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Finally, a Zoom meeting where something actually gets done—Golftec to offer free virtual lessons


Golftec, the golf instruction franchise business that has produced more than nine million lessons at nearly 200 worldwide locations since it was founded in 1995, knows you’re jacked up to play now that golf courses are finally opening up everywhere. But they also know the “stay home” provisions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic probably hasn’t been the best thing for your swing. And while you’ve probably had your fill of online meetings, Golftec is offering a Zoom meeting you won’t want to ghost: An online-lesson plan for getting your swing back in shape.

And the best part: Golftec is offering the lessons for free.

The company, which developed the leading sensor-based swing analytics system in the game, announced Wednesday a new Free Virtual Lesson program open to any golfer in North America, not just those already enrolled in Golftec training programs. Through the plan, golfers can upload their swings via the Golftec app and schedule a Virtual Lesson with one of Golftec’s more than 700 instructors or coaches. Each lesson will be recorded and available within the app for a user to watch at any time.

“The coach will be able to teach you live just the way he would if you were with him in person, make notations on your swing, and have you work with him on your swing virtually,” said Joe Assell, CEO and co-founder of Golftec. Assell said that while online meeting software is commonplace, Golftec worked to develop the company’s golf instruction software so that it could function efficiently in the virtual space the way it does in the physical space. “We know that most of America is still under shelter-in-place guidelines to some degree, and of course most of our centers aren’t open yet. So we wanted to offer these lessons free until we’re open and our coaches are busy in person.

“We see it as our goodwill gesture to help golfers while America is in the midst of this crisis.”

Assell said that all of Golftec’s U.S. training centers closed by March 23 and only three have since opened in the last week. He said he expects more than half of Golftec’s facilities to be open by mid-May with probably 75 percent open by June 1.

The company has developed new operating procedures to make the Golftec experience “the safest golf lesson you can take” and “essentially touchless.” Rather than multiple lessons being booked every half hour, under the new format, lessons will be spaced out every half hour so entering and exiting customers never see each other.

Assell also said he’s already seeing a change in consumer attitudes. “Forty-five days ago, the calls coming into our call center were more like ‘I need to cancel because I’m feeling nervous and I don’t want to come in,’ or even ‘Can I get a refund?’” Assell said. “But our call volume the last week has been, ‘When are you opening? I’m dying to get in there and work on my swing.’”

Every golfer receives two free virtual lesson credits after creating his or her free account on the Golftec app, which can then be used for swing analysis or equipment consultations. Nick Clearwater, Golftec’s vice president of instruction, said he expects the virtual lesson format to be part of the company’s instruction platform until facilities are open again and operating at full capacity.

He even envisions a scenario where coaches could conduct lessons remotely while students came into the training centers to work on their games. “Mainly, though, we want to get this rolling and try to bring some normalcy to everybody, get them making some golf swings, focusing on their games and improving,” he said.