Monday, February 8, 2016

Orlando 2016

 In 2012 I described the golf show in Orlando as a fast moving Mecca as important to me as a place to meet with old friends as it is a great venue to network with unfamiliar exhibitors. Becoming acquainted with the new and in many cases unheralded lines and services and catching up with the news on the well-known is all part of the excitement.

I was particularly impressed this year with some of the new apparel lines and their principals that I visited with and will comment on some of those in this entry, but first I want to mention how great it was to spend time with the friends I bunk with every year Mike Pifer, Doug MacKenzie and John Brisbane. Walking the show floor is an opportunity to stop and talk with Bob Ford, Cary Sciorra, Cary Cozby, Tony Pancake and Nancy Maunder all of which I only typically see once a year but whose association and benevolence I greatly value.

Not new but impressive –                                                                                     

Donald Ross Sportswear – Incredible booth and sales team. In January of 2010 I wrote of Rob Stein’s efforts as MVP and (Rookie of the Year). Walking by their booth and talking to their team in 2016 it is clear that DR is one of the true leaders in the industry.

Turtleson – It has been great to get know Chet Sokorski over the years and watch the development of the product and marketing that is the Turtleson line. Also a great and altruistic team. So much of success in golf is about the people.

Winston Collection – The Andys are always a delight to see and their booth this year reflected the addition of great new product and ideas. Andy Renshaw has become a friend whose conversation I relish because he stays outside the box.

Imperial Headwear – Another cool booth that was both contemporary and homey but functional. David Shaffer, Mike Wrightson and the entire team are seriously good at what they do and the new Coolcore R towel should be one of the easier sales and best stories to tell at the counter this season.

New and impressive:

Lyla Renai – “Sophisticated and Sexy” and not afraid to say it. Luxurious quality and styling for the confident woman on and off the course. Lyla Altevers is the founder and designer and I hope to be interviewing her in this space soon.

Duffield Lane – As fun as it sounds. Classic and comfortable at the cook-out, on the yacht or first date. Sundress to seersucker. This line will create cult customers in the shop because it will take them anywhere.                                                         

Holderness & Bourne – Classic styling with a tailored fit and made in America apparel and accessories. Alex Holderness and John Bourne share a true passion for the game and what they refer to as a “relentless focus” on quality. Keep an eye on these guys.

 Greyson – Cool and busy booth. Charlie Schaefer’s booth and all the subsequent word of mouth were the talk of the show. Technical fabrication with classic Maserati styling.

Some news of note.

The new owners of SportHaley and Bette and Court seemed enthusiastic about working with Cathy Blair and Joe Westby to do some important new things in golf.

Decayeux Golf is a major luxury French brand dealing with leather goods, jewelry and couture and is looking to get into the golf market. They did not have a booth in Orlando but I met with them and they presented to me (with white gloves) some pieces I thought would be outstanding customized tournament favors for high-end clubs.

Spanner Active was a presenting sponsor at the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Conference and is an exciting ladies line based on collections. Jim Dougherty is the North America General Manager.

Carnoustie has collaborated with Aristo Eighteen to be their exclusive agent in the golf market. Aristo's quality is second to none. The selection will include basics (prefinished) as well as seasonal fancies that co-ordinate with the Carnoustie collection.

Carnoustie has also hooked up with Nexbelt to offer a line of upscale belts to the golf market. Tumbled leather with an ingenious one size fits all ratcheting system and designed to complement the line.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January Marketing

T.S. Elliott believes April to be the ‘cruelest’ month. In the golf industry in most of the country it is most definitely January. Most facilities get little or no play but many stay open, incurring the expenses of being open – not the least of which is staff payroll. Since there are warm bodies on board and marketing in the shop should never come to a halt, here is an idea that is perfect for winter months.

Partner with your major shirt vendor’s in-stock program and offer the members/regulars a spring-replenishment wardrobe at a killer price. Create a flyer that informs them that they can have their package embroidered [personalized] however they would like.

This flyer makes a great shop handout, gives the staff something to talk up in the down time and can be used as an email blast or newsletter entry to all members/regulars.

Whether this effort sells any shirts or not it accomplishes the following:

· The effort says the right things about the ‘cutting edge’ service your staff are attempting to provide.

· The concept points out that your staff are always attempting to provide their better customers with opportunities to save money and increase value.

· The flyer plants the seed in a soft-sell way that your shop can provide corporate – customization on great product as well as any ASI.

Have your staff follow up with a phone inquiry as to whether the customer received the email, is interested, has questions or knows someone who may be receptive.

If the project is successful and let’s say you manage to sell fifty packages in January you will be three hundred units ahead of projection in a month that can be a nothing.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Gift Giving

This will not be an article that suggests holiday props or Xmas trees. I assume everyone
has their own way of dressing up the shop for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What I thought would be appropriate to discuss however would be the different modes that shops find themselves in this time of year and what that means to the merchandising effort.

Some facilities, for example, find themselves over-inventoried and not in the frame of mind to buy with the gift giving of their patrons as an incentive. Many clubs save open to buy in an effort to be able to provide the latest hot items for the members to shop and see that as an important part of the service they provide. Depending on seasonality some clubs retail drops off so significantly with lack of play that there is no real effort made to entice the member or regular to think "shop with us". Some shops are closed by the holidays and others are ramping up for snow birds. No matter where you are in this scheme of things if you have an email list you can attempt to do business by offering to drop ship gift-wrapped inventory or special orders. The inventory you do own can be pre-wrapped or bundled with ribbon, apparel items can be boxed as outfits and anything smaller than a shoe box can be suggested as stocking stuffers.

For the shops with open-to-buy and festivities planned, here are some cool ideas for gift-giving some of which I’ve mentioned here in the past:

Signs by the Sea – Basically if you can dream it you can order it on a rustic sign form Kathy Yevchak (  This is a very cool new company that is easy to get started with and can provide that customized gift with the golf touch.

KJUS Outerware – Sportswear made of innovative, high performance fabrication with a distinctive clear design. The perfect gift for the outdoors man.

Marc Joseph – designer brand of fashion forward footwear. The driver mocs do well in shops, but their entire line is built with attention to detail.

 Fore Kids Golf – Holiday gift giving is really about the kids and every shop with a logo that members have pride in can sell this product with the same pride. The clothes are made with luxurious soft Pima Cotton and are all designed to be logoed. Kelsey Mclean is the principal.

Seamus Golf  -  A head-cover company that has pouches, bags and hand-forged on course tools that are great for gift giving

Winston Collectionleather goods embossed with the club logo. My favorite are their embroidered leather pillows.

 Personal Golf Fan - Battery powered fan for the cart is a great gift item for the avid golfer particularly in the warmer climes. Contact Cynthia Wark(

Como Sport - The best Italian cottons, merino and cashmere for the discerning. Call Jimmy Glass.

Always the go-to gift that should be mentioned here and should be mentioned often in the shop is the gift certificate. No matter what mode your holiday business finds itself this time of year, gift certificates are easy and don’t require new inventory. Many businesses, particularly restaurants have contests for employees with significant prizes to those that sell the most gift certificates.