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thomasderring

Need your honest advice!

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I'm thinking about opening a range in the town I live in. Good idea or bad? I can get the land cheap, maybe $15,000 or less and in this town we only have one 18 hole course and two 9 hole courses. All three ranges are terrible and expensive. So I need advice from all of you! If I'm gonna do it what do I need to know?
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Are there a lot of golfers on the 18-hole course or 9-hole course? Do these courses already have a driving range? If so, what would your range provide that they don't? I think the land is the cheap part. I would be concerned about the operating costs and cost for putting a net around the range.

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Are there a lot of golfers on the 18-hole course or 9-hole course? Do these courses already have a driving range? If so, what would your range provide that they don't? I think the land is the cheap part. I would be concerned about the operating costs and cost for putting a net around the range.

Both courses do have ranges but they are atrocious. Little to no grass on the tee area and no distance markers. Basically charging $10 a bucket to hit trash balls into an empty field. So if I opened one and did it right then it would easily be the nicest in town. Is a net required? Both of the ranges at the courses here don't have betting around the range?

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Before you do it, think about how you can grow it.  Can you add a short game area/putting green?  Would you have room to possibly build a mini-golf course?  What about putting in batting cages as well?  In other words, what can you do to attract more people then those who just want to hit a bucket of balls?

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Don't even think about it until you put together an actual business plan.

If you don't know how to go about doing that, your local library will have any number of books on the subject.  There's plenty of relatively simple software available to help you out too.

Don't guess.  You need some market research.....where will your customer base come from and how big will it reasonably be?  How often will they return on a weekly/monthly/annual basis and what will the average revenue per visit be?  What will your initial capital expenditures be?  What will you operating expenses be......both fixed and variable?  How much capital do you have available for capital expenditures and for initial operating expenses?   It takes the average small business several years to become profitable.  Do you have the $'s to feed it long enough for that to happen?

I'm not saying don't do it.  I'm just saying that opening a small business is a big deal, and too many people jump into it before they have answers to some very important questions......

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Originally Posted by thomasderring

Both courses do have ranges but they are atrocious. Little to no grass on the tee area and no distance markers. Basically charging $10 a bucket to hit trash balls into an empty field. So if I opened one and did it right then it would easily be the nicest in town. Is a net required? Both of the ranges at the courses here don't have betting around the range?

I agree with the other post that you should come up with a business plan before deciding to go further. With the business plan, you will have to come up with some estimates for revenue and for operating costs. Some businesses look really simple to run and to make money but you will be surprised. Most businesses don't make money until they are well into their second year. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don't even make it past their first year.

What does the current driving range make? This estimate can easily be obtained by taking a count of golfers on the range for a given period, multiplying it out by the bucket cost then subtracting the expenses for operating a range. You'll be surprised once you deduct wages, balls, equipment, etc., there isn't much left over. Maybe that's why these two courses have rundown facilities - they don't make enough to maintain their ranges.

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David's post is spot on. There needs to be a proven market for the range or it will fail no matter how well it's designed and run. On first glance the lack of courses in your area tells me that the demand for golf is low. There's not enough information to know for certain but it's a red flag.

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