September 28, 2017

Ira McGraw Jr.: Renovate your Range for Increased Utilization

Ira McGraw Jr., PGA, is general manager and director of golf at Cedar Crest Golf Course, in Dallas. He is an At-Large Director on the NTPGA Board of Directors, 2013-2017. His honors include: 2014 NTPGA Metro Chapter Bill Strausbaugh Award; 2015 NTPGA Metro Chapter Horton Smith Award; 2015 NTPGA Section Horton Smith Award; and 2016 NTPGA Metro Chapter Player Development Award.

How it works…

The five-month renovation at our municipal facility, in 2016, has resulted in greater efficiency and increased utilization for all our golfers. My role was to oversee the renovation’s design and implementation. The range, which dated from 2004, originally had no greens, just areas with flagsticks to give the appearance of greens. In the intervening years, our programming grew extensively, including junior clinics and individual instruction, and we outgrew the space. So, we decided to build target greens on the range, as well as an additional tee to help with traffic; now we have a double-ended range. We are landlocked, so we couldn’t add area. Putting myself in the place of our customers, I oversaw the placement of the new target greens, so as to ensure visibility from both ends, and to make sure the greens had contours, so golfers can see the face of the greens from both ends, with each on a rise, so the flags can be seen. Players need to see the ball, for depth perception. We now have seven greens on the range. And on our main putting green, as well as on our chipping and pitching green, we added new grass, a new soil base and new irrigation, as well as some minor contouring.

How it has helped my business…

The range renovation was paid for with city funds. Funding got tighter as we got closer to the project; we had to sacrifice a few features we had planned. Since we were redoing the greens on our golf course at the same time, I suggested we use the removed surface dirt from that project to place at the south end of the range, thus creating a new tee box. This strategy saved us thousands of dollars. About 60 golfers per day now use the range, not including those taking lessons. Players use the top end; we use the bottom end for clinics and lessons. Now we can do even more programming with The First Tee, without disrupting players’ practice. The renovated range makes the practice experience better for our daily and weekend golfers. It has transformed our programming and helped us grow, with the added bonus of bringing more parents to our facility to play golf or practice themselves while their children are here.