January 2, 2015

Dow Finsterwald Jr.: Gather Advice for Range Purchases


Dow Finsterwald Jr., the 2012 North Texas PGA Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA head golf professional at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dow Finsterwald Jr. on the importance of gathering advice for range purchases:
Doing advance research and then backing it up with one-on-one advice from others is a technique that has proven valuable to me in preparing for the PGA Merchandise Show each year. In 2012 we built the indoor-outdoor Roland Harper Teaching Center on the driving range at Colonial Country Club, and I wanted to outfit it with up-to-date equipment. I knew the PGA Merchandise Show would be the perfect place to find and compare the various items we would need, including lighting, a launch monitor and computer programs. I prepared by conducting research and getting advice from people in our area who had built teaching centers before. I took our 12-member golf committee with me as I checked out other facilities in the vicinity. I recommend others do this. At the PGA Show, I met with some manufacturers of the products I needed, and they told me things I hadn’t thought of before. For example, they recommended that the size of the cabinets for our demo equipment should be much bigger than what I thought; they were right. The lighting advice I received at the Show was close to what I had in mind, specifically what lights to use with camera equipment. I asked several people’s opinions on lighting, picked their brains, and generally received affirmation of what I had thought. I compared products at the Show and gathered information, then submitted it to our GM and finance committee for their review. They thought I was an expert, all because I consulted experts.

Dow Finsterwald Jr. on the business impact of gathering advice for range purchases:
In comparing lighting systems at the PGA Show from different manufacturers, I found some that were just as effective but less expensive than others. The same held true for mats and synthetic turf. After I checked them out at the Show, the select companies submitted bids, with the result that I was able to obtain these things at a lower cost. I did my purchasing within a month after the Show, and saved between five and ten thousand dollars as a result of all my research. Also after talking to people at the Show, I realized we needed to hire a full-time teaching professional to be the steward of our teaching center, and we hired one right after the Show. At this year’s PGA Show, I will be on the lookout for what are the latest and greatest accessories for our teaching center, because they are always changing. I like to see new products. I’m confident that this year, I will be looking to replace bag stands and coolers to generally update our outdoor range. We want ours to be a state-of-the-art facility.

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