February 28, 2014

John Pillar: Create a Family-Friendly Atmosphere

john-pillarJohn Pillar, the Philadelphia PGA Section president and 2007 Philadelphia PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year, is a U.S. Kids Master Teacher and Nike Golf Swoosh Elite Staff member, and the PGA director of golf at the Country Club at Woodloch Springs in Hawley, Pa.

John Pillar on the importance of creating a family-friendly atmosphere:
At the Country Club at Woodloch Springs, we’ve created a club based on families – and it all begins on our golf range. At the back of our range, we have a designated area named the Kids Zone that is designed to allow kids and families to have fun. We have a sign that denotes the area with various safety tip signs and even have big cartoon cutouts of our club’s mascot, “Boomer the Bear.” Additionally, we have SNAG Golf equipment for the kids to use. Families are now able to either take lessons as a group or the adults can let their children play and practice while taking their own private instruction. We participate in PGA Family Tees and have these tees with yardages on our regular scorecard, making the kids feel part of our facility. Expanding the access and affordability is critical to growing you future, we offer free juniors under age 16 to our membership in an effort to promote and introduce kids to the game of golf.

John Pillar on the business impact of creating a family-friendly atmosphere:
By making our range more accessible for kids and families, it has, in turn, made our facility more family-friendly. Since introducing the Kids Zone on the range, we have seen more play from the PGA Family Tees on our course, and allowing kids to play for free after 3 p.m. has opened up the game to our resort guests and residents that are looking for a stress-free timeframe to enjoy with their children. We purchased a family four-seat Club Car golf car that parents with more than one child can reserve to create a true family experience. All players are charged for the use of this golf car, and we anticipate purchasing another this year. Additionally, we have found that the number of rounds played have increased significantly since introducing the Kids Zone, most of which are due to families playing and practicing together. We also work with local youth organizations to offer junior camps, which have grown in size to 180-240 juniors per week. We attribute some of that growth to our interactive programs using fitness-related activities within the Kids Zone. We have seen an increase in membership, range income, rounds played and the use of our family golf car.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email john.pillar@woodloch.com