By David Gould, Staff Editor
Golfers of late have become quite interested in performance data concerning their swings and ball flight. Coaches invest money in the devices that produce this data and are able to boost their return on investment by essentially renting out launch monitors and other gear to consumers. Another option is to allow unsupervised use at no additional charge, as a way to hasten improvement or increase golfer engagement.
We sent out a questionnaire asking about this practice and we extend our appreciation to the 50 members who completed our survey. What we learned from their responses is summarized in this blog post.
The survey’s overarching question was, “Do you permit unsupervised use of your launch monitor by golfers?” We got a flat no answer from 57%. On the other end of the spectrum, 3% answered, “Yes, with no conditions other than age.” The response, “Yes, but only by currently active students” was checked by 30%. Meanwhile, 5% answered, “Yes, and they need not be a student, but they have to be a club member or range-plan member.”
Addressing the respondents who gave some form of a yes answer, we went into detail regarding fees charged. The biggest response, from 42%, was that the consumer’s usage “is built into my long-term coaching plan.” Another 18% said the privilege “is built into our fee-based monthly/seasonal range plan.” The remaining response options involved actual per-usage payment, as follows:
- $20 or less per hour: 6%
- $21 to $40 per hour: 24%
- $41 to $60 per hour: 12%
- Over $60 per hour: 18%
Probing the implications of fee-charging, our survey asked if this activity “generated a meaningful revenue stream.” The response, “No, it has never added up to much” was checked by 41%. The response, “Yes, it can be as much as $250 a month” was selected by 29% and “Yes, it can be as much as $1,000 a month” was selected by 18%.
When we asked, “Would you ever consider purchasing an additional monitor, as a means of boosting this revenue stream?” we got an affirmative answer from 61% and a “no” from 28%.
Survey-takers reported that, apart from launch monitors, they also allow unsupervised use of ground force plates, 3D video capture, putting technology and what we called “regular” video capture. The latter was very common, while the other three all registered in the 30 – 40% range.
Is there a performance value in letting students use the coach’s tech tools? The answer is yes, according to the 69% who checked, “It can accelerate skill acquisition.” We had a 17% response to the option, “It is not much different than regular practice, although it can motivate golfers to practice more.” Relevant to this issue is the final question we posed: “Do the golfers who use your launch monitor without a coach’s supervision sometimes follow Combine protocols?” To that we got a “yes” answer from 60% and a “no” from 40%.
Any instructor who wants to know more about consumer interest in tech-generated performance data—and about how and where consumers can access it across the golf landscape—is encouraged to do an online search using phrases like “launch monitor rental near me.” You will very likely discover that the high-end ranges and practice complexes in your region are very active in this sales category. Checking the websites your search brings up will show you what dollar amounts are being charged and what type of messaging is used to encourage average golfers to participate.