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Driving range opinions - Page 2

post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roughnecks View Post
 

It is something similar to Top Golf that I am thinking.  My idea is to try and find a balance between the party and the stodgy perception of golf that has been for years.  I want to bridge the gap and make it fun for everyone.  So if you pay by the ball what is appropriate?  And really if you pay by the hour some of you say you don't get your money worth, but in actuality I would think no matter how the price is determine you get money worth because taking more time and slowing down you will benefit from the practice even more.  Im thinking of some sort of a hybrid pricing scale.  During the day pay by the ball and when we would get into busier times in the evenings change it to by the hour.  Or would that be frustrating to you as a customer?

 

Based on average Bucket prices in my area I would say a fair price per ball is around $0.12 per ball making a 60 ball bucket cost around $7 give or take. To put this in perspective when I'm practicing properly it will take me +/- an hour to hit that bucket (and I'm likely still practicing too quickly) so you can see why hourly rates are unlikely to work for me.

post #20 of 42
At the course I play the range is $4/bucket for about 30-40 balls. There is a decent putting green that is free. There is a small chipping/pitching area, also free if you use your own balls-nothing fancy just those round nets for a target. You can do light chipping around the putting green with your own balls, also free. The clubhouse has a grill-typical dogs and burgers-no tabel service. This is a university facility. I could see paying $15-25 for a couple of hours of unlimited balls at a first class practice facility with maybe pitching greens, putting greens, and sand bunkers and quality practice balls. Just hitting balls, I think I'd rather pay by the bucket. Much over $20, though, and I would rather get a cart and 9 holes on a non busy day and play 2 or three balls by myself. I realize that is not possible in larger, busier areas. I can see how the OP's idea would have broader appeal and that the cash flow generated would help to support the golf practice side which I could see as being difficult to make profitable at economical rates.
post #21 of 42

I personally like the brush mats, not as much as I like hitting off of grass, but significantly better than hitting off of the rubber mats which is a waste of time and a quick road to sore elbows for me, anyway. Realistically, there would be no way to hit off of natural grass with the kind of volumes this sounds like it would require.

 

BTW, I would go and take my kids. Anything to get the daughters to golf is good in my book.

post #22 of 42
Some serious golfers might be turned off by the party atmosphere-myself included. I would probably just come at times when the party wasn't there. I might patronize the party too, but not for golf. What I would like at my range is a device that would eliminate cell phone service within 20 feet of the hitting line.
post #23 of 42

Per ball or time would be a wash for me.  But I like a flat fee / unlimited option in there.  It is at least half the reason I got a yearly pass at my local course.  I LOVE the feeling of "Well, I've paid for it, might as well go hit some balls and try to get better" and HATE the feeling of "I'd like to go practice, but should I spend the money?"

 

I love live music, but it would never get me to a driving range.  

post #24 of 42

I would suggest you do some formal marketing research on this. What are the demographics of your area? Does your area have a lot of golfers already?

 

As a former bartender, I would caution you that this would be a lot of work, a business. You would be there to work, not to party. If successful, however, it could be profitable for you both financially and personally.

 

If a local driving range has a decent food service area, you might offer to run a couple of these events for them, just to see how it shakes out. Then, you will have a better idea whether you want to make a major capital investment in your own facility.

 

Our golf club has a Nine and Dine series for couples: Play nine holes Sunday afternoon, and then have a meal together. This attracts couples primarily in the 40 + age group. It's popular, as the golf clinics for women, and those for children.

 

As far as music at the driving range, I personally don't care for it. It's distracting. One thing I like best about golf is it's quiet - too much sound garbage in our world today. (Don't even get me started on canned music in USA airport terminals).

post #25 of 42

As someone that's seen live music at a golf course first hand I think people are misunderstanding where and how it happens. Here it's on the restaurant patio not a band set up on the range blasting away while you hit balls. It's more an après golf activities entertainment option, you aren't forced to listen to it. Anyone that belongs to a private club has probably been on the range while a wedding or formal event was in full swing. It's not a distraction. At my parents club the patio wraps around to the range side but it's more than a 100 yds away. I've been out there when the patio was full with a wedding party and a jazz combo and you could barely hear it. There they blast music at the pool during the summer and you can hear it half way up the first fairway.

