The 2014 PGA Professional of the Year, Ray Cutright, discusses how golf professionals can utilize the range to grow their influence and grow the game
By: Ray Cutright, PGA
We have more than 700 golfing members at Idle Hour, and we make it our job as a golf staff to make sure that they keep playing and enjoying the game. When we see somebody who used to play 40 times a year only playing five times, that’s where we can use our influence and personal touch to bring them back to the game.
When you see that a player not playing, or is playing worse, pick up the phone and give them a call. That’s what I like to do. They’re tickled to get a call from me, and I invite them out to the range for a quick lesson, or to take a look at their clubs. Or if someone’s struggling, I might put a certificate for a free lesson in their locker or email one to them. If I give out 10 of those, seven of the members will come in for the lesson – and end up scheduling more lessons.
It’s all about showing golfers attention. This past year, it occurred to me that with 850 total members (social, golf and otherwise), I see the same 120 players on the range and course. All members of the golf operation staff are part of an enthusiastic team that generates activity. Where people might not want a $100 private lesson, they’ll sign up much more quickly for a $150 package of group lessons over the course of a month.
We just had our member-guest, and it was great to watch our interns set up a putting contest (on the practice green) with one goal in mind making it a fun event. On top of that, from 5–7 p.m. every Tuesday, our PGA instructors are out on the range. It costs members $50 a month, and it’s a steal. We’ve had more than 60 participants, which is $3,000 of new revenue. It’s a great chance for our younger PGA Professionals to meet the members, who now see these younger professionals as serious teachers instead of assistants.
Influence is about interaction, and the range is the perfect place for that to take place.
What’s best is that the golfers see that practice makes them play better, and now we’re doing more lessons as a result. We just did as many lessons this April as we did the first three months of 2014. Influence is about interaction, and the range is the perfect place for that to take place. That’s where you can have discussions about playing from the correct tees, clubfitting, tournaments and so many other things. It’s where people just hang out and talk about golf, and that’s where we need to be as PGA Professionals.