March 1, 2018

Doug Weaver: Give Free Five-Minute Golf Lessons on the Range

Doug Weaver, PGA, CPGA Palmer Maples Teacher of the Year, 2017; Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame, inducted 2017; Golf Digest Magazine #2 Instructor in South Carolina, 2015; Teacher of the Year HHI-PGA Chapter, 2012; Golf Digest Top 10 in South Carolina, a 2005, 2011, 2015; Golf Magazine – Best in the Region 2007; Presidents Council Award, multiple years; played the PGA Tour, exempt, 1989; played in PGA Tour events 1988, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2002; played in two U.S. Opens; one of the Four Aces at the 1989 U.S. Open, is the PGA Director of Golf Instruction at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Doug Weaver on the importance of giving free five-minute golf lessons on the range:
During times when I “walk the line” on our driving range, I wear my name tag, hit balls with my staff bag positioned for visibility and look for someone new who may need help. I approach the golfer with a complimentary remark and find something non-instructional to say or do for him or her. Using the “10/20 rule,” if I come within 20 feet of a guest, I smile and say hello; if I come within 10 feet, I greet him by name, if possible, and ask him a question. I speak slowly and softly to initiate a relationship, and, to show I care, ask if he would like some help. Keeping a bit of distance between us, I offer a brief simple tip and encourage him to try it, waiting until he hits two good shots using the tip. I may make a video of the golfer’s swing on my phone and ask if he’d like me to send it to him. I answer any questions, then give him my business card, resulting in a nice initial relationship buildup. Then I call him the next day or send him an encouraging note, reminding him of my free five-minute golf lessons on the range.

Doug Weaver on the business impact of giving free five-minute golf lessons on the range:
An instructor’s free time costs the facility owner money. Instructors can turn nothing into something by engaging with golfers on the driving range and practice facility. Using this strategy, a long-term stable instruction business can be created at a standalone range, or at a private, public or resort club. Most people who come to the range are exploring and hitting balls on a trial-and-error basis. Even a group of teenage boys can become a small regular clinic, perhaps eventually becoming lesson-taking adults. Having taught and coached for 24 years, I know that business cards passed out last year become this year’s business. Of the golfers who experience my free five-minute golf lessons on the range, about 30% call me back. I encourage them to return to our resort for their next vacation and continue to improve their game with lessons. While a golfer may not spend money with me this year, chances are good that he will in the future.