White Plains, N.Y. (June 9, 2020) – As Phase I of reopening began last week in Westchester, many businesses are just now learning what one golf range in White Plains, NY, has been doing for over two months. Deemed a non-essential business by NYS ESD, Game On Golf Center has been open, closed and open again under very strict health and safety requirements imposed on all golf facilities. After serious scrutiny from local, county and state officials, including the office of the NYS Attorney General, Game On has emerged as one of the first shining examples of Governor Cuomo’s reimagined economy touted in his regular public addresses.
So what does it take to successfully navigate the age of COVID-19? Says Vito Galasso, one of Game On’s partners “It takes a positive attitude and a whole lot of attention to detail, but first and foremost, it comes down to accepting the challenge to keep staff and customers safe, proactively executing, constantly refining and then exceeding government requirements.”
By embracing the above approach, Game On successfully eased the fears and apprehension of public officials, and the range was able to continue operating as a much needed recreation outlet and source of comfort for the community during a very difficult time. “It has been a hard fought battle to live up to the expectations of our community, but our struggles have yielded only positive results,” according to Kevin Kaye, another Game On partner. “Working from home was not an option for us, and as a customer-centric business, we’ve learned a lot about expectations in the new post-pandemic environment. Now, businesses are calling us to learn what we are doing and we’re happy to help.”
In early March, as the threat of the virus became more real, Game On quickly focused on health and safety by voluntarily implementing distancing and enhancing existing sanitizing protocols before they became mandatory. This decision proved to be critical as virus fears escalated rapidly. “Customers have not only been appreciative of what we are doing [to keep them safe], but almost elated that we could remain open at a time when the community needed us most,” says Galasso. “Even the governor recognized the importance of healthy solitary outdoor recreation.”
Oasis Day Spa owner and long-time range patron, Bruce Schoenberg had to close his establishment back in mid-March along with thousands of other local businesses. He is still waiting for the green light from the state to re-open. Schoenberg remarked, “As an avid golfer and business owner, I am so appreciative of Game On Golf Center for being able to remain open during this time, and for recognizing the critical importance of providing and maintaining a safe environment for both customers and staff. Management has done an amazing job ensuring our safety and of the premises and equipment during this stressful time.”
Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor, also acknowledged their extensive efforts in an email exchange with Game On partners, stating “I appreciate the proactive measures Game On Golf Center is taking trying to encourage social distancing.”
As the Mid-Hudson region moves to “phase two” of the New York Forward plan this week, allowing outdoor dining and the reopening of retail stores, salons, offices and other establishments to open their doors, Game On Golf Center partners offer some strategies to fellow business owners that will help them achieve a successful re-entry:
● Be agile and pivot as needed: During an ever changing environment, thoughtful flexibility is crucial. Implement, observe and get feedback, then make improvements.
● Multi-channel communications with patrons and customers: Transparency and communication via numerous channels are essential to the success of a business reopening. Leverage emails, newsletters, social posts, printed and digital ads, and phone calls to convey key information, changes in hours, adjustments to on-site behaviors, and new expectations.
● Exceeding minimum safety standards: Providing the bare minimum is just not enough to achieve the necessary level of comfort. Set the bar higher, be creative and go further than expected.
● Understand and be responsive to customer concerns: Connect and engage with patrons at every opportunity. Request feedback, send surveys and be attentive to customer needs.
● Invest in the tools and resources needed for success: Empower staff to deliver exceptional customer service. Start by creating a culture of trust and confidence with your staff. Safety and service first… all else will follow.
● Positive conviction: Be practical and stand behind your solutions, yet be open to new ideas. Every challenge is an opportunity to make improvements in your business and plan for the future.
To watch a 3-minute video about the measures this team has taken to assure safety at their Westchester business, please click here.
About Game On Golf Center
The golf range property originally opened in 1948 as Westchester Golf Range, then purchased in 2017 and renamed Game On Golf Center. New ownership has invested in many improvements to the more than 70 year old facility — expanded programming, grounds, technology — all to establish Game On as a valuable community asset and world-class golf recreation center. Offering regular open mats, as well as grass tees and short game area, the latest addition includes 10 all-weather covered heated bays fitted with Toptracer technology, the same ball tracking system used on televised PGA Tour Events. Game On Golf Center is the only Westchester Toptracer range.
Game On also offers a variety of instruction options through an experienced group of both PGA Golf Pros and certified instructors leading weekly clinics, private and semi-private lessons and leagues for all ages and skill levels. In addition, Game On Golf Center is open year round and hosts seasonally appropriate corporate functions, private parties and fundraising events.
The pro shop at Game On Golf Center provides expert club repair, re-gripping services and a variety of popular items like pre-packaged balls, gloves and other golf accessories, as well as snacks, drinks and hot beverages.
Temporary abbreviated operating hours are weekdays from 9:00am until 9:00pm and weekends from 8:00am until 9:00pm. Additional amenities include night time lighting, automated ball dispensers, high quality ball mats, short game and grass tee area, and new easy-to-read distance markers.
Game On Golf Center also offers summer youth camps and is proud to be the Westchester home to The First Tee of Metropolitan New York. The First Tee is a youth development organization impacting the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf, with a focus on serving minority and underprivileged youth.