ORLANDO, Fla. – PGA Members Nick Muller, Mark Rashell and Erik Wilson were honored as the national PGA Merchandisers of the Year for 2018 at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, before nearly 200 attendees and guests on Saturday. The awards ceremony served as a kickoff to the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Conference and the upcoming 2019 PGA Merchandise Show Week.
The ceremonies were led by PGA President Suzy Whaley, Host David Marr III and PGA Magazine President Brian Folino.
“Tonight, we honor three very deserving PGA Professionals,” said Whaley. “The amount of time and effort they put into their profession to be honored this evening is something I hope they will cherish. They’re trendsetters and innovators who set the bar high for the rest of us to aspire to one day acheive such an accolade. They’re also the ones who give, not just to their facilities, but to their communities and their fellow PGA Professionals.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to meet these Members who are taking this Association and making it the best Association in the game of golf,” added Marr. “Each of these PGA Members took a different journey to becoming a PGA Professional and a national award winner. Each has been a joy to watch and an honor to celebrate.”
Nick Muller, a PGA Member in the Nebraska Section and PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lincoln (Nebraska), was the recipient of the 2018 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Private Facilities. Since he joined the Country Club of Lincoln six years ago, the golf shop has enjoyed double-digit growth in sales each year, as well as a 300 percent increase in junior clinic revenue. The growth was also reinforced by a 73 percent increase in ladies’ apparel sales and 110 percent increase in overall tournament revenue, thanks to Muller’s implementation of well-choreographed events, such as turnkey fashion shows. His creative merchandising strategies, combined with his ability to engage customers through newsletters, branded posters and a mobile app used by 80 percent of club members, has been instrumental to his success. A member of the Nebraska PGA Section’s Board of Directors, Muller is also passionate about mentoring through merchandising/service seminars to students in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln PGA Golf Management University and Hospitality Resort & Tourism programs.
“We try to be creative, and our staff is remarkable,” said Muller. “They do a great job of coming up with ideas on their own...At the end of the day, we’re just trying to tell a great story. With all the merchandise and the demographics, we’ve heard that younger people like to hear a great story behind the brands, and that’s where a lot of our success crosses.”
Mark Rashell, a PGA Member in the Pacific Northwest Section and the PGA Director of Golf at The Golf Club at Newcastle (Washington), is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Public Facilities. Since his arrival in 2011 at The Golf Club at New Castle, Rashell’s golf shop merchandise sales have experienced steady growth thanks to his attention to detail, competitive pricing strategy, focus on superior customer service, commitment to club fitting and merchandising a diverse selection of quality products. Among his best practices, Rashell capitalized on his facility’s close proximity to Seattle, in order to create a successful program that leveraged Seattle Seahawks-licensed merchandise sales in his shop.
“We’re very fortunate to have a wonderful facility to work at and to sell, and to host great occasions,” said Rashell. “We take pride in how it looks and feels, and the experience that we want to deliver. If you can do those things, you can do any anything.”
Erik Wilson, a PGA Member in the Southern California PGA Section and PGA Head Professional at The Grand Golf Club in San Diego, is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Merchandiser of the Year Award for Resort Facilities. As the PGA Head Golf Professional at The Grand Golf Club since 2012, his pioneering philosophy has helped deliver a steady growth in sales. His commitment to fostering personal relationships with golf vendors and customers has been a key to the facility’s success, along with his belief that a knowledgeable, motivated and empowered staff is his most valuable asset. Wilson’s use of a full-time club fitter and weekly fitting experiences through different vendors has led to a 40 percent increase in custom club sales. His willingness to take a chance on smaller growth brands has also been fundamental to his shop’s success.
“We’re nothing without the team we surround ourselves with,” said Wilson. “At our facility, we’re very prideful of the guest experience—what our guests expect in a certain level of service. We try and match that day in and day out, and our golf shop retail experience is part of that journey.”
“It’s a very special evening, and we’re honored to celebrate three such worthy PGA Professionals,” added PGA Magazine President Brian Folino.