The pro and club board at Brough GC saw a clubhouse snooker room that was tatty, uninviting and unused, and transformed it beyond recognition
Having been at Brough Golf Club in East Yorkshire for 34 years, it would be easy to imagine that director of golf Gordon Townhill, 63, would be reluctant to see major changes at the venue.
Nothing of the sort: Townhill was instrumental in installing a Foresight Sports GC2-powered simulator in place of the long-standing but little-used snooker table.
“The snooker room wasn’t being used,” starts Townhill, speaking exclusively to GOLF RETAILING. “The club allowed me, as director of golf, to have the use of the room and install a golf simulator, at my own cost. This will benefit not just my professional staff but also the membership.
“It brings in revenue to the pro shop, but also increases usage to the clubhouse bar and catering facilities, especially throughout the winter months. It has many uses: coaching, club fitting, playing on some of the world’s great courses, enjoying nearest-the-pin and longest-drive competitions. It’s an excellent facility, particularly in winter when, despite the inclement weather, golfers can still enjoy their golf by using the golf studio. There’s so much golfers can enjoy with this system.”
The studio is a recent installation at the club, which sits a few hundred yards from the River Humber, but it’s already proving its worth.
“We opened the studio in early September and the reaction from members has been really positive,” adds Townhill. “Usage has been good on all sections of the system, other than the playing of courses, as the weather through September has been excellent – but in the last few days we have had heavy rainfall and the interest for this part of the system has already picked up.
“I’ve only club fitted Ping equipment before, so we’ve moved the Ping system into the golf studio. We will be adding at least two more brands for club fitting this winter purely as a consequence of installing the simulator. It will undoubtedly increase club sales. Despite the fact it’s only been installed for a few weeks I’ve already seen an increase in revenue.
“The last three winters have been very poor weather-wise and, due to course closure, very little trade and coaching was done over this period, losing considerable revenue on both sales and coaching fees. In this country we can’t guarantee good weather, so now, summer or winter, we can just move inside whenever we have inclement weather – so there’s no need to cancel any lessons at all.”
New retail era demands new thinking
It was the reaction of his fellow PGA pros to the Foresight technology that alerted Townhill to the potential of the simulator.
He explained: “We chose Foresight because we had positive information relayed to us from PGA members who use this system. I also went to see one in action locally and I was very impressed. It was well-presented, well-fitted, accurate and the back-up service was good. Since we’ve had the simulator installed, I can concur with that. It’s been excellent – the GC2 is a very good piece of technology.”
Having witnessed the rise of the ‘pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap’ golf retailers in the last couple of decades, Townhill is under no illusion as to how the PGA professional should fight back.
“At my age, having been a PGA professional now for 46 years, I’m still always open to new ventures. I do believe this is a ‘must’ system to install for club professionals in this present market, when we are competing with high street retailers.
“Members of most golf clubs generally are loyal to their club professional as long as he gives a good service; this is one way of maintaining that, by providing members with an excellent facility to improve their golf. This is certainly the way forward and I would definitely recommend this system.”
For further information on Foresight call 0845 644 3870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org