The Finishing touches give your golfers the “Ultimate Golf Experience”.
Whether you are building a new course, renovating, or just trying to spruce up the image of your Golf Club, the finishing touches are a crucial part of the overall experience. The problem is always the budget. It gets in the way of all the fun, doesn’t it? But everyone has a dreaded budget and the most important thing you can do is to plan ahead to avoid cutting corners in this important area.
So, what are these “finishing touches”? They can be the podium that greets your golfers, or bag racks, trash receptacles, and beverage stations around the clubhouse. Then moving to the practice facility it is usually bag stands, ball crates, range dividers, club washers, and Adirondack chairs. Finally, once on the course it is the signage, ball washers, water coolers, and sand divot boxes. All of these items comprise the finishing touches.
A great course will always have these touches but they often have generous budgets for these finishes. Of course, they do and why is it so important? To give your golfer the very best experience possible. Isn’t that the goal for every superintendent, golf professional, or General Manager at a golf course?
It has been said “The first impression” is the most important. And that is true but it is also vital to keep on impressing your clients time and time again. Do you want your greens perfect with no weeds and rolling a smooth 10.5 for that big event? Yes, you do, but they take more notice when the greens are like that on a regular basis. Therein lies the answer. Consistency is what your golfers want to see day in and day out.
Once your golfers have arrived and were greeted with a smile and checked in, it is usually on to the practice facility. Driving ranges are for striped low compression balls, golfers in jeans, and a slice that would make David Beckham jealous. You have a practice facility and you should be proud of it. After all, a good number of golfers spend an hour a day there with the more serious golfers focusing all of their game improvement time at this facility. With the high level of competition in junior golf, you will see young teens spending 4 to 5 hours a day here.
From putting greens to chipping pitching areas, sand bunkers, and a full-length hitting area, you can literally shave strokes off your average score in record time. But making this experience pleasant and productive lies squarely on your shoulders.
Do you have signs letting them know which green is for putting and which is available for pitching and chipping? Do you have a bag stands out in both the chipping areas and the hitting area? How about adding a few Adirondack chairs at each end of the range with a side table? This allows both golfer and spectators to take a break and rest between sessions to enjoy a beverage. Remember, it’s all about the “Experience”.
A fully functioning practice facility should have a water cooler or beverage station with trash receptacles as well. A golfer’s hydration in the hot summer months is critical. This will make the overall experience a delight for golfers of all levels. And after the practice session is a success they tend to move to the course, but how many times does a new golfer to your facility not know where hole 1 or 10 is located? Most likely more than you want to know.
Like the avid golfer said to his buddy, “are you looking for your ball where you think it is or where you want it to be?” We all think we know where the first tee ought to be but simple directional signs eliminate guesswork and keep the golf experience flowing smoothly.
Most holes follow the cart path to the next hole and the next and so on. But what happens when the paths cross or go through a neighborhood so that you have to temporarily get on the street? Why not have clear easy to follow direction signs at all locations where there could be an issue? It is all part of the “Ultimate Golf Experience” which too often focuses only on the quality of the course itself.
While the quality of the course is important I would say that the staff is just as important with the finishing touches finishing right behind them. For the few courses that achieve all three, it is simply what we call “First Class Golf”.
With so many options in materials, textures, and colors you can easily create a package of items needed that would fit almost any budget. Here are a few quick tips to keep it budget-friendly without sacrificing quality or style.
Signs – While bronze is the choice for most clubs that have few cost restrictions; aluminum is quite a bit less expensive and offers the same durability for those who do need to meet budget constraints. Newer materials like High-Pressure Laminate signs (resin baked) offer full-color options without the cheap vinyl overlay. They also last a lot longer than the routed plastic signs. The options are endless and at far less than you might imagine.
Furnishings – You must be a bit more careful with as many companies have gone to thinner material, not using stainless hardware, and even using low-grade materials that warp quite easily. You can find some bargain values however and here is how to make that happen.
- The first question should always be “Do you manufacture your furnishings in the house?” You simply are not going to save money if you are buying from a middle man.
- Some companies will give a discount if you are not using routed patterns. Those patterns look nice, and on certain items, they could be important, but on a 3-gallon divot box is the pattern worth $50? That is your call, but you can save a lot from doing this.
- Ask about freight upfront. Often companies will pad freight to the tunes of hundreds and on larger orders even a thousand dollars or more. Besides, even if they are honest there is still a largeto ship cross country. With the major manufacturers in California, Wisconsin or Georgia it is important to know your freight costs going in.
- If you are getting your items adorned with your club logo then find out how they do it. Most companies route the plastic and pour a color fill in it. Not only do these fade and fall out, but they just don’t look very nice. Ask for a cast metal logo and if you are doing enough items this may often be less money than the poured paint.
A famous quote by an anonymous author says this… “You get credit for what you finish, not what you start.”
Your course may not have the finishing touches you would like today, but it’s never too late to start planning to achieve those touches sometime in the near future. Your golfers will love you and your peers will respect your efforts.