Kal Katz is the Owner of Mad Golfer Golf Club, in Southampton, Pennsylvania, a GRAA Top 50 Stand Alone Range.
Kal Katz on the importance of implementing an automated self-service system at your driving range:
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many companies to change the way they do business. During the peak of the health crisis last spring, most ranges were forced to close. However, our driving range was open throughout – in fact, our range is open 365 days per year. Last year, completely unaware of the predicament that would hit us in 2020, we installed an automated ball-vending system that allows us to be open to golfers eager to practice every day of the year. We did have an older, more antiquated system in place for our members who purchased Mad Golfer range cards but had always required public customers to come into the shop to buy their range balls. The installation of the new automated ball dispensing system has truly changed our business, and frankly, it has saved it. Back in the spring, when so many businesses were closed, we received a special exemption that permitted our range to remain open, although our pro shop, golf academy, and mini golf were shut down for twelve weeks. As a GRAA Top 50 Range for more than a decade, we pride ourselves in doing whatever we can for our guests. In fact, during those tenuous weeks in the spring, one of my employees and I would arrive at 8:00 to pick the range, fill the machines, and sanitize literally everything – balls, buckets, stalls, trays. After three hours each morning I would work in my golf shop with no human interaction, readying our business for better times.
Kal Katz on the business impact of implementing an automated self-service system at your driving range:
During a virtual meeting that I was on during that unfortunate time, I shared ideas with more than a dozen other range owners – mine was the only range that was open. Thanks to the systems we put in place pre-COVID, our business was spared – I truly believe that. Our members, who account for about 35 percent of our range revenues, have always been able to help themselves. By enabling automated public sales of range balls through the self-service system, the other 65 percent of our range business was secured. I fear COVID-19 is here to stay for a while and I implore all golf range owners to think differently than you ever have before. It could literally save your business.
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