The golf shop circa 2021

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As we continue to focus on the number of vaccines poised to turn the world around, we look at what this new season may bring to the golf course. No doubt 2020 was a year we lived through and would have probable trouble explaining to anyone outside of the industry. First we had no golf, then golf but no carts, then golf, but no clubhouses, but with carts. No matter the tweaks, the game added *52 million rounds over the previous year. It is hard to even type that number. The industry adjusted and then succeeded, despite a virus that continues to plague the world, while confounding each and every one of us. As we prepare for another season inside the pandemic, we still have many questions, but this time, we at least have a few of the answers too.

The virus changed the world. People then had to adjust, change habits. We all seem now to have a personal relationship with at least 2 or 3 Amazon delivery people that travel all neighborhoods seemingly from sun up through far past sun down. People began buying just about everything on line a year ago because it felt unsafe not to. I believe people will continue to buy from their new sources, at least through a time where most of us have received our second vaccine shot. In terms of how that effects the golf professional and the golf shop, I will offer a few thoughts. With the virtual PGA Show now in the rear view mirror, part of this highfives post will offer five thoughts on the golf shop of 2021. All are excited for this new year in golf. Let’s hope the adults and juniors that discovered your golf course in 2020, have found true love and plan to be back over and over again in this new year. Here are my highfives on the golf shop for this season:

1)    NEW: highlight your new arrivals. People love new, they want to buy new. Provide prominent space and presentation quality to those products new from the big brands

2)    EDUCATION: with new product and so many new golfers, develop an education program for the merchandise. Golfers love to learn about golf equipment. When/if possible, bring in several vendors to talk about your new arrivals and why those items belong in the bags of your players

3)    TURN IT: golf merchandise is good for one thing only: to sell. Build a plan to price your product, and then begin to mark it down, either due to too much rain, or too little interest after 4 weeks of hard play. Never “marry” the merchandise. Just as with food, merchandise gets “stale” after being seen or moved three or more time. Mark it down and turn it, free the cash to buy the goods that are working

4)    CONSUMMABLES: if you are a public or semi-private club, why not “major” in those items every golfers needs: golf ball, gloves, hats, sun protection, etc. Be the expert here. Have variety and a never out program within your team. If your course expects to be busy this season, running out of the simple items is simply refusing money

5)    SURPRISES: create surprises each and every month around your merchandise. From rolling dice for discounts, to handing out envelopes with a discount amount inside, trigger fun and excitement around your merchandise. A boring golf shop is an unprofitable golf shop. Think about ways to get with suppliers, providing free golf balls or other items for testing and trial. Create connectivity with your golfers and your merchandise.

The new season is around the corner. After 2020, the anticipation is like day 4 of a major: we can’t wait. No doubt last year was about a daily scramble filled with trying to keep all safe, while trying to keep the crowds moving along the trail. The golf shop is the hub of the facility, where all come to connect with the team. Hopefully, you will have more people inside at the start of the season. In any case, be safe, do all you can to create the fun and joy of the game, and hopefully this year will end with some joy concerning a hopeful demise of Covid.


Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack is a merchant, an expert on merchandise, service, and operations. Jack co-founded the successful player development program: Golf for the fun of it! Jack can be reached at: His mobile is 407-973-6136. Jack is available to help you create a better golf shop and a better team. Jack lives in Orlando.


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