Global Edition

Practice makes perfect for Woodcote Park and Range Servant

12.32am 6th March 2008 - Corporate

Woodcote Park GC has turned its practice ground into a significant revenue stream for the club, with a little help from Range Servant UK.
by Charles de Haan

Woodcote Park GC has turned its practice ground into a significant revenue stream for the club, with a little help from Range Servant UK.

The practice ground used to be a narrow strip of land that was too busy to use once 2/3 people were using it. This was not only problematic for the Club Professional’s teaching arrangements, but by virtue of its location, it also created a significant H&S risk. So the club negotiated a lease for a couple of fields to the rear of the clubhouse that were lying fallow, and brought them back to fairway condition with over 300 yards of driving length available on the range area; in addition there will soon be short game greens for approach, chipping and bunker practice. But it was the club’s decision to get Range Servant to turn an ordinary practice facility into a driving range for the members that has made all the difference.

Making it easier for the member
The club decided to acquire a Range Servant ‘Combi’ Ball Dispenser, which comes complete with a built – in elevator and ball washer, and has been installed in a secure place near the clubhouse. Mats and bay dividers have been placed at the top end of the ground to provide all year round playing surfaces, along with plenty of distance markers and targets to guide the users. The Combi has been fitted with both a DigiCard and a token payment system for added flexibility. To pick up all the balls, a Range Servant Multiflex Disc ball picker that attaches to the front of one of the club’s utility vehicles means one member of the green keeping staff can collect all the used balls in relatively little time.

And the net results are surprising…
So now the members don’t have to pick the balls up anymore, what’s been the impact? Adrian Dawson, the club’s secretary/manager, explains, ‘The original idea of creating first class practice facilities came about because we want to be an Open Qualifying course. But the net results have surprised us all. We initially ordered 6,000 balls thinking it would be more than enough; but in fact the level of usage meant we soon needed more. We originally set prices at £2.00 a token or Digicard for a bucket of 40 balls, and offer these in single, £5, £10 and £20 amounts, with £20 getting 20 tokens’ worth. Everyone’s buying the £20 Digicards, and we hit the revenue budget in the first, second and almost certainly the third year of usage with around £9,000 income each year.

“We feel we‘ve established a reliable level of usage and sales. The Range Servant Combi only needs 10 minutes of maintenance a week to keep the undertray clean, and it’s been very reliable. It’s certainly better than the old arrangement of a practice ground that was simply a cost, in that it was used by very few members and constantly needed the greenkeepers‘ time and resource to maintain.”

A win-win for the club and the members
Adrian continues, ‘The members think it’s a fantastic extra service. Our Club Professional now has a superb teaching facility for beginners, and the club has a very marketable feature for attracting new academy and full members. And of course, visitors from societies are enjoying the opportunity to use it. It’s definitely something that other clubs should consider doing.’

So if your club has a practice area and could also use several thousand pounds of extra income each year simply by improving the service to the members, Woodcote Park GC and Range Servant have a proven solution your club should be considering seriously.

Range Servant UK’s Jo Cholmondeley-Smith can be contacted at 01296 633 323 mobile 07733 226 191

Range Servant
Woodcote Park GC

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