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Preston Combs, PGA Teaching Professional

6034 Hollister Avenue

Goleta, CA 93107

E-mail: pcombs@pga.com

 

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SAM PuttLab: The Investment

 

Now the important to remember here is that I'm 24, and still a broke college grad. And I still took the plunge. So at this point you think I was crazy, which I still admittedly might have been, or I had a plan. I like to think that I had a plan. This one happened to work. 

Purchasing any piece of technology is a significant up front investment for most professionals, but the remainder of this page is going to walk you how to structure programming and value added proposals for your members, guests, and students. It's the answer to all of the questions that you've had that have kept you from adding a SAM PuttLab to your teaching. 

When I first took the plunge, I was a 24 year old Assistant Golf Professional and knew that my days of full time teaching were in the-not-too-distant future. And I made the commitment to purchase my own SAM PuttLab. 

My journey as a putting coach started in 2011 when I first learned AimPoint Green Reading. A couple years thereafter, I became certified and my players knew where to aim more often than not. But something was still missing.

 

It was clear that my players needed tangible feedback for not just where to hit it, but how to hit it there more often. Insert SAM PuttLab, the best technology available for coaching putting and producing results. 

Here's How You're Thinking Now

IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU, THEN IT'S TIME TO START THINKING
DIFFERENTLY ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS. LET'S GET STARTED, TOGETHER!
STEP 1: CREATE A MEMBERSHIP
A yearly "Putting Club" membership is unique for a couple of reasons. First, chances are your clients haven't ever experienced something like this in the past. Second, most of your clients probably like you and spending time with you. This is just another chance for them to do that more often. So what goes in this membership once you create it? Basically whatever you want to put in it, but consider your market before getting too elaborate. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Unlimited putting sessions with you through the end of the year.
    • It's your program, so you can offer up guidelines like two formal lessons per month plus quick tune ups
    • Your members/clients won't start calculating the dollars per hour. You're offering an experience, not time.
    • Your clients will likely appreciate not feeling the pressure to buy yet another package
  • Include a putter fitting and a new putter
    • Yes, you'll price that into the cost of the membership at retail, but it's great added value for your clients.
    • Don't forget that your Golf Shop and General Manager ​will like you for helping their sales too. In fact, they might like that so much that they'll help promote your new program​
STEP 2: CREATE A CULTURE
Programming doesn't last forever, but culture does. If you frame and sell your Putting Club like any other lesson program, it will be just that. And it won't last very long. Make it fun and unique for everyone involved because the social aspect is a huge part of a membership and keeping people engaged.
  • Team Gatherings
    • No one likes supervised practice, but everyone getting together to work on building skills? Now that's a big deal.
    • It's easy to set up different exercises, drills, and games to for them to get better, have some fun, and enjoy everyone's company. That creates a buzz and gets people talking. 
    • Pair it with an easy to setup beverage component. Who doesn't like Putts & Pints?
  • Exclusivity 
    • People like being part of something that not everyone can join. Cap it off at a certain number of spots.
    • Remember, you can always open up more spots at a later date.
STEP 3: CREATE GROWTH
This is the really fun part. Once your Putting Club is up and running, the skies the limit. But a couple of footnotes to help the growth and make sure that you manage the growth.  
  • Marketing
    • You've got to take and share pictures of the group/team gatherings
    • Personally reach out to your best clients and get them to join 
    • Film "experience videos" of your clients talking about their time in the Club. They'll be able to tell your story better than you can
  • Loyalty
    • Your first wave of members should always have whatever their initial price offering is available to them as long as they stay in the Club ​
    • The price should increase by some amount each time you reopen the Club. It's a practical thank you to your early adopters for helping you get a new and exciting Club started. 
    • Remember to take care of your early adopters along the way too. Budget to throw them a bone like a hat, sleeve of balls, or head cover at some point throughout the year. The little stuff goes a long way. 
LOGISTICS
Most people get to this point and wonder what they can do for their pricing. That depends on your market and what kind of clients you think you'll most likely be catering too. Remember, you're structuring this to create a culture, growth, and simultaneously raise enough funds to cover the purchase of your SAM PuttLab so you can be profitable sooner rather than later. Here are a couple of examples: 
  • Entry Level ($495 annual membership - 14 members to break even)
    • Good for daily fee and public facilities or smaller markets 
    • 2-3 annual "member-only" events. Members can bring a guest to the event so they can see what it's all about. Maybe you use this as a chance for them to join for the remainder of the year at a given price
  • Mid-Range ($995 annual membership - ~10 members to break even)
    • 3-4 annual "member-only" events
    • Include a putter around the $250 retail range. Remember getting the Golf Shop and/or GM to support you? If you're buying merchandise from them at retail as part of your programming, you'll make some friends.
  • High End ($1495 annual membership - ~7 members to break even)
    • 4-5 annual "member-only" events
    • Include a putter around the $400 retail range. 
    • If you have 8-10 sign-ups, consider brining in a specialist to further assist with an additional component like green reading or Training Days specifically for SAM PuttLab. You look like the expert when you take the time to have another person come out and work with you.