client focus: barrow golf club, cumbria, uk

It’s 12 months since I purchased my GC2 from Foresight Sports and it’s located in an indoor studio where I do my indoor coaching and club fitting.

Previously I had a Vector monitor in the studio, but it’s not as accurate as the GC2. Since purchasing the GC2 my lessons have really taken off. It’s very simple to use; within 40 seconds of turning it on it is picking up shots. There’s no calibration required like there was on my previous launch monitor. You can literally just put it down and away you go.

It’s small, compact, lightweight … so you can put it in your golf bag and take it out on to the golf course. So it’s very portable. But what struck me immediately during the demo and then when I first received it was how incredibly accurate it is with the data it gives.

My set up now is that I have full simulation, with 19 courses included. There is a picture projected on to the net and as the real ball hits the net and drops, the virtual ball takes off on the screen. It’s more visual and enjoyable for the customer as, even though it’s indoors, you can see ball flight.

Because the information is displayed on a large screen it takes away any ambiguity and makes it easier for the customer to understand and appreciate. Previously, I used just a laptop and some people think you’re tweaking numbers to get a sale. Having the data displayed like this, in front of them, is such a powerful tool, because I can talk through the data. For the average golfer it may previously have gone over their head but now I can explain the numbers more easily: why that ball is doing this particular thing; why they’re losing distance. And I can suggest that they try a different club or a swing change. They can see an improvement in their numbers and they can see that the ball is being hit further and straighter. So they understand it a lot more. They can see what they need to do to improve their game. It’s great for analysing how different clubs and shafts perform and seeing how technique can change the flight of a golf ball.

“The GC2 has made a hell of a difference to my business.”

It’s been a game changer for my business. Purely on equipment sales alone this year, I’m up 18 per cent on last year – and that’s in a recession and during one of the worst seasons weather-wise I can recall. The course has been closed in July and August owing to the rain – and that’s just unheard of.

I’ve been talking to a lot of pros at other clubs who have been struggling because of the season we’ve had, but the GC2 has made a huge difference to me.

“It’s been a game changer for my business … I’m up 18% on last year.”

And that’s just on equipment sales. Lessons have increased as well and it also offers something a little bit different in terms of simulation. I’ve got 19 famous golf courses on the sim from across the world and now, as winter is upon us, as it’s darker earlier, the weather’s poor, and I’m finding people are booking up the studio for three hours to play a round of golf with some pals on a world-renowned course. That’s proved really popular and is another revenue stream for me.
The only drawback for me is that with them all playing indoors and not out in the poor weather I don’t sell so many waterproofs – but I sold so many last summer that I can cope!

I offer studio hire now and people come in and practice for half-an-hour, hitting balls on the simulator. I’m even selling membership for the studio. That gives the member a set amount of time on the simulator in private. They can practice, play one of the courses, or just one hole … there are a lot of options to get your return as a professional.

My set-up cost me £10,500 and what with the recession I was thinking it was a really big investment, quite a chance to take. Other golf pros will be in the same situation – they’ll be considering having an indoors studio and getting a launch monitor, as golfers expect pros to have launch monitors now if they’re going to purchase new clubs. So if they’re out there having second thoughts about laying out just over £5k for a GC2 I can reassure them it’s worth it. Do it!

The GC2 has made a hell of a difference to my business. They will get success with it. I expect it to have paid for itself within a couple of months. That’s a pretty quick turnaround and certainly quicker than I imagined it would be.

I did my research before I made my purchase. Radar launch monitors are just not as accurate indoors where you get only three or four metres of flight – it’s not enough. GC2 is the whole package because of its versatility. It’s accurate, small, lightweight, portable, easy to set up, and it can offer full simulation. And it’s around a third of the price of some of the radar models.

Michael Newton, 33, has been head professional at Barrow GC, Cumbria for nearly seven years. He bought his first GC2 in November 2011

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