Matt Walbert is the PGA Head Golf Professional at Laurel Creek Country Club, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
Matt Walbert on the importance of implementing a reservation system for your range:
When New Jersey courses were recently permitted to reopen, it was imperative that we provide a fun golf environment for our members to help alleviate some of the pressure they faced during this turbulent time. The challenge was how to do it in a healthy and controlled environment that would keep members and staff safe and comfortable. Social distancing while walking the course has been proven effective and a great way to reconnect with friends. The practice range, however, is a smaller, more confined space – how do we ensure ample separation and distancing while members are practicing or warming up for their round? Our solution was to allow members to utilize the practice range by reservation only. We enhanced our online reservation system to offer tee times in one-hour increments to enable members to get back into the swing of things during their practice sessions. We have started with four hitting stations and plan on adding two more as this system proves effective. We will even expand to eight as members get accustomed to the procedure and become more comfortable coming to the club. In addition, we have two “warm up” stalls that are designated specifically for members to use fifteen minutes before their round. The only members on the property are those with range reservations or tee times to play the course (also those picking up to-go orders from our restaurant). We sanitize all hitting stations after each session so the next golfer can feel confident in our efforts to keep them safe, while providing opportunities to play the game they love so much.
Matt Walbert on the business impact of implementing a reservation system for your range:
With safety at the forefront of everyone’s efforts to reopen their facilities, we feel this has been a successful endeavor just a week or two into it. Members can only reserve one hour-long session at a time to help ensure an equitable distribution of practice opportunities throughout the membership. With clubhouse services remaining closed, we feel confident in our system and are comfortable in allowing this very limited number of members on the property at a time. It is not the social experience they signed up for when joining the club, but in a time when normalcy is greatly limited, spending an hour alone on the range, hitting balls and working on their game, is the distraction that they need, and we love having them out there. Staff is conducting business with masks and gloves on to further ensure their safety, an indication of where our priorities are. As time goes by, we hope to expand services of course, and look forward to a day when life returns to “normal”.
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