By: Richard Todd
It’s unimaginable to think of playing golf in Ohio during the middle of January, when local courses are covered in a foot of snow and temperatures hover in the single digits, yet that’s what the course management is considering, and worrying, about!
The warm, summer days with grass growing, sun shining, and the breezes blowing helps promote the game, which relates to more golfers, with more green fees being paid.
When the weather isn’t accommodating, how do courses deal with decreased income? Most courses plan for it by reducing staff and closing their doors over the winter months. Others, however, are creating new and exciting ways to engage golfers and generate income.
Here are some items your local club may offer.
You may find golf simulators available, allowing you to play on the best courses in the world! This keeps your swing fresh and lets you tee it up at St. Andrews or Pebble Beach. For something lower tech, look for hitting nets or an indoor putting green.
Indoor golf simulators also offer the perfect opportunity to tune up your game like a pro and check out those important spin rate, launch angle and ball speed numbers.
Hit the driving range
Yes, heated driving range bays are a thing! Have you ever hit a three-iron two-hundred yards into a snowbank?
Many courses offer classes during the off-season on the rules of golf, etiquette, or the history of this great game. Take advantage of these to deepen your knowledge of the sport.
Non-golf related activities
A golf clubhouse doesn’t always have to be about golf. Does your club offer a league for darts, cornhole, pool, poker, or video games?
Is your local clubhouse grill open in the evenings or off-season? Stop by for a meal. Take the whole family or arrange meetups.
Fill that event hall for private parties or holiday get togethers, such as New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, or Bobby Jones’ Birthday.
Here’s a unique idea:
Rather than watch an old DVD at home maybe the club can hook up a Big Screen and everyone can watch a golf themed movie, complete with popcorn, snacks, and drinks! Caddy Shack anyone?
If the big screen is out of the question how about the small screen? Stop in to watch a sporting event while having a drink.
Pull the clubs out of storage and take them in to the pro-shop to be refreshed. Do your grooves need sharpened? How about new grips? Maybe even a good cleaning would help take strokes off your game in April.
Equipment and Accessory Updates
Is it time to buy that new driver you’ve had your eye on, replace that flat stick, with something from this century, or purchase new technology to help with distances?
With a little extra time, and a discount your pro-shop might have, this might be the right time to make an investment in your equipment.
While you’re at it, why not supplement you golf wardrobe. Buy a new shirt, slacks, belt, or that rain jacket, you didn’t get for Christmas.
Golf is sometimes called simply a good reason to drink outdoors, well the bar seems to always be open at the clubhouse. Besides, hanging around a place with lots of golf memorabilia just feels good.
Who says you can’t think of your local clubhouse as a bookstore. Some facilities have great leather chairs, fireplaces, views, and golf magazines. Buy a drink (see above) and relax.
Does your course convert the links to either cross-country skiing or just allow you to walk the cart paths? Seeing that bunker filled with snow is a unique site, and you get a little exercise too.
Regardless of the reason, just frequent your club during the winter and show your support. Visit any open club house during the off season for a change of pace, think of warmer times to come, and support your favorite sport, plus the attentive staff that work to provide it.