When I initially inquired of the principals of the high-end apparel vendors and the directors of the better known clubs who I should be interviewing that provides top notch haberdashery service and product to their members, Cary Cozby’s name came up in every conversation. Cary was an assistant golf professional at Southern Hills Country Club from 1995-2000, prior to which he was an assistant at Oak Tree Golf Club from 1993-1995. Cary played collegiate golf at the University of Oklahoma 1987-1992. He was a PGA Professional at Wichita Country Club starting in 2000 and added CEO responsibilities to his workload in 2005. Cary has since returned to Southern Hills as Director of Golf and was recently selected as the South Central PGA Golf Pro of the Year. This interview is a re-posting of a couple of years ago but I thought a re-posting appropriate with the award inspired video (click here).His reputation among the leaders of the industry is always described in superlatives.
We talk a lot about anticipation of member needs and also track member preferences: brands, sizes, beverages, etc. We stress the details, and our goal is to have the answer before the question…we also plagiarize the best we can from other facilities or anyone else in the hospitality business. It is the main differentiator in any business, especially the golf industry. We are all selling the same product so why should someone buy from us? Providing a great training program and developing a staff that owns the operation is vital for our success. It takes everyone pulling on the same side of the rope to deliver great service.
Inside the golf shop, we have increased sales by working the corporate angle with our membership. It has really grown and we have found they would rather do business with us than an outsourcing company, and, typically, we beat them on price and definitely on service. We have also expanded into carrying some tennis and fitness apparel, and this has helped steer new traffic into the golf shop. Obviously, once we get this group into the golf shop for the first time, we have the opportunity to make them customers.
Our outside service staff is encouraged to make decisions, and we inquire of them how we can improve service and/or efficiencies within the operation. They always have great ideas that make us better and our operation today is a result of 12 years worth of melting ideas from assistant professionals and our outside staff.
Everyone can be a leader; you do not have to have a title to make a difference.
Being comfortable with communicating the products we carry is the key and develops a level of confidence among the staff, which leads to sales. The vendors play a key role in the development of this knowledge and something each of us should expect from our vendor partners.
We trust delivering great service to our membership creates a difference between us and the next guy.