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Golf Clubs - Are you hitting the green in regulation?

07th July 2019


As a CPO (charge point operator), it is imperative to have a robust strategy in a fast-moving market which is cloaked by uncertainty yet fuelled by unrivalled optimism. It is an exciting but nail-biting sector to be operating in, and market segmentation is critical to the long-term prosperity of the business.

So why golf clubs? We feel it is essential to develop win-win partnerships for the long term, and that means identifying a market place where the introduction of the infrastructure supports the development of both parties.

Our market research revealed a story that is becoming all too familiar. Simple economics demonstrates that many golf clubs are at risk from closure because there is an insufficient number of golfers seeking membership to support the existing number of clubs.

Many golf clubs are so ensconced in a tradition that they find it difficult to abandon. Making the changes required to modernise their club and attract the next generation of golfers is often a step too far for many clubs. Sadly, this is just par for the course. Such clubs need to overcome this inertia and embrace the kind of changes that will attract new members, improve existing member facilities and attract new visitors to the club who will utilise the ancillary services on offer. Most clubs have a bar, café and often a driving range, all of which could benefit from additional footfall.

This is where the addition of charging infrastructure can breathe new life into golf clubs that need to be re-energised. A new facility, which attracts new customers, enhances existing member experience and generates new revenue streams.

You may be thinking that installing an electric vehicle charger is a cumbersome, costly project, but it’s not. In fact, it is the total opposite. The charging unit is free, including all installation, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance.

What’s more, the new facility also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the club and will hopefully act as the catalyst to spark members into action and make the transition to electric cars.

So how does this model work? Alfa Power as the owner and operator provide the end to end solution in return for a fixed term agreement to be the operator in a given club. Through the charging infrastructure, electricity is provided to members at subsidised public charging market rates. This allows the CPO to recover their investment over time while offering affordable charging options. In turn, this encourages patrons to spend longer in the club where inevitably they will spend more at the bar, café or possibly in the pro shop. Clubs that offer a driving range facility could also expect to sell more buckets of balls.

So, what is the ideal hardware? This depends on the club, location, and what is available from a service perspective to occupy the EV driver during the dwell time. If the infrastructure is primarily installed to provide a facility for existing members, then a relatively slow spec AC solution will suffice. Members playing 18 holes typically spend a full half day at the club and therefore would prefer to charge slowly without being required to move their vehicle.

Alternatively, if there is a driving range and the clubhouse bar and café are open to visitors, then there is an opportunity to attract new footfall if semi-rapid options are installed.

A semi-rapid DC charger offers fast charging at a rate designed to recharge most batteries between 1-2 hours. Such a solution is perfect for capturing new footfall from visitors that can charge while enjoying a family meal or simply a cold drink. Most clubhouse balconies offer a charming vista; with plenty of delightful green flora to enjoy.

What is the profile of the next generation golfer? We believe it is an environmentally conscious, electric vehicle driver with a passion for keeping the green areas such as their favourite golf clubs green. This potential member would be more likely to select a forward-thinking club that offers charging facilities; suggesting clubs that adopt this technology early will also steal a yard on their competitors.

How do we know this? We have taken steps to identify key buyer personas for existing and soon to be EV drivers. With the tax incentives available to transition to EV in the corporate sector, coupled with the push to enhance corporate social responsibility, many executives are now benefitting from company car options that push them towards PHEVs and BEVs. This demographic offers a significant congruence with golf club members.

The road to zero then would seem to offer a logical destination stop off point at golf clubs. The perfect location for charging infrastructure to cater for existing EV drivers and the next generation.

Right now, Alfa Power is a team of EV drivers, building a network for EV drivers, a USP we are very proud of, and one that we feel gives us an experiential empathy with our users. We genuinely believe golf clubs are the perfect partner to play host to our infrastructure.

More and more golf clubs we are speaking with are also seeking new ways to improve their corporate social responsibility. Decarbonisation is a great way to enhance the reputation and convey a positive message to your audience.

Don’t just take our word for it, watch this video testimonial from Nigel Sweet at Leeds Golf Centre — a forward-thinking club, which embraces new technology to enhance member and visitor experiences.

If you would like your club to hit the “green” in regulation with the introduction of a zero hassle, zero cost and zero emissions solution, you can contact us here.

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