DEDHAM, Mass – Six years ago, when Bill McInerney Sr. sold McGolf, his son Eric [McInerney] wasn’t sure what to do after having taught at the facility for decades.
So when the popular golf practice and entertainment venue went up for sale again less than a year later, he and his wife, Min Young, bought it with the help of an investor who wishes to remain anonymous.
McInerney oversees the outside operations while Young manages the inside, including the cafe and creamery.
“A lot of people think it was handed down,” said McInerney, 47, a PGA member and highly-regarded instructor.
“That’s not the case. He [McInerney Sr.] sold the facility and we had to buy it back.
“It wasn’t as easy as people think.”
McInerney met his wife when they were both working at the range. They each learned the business from Bill Sr., but were determined to take McGolf to another level.
And they appear to be on the way.
McGolf – already one of the busiest driving ranges in the greater Boston area, has increased its revenue each year since the husband and wife team became owners, and they expect this year to be the most profitable in the range’s history.
“I’m very happy for him,” Bill McInerney Sr. said. “It’s a great business, but it’s difficult because it’s open so many hours.”
McGolf’s 18-hole miniature golf course closes during the winter, but the range remains open every day of the year except Christmas. During the summer, the range is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Shortly after he bought McGolf, McInerney renovated the tool garage and installed two golf simulators that have become especially popular not only during the winter, but with summer camps.
McInerney also installed 62 Power Tee systems that tee up each golf ball and adjust the height of the tee. McGolf is the only range in the area with Power Tee, which PGA Tour golfer Jim Furyk endorses.
“I love it,” said Pete Peterson, 77, of Needham. “Because I don’t have to bend down and put the ball on the tee. It just automatically comes up.”
McInerney’s 7-year-old daughter, Skyler, has a beautiful swing, but he said she probably wouldn’t practice without Power Tee.
“She’s getting very good at golf,” McInerney. “She actually sits in my teaching shed sometimes and will start telling people to keep their arms closer together and she’s 7 years old. Skyler likes to hang out with her Dad and help people. My customers love it.”
McGolf also has Toptracer, the same technology used to trace shots on golf broadcasts can trace them on the range through a free app on a cellphone to show distance, flight, speed, height, carry and more for each shot.
Toptracer also provides the exact yardage from each bay to every flag on the range.
McInerney said McGolf was the first range in the world to offer the handheld Toptracer app.
Three years ago, he took over the summer camp that averages more than 250 youths over the 12 weeks its held. The camp is one of his proudest accomplishments since he bought the range. He also runs weekly group lessons.
Just before the pandemic shut down McGolf for several weeks in the spring of 2020, the LED lighting was supplemented with 11 sports stadium lights so customers could see their golf balls better toward the back of the range.
“I love teaching,” he said, “but I wanted to have a good investment for my kids’ future and a place for them to grow up. Having the opportunity to invest in this, knowing how to run it and being here my whole life, it was kind of to me a no-brainer.”
Will daughters Skyler, and 2-year-old Chloe, eventually take over the business?
“That’s not the plan,” he said. “But if they get into it and they love it, you never know.”
The range closes earlier in the winter, but the 27 covered, heated bays with Power Tee and Toptracer enable golfers to hit balls on the coldest of days.
McGolf also has 40 uncovered bays and a grass tee box that can be used for an hourly rate.
McInerney added chipping circles and resurfaced the artificial turf green next to the natural turf green in the short game area for members. There’s also a practice bunker.
McGolf sells close to 100,000 buckets of golf balls each year. With about 55 balls in each bucket, that’s close to 5.5 million balls a year.
McGolf purchases new golf balls each year. This year, the range uses Mizuno balls, but they arrived three months late because of the pandemic.
At lunchtime on the day after Labor Day with most children back at school, the parking lot was full at McGolf and several bays were in use. Nevertheless, McInerney said he expected to be much busier that night.
McGolf has been owned by the McInerney family for almost 40 years. So, how does it compare with similar golf facilities across the country?
According to the Golf Range Association of America, that represents 12,000 facilities, McGolf has earned awards for best stand-alone golf facility for 7 of the last 8 years.
“Eric McInerney and McGolf have been closely tied to the Golf Range Association of America for much of the last decade, as the facility has won the GRAA Top 50 Stand Alone Facility Award annually since 2012,” said Brian Folino, President of GRAA.
“Eric has won either the GRAA Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional or Growth of the Game Teaching Professional Elite Member Status Award seven out of the last eight years. McGolf won the 2019 GRAA Top Range Renovation Award and cultivating the next generation of players.”
McGolf is located on 10 acres at 150 Bridge Street, Dedham. It’s a busy street, but it’s also a residential neighborhood with houses located across the street.
Part 1 of 2: McGolf The Early Years
On the web: www.mcgolfonline.com
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