GFAA Best Practice: Promote the Benefits of Walking the Golf Course

Sutee Nitakorn, the 2011 and 2017 Aloha PGA Section Youth Player Development Award winner, is the PGA Director of Sales at Ka’anapali Golf Courses in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Sutee Nitakorn on the importance of promoting the benefits of walking the golf course:

As Director of Sales, a portion of my responsibility is to create programs and promote golf within the Ka’anapali Resort. As many know, resort golf is primarily cart golf, and we are no different. FIT Club, however, is a monthly membership program that brings golfers to the facility after 4:00 each afternoon and enables them to combine fitness with golf as they walk the course while playing. For only $99 per month, golfers can come out as many days as they’d like after 4:00 and play as many holes as they can get in before dark or as few holes as their schedule allows. Though I was here when we kicked off the program about a decade ago, I credit our whole team for coming up with the concept and implementing it with success. FIT Club welcomes an active group of health-conscious golfers who love the game and see the benefits of walking. We have residents who subscribe every month, and guests who may just be with us for a week or so. In either scenario, the golfer has control over how much and how often they play. Like a traditional gym membership, whether they come once per week or almost every day, these individuals have an outlet from work or daily life that they look forward to and benefit from both physically and mentally. And like your local gym, we have a few individuals who might not be as diligent about coming out to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them. The core group, however, the die-hards you might say, are getting their steps in and their rounds played month after month.

Sutee Nitakorn on the business impact of promoting the benefits of walking the golf course:

Participation in FIT Club is brisk, with busier times of the year seeing up to 40 golfers per day, great late-day revenue for the facility and a bargain for the golfers themselves. We have a diverse group of teens, men and women who get the most out of walking our two 18-hole championship layouts. We’re using FIT Club as a growth of the game initiative as well by giving discounted memberships to the Lahaina Junior Golf Association junior golfers, more than 60 kids in our area. It’s a winning situation for everyone involved. FIT Club adds to the revenue without detracting from the normal play of our resort guests. In fact, many of our resort guests will play using a cart in the mornings and sign up for FIT Club to take advantage of the health and wellness opportunities in the afternoon. In addition, as the coach of a local high school golf team, I take my players out every Monday and Wednesday to enjoy the FIT Club experience. Looking forward, we have many other golf fitness endeavors in the works, including Fit Plus, a lesson, workout and on-course experience, FIT Fore Us, a charitable endeavor that generates donations for each hole walked, Fit Fore Me, a competitive effort that takes into consideration the golfer’s score, as well as the number of steps he or she took and Footgolf, an added amenity many courses or clubs implement to encourage an active lifestyle while generating additional revenue. Whatever the activity and whoever we’re engaging, people come to Hawaii to feel the Mana, the strength of the islands. You should too!

If you would like to email the author of the Best Practice directly, please email snitakorn@kaanapaligolfcourses.com.

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