You finally decided to take your passion for golf and turn it into a business venture! You are thinking of starting your own driving range. Good for you! This is one of the best business ideas you’ve had, and it may prove to become a reliable source of income for you and your family. Not to mention that now you will have your own driving range to practice your shots anytime your heart desires. However, just like with any other business, you need to do your research before setting up teeing areas and buying your buckets of golf balls.
The golf driving range industry has experienced a 3.1% growth from 2015 to 2020, and the trend is predicted to rise in the years to come. It is expected for driving ranges to see an increased number of customers in the following five years and leisure activities to become a more important part of people’s lives. The market has already reached $15 billion, and there is plenty of space for new golf businesses. So, what are the first steps to take if you want to set up your driving range?
Put your golfing knowledge and skills to work
Starting a driving range with no golf experience whatsoever may prove to be a bit difficult. While you won’t need a degree to start a driving range, certain skills may prove to have an impact on your business’ success. Golf experience will help you decide on the facilities you want your driving range to have to meet your customers’ demands and provide the necessary knowledge to develop a thriving golfing community.
Furthermore, an interest in golfing trends will help you create a modern driving range according to your customers’ priorities, while excellent business skills will be beneficial to set up your business plan, choose the right staff, and coordinate your team for an increased level of customer satisfaction. Mechanical and technical skills are not mandatory to run a successful driving range, but you will probably learn everything there is to know about a driving range in terms of equipment and property maintenance if you want to become a hands-on type of business owner.
Identify the best location and your target audience
The two most important pillars of any business, location and target audience can make or break the success of your driving range. You need to decide if you want to invest in an indoor or outdoor driving range and identify your target audience. If you want to open a driving range close by to office buildings, you should promote your driving range facilities towards the local workforce and adjust the opening hours accordingly to their work hours. Your driving range should open earlier than a regular driving range and close later in the evening to allow employees to stop by before or after work.
Driving ranges set up in residential areas should include family-friendly driving range facilities for potential customers to feel encouraged to bring their children with them and treat them with a bucket of balls or, better yet, a golf pyramid, like The Stacker. Moreover, your driving range should provide golf lessons for beginners and for every golf enthusiast in the area who wants to perfect their golf swings and improve their performance on golf courses. Most driving ranges include a restaurant or a snack bar that serves various foods on a daily basis, as well as a store that sells golf equipment. Additional facilities allow the driving range to become cost-efficient and attract a high number of golfers per day.
Put together a business plan and allocate a budget
Create a realistic and detailed business plan and try to meet all the milestones. Your costs will depend greatly on the location of your driving range and the facilities you are planning to offer your customers. A big part of your budget will go toward the cost of property acquisition or renovation, property maintenance, and the driving range’s parking lot. You will also have to decide whether you opt for artificial turf or grass. Outdoor ranges need money for machinery, like mowers and golf ball pickers, while an indoor facility will require a budget for the acquisition of simulators and daily cleaning.
Both types of ranges incur costs with supply purchases, like golf balls, golf hitting mats, etc., and need a budget for office equipment, such as computers, printers, cash registers, etc. Add to this the daily operation costs and comprehensive business insurance, and you can come up with an approximate budget you need to set aside to fulfill your dream of owning a driving range. The average amount a business owner needs to invest in a driving range is around $100,000 if they are planning to buy the land. If you decide to rent the property, the initial investment will probably amount to $50,000.
Decide if you want to invest in modern facilities
The best driving ranges and golf courses invest in cutting-edge technology and modern facilities to keep golfers interested and increase customer retention. The newest driving ranges are now more than just a collection of tees and cheap golf balls. Golf simulators prove to be a smart investment that can make any range very attractive to golf enthusiasts. Consider adding one or more putting or chipping greens for players who want to improve their short games and maybe invest in a bunker or two for golfers eager to practice sand shots.
If you target your driving range towards families, don’t underestimate the power of various entertainment options like go-karts, video games, or a miniature golf course. Do you have more space? Consider adding party facilities to your portfolio or set up a full pro shop that allows golfers to sample golf clubs on the range before buying them and purchasing various golf accessories. And if you want to create an elegant ambiance and keep up with the best driving ranges in the country, forget about traditional golf ball buckets and choose golf pyramids like the Stacker and Fore-N-One. Golf pyramids allow golfers to count the remaining balls, better manage the number of balls they allocate to each golf club, and, above all, look splendid on any driving range.