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Re-Opening Your Golf Programs

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Ryan Dailey, PGA
Co-Founder and COO, Operation 36 Golf

The game of golf has a chance to come out of this pandemic in a stronger position than many of the other sports or activities. Golf is fortunate that it can adjust and adapt with minimal effect to the basic structure of the game. Social distancing can be maintained with ease, and it is one of the only sports where you don’t share equipment or the ball. 

From a health and wellness perspective, golf provides a wonderful opportunity to be outside (Vitamin D), walking (exercise), and socializing with others (mental health) to name a few benefits. To fully take advantage of this opportunity, we need leaders in the industry that are willing to help guide new golfers into the game and help those already here. 

Just like a park ranger helps to educate families when they visit a park, a golf professional is in place to do the same for those visiting the golf course. The golf professional and his/her staff is the ideal leader to step forward right now to guide us. However, in most cases, the golf professional doesn’t have the programming and technology in place to provide a great experience for those visiting. 

We want to change that right now! 

“Great moments are born from great opportunities,” said Herb Brooks to the US hockey team prior to hitting the ice in the 1980 Olympics. The golf industry, this is an opportunity.

As facilities start to re-open their golf programs, we want the golf professional to be looked at as a leader. We want families to know that the golf professional they visit has taken the time to get educated and then make adjustments to provide a safe learning environment.

Will there be some hesitation as golf programs re-open? Yes. Hesitation will come from families and also from golf professionals as they start to navigate this new environment. At Operation 36, we want to provide a solution for golf professionals as they start to navigate these new waters. Based on different government restrictions, each golf professional might find themselves in a unique situation.

For the last 90 days, since the pandemic hit, we have been working closely with golf professionals that have remained open and also those that have had to close and deliver 100% remote golf programs. It has been a learning experience for all of us and we’ve had to adapt and adjust to make sure we are providing a safe environment. From that experience, we are confident that each facility will go through a 3 Phase process of re-opening their golf programs. 

The Phases to Re-opening Your Programs

Op 36 Graphic on the 3 phases to re-opening your golf programs

In each of these phases, there is a fantastic opportunity for golf professionals to provide a successful program to players that incorporate some or all of the components that make Operation 36 successful. The nice thing is that if you have students Phase 1 and Phase 2 opens, you can simply keep them in the original program or move them into the new Phase. They won’t skip a beat and will continue with their development in the program. The same is true for Phase 3.

Phase 1 - Golf Course Access

This is the smallest first step that all facilities will go through. The local governments will allow facilities to open for play on the course, but may not allow any in-person coaching. With that in mind, we created the Operation 36 Development League. It is very similar to the PGA Junior League with some very important enhancements to help us address the Covid-19 Safety Guidelines. Families will have access to the Operation 36 mobile app to track progress and to help motivate players to practice/play outside of class. 

How the Operation 36 Development League is different from PGA Junior League
Coach testimonial on adjustments being made due to Covid-19

Phase 2 - Private Coaching

Once facilities are open, the next step will be to allow private coaching as the thought will be that you can control the environment with just 1 student versus having multiple students. With this in mind, Operation 36 is NO LONGER JUST A GROUP COACHING PROGRAM. We created the Private Coaching Program which allows coaches to continue to run the 9-hole events using the on-course development model along with delivering the 6-level curriculum in 1:1 private lessons. Coaches will also continue to use the Operation 36 mobile app to track progress and motivate students to play/practice outside of class. 

This has been a very popular program and coaches around the world have had success using this. Luke Donah, a coach at Cedar Rapids CC in Iowa was one such coach. He adapted quickly to be able to serve his families in Operation 36.

Coach testimonial on private lesson coaching

Phase 3 - Small Group Coaching

After a period of time, the final phase will be to allow small group coaching again. With that in mind, we will need to take some necessary precautions to provide a safe environment. Yes, we will still be offering 9-hole events, small group coaching, and utilizing the Operation 36 mobile app to motivate players to practice and play outside of class. Some coaches around the world have had great success throughout this Covid-19 environment running small group coaching programs.

The key ingredient is you need to be prepared and ready to go. You need to have a world-class program that has a proven track record of producing great experiences and positive results. Your marketing materials need to look good, they need to clearly show you are taking precautions to keep families safe and that you are delivering a quality program. 

Coach testimonial on small group coaching

In conclusion, we want golf professionals to be the hero and looked at as the leaders in our industry. We will be running our second webinar to help golf professionals on Wednesday, June 24th at 8PM EST. The first one on Thursday, May 28th was a huge success with close to 100 pros joining in to hear from expert panelists about how to adapt and be successful.

If you are a golf professional and want to hear more details about how you can be successful in the final 6 months of 2020 and prepare you for 2021, please join us on Wednesday, June 24th at 8pm EST. This event is free and you can click here to REGISTER.

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Also known as Op 36, we are a team of golf professionals and golf enthusiasts that are aiming to change the way the golf industry introduces and progresses beginners in playing the game of golf.
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