Stacey Christensen, the 2012 Minnesota PGA Section Teacher of the Year and honorable mention for the Top 50 2012 U.S. Kids Golf Teachers of the Year, is the PGA teaching professional at Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington, Minn.
Stacey Christensen on the importance of using poles to mimic fairways on the golf range:
Three years ago I came up with the idea of bringing an aspect of the golf course to the golf range. We did that by using poles that are four feet high and made from wood. They are colored red and yellow to mark off the width of a fairway for more realistic practice and lessons. We cut the range landing area to look like fairway as well, but the members liked seeing something off the ground to aim at. This has done multiple things for our customers. First, it helps them have heightened target awareness, so that they don’t feel like they’re just hitting balls into a vast wilderness with no specific goal in mind. It also helps give them a tangible goal to reach while practicing; this can be especially helpful for students with big slices or hooks looking to see if they’ve cut down the sidespin enough to keep it in the fairway. That creates immediate feedback, which is a positive tool for players who can see if their hard work is paying off in real time.
Stacey Christensen on the business impact of using poles to mimic fairways on the golf range:
We’ve found that giving people a realistic practice situation has made them happier customers and has helped contribute to them wanting to play more, practice more and take more lessons. In addition, knowing that they’re making progress and “hitting” more fairways has made them more excited to practice; that’s something which can be extremely hard to achieve, especially amongst frustrated golfers. In addition, it comes off as “cool” to both kids and adults, giving them a reason to make a return trip to the facility. And an excited golfer means a more prosperous facility, with more rounds played and more range balls hit, equating to a better bottom line.