Running an indoor golf business involves creating a facility where golfers play rounds on a golf simulator that projects an image of a course and uses sophisticated sensors to depict the real shot in a virtual environment. There are many of these businesses existence, and most are in colder climates.
If you are considering opening an indoor golf center, success turns on 4 basic items:
Depending on the size of your facility and the amenities, start up costs can be significant. Many indoor golf centers start small and grow as they see their revenues grow. Others take a decidedly more ambitious approach and build a premium facility from the start. Choose a path that makes sense for you, your budget and matches your clientele.
One of the major expenses will include the cost of the golf simulators. For a commercial operation, these can run as little as $15,000 or as much as $60,000. Price will depend on a host of factors, software features, number of courses and size of the system. Some facilities mix the simulators, purchasing several basic ones and one or two high end systems. This enables them to offer premium services without the extra start up expense.
Another start up expense will be your facility costs. In most cases, facilities will be leases, but a few do chose to buy / build a facility. In the event you are doing a commercial lease, there will likely be build out expenses to suit your specific design. It may make sense to get help from a commercial real estate pro to help you negotiate these as part of your lease.
The types of complimentary services you chose offer will drive other start up expenses. If you are going to do food and beverage, you will have a few other costs. Licensing for food and beverage will be one such expense. Building out a kitchen will be another. Even a low end kitchen with used equipment will run over $20,000. Don't forget about marketing, recruiting, website, network and signage expenses.
Take a look at all your expenses and figure out which ones are the keys to your success. Be sure to get the right equipment on the items that are critical to your success and perhaps defer those that are not as critical until after you have a strong revenue stream.
In our 2013 survey, signals of optimism abound. We asked several questions about upcoming plans ranging from opening a new center to adding staff to shrinking facility hours. We were quite pleased that so many golf centers are reporting planned increases in advertising, staff, and hours. Additionally a high percentage of respondents indicated plans to open a second center or to upgrade their simulators.
In our infographic below, you can hover over the shapes to see the percentage of respondents answering each question and how they answered. I.e. New / Upgrade Center will show 44 which means 44% of respondents indicated they'd be opening a new or upgrading their current center.
An encouraging sign from the survey is the increase in the percentage of visits from repeat customers. As a golf center matures, it appears its clientele is increasingly made of up weekly golfers. How does your center stack up and what are you doing to increase repeat visits?