Growing Your Golf Shop – Online

The biggest challenge that club golf pros face today is declining play. How do you make more money – or just stay even – when rounds are down and your club is not growing?

According to a 2013 survey of golfers by Pellucid, a golf research firm, the number of golfers peaked in 2002 at 30 million and is now back to 1990 levels. How can this be for the best game in the world?

Declining membership affects many clubs. Fewer members means less revenue from initiation fees and member dues.

It also means lower lesson fees, clinic fees and Golf Shop sales. And it can mean lower compensation and fewer jobs for golf pros.

In September and October, The Golf Pro Advisor will highlight ways golf pros can make more money even in this very difficult environment. In this issue, we will discuss getting more money out of your golf shop.

In October, the topic will be how to negotiate the highest possible salary.

I’ll be out at Bandon Dunes for the rest of this
week. I’ll be posting pictures from Oregon on

 Instagram on our account HermanCPA.
If you get a chance, please follow us!

More Merchandise for Your Members. More Money for You.

Running a golf shop can be a headache. You must purchase inventory. Then, you can be stuck with unsold merchandise at the end of the season.

You need to train and manage staff. You need adequate space to display merchandise. You need to carry enough variety to appeal to a diverse member base. You need a computer system. The list goes on.

To increase sales in your physical golf shop, you may need to add staff, expand space, and purchase more inventory. All that costs money and entails risk. What happens if you build it and they DON’T come?

There is a much less expensive and less risky way to increase sales – offer merchandise online.

The advantages to your members:

·         Broader merchandise selection

·         Greater convenience – buying anytime from anywhere

·         Lower prices than traditional retail

The advantages to you:

·         More revenue (without the inventory risk)

·         Increased member satisfaction

·         Increased member loyalty

Getting Started

Here’s how you can get started. Pick a few merchants (no more than three) whose merchandise you particularly like and that have sold well in the past.

I’d suggest you start with a couple of apparel manufacturers. Then, make sure you have an arrangement with each merchant so that you can purchase individual items (versus bulk buying) from their online catalogs on behalf of your members. The merchant would then ship the item either to you or to the member.

This is different from your standard arrangement with merchants. Normally, you would purchase multiple items in advance and the merchants would ship the items to your golf shop.

You can now direct your member to the appropriate merchant’s website. The member can identify the merchandise he/she wants and then email you the item number from the online catalog.

You would then place the order on behalf of the member. You buy it wholesale with your credit card and then charge the member via his/her club account.

Your arrangement with the merchant should allow you to offer a lower price to your members than they would get at “retail”. That will give your members an incentive to order through you rather than directly from the merchant.

With today’s sophisticated logistics, the item should arrive in less than a week.

A Personal Experience

In planning for my upcoming golfing trip to Oregon, I wanted to get the right apparel for windy cool weather. I asked the golf pro at my club what he would recommend. He suggested a sleeveless windbreaker and an underliner.

My golf pro did not have these items in the golf shop. But he ordered them for me and I received them within a week.

This was a win-win all around. I got exactly what I wanted in a reasonable amount of time. My pro made money without having to carry any inventory.

There is another advantage to this approach. My pro positioned himself as an expert giving me his advice on what to order. I will definitely seek his advice on future purchases.

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