INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— Each year, thousands of PGA/LPGA Professionals nationwide participate in PGA Free Lesson Month, giving consumers the opportunity to receive a free 10-minute lesson that can help improve their game. For Matt Cardarelli, PGA Professional at The Fort in Indianapolis, Ind., PGA Free Lesson Month is much more than a promotion: it's the way he builds his business.
"I initiate free lessons by spending a lot of time on the course. Using my iPhone, I can record peoples' swings and then play it back to illustrate simple changes that can help them improve their game," Cardarelli says. "No one has ever turned down free instruction, and I find that it often results in a call to schedule more lessons."
Cardarelli has understood the importance of building the game of golf since the day he started working on a golf course and takes every opportunity to help golfers improve and grow the game. In addition to promoting PGA Free Lesson Month on Facebook and around his facility, he hands out his card at gas stations, coffee shops, restaurants and everywhere else around town.
"In many ways, golf comes across as elitist and unwelcoming. People come to the course and act like they don't belong. I want everyone to know that they're accepted as a golfer, regardless of age, gender or race," said Cardarelli. "I try to be positive and encouraging at every lesson – even if I don't retain that student, I want them to know that there are friendly golf professionals out there who want to help."
Cardarelli estimates that during the month of May he gives more than 200 free lessons, and that's just the beginning. He has seen such a great response that it's now a daily aspect of his teaching strategy for all eight months that his course is open.
One of Cardarelli's first students at The Fort was Randy Jones. Jones became a student after Cardarelli offered him instruction one evening on the range. Four years later, they are still having weekly lessons and Jones' game has seen huge improvement. Jones shared that even when he's out on the course playing a round, he's comfortable asking Cardarelli for pointers on a difficult shot.
"For a lot of people, teaching golf is just a job, but Matt (Cardarelli) is truly passionate about the game. He genuinely cares about helping me improve," Jones shared. "I'm a very visual learner, and Matt has taken the time to not only tell me how I can improve my game, but to show me as well. I send everyone I know who is interested in golf to him for a lesson."