I've been wanting to feature an interview from an indoor golf facility owner for some time. I had an opportunity to interview Jason Faubert from The Golfers Academy recently. He was kind enough to share his experiences opening a facility with me and I would like to share it with you. Enjoy.
Yardstick Golf: Tell us a little about your facility
The Golfer’s Academy facility resembles that of an old Scottish clubhouse, As you enter our facility you see right away a spacious lounge area where you can sit in comfort on leather sofas and chairs. Here you can change into your golf shoes while watching a PGA Tour event or your favorite sports game on the large screen TV. Stone accents and pine board throughout give it the charm and feel of a private clubhouse. Gone are the days where you and your friends played winter golf in a noisy bar on an unrealistic video game.
Adjacent to the lounge we have 5 private indoor golf rooms. The Golfer's Academy is known in the industry as setting the standard for having the largest simulator rooms in Canada. These rooms measure 20 feet wide, 30 feet long and 12 and a half feet high. Also we have built each room in our center to be either fully private or open.
Yardstick Golf: What made you want to start an indoor golf center
The Golfers Academy was 1st built out of passion for the game and secondly I wanted a career change. As an Amateur golfer I was constantly looking for that edge in getting better as quick as possible so one day I made the choice to purchase my own indoor golf system and install it in my home. From that moment on I began to see the benefits to how these systems can improve your game.
I decided to let people know the secret behind my improvement and from that moment on I started a small teaching center based out of my garage in my home. It became extremely popular to the point where outside professionals where using the system so much with their students in the winer that I lost the ability to work on my own game at times.
As a business man first and foremost I realized the need for high level winter teaching and practice facilities in colder months here in Canada. I then decided to invest my own money in building a 4000 sqft full indoor golf center which was located on my property. I gave it 2 years to do the market research and see if this was a viable business. When I build the business model I researched with clients what they really found was the biggest problem with indoor golf. What I found to be the biggest concern was the technology but better yet that they felt almost everywhere they went the rooms where too small causing their swing to change without even realizing what was happening.
Yardstick Golf: What was the most unexpected part of starting your business
I would have to say the most unexpected part of beginning an indoor golf business was the amount of time to get the local municipalities to allow operation of the business. Another unexpected part was the amount of hours and time it took to build a reputable name and explain to the patrons how realistic the simulator systems have become over the years. To this day we are still breaking the stigmas that indoor golf is not realistic and just a video game.
Yardstick Golf: Looking back, what do you know now that you wish you’d have known when you first started
I would have to say that networking within the industry is the key to building a successful indoor golf business. First and foremost the key would be to link with local golf courses, professionals and industry leaders. With the help of social media in the past 5 years it has been much easier to connect with people in the industry. I also believe that opening a bar within the facility sooner would have helped in increasing numbers and revenue during the slower months where the indoor golf tends to slow down.
Yardstick Golf: What advice would you offer to someone considering starting a facility
I would definitely tell someone interested in opening an indoor golf business to do their market research and provide a higher level of service that sets you apart from the competition. Although competition is good and brings awareness you need to make the business stand out. Make your clients and customers want to come back make sure that they leave happy and become the voice of your business. Opening time for your business is key so also get with your local municipalities to figure a timeline of how long it takes to get the proper approvals. You don't want to start building in September if the season starts in October in the end you may loose the entire winter season so key is to have it open at least a month or two prior to the start of the winter indoor golf season so you can be at the courses promoting your business to potential customers. Use the outdoor courses as a base to build your clientele.
Yardstick Golf: We understand you have an offering to help others open a facility – can you share some details
The Golfers Academy is passionate about the indoor golf business and we have been working on a franchise model that will help others start their business with minimal costs. The Golfers Academy has built its brand to be one of the most recognized indoor golf training centres in Canada and for those interested in opening a centre we can help with brand recognition and marketing. As you know it takes a lot of time building a reputable business and we have been doing this for over 10 years with support and purchasing power.
We would like to thank Jason Faubert for his time on this interview. If you would like to learn more about The Golfers Academy, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 905-335-5858.
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Better yet, go visit his place and pay a round of indoor golf!!