Nick Pelle, the 2017 Minnesota PGA Section Player Development Award Recipient and 2019 Section Horton Smith Award Recipient, is the PGA Director of Instruction at GOLFTEC -Minnetonka, in Plymouth, Minnesota.
Nick Pelle on the importance of offering free virtual golf lessons during times of crisis:
At GOLFTEC, we’re used to busy teaching studios with golf students eager to improve their skills. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to close our doors like so many businesses within and out of the golf industry. Wanting to stay in touch with our students, while potentially reaching golfers with whom we had not engaged before, we implemented a free virtual lesson program called #StayGolfReady. This program was an opportunity for us to interact with and coach our students while we couldn’t be with them. Students would submit one or more videos of their swing via the GOLFTEC website, social media, or their existing student portal. Through our GOLFTEC teaching software, coaches would initiate a Zoom call with the student and provide a full analysis of the swing, with a detailed comparison presented against the swing of a select PGA Tour professional. Through these virtual lessons, we kept our existing students engaged in golf and deflected some of their worries and concerns of the day, at least for that brief lesson time. We promoted the program via social media and on local television and encouraged golfers who were not already GOLFTEC customers to submit swing videos and take advantage of the program as well. We offered two free virtual lessons to each existing student, as well as new students we took on through the promotion.
Nick Pelle on the business impact of offering free virtual golf lessons during times of crisis:
Through these 20-minute sessions, students were able to improve their skills, re-establish a sense of normalcy in their lives, and take their minds off the reality of the day. During the three-month span, we were able to engage hundreds of students company-wide and welcomed many new students as well. At its core, #StayGolfReady was GOLFTEC’s way of doing our part for others during a global crisis. Looking at it going forward, many of our coaches have increased their lesson appointments by re-engaging with their existing students in person, and welcoming new students who they acquired during the pandemic’s quarantine. I can see virtual instruction becoming a regular part of our curriculum and a new revenue stream. Additionally, learning online will be a convenient alternative for students who don’t have much time to travel to their coach or who live out of the area. As with so many new things that the internet brings, the possibilities are endless.
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