David Graf, the 2000 Northern Ohio PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is a PGA Master Professional and the co-founder/Director of Golf at the Golf Performance Institute of Toledo, in Maumee, Ohio, a GRAA Top 50 Stand Alone Facility.
At the Golf Performance Institute of Toledo (PIT), we feel strongly about people learning how to control their wedge distance. To help golfers improve their wedge distance and to add a unique spin, we devised three sets of four-by-four colored plywood wedge boards. We got the idea from 2009 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Bender, who worked with Zach Johnson on a similar setup prior to his 2007 Masters win. Unlike Mike Bender’s wedge boards, which were cement, ours are wooden and make a satisfactory thud when hit. Our three sets of boards are set up in a horseshoe/crescent shape, 200 yards side to side. The boards go every 10 yards, starting at 20 yards from the tee and going up to 100 yards. In order to make the boards easier for golfers to see and to tell what yardage it is, we attached Spryte reflectors to the back of range boards. We also put the Spryte reflectors on all target flags, making it a lot easier with a rangefinder.
We offer teaching and fitting, though our main goal from a business perspective is to sell range balls. Customers love this setup we’ve arranged, which results in the customer improving their wedge skills (timing, tempo, muscles, etc.), and the use of many more golf balls. We can even attribute it to a 10- to 20- percent increase in range ball sales. The targets are visually and audibly stimulating, and are a great place to start youth practices. Our greatest compliment has been that other ranges in the area have started using their own wedge boards.