 

For it to work at a driving range it would need to be a sizable facility. As someone that doesn't frequent the range often it would have to be a real nice place to bring me in. It works at a course because you assume you will be there with people dining, drinking, watching games in the bar etc. and it's spread out over acres. The nicer public places here offer more than golf to compete for your dollar. One has putt-putt, karts, restaurant/bar, 2 par 3's and 27 holes of golf. I frequent courses I've never played because the restaurant is that good.

post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post
Here it's on the restaurant patio not a band set up on the range blasting away while you hit balls.

That would be cool to though...

:-D

post #27 of 42

Yeah I'd prefer that to the grunting and nonstop banter I usually hear, "dude did you see that one!".

post #28 of 42

Sounds like a good idea to attract casual golfers and non-golfers to the game. But serious golfers would never go to such a place. JMO.

 

As far a s pricing, I would offer season passes and by the ball. Season passes are a gold mine, as the majority of people who buy them won't use them as much as they think. By the ball is just as lucrative, as I was once standing on a range with the owner and he said, "See all those little white things out there? Each one is 10 cents in my pocket.

post #29 of 42

Define serious golfer. We have indoor sims here that are full on sports bars and I see "serious" golfers in there enjoying themselves in the winter. The men's club at my former home course booked a party there last year and those guys are at the course as much or more than I am, 4-5 days a week. We played sim golf, cornhole, pool and got a good buzz on.

 

This place is the kitties titties http://www.swingerssportslounge.com/   If I was the OP I'd be heading in that direction rather than a range.

post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post
 

Define serious golfer. We have indoor sims here that are full on sports bars and I see "serious" golfers in there enjoying themselves in the winter. The men's club at my former home course booked a party there last year and those guys are at the course as much or more than I am, 4-5 days a week. We played sim golf, cornhole, pool and got a good buzz on.

 

This place is the kitties titties http://www.swingerssportslounge.com/   If I was the OP I'd be heading in that direction rather than a range.

 

 

A serious golfer is somebody who goes to a range to work on his game. What you are describing is not a range. It's a bar or lounge or whatever. If a serious golfer had a choice between that and real range, he will go to the real range, or to hitting cages in the winter. We have a local place that is in an old warehouse and your ball will travel at least 20 yards before it hits a net. Now that's a winter range. Sims are fun, but that is what they are for.

post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post
 

 

 

A serious golfer is somebody who goes to a range to work on his game. What you are describing is not a range. It's a bar or lounge or whatever. If a serious golfer had a choice between that and real range, he will go to the real range, or to hitting cages in the winter. We have a local place that is in an old warehouse and your ball will travel at least 20 yards before it hits a net. Now that's a winter range. Sims are fun, but that is what they are for.

 

No doubt but just because it's for fun doesn't mean it's "serious" golfer repellant. I am serious about 5 star steakhouses but it doesn't mean I don't head out for a burger and a beer to watch a game. I played putt-putt a few times this year. I didn't mistake it for a major. The OP sounds like he's exploring the possibilities of golf based entertainment not opening a golf school.

post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post
 

 

No doubt but just because it's for fun doesn't mean it's "serious" golfer repellant. I am serious about 5 star steakhouses but it doesn't mean I don't head out for a burger and a beer to watch a game. I played putt-putt a few times this year. I didn't mistake it for a major. The OP sounds like he's exploring the possibilities of golf based entertainment not opening a golf school.

I understand that. The idea of live music at a "range" gave it away, don't you think?

 

He asked for opinions and I gave mine.  It doesn't fit my definition of a "range" because I think of a "range" as someplace I would go to seriously work on my game. I wouldn't go to such a place as you described unless I was going to kick back and have fun. Is there a place for that? Sure, but it's not a range. I wish him luck in his endeavors.

post #33 of 42

I think there is only one universal comment from all types - have good balls, not range ball rocks.  And if you don't have good grass, shell out for top notch spring crimped mats.

 

 

now, for opinion:   I like the idea, and polling people here on this website you'll likely get a biased to result to the grimm/serious side (and likely a stupid tangent into how silly 'americans' are at events and in the world).  And that's a market you'd still want to attract in the off hours, but not the money market.

 

A driving range/mini golf/etc etc etc - (like that dallas place) - with a bar and activities is great date night concept.  And you need to directly go after that market.

A couple simulator bays is good too.  But if this is for fun, then go all out and make it big and fun, not for training.  Add a rock climbing wall, go-cart track, laser tag, bowling, etc etc.  Make it a recreational destination, not just Golfworld Lite.

