Game Changers

Getting Creative with Golf Shop Sales

By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Published on
Bill & Brian working the check in desk, always with a smile.

Bill & Brian working the check in desk, always with a smile.

We used to say that you have to get creative to promote your golf shop and increase sales. “They’re not just going to come knocking,” you’d hear. Well, the past two years have certainly disproven that theory, as millions of golfers have either taken up the game or returned after a lengthy hiatus. They really are banging down the door to get in.
Bill Agler, a 2019 South Central PGA Section Hall of Fame Inductee and PGA Head Professional at Fayetteville Country Club in Arkansas still demonstrates the creativity he implemented years ago, back before the revitalization of the game. He drives golf shop sales by pitching a retail tent near the first tee during his annual Member-Guest, Member-Member and various other events. Some of these events could welcome upwards of 240 golfers!
He moves a good deal of his golf shop merchandise under the tent and engages tournament participants in an enjoyable manner and with a laid-back demeanor. There’s no pressure to buy, but if you do, you’re in for some fun! In fact, golfers who buy an item in his pop-up golf shop will receive a second item of the same value FOR FREE if they hit the green with their tee shot on the first hole – no matter how much the price of the item. Golfers love the excitement and enjoy the added pressure that’s on the line. 
Bill Agler, PGA, working the crowd at the start of an event.
Bill Agler, PGA, working the crowd at the start of an event.
His “not so” secret is to purposely place some big-ticket items prominently in view as players check out his makeshift golf shop and await their turn on the first tee. He figures that even if a player who wins one of the bigger items is successful, he’s essentially sold the merchandise at half price, while alleviating his golf shop of two potentially substantial pieces of inventory. Agler loves the interaction with tournament participants, and the golfers appreciate his efforts, especially when a significant item is on the line. 
One of Agler’s mentors from long ago instilled the importance of developing a bond with members and customers. That it’s about forging relationships that are more than just “hello and goodbye” and go beyond that next sale in the golf shop. Decades later, Agler shares this philosophy with his assistant professionals. 
That same mentor told him that it sometimes takes creativity and innovation to stimulate golf shop sales, and Agler teaches by example with such unique ideas as the retail tent on the first tee. The hit-the-green contest just adds to the memorable experience he’s creating for his golfers.    
Agler offers this retail tent promotion to each charitable organization holding its event at his course, and he gives 10 percent of his sales from that day to the organizations that participate. “This is one of many ways to elevate the status of the PGA Professional across our community,” he says. “Efforts like this help further the very important relationships that make a PGA Professional successful.” 
It’s never just about the sales for Agler. He understands that sales success is a long-term endeavor cultivated by the many relationships forged through conversation and a welcoming smile. Now where’s the creativity in that?