Game Changers

Fashion Forward: Find All the Latest Styles at the Country Club of Lincoln

By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Published on

In Lincoln, Nebraska, Nick Muller, PGA, is celebrating 10 years as the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lincoln, and he says that autumn in a college town like his means football, football and more football. So, as golfers split their allegiances across other sports and activities, the holiday season is all but upon us, meaning it’s time to learn what’s rocking in retail in the country’s heartland. Muller, the 2018 PGA of America Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities shared his thoughts.
“Patterns are still raging within our men’s apparel lines,” Muller stated. “Whether it’s outerwear or polos, the trend continues.”
We have heard similar comments from the other award-winning merchandisers who’ve contributed to this Fashion Forward series, but it’s interesting to note the consistent message across facility types - from Brian Tolnar’s public course to Nick Muller’s private club to the vastly diverse clientele now served by Josue Reyes as he grows his very own retail services company. 
“Peter Millar started it with their unique prints, and everyone else followed suit. And just like that Callaway Driver seems to get longer and straighter every year, the teams at Millar and Grayson and other leading apparel manufacturers are getting better with every new line and remaining cool, as well,” he added. 
Muller says he thought he might end up with too much merchandise left over this season, thinking the momentum had to slow at some point after the huge holiday sales of the past two years, but, “The numbers keep growing, and we keep selling whatever we get in,” he confirmed. 
Muller says they use those vital vendor relationships to build an interest in a brand, often one not readily available in their area, and that initial enthusiasm turns into a passion and a dedication for a line.  
However, he adds that he is not averse to diverging from the brands with which he is comfortable to bring in a new label for the holiday season. “We’re expecting a lot of golf shop sales this holiday season and would like to add a new brand with a cool story, something that our staff can sell that’s different and new,” Muller said.
He says there are those companies that he hears from once or twice each year, as they strive for a small piece of the golf retail pie. He says he’s looking forward to a PGA Show that resembles those of pre-COVID times, where he can meet with vendors, touch and feel the merchandise and find his next big winner. “We went with our home runs during COVID, guaranteed sales from the staples of the industry. But we’re looking to get back to the days of seeing new product, fresh new lines. Our members aren’t demonstrating any tiring of our most popular brands, but adding something new and exciting to the mix always stimulates sales even further.”
With dress code changes at many clubs, including Muller’s, joggers and hoodies are still strong sellers this fall. He anticipates a strong outerwear season amid the holidays and as members exhaust the golf shop credit they have accumulated throughout the season. These higher priced items are popular at this time of year. 
Gazing beyond the holidays, Muller looks to a unique 2023 at the Country Club of Lincoln, where a course renovation may be on the table starting next summer. With the golf shop in flux for next year, he says they’ll have to consider creative ways to attract members into the shop, while ecommerce and microsites with specific companies become more viable options to maintain sales. He discussed creating packages of apparel, outerwear and footwear that members could purchase for golf trips and rounds at other facilities, and could also leverage the relationships with vendors to host some trunk shows that not only become sales opportunities for the golf shop, but social events for his members.   
More broadly, Muller sees casual remaining the trend with shoes by TRUE linkswear and cashmere hoodies from a variety of vendors like RLX continuing to play a huge role in the metamorphosis of golf retail.