We caught up with Rob Leonard of Harpenden Common Golf Club about the “Tour Shed”, their brand new simulator.
Rob has been the Head Pro for the last 8 years after playing full time. Rob was actually a junior member at Harpenden, about 15-16 years ago. So safe to say he’s been there for a while!
HOW IS THE TOUR SHED GOLF STUDIO USED?
The main use of the indoor simulator is custom club-fittings. Obviously we’ve got an online booking system so they get a kind of VIP email which tells them what they should bring, and what they can expect. With the fitting itself, you know you can generally improve their data because of the new technology and having plenty of shafts available.
On the day they come down, they got a coffee, they get a gift pack afterwards, so customers feel well-looked after and that the fitting is a special experience. So the members feel that they’re getting something different from a standard club-fitting. They’re getting that extra service with us, and then we continue to look after them, whether it’s with a lesson programme or anything else they want after the fitting.
We’ve got the golf simulator experience for customers as well; we offer simulation, so you can rent the space, have a few drinks in here, get a takeaway or use the facilities in the clubhouse. You can hire the area for either an evening activity with a few drinks, or just for practice, or if it’s a rainy day.
We also sell memberships for practice sessions, so you can book in half an hour slots at a time. Members can book a session to look at their numbers, sign up to an FSX online membership which is dead easy – obviously free from Foresight – and people can track their data just like they track their handicap online. With that online FSX membership it’s dead-easy to see improvement.
You’ve also got the Know Your Numbers software as well for gappings – that’s absolutely and dead-easy to us. So someone can just hire the facility and then play Know Your Numbers.
And then you’ve got lessons as well. So for lessons data, you can go into as much data or as little data as you want, especially with your FSX membership. You can track your improvements, track your numbers, see your optimum numbers, see if you’re getting any more clubhead speed, getting more efficient…however you want to look at it.
HOW OFTEN IS THE STUDIO IN USE?
So we’ve got 3 coaches here and they’re all champing for the use of the studio! But we’ve also got memberships and simulations as well, so it’s used every day.
Most of the time we do actually block it out, especially at weekends, for potential simulation use because that’s where we get the most income. But then again, lessons can be inside, and then we fitting days, custom fittings, etc.
So it’s used all the time. Without it, if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now.
WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE SOMEONE CONSIDERING INVESTING IN A GOLF SIMULATOR STUDIO?
It took me a long time to actually get my contract with the club correct. It’s my investment, but it’s obviously on the club’s land so to get that contract was key. The club are happy, I’m happy.
So investing is key – get one as soon as you can. I personally would try and invest in it yourself so it’s your own money that’s going into it, because you’re more likely to sell more. You’ve just got to have one.
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