 

 

 

 

We have a 'serious' - indoor golf place near by.  good spring crimped mats, newer two piece balls.  You pay by the hour (easier to make reservations) for one of the 15 or so hitting spots (35 yards to the stop, so some flight is visible on a black backstop with vertical lines), they have trackman bays, a chipping/sand area, etc (can you imagine the effort it takes to contain the sand?)  Pay by the hour for Trackman time.  I know that for the price I pay for a discount punch card, the range time and amount of good practice I get is better by the hour.  High end coaching, pro shop.

 

Big screen off to the side with a some furniture and whatever tournament is playing is always on.  Great over the lunch hour.

 

For a training area, it's pretty decent.  But it's also run by the 'serious' mentality.  So it's a bit grim.  They could still maintain the vibe of a serious training area and do some minor things, though, to attract date night type traffic.  As it is, in the winter, they are packed alone at key times just with school and college groups coming in to train during the snow and ice season.  For this place, a liquor license would be a waste of resources.  They are missing traffic in the 7 to 10 pm range.  So that time would be good if they wanted 'fun it up'.

 

For training, I'd like a couple other things at that location:

 

1 - reserve bays by the half hour, not hour.  And hour of unlimited hitting is a bit much unless sharing with a friend.  Especially if you go over lunch hour.  They know me, so I get away with it, but they should just set up for it.

2 - I'd like specific targets - bullseyes - scattered on the back stop, not just vert lines.  I want to work on controllability of my shot (uplofting and delofting clubs).  Not just if I'm hitting straight.

3 - They have a contoured practice green, and a perfectly flat one that can worked to achieve some desired range of stimp.  The frame around the flat one should be marked every foot so one can learn better how to control the weight of their putts.

4 - The chipping area has a dedicated green and 'launch areas' spaced back every 10 yards.  Seems to make more sense if they had a single hitting line and targets spaced away at different distances (so people don't have to hit over each other if one guy wants to practice 40 yard pitches and another guy wants to practice 10 yard chips...)

5 - I'd actually like background music - but very neutral type of music, and low key, in the background - much better than listening to serious joe two bays over swearing at himself and mumbling about finishing his hip turn (actually, that's me).

6 - post up some games or contests on a big plaque to give people variety in their training, include what the games help your work on.....

 

neat things?

a place in the corner to clean clubs,

maybe a work area where people could come in and use clamps and tools to re-grip, re-shaft, if they like - classes

They need a better way to shag balls too - right now it's shovels and rakes and push bars - indoors, a little contouring of the flooring would go a LONG ways to make it nearly automatic

post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post
 

I understand that. The idea of live music at a "range" gave it away, don't you think?

 

He asked for opinions and I gave mine.  It doesn't fit my definition of a "range" because I think of a "range" as someplace I would go to seriously work on my game. I wouldn't go to such a place as you described unless I was going to kick back and have fun. Is there a place for that? Sure, but it's not a range. I wish him luck in his endeavors.

 

I think he was wrong to title the thread with range as the main event since he later mentioned it also being a bar and grill. He probably would have gotten better feedback asking about a golf themed bar. Which like you said really isn't a place to go work on your game but still fun. If he opened it here it wouldn't work because we have courses that already compete for that dollar. With fall around the corner here I am getting email from all the courses I subscribe to advertising game day specials that have nothing to do with golf. They want you to use the range or golf and then spend time there eating and drinking. One offers a free small bucket and $5 food coupon with $25 restaurant purchase, alcohol excluded. I've used the food coupon dozens of times but never set foot on their range or course.

post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post
 

Define serious golfer. We have indoor sims here that are full on sports bars and I see "serious" golfers in there enjoying themselves in the winter. The men's club at my former home course booked a party there last year and those guys are at the course as much or more than I am, 4-5 days a week. We played sim golf, cornhole, pool and got a good buzz on.

 

This place is the kitties titties http://www.swingerssportslounge.com/   If I was the OP I'd be heading in that direction rather than a range.

 

Hey - Swingers - that's over in Lone Tree near the Skyventure Colorado (Park Meadows).  We do a training camp at Skyventure every year.  hell, I might be there next week (work trip to Longmont)

post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by kw purp View Post
 

Just make sure you let people hit off the grass. The mats are a waste of time

 

And well maintained grass too.  The only range I go to in my area now is the one that bulldozed and leveled an enormous area and seeded it.  It's exactly like hitting off the fairway now.  The golf course that owns it is right down the street (it hosts a Champions Tour event every year).  So it's well maintained and costs $5 to hit a small bucket.

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