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Small Business Tips

December 15, 2020

Golf Pro Encourages Vineyards to Modernize Operations


Because Vineyards Golf Course was formerly split into two separate and somewhat rundown nine-hole courses, owner Debbie Mancuso spent most of her $100,000 personal investment getting the now-18-hole course into playable condition. One of Debbie’s greatest challenges was letting the community know the golf course has new ownership and offers one cohesive experience. Plus, add in the cold winter months in Fredonia, New York—the winning town of Small Business Revolution Season 5—and running a golf course gets even more challenging. Mike Luckraft, PGA General Manager and Director of Golf at Legends Club in Minnesota, stepped in to help Debbie realize her vision. Here’s what this expert from an award-winning club had to share with Vineyards:

1) Create a more robust space for retail merchandise.

The “pro shop” inside the clubhouse at Vineyards only had a few items, so Mike encouraged Debbie to bulk up the custom-branded products that golfers are likely to buy, which will help drive revenue. Offering everything from branded apparel to umbrellas will also help spread the word about Vineyards beyond the golf course.

2) Ensure food and beverage prices are competitive.

Debbie, being the golf-loving woman that she is, wants to make golf accessible for everyone. For her, part of making golf affordable is offering food and beverages, like beer, at a low cost. But, Mike assured Debbie that making sure your product margins are competitive won’t turn people away from the course. Mike also noted that offering a broader variety of food, in addition to the existing grilled items Vineyards offers, will help keep people at the course for a great meal after their round of golf is over.

3) Drive additional revenue through events.

Mike, whose club offers corporate events, weddings, and banquets, encouraged Debbie to focus on hosting similar events and other social functions the club can facilitate. This will not only drive immediate revenue, it will also drive exposure of the course to a broader audience who’s there to attend an event. Thanks to the help from our partners at Salesforce, Vineyards now has a “pole barn” where they can host events in the winter months.

4) Offer online booking.

Vineyards have a lot of walk-on golfers, but Mike reinforced that many customers want the option to book a tee time in advance. And, during a pandemic, many people want contactless booking and payment options. With help from Deluxe on a new website, Vineyards now offers players the ability to schedule online.

To see the full transformation of Vineyards Golf Course, watch Season 5, episode 6.


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