During PGA Show week I heard an interview where the guest told us that 20 million square feet of golf and sporting goods retail space had disappeared in the past 14 months! Wow, that means hundreds of stores where people shopped for golf balls, gloves, clubs, shirts, and shoes are gone. This is either the time to panic as e-commerce continues to drive new sales daily or.........it is the perfect time to energize your golf shop for this new leaner age as more stores and malls will no longer compete in the golf space. What will you do? What should you do? Look, I believe business is about confidence and trust. As an owner or operator of a local golf facility, your goal is to build trust every day in order to build loyalty. Success in business is built upon repeat transactions. People must like you. They need to come back over and over, maybe not always for a round. They might be attending a Rotary meeting, or stop in to get fit for a new putter. We need to think about the golf course more than the sum of 18 hole rounds. Why not make your facilty the community place?
If we look at the golf course through the lens of value, of how many loyal customers are part of our daily world, we should be able to create a value program that teaches the local community to make you their go-to place for all things golf, for all local meetings, parties, etc. Yes, we need to drive rounds, rate, memberships, etc, but we should want to enhance the value of your space, all of your space. This just might be the time to create your best golf shop yet. Offering your local community some key brands, key items, and all with skill and value will not only enhance your traffic and shop sales, it will bring your club into a new light with your golfers and with your community. Here are five thoughts to creating success in your shop this year:
- take a hard look at your current inventory and see if it holds real value to your golfers
- visit a golf store(s) in town to see what they are up to beyond the product they carry
- set up meetings with 3-4 trusted reps to ask tough questions about your shop and if your shop can turn it around
- sell off all of the old product as well as the product collecting dust. It is very smart to sell off the poor stuff when you have lots of traffic. Do not wait until the end of the season.
- if you plan to create a better space, know it is about buying the right brands and products for you and your community of players. So buy product and not programs which may get you into an inventory nightmare.
I am a firm believer in the golf shop. If you build a good buying plan, have staff members who care, and who know about how to fit and sell, you can succeed. You and the team must be proactive. That means proactive with events, specials, vendors, and the golfers. You cannot win by being shy. There are very successful golf pro shops out there. Creating a strong plan that results in unique, excellent personal service will make it happen, and make your club the go-to place in town.
Jack Dillon writes the Highfives blog. Jack is a golf shop and retail expert. He can help. Jack understands service, product, and all things golf. Jack lives in Orlando. You can reach Jack at 407-973-6136. Thank you.