady stream of golfers using this side of the practice facility, we offer an innovative membership program called The Golfers Advantage that has two options. This membership definitely lives up to the name by offering unlimited practice facility usage for $79 per month or $790 for the entire year. Golfers can get their money’s worth with just a handful of visits. This program includes unlimited access to our newly-renovated short game area and lighted putting green. So, not only is cost no longer a factor in playing, when it comes to working on your putting skills, neither is time. The Golfers Advantage Membership also comes with a special rate on the course after noon each day. In our efforts to grow the game, we strive to eliminate the barriers that often hinder that growth. Our Golfers Advantage Membership Program is a great way for us to provide exemplary service, while offering lasting opportunities to play, practice, socialize and hone one’s skills.
Derek DiStefano on the business impact of offering practice facility memberships:
Growing the game is vital – there’s no doubt about that. But growing your business is just as important to every business owner, general manager and golf professional running a golf operation. Getting people in the doors leads to cross-selling opportunities in the golf shop, lessons and food and beverage. Golfers Advantage members have the freedom to come to our facility every day. They can hit a quick bucket and leave, or spend hours working on their swing and grab a drink afterward. The more they visit, the more they want to be around the club, eating lunch, participating in special events, taking some lessons. We become their one-stop shop for everything golf, promoting our full-service golf shop and full selection of hard and soft goods. Finally, someone who has experienced our facility and created memories with friends and family might be inclined to pursue Full Membership – we have a menu of membership options. In the long run, it might start with a practice facility membership to curtail a golfer’s cost of practicing, but could end up with a lasting relationship that goes well beyond saving money on a bucket of balls.
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