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September 19, 2014

Kirk Lundbeck: Stress the Short Game to Help Business

Kirk-LundbeckKirk Lundbeck, a member of the 2002 and 2007 Consumer Reach Council Top 100 Teachers list, is the superintendent of golf operations and PGA head professional at Sycamore (Illinois) Golf Club.

Kirk Lundbeck on the importance of stressing the short game to help business:
Eighteen years ago, when I first came to Sycamore Golf Club, the average handicap at this facility was over 15. In fact, there were more players in the C and D flight for the club championship than the scratch, A and B flights because the skill level was just not there. As instructors, we know how important the short game is, but we need to impart that knowledge onto our students. This is something I have made one of my main focuses since then. With my students, I focus on two main drills. First, practice making putts from three feet and in, instead of hitting lots of lag putts. Don’t get me wrong, ensuring the correct speed (for lag putts) is important. But focusing on short putts allows the student to feel that even if they misjudge their lag putt, as long as it’s around three feet, they can make it. Then, I advise students to chip with their least lofted wedge around the greens because you can control the ball more. The path is truer if it’s rolling than if it’s flying, and that gives the player a better opportunity to get it close.

Kirk Lundbeck on the business impact of stressing the short game to help business:
The impact on our club championship has been profound. The average overall handicap has dropped to 12, and this past year there were more people in the A and B flights than the C and D flights combined. In fact, the number of players in the A and B flights were more than double what was in the C alone. In addition, better golf creates more golf. If the a player is playing better and is more satisfied they will want to play more, take more lessons, and buy new equipment. I’ve seen all of that. Especially in the last two years, when I began taking advantage of all the marketing and advertising mediums of the park system, we’ve seen a 15 percent increase in iron sales, 10 percent for putters, 10-15 percent in wedges, 25 percent in lessons, 10 percent in rounds played, 10 percent in foot traffic, 15 percent in food & beverage, and 15 percent for entire facility operations. In addition, those clubs and balls I’m selling are at the high end range as excited players are looking to take advantage of all the available technology on the market. I also make trips out to the putting green on weekends, helping my customers and making them aware of the options out there to better their short games. My overall takeaway is that by stressing the short game and helping guide my customers to things that can improve their scores almost immediately, I’ve created a more satisfied and excited player. And that’s good for business.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email kirkl@sycamoreparkdistrict.com