June 15, 2017

Matt Flenniken: Run a “Return to Golf” Clinic

Matt Flenniken, a winner of multiple Northern California PGA Section Teacher of the Year and Clubfitter of the Year awards, is the PGA director of instruction at Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose, California.

Matt Flenniken on the importance of running a “Return to Golf” clinic:
As summer dawns and players return to your facility in droves, they may need a refresher lesson to get their games back in shape. The week before and after The Masters we include in our routine club newsletter and an e-mail blast an invite to attend an inexpensive short game clinic. This not only gets people back into the flow of golf again but also gives you an opportunity to show people any changes made to your facility in the offseason along with a chance to market any new services, events, or offerings you have. I also like to show folks a few rules and etiquette points, especially pitch mark and divot repair. The program is also open to guests and is a great opportunity to interact with (and expose your facility to) current and prospective new members at the same time, while also potentially luring in current members who haven’t taken lessons before. As a result, it’s good to have cards and brochures at the ready to let the customer know about your lessons packages and offerings, and remember to shake their hands and look them in the eye. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. It’s all about starting the season on a positive note.

Matt Flenniken on the business impact of running a “Return to Golf” clinic:
With a database of 2500 people to work from we send the invitations out in waves, with two clinics before The Masters and four after. The clinics cost $20 for members and $10 for guests. I’ll generally leave my schedule immediately following the clinic wide open as many students choose to continue their education immediately. At our last clinic day for example I had 20 people participate ($300 total) in the formal clinic, followed by four couples lessons (another $300), all while signing up four others for a series of lessons ($1400). So one can see how, especially when that $2000 day is multiplied out six times, programs like these – even at a smaller scale – can be very productive for all parties. With a 15-20 percent return rate and close to half bringing a guest, we’ve added hundreds to the database every season. The program also includes information on our equipment evaluations and clubfitting offerings, leading to a boost in fittings and hard good sales. Believe it or not almost all players at your facility would love to know they have a “personal golf professional;” that personal touch matters. One more tip: put those same brochures and cards in your facility’s golf carts under the steering wheel where the scorecard is kept. If the pace of play is slow, the player may take a look, leading to a phone call later.

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