Friday, January 6, 2012

Craig’s Crossing – The New Year

There was certainly some upheaval in the industry in 2011. Here are some 2012 thoughts from industry leaders who made a change.

"2011 was an outstanding year for our company, in spite of some of the most difficult weather for golf apparel retailing in the East. For fall 2012 we continue to update our Bob Timberlake outerwear with rustic, lifestyle pieces. Spring 2012 marks the launch of the Sakmann apparel line, a new, classically inspired performance golf collection.
The Sakmann golf shirts are constructed with the finest, most durable fabrics and are engineered with a unique no roll collar. Our company focus continues to be solely on where the game is played and taught, the on course golf pro shop and PGA Professional. All the best in 2012.”
Chuck Sakman (owner, Sakmann Golf)
Super bowl looks like two rematch possibilities--
Steelers/Packers or Giants/ Patriots
Although - look out for the NO Saints.

“I am thrilled to be working with Dunning Golf who was recently purchased by Tharanco Lifestyles, owner of Greg Norman. The Dunning brand is a premium performance product engineered by athletes and designed for players.
-Jimmy Glass (recently named National Sales Manager for Dunning Golf)
-Super Bowl pick – Ravens

"As I reflect on 2011 the joy I have to be working with my Dad again in the apparel arena in a game we both love as father and daughter is a true gift. To be able to share our passion for product and our love of golf with all the great people in our industry is a privilege. I am more excited for the New Year than I can remember being in a long time. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues at the PGA show as we officially launch Martin Golf."
- Teri Martin is designing with her dad in their new venture.
- Super Bowl pick – Falcons

I wish everyone a great year. PGA Magazine Group is a content company and that means our mission is to increase the quality and relevance of the content we provide our readers and conference participants. Last week we re-launched a whole new platform: Golf Range Magazine and the Golf Range Association of America. It’s our way to help private, public and resort facilities, along with standalone golf ranges, create more golfers that will play more rounds. That should be good for all of us!
Rick Summers (owner PGA Magazine)
Super Bowl pick - Eagles (at a future year TBD)

Bob Mauragas in June of 2011 became President of Myrtle Beach National. Bob wishes everyone a prosperous New Year and suggests golf in Myrtle Beach in 2012 could be a good thing. Bob's picks the Giants to win the Super Bowl.

“I wish everyone a blessing of warmth and good cheer this New Year! I have been fortunate enough to have been offered and accepted the position of Executive Vice President for EP Pro. I look forward to seeing everyone at the PGA Show…please stop by and say hello…Cheers!”
Jared Henzlik (Larry Mathey is retiring and Jared will take the reins at EP Pro)
Super Bowl pick – Packers

Happy New Year!! I learned in 2011 that old fashioned values and taking care of members still works. Playing golf with them, greeting them on the 1st tee, and listening to them, pays off. Hand written thank you notes are never forgotten. My behavior can change others! Creating loyalty and trust is not just about the lowest price, 2012 will be about reinforcing and strengthening relationships.
Greg Lecker (PGA Director of Golf, Sawgrass Country Club)
Super Bowl pick – Forty Niners

"Happy New Year from the world of Linksoul! John and I are incredibly proud to service this great industry in 2012 as we transition Pima Direct into Linksoul Club and launch the new Linksoul Collection. We are committed to the success of the golf specialty retailer and look forward to seeing our friends in Orlando and beyond!"
Mark Killeen, John Ashworth
Super Bowl pick – Forty Niners

“Happy New Year from the staff at Winston Collection, On behalf of my partner Drew McDurmon and myself we want to thank everyone for making 2011 a great year. We look forward to sharing in an even better 2012 with all of you. We will continue to offer the finest customer service in the industry while expanding our versatile product offering. We take great pride in having our products featured in the finest golf shops and resorts across the globe. Please don’t hesitate to contact us the next time we can be of assistance to you and your staff.”
Andrew Renshaw – (owner Winston Collection)
My heart is with my Lions but my head is telling me they’re not going to make it out of New Orleans. I’m going with New England vs. Green Bay for the title. The two top QB’s in the game take their team to the promise land with New England winning in a shoot out.

John Bond says Happy New Year. He is now a driving force in helping make Pukka the No. 1 source in golf headwear. Yes, pure innovation, perfect execution. John goes with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tough Questions for 2012
In 2009 I wrote that the year had been Darwinian. This past year has been no less epic in proportion. Retail continues to evolve, in many respects very quickly, because of a much more value–driven and discerning consumer. Golf retailers in some cases have responded to this challenge, others became stagnant and suffered accordingly. Those still standing are in an incredible position to prosper as certain fundamentals have not changed.

1. Pro Shops have customers by virtue of the game that other retailers envy.
2. Pro Shops have a brand by virtue of the course they are associated with that is unique.
3. Pro Shops have only their own lack of vision limiting their potential.
An underlying theme has developed from which all other concepts seem to take meaning and that is that success starts and ends with superior service, everything else is in-between. The in-between is important and should be constantly molded toward perfection but people buy from people they have a reason to like. The cliché is as old as business and will be true for at least as long as there are Pro Shops.

This being the case and the barometer for next year being only temperately optimistic, let’s review 2011, answering some tough questions with an eye toward the New Year. I have hyperlinked some key phrases back to appropriate entries to give the questions added meaning.

1. Is your staff comprised of likable assistants and clerks who will provide an incredibly pleasant atmosphere and experience for your customer?
2. Are they educated with the product knowledge they need to talk intelligently about all the products you are attempting to retail?
3. Have they been inspired to provide that knowledge as a service and follow-up?
4. Have they been empowered to think outside the box, to WOW your customer?

These are the toughest questions, as they may involve some tedious answers, but staff cannot be expected to produce if they are not educated and inspired. Once the bar has been raised and the culture has become one conducive to retail growth it will become quite clear which players do not enhance the team.

Some of the more meaningful in-between questions that should be answered by way of review are the following.

1. Is your inventory level at season end one that your sale history says will turn 3-4 times a year or better?
2. If not, have you devised a strategy to get it to that level?
3. Have you developed a plan for 2012 that involves buying to space and projected turns?
4. Have you developed a promotional schedule that will inspire sales.

These are the considerations that should preempt any plans in Orlando or any decision as to how to invest in inventory for the coming year.
Between now and the Golf Show I am offering the two manuals, "The Winning Golf Culture" and "The Merchandising Buy Plan Guide" sold here on the blog at a special package price. The BUY NOW icon at the top right of this entry will get them delivered ASAP.

I am also offering a day visit to your facility customized to your needs which could include creating a buy plan and determining proper inventory levels and turn as well as providing a customer-service and retail training seminar for your entire staff at a reduced rate. This visit would also include a copy of both manuals. If interested, please email me at or call me at 443-309-3005 to discuss.
I am picking the Saints to win the Super Bowl.
Have a prosperous 2012 and hope to see you in Orlando.