July 1, 2015

Golf Range News

Golf facilities across the country hosted Fourth of July festivities earlier this month, both private affairs reserved for club members and open-to-the-public celebrations. Eagle Falls Golf Club in Indio, California, however, takes a different approach. Each year they transform the practice range into a fun-filled Fourth of July playground for employees of the golf course and the associated Fantasy Springs Casino. “You don’t hear of a lot of facilities doing this only for their employees. It’s a unique use of our driving range,” says Willie Maple, the PGA director of golf at Eagle Falls. “In the middle of the range, we had a 100-yard zipline that the kids were climbing up riding down. It was a lot of fun.” In addition to the zipline, there was a 200- yard slip’n’slide, a sack race and free refreshments. It was capped off by a full-length fireworks show – the public was invited to watch from the nearby casino grounds. “For us, this event is about showing the employees – everyone from executives to the grounds crew – how much we appreciate them and their families,” adds Maple.

A new company is on the verge of entering the golf range entertainment business. Spot Golf, LLC, has announced its exclusive global master license and service agreement with FlightScope. The FlightScope technology will power the Spot Golf game system that company executives say will respect and preserve the appeal of traditional golf while adding fun and challenging games to Spot Golf practice range facilities, which are currently being planned for cities and towns everywhere. In addition to the new golf ranges centers, Spot Golf technology can be utilized on existing golf ranges to attract non-golfers, create new revenue sources and enhance customer or member interest and engagement. While this is in it’s early stages, it’s something to keep an eye on.

Listening to music on the range or the golf course is becoming more common. Last month the subject made golf headlines when the PGA Tour’s Will Wilcox was listening to music on the practice range at the Travelers Championship, and it was apparently too loud for fellow competitor Brendan Steele. When Wilcox arrived the following week at the Greenbrier Classic, PGA Tour officials notified the 29-year-old. Wilcox and Steele took to Twitter to hash out their differences in an entertaining exchange. “We have players that listen to music via headphones/earbuds without issue,” said Joel Schuchmann, a communications director for the PGA Tour. “As far as a speaker or through the phone directly, we don’t have a policy on that but I think like many things, it comes down to common sense so our players do not disturb other participants. The vast majority of our players understand this from a common sense standpoint but we would certainly step in if there were disruptions.”