Joel Weitz, the 2017 recipient of the PGA Wisconsin Section Bill Strausbaugh Award, the 2006 and 2012 recipient of the section’s Player Development Award, and the section’s 2005 Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA Director of Golf and Owner/Operator of Vitense Golfland, in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the current President of the PGA Wisconsin Section and served in that capacity on one previous occasion.
Joel Weitz on the importance of adding furnished suites with food & beverage:
Vitense Golfland has offered golf range services in Madison, Wisconsin for over 60 years and serves a diverse golf community of all ages from true beginners to the finest golfers. The golf range provides year-round practice with 80 tees available in the summer and 37 covered heated tee areas in the winter. In addition to expanded golf programming through the PGA Professionals of our Vitense Golf Academy, we are heavily focused on growing the game and our profits through the entertainment side of the game. In 2014, we installed eight golf suites, housing eighteen hitting bays offering amenities not often experienced at a golf range. The suites have cooling and heating units that present the perfect climate for a good time, and free wireless internet adds to the enjoyment. The golf suites can serve a small number of golfers or a group of up to thirty people in our larger suites. Each suite contains a 32″ or 40″ HD TV where players can enjoy the big game while they practice and socialize. Guests relax on comfortable cushioned chairs or at high-stool dining tables in each golf suite. The crucial revenue driver is our ability to offer food & beverages, including beer, wine, and drinks from our Signature Hole Grill & Bar. We offer full wait staff service directly to each golf suite. We are fortunate that our building is directly connected to the covered area of the golf range tee area so it is convenient and with no direct exposure to the weather elements. Recently, we equipped each bay in the Golf Suites with Toptracer – a sophisticated and fun ball tracking and gaming system that has changed the way golfers and non-golfers enjoy time spent at our facility.
Joel Weitz on the business impact of adding furnished suites with food & beverage:
Adding such amenities to our facility has provided a whole new stream of revenue. Golfers still visit to hit a quick bucket of balls, but with the addition of the golf suites, food & beverage (both onsite and off-premises via our catering business), Toptracer technology, and the plethora of lesson packages and leagues, we are a destination for golfers, families, corporate groups, fundraisers, and the list goes on. Since incorporating suites into our business in 2014, golf range revenues are up 30%. Food & beverage revenue has increased more than 20% in the first eight months of 2017. Revenue from golf lessons and other areas, such as our 54 holes of miniature golf, have also increased as more golfers at the facility means more potential guests in all areas of our business. Focusing on enhancing the core product of our business – the golf range- has helped to attract a larger market to introduce more players to the game and visits to our facility.
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