Meet the PGA professional: Bulbury Woods’ David Bartlett

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu February 8, 2018 07:00 Updated

The Dorset club’s pro came up with an idea to boost revenue in winter. And not only did it work – but it led to increased profits for the club’s bar and restaurant and a more engaged membership.

With reduced daylight throughout the winter months, many clubs will of course see a large drop off in footfall resulting in less revenue in many areas of the business.

As a golf professional, the large majority of my income comes from my coaching revenue and with fast fading light and no floodlit driving range, continued coaching during these months becomes a challenge.

Starting back in November 2017, I decided to explore some new-found ways of not only lining my own pocket but making a real positive impact on the food and beverage operation by holding some interactive workshops / seminars for our members during the quiet evenings at the golf club.

My aim was to run evening workshops for our club members on areas of interest within golf development to help them with their golf.

The first event I ran was limited to 32 attendees as I would be using the function room upstairs at the club and this was the capacity for the room, with the topic of self diagnosis when things go wrong and how to fix common faults within the golf swing.

I actually only handed the flyer to 34 people, of whom 32 confirmed that they would attend the evening (a pretty good return I’d say).

For the two hour session between 7pm and 9pm I decided to charge just £15 a head as it was my first go at doing something like this at the club and that seemed like a fair amount.

So for a two hour interactive presentation, I was able to make a sum of money that was not to be sniffed at.

I paid the food and beverage team 33 per cent of my ticket price to provide a small buffet for those attending which went down nicely and gave the attendees a chance to mingle and meet new people for the first time.

Prior to the event I sent an email out to those attending to encourage them to come up to the club half an hour early as the bar would be open to serve refreshments. The response to this was astonishing, as every single golfer bought at least one drink from the bar.

So there was certainly a positive impact on the bar taking figures for what would ordinarily have been a very small take.

Aside from the obvious financial implications that this has on the takings for myself and for the club, most importantly of all this really helped to elevate my personal brand and my status in front of the members by offering a well organised, professional presentation and show them that I am their go-to guy for advice on all things related to golf development.

One other thing that is almost invaluable, was that it was so nice to see the interaction with members who ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to socialise together.

I have a feeling that holding such events could be a really key way of aiding retention for the future.

My next event covered the same topic as the first, so didn’t require any further planning, only using a different room to accommodate 60 golfers (58 said they would attend but with it being so near to Christmas, 40 turned up), with a new fee of £20 a head.

So this event would follow the same programme as the first, although now a more significant pot of money, including for the food and beverage team because the bar sales of the first event were doubled.

As a golf professional, just holding one of these events a month on a quiet evening when you may have just shut up shop for the day can easily provide an extra income of £1,ooo per month. It doesn’t just stop there as every attendee was given £10 off a £30 half an hour lesson, which had to be used within two months, so a nice bit of cashflow there too for the winter months, which has helped keep my diary pretty full.

Since then, I have had many people asking me about when will I be holding my next event, so it’s been nice to get some feedback as to how the evenings have been received.

In preparation, I have already made plans for further presentations on the following topics:

  • Golf psychology and mental toughness.
  • Strength conditioning for golf (a ladies’ session and a men’s session).
  • Ball flight science and playing from awkward lies.

Within these sessions there is also the possibility of singing the praises of custom fitting, as it can be linked with the science parts of the presentations, which gives the professional the opportunity to gauge potential future sales but also promote the benefits of fitted clubs.

I’m excited about the prospect of seeing this grow into potentially something bigger and have been thoroughly enjoying the feeling and satisfaction of public speaking.

In summary, the financial benefits of holding such events to the golf professional are well worth the effort and perhaps more importantly the extra income to the clubhouse coupled with engaging with our members and offering entertainment in a new way is incredibly valuable.

I would encourage other golf professionals to consider having a go at doing something like this, to add another stream of revenue to their business and also show another way to the club their undeniable value.

Email David Bartlett:


Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu February 8, 2018 07:00 Updated
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