September 5, 2012

John Rutecki: Use Custom Yardage Tents to Simulate Real Golf Shots

John Rutecki, a New Jersey PGA Section board member, is the PGA head professional at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson, N.J.

John Rutecki on the importance of using custom yardage tents to simulate real golf shots:
When you drive through the entrance of our club, the first thing that catches your eye is our impressive practice facility. The practice area altogether is 50 acres long, consisting of multiple driving range locations, an uneven lies area, a short game area and a putting green. Because I wanted to simulate actual golf play for our members, we decided to add our short game area. First, we modified one of the three target greens to allow for multiple chipping stations (all with various options to help simulate missing a green on the golf course). This helps with the player’s understanding of different slopes and lies while chipping. The next step was to use custom yardage tents on the short game area to mark different distances for chipping. These little tents sit on the ground and stand out when people are using this area. They have a stencil that displays the yardage mark and it flashes so that everyone can see this very easily. It’s something unique because most facilities don’t offer markers from 40, 60, and 80 yards out from the green. The yardage tents have become an attraction, and many members seem to like to make a game out of hitting to them while preparing for their round, or just during some practice time. I think having the ability to practice certain shots really helps with player development as well. It certainly adds to our already-impressive practice facility and gives players some food for thought while working on their short game.

John Rutecki on the business impact of using custom yardage tents to simulate real golf shots:
The yardage tents and the overall short game area have really enhanced the facility experience for both members and their guests. There aren’t many places where you can simulate shots from 10 yards to 130 yards from the pin, and we think it’s become integral in prepping yourself for actual golf shots that you would be taking on the course. My lesson business has been wonderful because I’m aided by the extravagant practice facility. These lessons make up roughly 25 percent of my business, whereas last year that number was only around 10 percent of my total business. The custom tents are relatively inexpensive and do not require any maintenance. An idea like this sends the message that you care about your member’s golf games, and it adds to the value and credibility of the club.