That old gathering place

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Image: thaninee/Adobe Stock

This is bonus content for a feature Jack Dillon wrote for the May/June 2022 issue of Golf Inc. magazine.

“Where’s the shop?” is always the question asked when a golfer hits a golf course for the first time. It’s not only that place to find your bearings, but the place to shop, to learn, and to chat about all things golf---and life. The golf shop is so much more than the place to pay and to buy stuff. It is the common gathering placefor all golfers.

As someone who was once responsible for dozens of shops, my mission was to create a shopping experience, getting people to stop, shop and buy (as much as they could carry.) That was my focus for years until I began to slow down and listen to the conversations during my visits. The shop is so much more, I learned, than a convenience store on the way to the 1st tee. It is the hub of knowledge, the communal spot: the place you go when you need an answer, when you want to learn, or simply listen to great local conversation.

As an operator, why not do what I did: slow down, spend time just to observe, to listen. Beyond the marketplace atmosphere, your shop is a magical spot in a middle of green grass. That place to create conversation, build a story and gather a feel for how your golfers think. I learned over time that the shop is more than four walls and fixtures. It is that place where the day begins, that place to stop for just a few minutes, where you can be treated with respect, chat about the challenge ahead, and listen, gathering confidence for those misguided swings waiting just beyond the golf shop door.

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