Sunday, July 1, 2012


Given the nature and history of this site, today’s topic may initially seem redundant, it may seem “goes without saying” and yet as I travel around I am convinced that golf shop retail is often not the priority it should be. I find this amazing when I encounter it because almost everyone in the industry would agree on the following:

  • ·         Creating more rounds may or not be desirable, but creating more dollars per round is always desirable.
  • ·         The image of the shop and facility and perception of existing customers is what creates loyal patronage.
  • ·         Given budgets, weather, etc. the easiest aspects of the business to improve are the look of the golf shop, the quality of service and aggressiveness of marketing both of these elements.
Retail dollars per round can be increased with promotions, coupons, product educated golf staff and improved product mix and presentation. Any vendor fitting day or trunk show activity, if properly planned and promoted, is usually successful. E-commerce and affiliate marketing is growing rapidly and in some cases meaningfully and can lead to increasing corporate business which at most facilities remains underdeveloped.

Typically, the first thing that golfers experience upon arrival is either the bag drop or bag room service. The golf shop is the next stop 95% of the time. Regulars have an expectation as to the look and ambiance of the golf shop but anyone new to the facility will have the natural reaction to first impressions. There will be an immediate decision made that will pigeon hole the shop into “Needs to be further investigated”, “Looks like any other I’ve been in lately”, or, worst case scenario, “There is no reason to come back here.”

Golf shop dollars per round are not the only way to increase revenue per customer. No matter what the mode for providing food and beverage, it should be promoted aggressively and as part of the golf experience. I’ve seen everything as simple as a coupon for a free draft beer when you pay your greens fee to clubs that have Sunday 8 o’clock shotguns during football season and big screen 1 p.m. games at the end of the round with a buffet.

Thinking outside the box to reprioritize the retail part of your operation begins with commitment and ideas.  Since the commitment needs to be a total buy-in from the staff and this is where the best ideas are generated, announce the desire for both at the next staff meeting. Topics of conversation and questions to be asked could be:

“What can we do short term to significantly improve the look of the shop?  Long term?”

“What is the most customer friendly thing that has happened since our last meeting?”
“What can we do on a per customer basis to wow them with the value, personality and professionalism of what we do?”

Many golf staffs and operational models seem so focused on answering the phone to create a tee time and collecting the dollars for the round that all other revenue opportunities become insignificantly secondary. The best way to increase revenue per round, it seems, is to reverse this completely.  Perhaps if all tee times and greens fees were booked and paid for on-line similar to airline tickets, then all interaction the day of the event could be about improving and enlarging an incredible experience.