Recognized as a regional leader in all things golf, Chris Cote has launched the Chris Cote School of Golf, adding to its impressive stable of two golf retail outlets and golf ranges with state-of-the art technology for club fitting and lessons.
“Our latest venture is the Chris Cote School of Golf. We have seven teachers who give lessons year round at our Portland range (relatively new) and Southington range. It’s been fun to brainstorm with them. Our group of teachers has so many ideas to transform standard lessons. They are really into using technology and have come up with several engaging clinics and on-course teaching opportunities that will be available this summer.” Cote also has a brick and mortar store in Portland where customers can find the latest in equipment and more and play indoor golf.
Cote added that other “exciting” projects include a mobile fitting and custom build trailer. “PING has been a huge help in taking this idea from a concept to a reality. The trailer has been designed so that we can do a club fitting anywhere in Connecticut, or New England for that matter, and have the club built and in the customer’s hands that day.” Cote’s customers come from throughout New England and beyond with customers willing to drive several hours to experience the best in club fitting and equipment.
Cote is also installing Toptracer screens at his Portland range. “This is an improvement from the mobile Toptracer we have had there for the last few seasons.” While catering to those golfers who want top level custom fitting, the Portland and Southington ranges also welcome those who wish to work on their games. Cote also operates the pro shops at Blackledge Country Club and Portland Golf Course.
According to Cote, the golf business is booming. We are seeing lots of growth specifically at our driving ranges. There are tons of new golfers who are looking for a more casual golf experience that doesn’t last four-plus hours. The Toptracer technology gives them the golf experience they are looking for while only taking up an hour or two of their time. Club sales have been at an all time high. Most customers are nervous about the supply chain delays especially, after the last few years but the manufacturers have been able to keep up with the recent demand. “
Cote opined the biggest trend he sees in the industry is that his customers want a first rate club fitting experience. Long gone are the days of customers coming in and buying clubs directly off the rack.
“The biggest trend as far as equipment technology is using carbon fiber in drivers,” he said. “TaylorMade is using it in their driver face and Callaway has it in the driver chaise. Carbon fiber is a lot lighter than titanium that had been traditionally used. This change gives golfers faster club head speed and leads to more distance. I think we will start to see other brands starting to hop on this trend to get that extra distance that everyone is looking for.”
As to why golfers should come to Cote for all their needs, he explained, “Our club fitters have been recognized as Golf Digest Top 100 club fitters going on 10 years. We are also recognized by Mizuno, Callaway, and PING as top club fitters. Our team is highly trained to help golfers find the set of clubs that best suits their needs. We also pride ourselves on not selling someone a new set of clubs if what they are playing works just as good. We are also a one stop shop for all golfing needs. Our facilities offer golf lessons, club repair, club fitting, thousands of square feet of merchandise, six indoor golf bays, and 90 Toptracer range hitting bays. There is something for every golfer.”
Club fitting has become the norm because of “how important it is,” Cote said, “Everyone’s golf swing has nuance. A club fitting gives us an opportunity to measure those nuances like swing speed, club path, and face angle. We can use that data to match a golfer up to the best set of irons for their game. Not only is it important because it puts the correct set of clubs into a golfer’s hands, it also makes golf more fun. A player will hit longer and more consistent shots.”
Cote said when he first began in the business he wanted to be known as “Connecticut’s Friendliest Golf Shop”. He continued, “That has become our motto and is something that we put into practice every day. We try to treat our customers as friends. We want to give them the best and the most honest customer service we can. People remember how they were treated. Our plans are to keep doing what we’re doing. Our business model has proven to work so we are trying to fine tune it and make improvements as we need them.”