Connecticut’s Windham Golf Course Starts New Chapter June 1

Power Tee brings modern efficiency to course’s new practice range

In North Windham, Conn., the 100-plus-year-old Windham Golf Course was voted “Best Golf Course” in the area six out of the last 10 years by locals. When this public facility re-opens June 1 with a re-branded appeal, customers will instantly notice the newly upgraded practice range that’s teched out on 16 bays with Power Tee automatic tee boxes, as well as Toptracer’s gamified technology. To complete renovations and present a more useful and exciting offer for golfers, the golf course routing at Windham was modified to accommodate the new range.

Two years ago, Tim DeVivo bought the course, which had fallen on challenging times. He always loved the facility, and it was close to his home. “From around 1980 to 2000, it was the premier golf course in Eastern Connecticut, and it had a fantastic restaurant,” says DeVivo. “When it became available, it coincided with my retirement right after COVID. I could envision what it could become again and the one thing I noticed was that it lacked a driving range. That was a must on our list to give customers what they need from a facility like Windham.”

DeVivo then hired an architect to help him lay out new holes and fit in the range. Building it all was a 20-month process. “I was trying to figure out how to redesign everything to meet today’s new golfers,” says DeVivo. “Independent golf courses are having a hard time staying alive. I know Windham was, because it did not have any other additional sources of revenue. And I had been to Topgolf and a few of the other cool driving ranges that offer food and beverage and thought this could really work in our community.”

He kept the scale relatively small, creating 16 hitting bays – all completely covered and decked out with Power Tee auto-teeing technology and Toptracer. “I went with the Power Tee because I think hitting balls that are automatically teed up for you to perfect height and lies makes the game more fun. I also think having Power Tee feed balls more efficiently will help push more bucket sales. When I look at the trends of what is going on in the golf industry, people look at ranges as a form of entertainment. It’s a different mindset with the younger generation, and almost differentiates between the traditional game of golf. A lot of people don’t have five hours to go play 18 holes, but they are going to have two hours to hang out with their buddy, whack a couple buckets of balls, and have a few drinks and a hamburger. I see that change in the industry, for people who don’t have enough time for 18 holes, but still want a great golf experience.”

DeVivo believes the new generation of golfers is seeking this type of technology and Windham is the only range in the immediate area that will have it built in (the nearest range is 30 minutes away). Plus, DeVivo added a concession stand next to the range. He hopes it will all attract two types of customers: Golfers grabbing some balls to warm up with before their round, and those wanting to spend time their practicing.

“I’m hoping, that with Power Tee, golfers go through the buckets quicker and then want to buy another one and also enjoy some the new food and beverage offerings we’ve added,” he says. “I did my homework and feel that my customer base includes a lot of older golfers who play the forward tees. They are going to really like Power Tee’s uniqueness of automatically teeing up each ball and the younger guests will like that range is modern and gamified.”

There’s good reason for DeVivo to be optimistic. Other Power Tee clients, like the Kwini Club driving range in Vermont, are seeing revenue increases since installing the breakthrough technology. “When Power was installed at our facility, I was blown away by it. In three seasons from April 1 through November 1, we have gone from about 200,000 balls hit to 2.2 million balls hit. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., you cannot find a free spot on the Power Tee stations, and during the lunch hour, it’s sold out. For us, that has translated to about a 250 to 300 percent increase in profit. It has been unbelievable,” said Steve Gonsalves, PGA director of golf at Kwini Club in Shelburne Vermont.

For golfers who live near Windham, June 1 cannot get here soon enough.

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