Range Balls the Credit Card Way

When I was a teenager, I worked behind the snack bar at the golf course.  We used to have the range balls in garbage cans and we’d scoop up the buckets to fill them.  It was everyone’s least favorite job and I always tried to look busy doing something else to avoid it.  Teenagers.  It’s what they are best at doing, right?

Golfers would get the filled buckets of range balls inside of the clubhouse and then walk out to the range carrying their bucket and chasing after excited balls that bounced along the driveway and parking lot eagerly wanting to be hit on the driving range.  Golf balls would fall all over the place.  Golfers had to navigate their buckets and their bag of clubs.  It just wasn’t a very good method of dispensing balls, but it was all we could afford at the time.

Eight years ago, we built the miniature golf course and with it, a new building.  The miniature golf is located right next to our driving range, so we finally had electricity and a building nearby to house a dispenser.  That is when we decided to install a range machine.  This was a pretty big deal.  Our clubhouse staff loved it.  Our golfers loved it.  Our range picker operator loved it.  It honestly ranked right up there with the installation of  indoor plumbing.

A golfer would come in, buy a bucket of balls, then we’d hand over a token and the golfer would dispense their own range balls.  Technology was pretty grand.

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After eight years, that just wasn’t quite enough for us, anymore.  Some weekends, we’d have a big line of people waiting to get checked in to play golf.  Someone who only wanted to hit range balls would be waiting in the line.  It was time to find an even better way to dispense range balls.  This year, we introduced a new digital door for our range machine.  My brother, Jason, got to work installing it one afternoon last week.

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He had to open the machine up and remove the old door that had the token dispenser.

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Once he had the door removed, he just had to hook up a few wires into place.  The whole install was pretty uneventful.  He didn’t even shock himself or bleed.  I guess he didn’t feel like entertaining his sister.

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The new high tech door fit perfectly into our old machine.

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He also had to install a new antennae for the new range machine’s signal to reach the signal from the clubhouse.  There are two boosters.  One is located out at the minigolf building and one is located in the clubhouse.  This enables the range machine to talk to our computer system inside.  Now, golfers no longer need to get a token from the clubhouse.  They are handed a pin number that they is entered into the machine.  We can program the machine to do many things like dispense balls for a certain time period for lessons or a golf outing as well as provide season pass holders with a range card that has a certain number of allowed dispensed buckets on it.   Golfers can now just walk up to the machine and purchase a bucket of balls right directly from the machine and by pass the inside of the clubhouse if desired.  Of course, then they’d miss our smiling faces.

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We’re getting high tech now.  How about you?  Are you a fan of the driving range?  I find that I can usually hit the ball really well on the driving range, then it doesn’t transfer to the golf course.   Go figure.

Post by Allison

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