John Rose on the importance of incentivizing youth to become repeat customers:
With the number of people playing golf staying relatively flat, we think the biggest growth area is among young people. So five years ago we sought a way to get the parents to bring their kids to the range more often and then hold that subsequent interest. We came up with our Free Range Pass program, where any youth attending a clinic or purchasing a set of clubs receives a buy 1-get 1 free range pass for five years. Our thought process is this: if we can convince the kid to buy clubs, we’re going to give them the ability to get a special pass so the parents can drop them off and they can hit twice the number of balls while they run errands, OR the parent joins them and we help grow our overall number of customers.
John Rose on the business impact of incentivizing youth to become repeat customers:
Over 500 kids have been impacted by the program. We sell between 125-150 youth sets of clubs per year, and our clinics that run from spring until about Labor Day at 9 & 10 am on a Saturday morning typically get around 12 participants each. Even with repeats, that has created a pool of several hundred potential golfers for this program over the past five years. In that time we estimate 60 percent have used the offer, with a large majority – around 80 percent – using the option where the parent and child hit together (our buckets are $5, $8 and $12). We’ve picked up a bunch of students from this, as I alone am currently teaching 4-5 people who are hoping to make school teams or be certified to play alone at their local club while our youth golf guru Rob Kohler has seen many more, as upwards of 25-40 percent of the participants take extra lessons. And while exact numbers can be hard to pin down, it’s clear that because of this program it’s increased our stature as a go-to place to hang out and make golf purchases, whether it’s for clinics, lessons, clubs, practice or other ancillary products. That’s aided by the fact that we’re open year-round, snowing or not, while many nearby country clubs take longer to get themselves back up and running. So for antsy golfers during the winter, we’re really the only show in town. Our range is very much a community – stall waiting lines can be packed two-to-three deep on busy days with people waiting for a spot – and we believe this program has helped that growth.