The hub with a twist

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The golf shop, once the place to buy great golf merchandise and receive unique professional advice, has become a space to maybe buy golf balls and food items at many golf courses around the U.S. today. It is the place we check in, pay our fee, confirm our time and possibly chat with staff. It has changed from a professional shop into a convenience golf stop during the past several decades. As we edge closer to a brand new decade however, I suggest we rethink the golf shop, what it is for many today, and what it could become.

During the ’60s and ’70s the golf course pro shop was the center for all of the great golf merchandise of the day. From new woods, new forged irons, shoes, balls, and apparel, the shop was that place we found our favorite brands, our newest toys and more. That was a long time ago, and now with big box stores and e-commerce, the golf shop has in many cases become a home for hats, a few gloves and some golf balls. At the same time, the space has remained the same as has the aged strategy. Only the results are now very different.

These five ideas as to how the golf shop might have a rebirth, an opportunity to still be the hub, but with a twist. Because the golf shop is that place on the property map where most players begin their day, we should look to turn the shop into a true place for hospitality, for education, and for sales of all types. The sales I am referring to here include more than gloves, balls and caps. Here are 5 thoughts about a new golf shop:

1.)    The first thing is deciding what merchandise categories you want to continue to sell. Once you know, sell off everything else, and reset the merchandise to be a new part of the space you need. Make it look attractive, and easy to buy as you reset the entire area

2.)    Think about all the things your property sells. You may sell weddings, meetings, outings, corporate events, special dinners. Set up a desk with strong point of purchase information on what you sell, in the shop. Set up the desk and the POP in an area where golfers will surely see it

3.)    On the busiest days have your head of sales take on that desk area during the high traffic periods. Having a stack of brochures telling people you do weddings is not how you will succeed in 2020. When you have your personable sales leader showcasing your events, talking with people one on one, and setting up appointments to show your space, you will see sales swell

4.)    Every golfer has a job or a family or kids who are going to get married. The bottom line is that every golfer is a potential direct or indirect client for more than just a round of golf. By recreating the sales story, the positioning, and adding your sales person in the shop space, you will create questions, interest and chatter

5.)    The golf shop must continue to be the hospitality center of the property. Set up a specific training program, teaching all who work the shop, all categories of the service experience. When you help your customer feel good about playing at your property, you will be building an army of advocates for you and all you do. They can become your sales network.

 In the “old days” the pro shop was the place to buy the best brands, the top merchandise and get expert advice from the Head Golf Professional and staff. Today, the shop for many has become a convenience center to pick up balls, a glove, and a snack on the way to the tee. I suggest it is time to rethink the shop and the space. The golf shop of today can still sell limited merchandise, but than become so much more.

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series.  Jack has been in the game for more than 45 years.  He is a speaker, an expert in operations, service, and merchandising. Contact Jack at 407-973-6136.  Get with Jack to improve your team, your property.

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