Sonic Golf is a privately-owned company based in Hailsham, East Sussex, where there are purpose-built offices, training and workshop facilities. Sonic Golf is Europe’s largest ultrasonic golf club cleaning business. They operate over 140 machines in the UK, Ireland and Spain. Customers include the R&A at St Andrews.
Managing director Joel Bissett is no stranger to franchising. He has worked in the sector for several years and owns a leading franchise website. He was also regional chairman of the British Franchise Association between 2004 and 2005. He created the Sonic Golf brand in late 2006
“The machine has been used at St Andrews for several years,” says Joel. “It works using ultrasonics, which is a cleaning method used for many years within the medical sector – most jewellers also use ultrasonic to clean their jewellery.
“The machine cleans a whole set of clubs, grips and heads in just two minutes. I believe we have the fastest and most effective cleaning method for golf clubs, and we have a proven, long track record at very prestigious venues.
“When you consider even allowing for drying and replacing head covers it takes only around four to five minutes for a whole set! That’s clean clubs, tacky clean grips and no mud in the sink at home as well! The service is great for members but also an excellent added value service for societies and corporate events.
“Because our machine is made in Britain, we are able to provide excellent technical support to our clients and have spare machines and spare parts stocked at our head office. The product has also been improved with a huge amount of research and development over the last seven years, for example the current machine is the seventh generation of the product and we are continually striving to improve the product and support to our clients.”
Sonic Golf offers its clients a choice between profit sharing and straight forward rental. Under the profit share scheme all washes are chargeable for members and visitors. The company provides the machine and all other equipment, including detergents, and recruits a valet operator to provide the valet service at peak times – this is usually done via the club. The profits are shared between Sonic Golf, the club and the valet operator. There are no costs upfront or ongoing to the club whatsoever.
The rental scheme gives the clubs the option to set charges at the level they want, provide the service free or have a combination of both – free to members and chargeable for visitors for example. The machine is supplied on a rental basis for £199 plus VAT per month – around £6.40 per day – with no upfront costs or long-term leasing agreements.
With regards to the potential returns, much depends on how the club sets up the service and the volume and type of golfers. There have been examples of a valet service at a busy members club achieving a throughput of 36 sets of clubs at £4.50 each over a three to four hour window in one afternoon to coincide with golfers finishing their rounds.
Alternatively a lower price self-service facility might be offered. The revenue from the machine might be lower but there are no staff costs.
“We have extensive experience on just about every different set-up possible,” says Joel Bissett, “with 100 plus machines in the field and our local franchise operator provides advice and support on the options along with realistic returns that could be expected.”
Sonic Golf plans to continue to grow in the UK but also has very rapid growth plans internationally. The company is exhibiting at The PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January and is also dealing with many serious enquiries from investors in Australia, South Africa and Malaysia. Developing into Eastern Europe is also a target.
Sonic Golf www.sonicgolf.co.uk