Need to know how to open a driving range? A driving range could mean high profits and lower scores for you and your customers. After all, owners can hit all the yellow golf balls they want. But it's not that easy to open a driving range. There are a lot of steps to take, homework to do and money to spend before switching on the night lights for golfers to swing away.
- Do your homework. Are there any competitors in the area? Is there a market for opening a practice range? If so, check with your city hall to see if the land can be used to open a driving range. Request a traffic study from transportation officials to make sure you open a driving range in a highly-trafficked area.
- Determine a vision. How do you want your driving range to look? Decide if you want to stock the pro shop with the latest golf equipment and apparel. Try to talk to with a local PGA professional or visit a country club to ask golfers what qualities they like in a driving range.
- Buy supplies. To open a driving range, you'll need a large swath of land at least 350 yards long and 100 yards wide. On top of that, you'll need artificial driving range mats, thousands of balls, a ball washer, lights, range baskets, light poles with netting, a building and stock for the pro shop, such as tees, shirts and golf clubs.
- Set the hours. Most driving ranges today are open from morning to late at night, usually 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. This will appeal to a wide range of customers, such as commuters who want to hit a bucket before their boring day at work, or a lunch crowd, or those who want to work on a few golf tips at night after watching a golf tournament all day.
- Know the game. To open a driving range, familiarize yourself with the things that golfers like to see, such as nice artificial matting so the yellow ball perches up nice. Know its jargon, tips to give customers when they start slicing and the latest tournament results.
- Hire staff. If you've got the money, hire a PGA professional to run the show. If you open a driving range, a local PGA pro will fetch in scores of customers because the pro can give lessons. If he costs too much, then hire a staff that knows golf. A good starting place would be high school golfers, as they won't mind the minimum wage and you give them a place to practice.