After a successful first year, Club Car has extended their revolutionary ‘Free Ride‘ scheme into 2004. At a basic level, ‘Free Ride‘ gives golf clubs the opportunity to explore the benefits that the world’s leading golf car can bring, for free.
Robert Drewery, Club Car’s European marketing director, explains the background to the promotion, “The aim of Free Ride was to prove to golf clubs that the return from Club Car golf cars more than justifies any investment. The financial and social benefits of ownership are now becoming widely accepted and more golf clubs are seeing golf cars as a important part of their business models.”
There are two schemes, Shared Revenue and Try before you Buy. Through the Shared Revenue scheme clubs are provided with five or more Club Car golf cars free of charge with full technical, sales & marketing support. Revenue from renting the golf cars is shared between the participating course and Club Car. At the end of the agreed period the golf cars can either be bought or returned -with no strings attached.
Try before you Buy allows clubs to have up to five golf cars for six weeks, with full support, for no charge. All of the rental income belongs to the club and after six weeks they must either return the vehicles, or agree that if they purchase golf cars in the following six months it must be from Club Car – at a reduced rate.
Places on the programme were eagerly taken up across the country in 2003. John Hunt of MTS Club Car in Wakefield had a great response to the Free Ride offer, with all of the trials in 2003 being converted to sales. John explains his take on the success of the programme, “After six weeks most clubs realise that they are on to a good thing, both in terms of value and potential for them to make money.”
The breadth of interest in the programme has surprised John. “There has been a shift in purchasing with traditional members clubs taking on golf cars for the first time,” he said. “Their members are getting older but still want to play golf. Free Ride lets clubs look to address the long-term health & safety demands that an ageing golf population will inevitably bring.”
Richard Allen, head professional at Styrrup Golf & Country Club nr Doncaster has had a golf car trial with MTS Club Car. He was surprised by the positive impact the cars have made. “The introduction of Club Car golf cars has been greeted with enthusiasm by the members at Styrrup,” he said. “I was not too surprised by their initial reaction as there is a certain novelty value to having golf cars, however they now genuinely regard the addition of Club Car golf cars as a positive step for the future of the club.”
Club Car has taken onboard feedback from participants in the scheme and is now offering storage and drainage solutions, as part of the Free Ride programme. These new facilities have been introduced to help golf clubs get the most out of their golf car fleets. Netlon are working in conjunction with Club Car to offer a complete range of drainage solutions that address turf stabilisation issues. Their cart paths vary in load bearing capacity and construction but are simple to lay and can be offered for around half the cost of traditional paths.
A modular sorage option has also been introduced as many golf clubs found that they had no suitable area in which to house their Club Car golf cars overnight. The modular units hold 2 golf cars, complete with canopies and screens, and are available for as little as £15 per month via Club Car’s flexible financing service. The units come in a range of colour options, and have robust steel floor and outer shell that is also lockable.
By making the acquisition of Club Car golf cars even more straightforward, they are bound to see continued success with the Free Ride scheme in 2004. Golf clubs interested in trying the scheme should contact Robert Drewery at the European Headquarters in Horwich, UK on 01204 690515.
Club Car www.clubcar.com