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June 20, 2012

Matt Clay: Introduce New Customers to Your Facility

Matt Clay is the PGA general manager of Del Mar (Calif.) Golf Center, a 2011 Golf Range Magazine Top 100 Range.

Matt Clay on the importance of introducing new customers to your facility:
Intimidation can be one of the biggest deterrents for people who choose not to play golf, so we try to make sure that everyone who comes through our doors feels comfortable. If someone comes to our facility and I see that “deer in the headlights” look on their face, I will make sure to walk around the counter, introduce myself and take them for a quick tour. It only takes a couple minutes to show them where things are at our range; so as long as there are no lines and someone to watch the counter, I don’t mind taking the time to do it. Our range is a bit different in that half of our tees are grass and the other half are synthetic mats atop turf. We rotate our grass and synthetic mats to ensure quality turf is always available and physically move all of our synthetic mats to allow time for the grass to grow. After I show them how that works, I will take them to our putting and chipping areas and point out that we don’t charge any extra to use them. Other parts of our facility that I show them include our instruction area, our golf shop, food & beverage area and our mini-golf courses. We are located near a freeway, so we seem to get a fair amount of folks who decide to stop in after driving by numerous times. I’ve found that taking a few minutes with these folks that are new to our facility, and the game of golf in general, seems to break down any barriers that may exist in their minds, and show them that we’re more than just a place to bang balls.

Matt Clay on the business impact of introducing new customers to your facility:
While it’s hard to track the exact impact this has on our success, I can say that our overall business is up this year, and I think that this and other elements of customer service that we provide at Del Mar Golf Center go a long way toward that. I recently read that 40 percent of people who go to a range never actually play on a golf course, and part of the reason is that they don’t feel comfortable or welcome when they show up to play somewhere new. In order to grow the game of golf, we need to get more people on the golf course. Those who come to our range often and hit balls are going to become more involved in the game, take more golf lessons and help the business of golf. Not only will we benefit from going the extra mile, but so will this game we all love.