Curb appeal is an important aspect when selling a home. If the house doesn’t look good or attract buyers at first blush, it’s difficult to make the sale.

Similarly, if the practice area at a golf course is in bad shape, then it sends a poor message about the rest of the course, say golf course accessory representatives. They say facilities can unwittingly hurt their cause by not providing curb appeal.

“Cutbacks might have created the feeling that the focus must be more on the course than the practice areas, but having worn-out mats, bad signage, broken tees and poor ball containers in practice areas can send a message,” says Paul Cherrie, president of Eagle One Golf Products. “Let’s face it, people do not have a lot of time to play 18 holes, so they hit the range. How likely are they to play the course if the range is in poor shape? I think ranges are oftentimes not given the proper care and investment.”

Par Aide Products Co. Sales and Marketing Manager Dan Brown calls practice ranges the front porch of golf facilities, but they can create a less-thaninviting entry point for customers.

“I tend to look at the practice putting green. Missing or broken flags give cause for concern,” Brown says. “For less than $250 you can get a whole new set of junior flags.”

With their new lighting option for golf facilities, Wes Bishop, businessto- business merchandising manager of Reliable Golf Course Supplies, says practice areas can offer a whole new revenue stream and marketing opportunity for golf courses.

“It might be that a person can’t golf on a regular basis during the day because of other commitments, but giving them a nighttime option provides a revenue stream and gets them on the property, so when they do have time during the day, they choose your course,” Bishop says.