Michael Tuohy, PGA, Talks Golf Fashion
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Michael Tuohy and his staff at Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch in Florida are big proponents of Short Par 4, and bringing in new apparel lines.
PGA Professional Michael Tuohy is a 5-time North Florida PGA Chapter and Section Merchandiser of the Year award winner. He is the Head Golf Professional at Esplanade at Azario in Lakewood Ranch, FL in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. Michael has over ten years of experience in the golf industry and has proven his ability to thrive in the merchandising side of the business.
We had the opportunity recently to catch up with Michael to get his thoughts on trends in golf fashion, what he and his team are doing in merchandising in their shop, and what he considered some of the important factors in marketing golf apparel to the masses.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in golf apparel for men and women in your shop?
Michael Tuohy (MT): Sunday Swagger is a leading shirt brand in our shop along with Waggle and William Murray. We still carry classics like FootJoy, Travis Mathews, Cutter and Buck and Straight Down. All our outside service staff, and food & beverage staff wear 4 different Sunday Swagger Patterns.
As we move into the fall and winter, hoodies from FootJoy and other companies are certainly the outerwear trend. For Bottoms for men we do ok with, women we are very successful with IBKUL, JoFit and Kate Lord.
As for footwear, 95% off the business is spikeless now. Casual shoes that you can wear to the course and for the rest of the day. Lastly, headwear is a major factor in our shop. We carry several different hat companies. Travis Mathew, Black Clover, AHead, O’Connor, Sunday Swagger, Waggle, and more. Style trends include rope hats and Flexfit.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in golf apparel for youth?
MT: When it comes to youth boys and girls, everything we do is PUMA. We have a Junior section in the shop, but it is slowly growing category. We are hoping to take part in PGA Jr. League this year and hope that boosts our junior category.
What are some of the most important buying factors for adults (price, quality, brand name, etc.)?
MT: We are trying to be different. Finding companies on Instagram and other places that you typically don’t see when you go in a golf shop. That has been where we have been most successful and trying to follow that trend. Price does play some factor; people would rather pay $69 for a polo compared to $98 but we have a good mix.
What are some of the most important buying factors for youth (price, quality, brand name, etc.)?
MT: Again, we are still trying to grow this category, but our main focus is PUMA and growing that category overtime.
With your being a Chapter and Section Merchandiser of the Year in the public category, what do you see as important factors in marketing apparel to golfers?
MT: There are a few key factors:
- Change and adaptation to fulfill customer expectations
As a company, we are working to grow out of the brick-and-mortar walls of a traditional shop. Currently, I am working with our developer and retail consultant to launch an eCommerce site for Esplanade Communities. Esplanade Communities can be found across the country, from California to Florida. We will soon offer all Esplanade Members consistent and quality merchandise in a convenient online setting. No matter where Members are located, they can purchase quality Esplanade merchandise.
- Shock & awe
As we grow as a company, I am personally growing my philosophy from “Think Out Of The Box” and expanding to “Shock & Awe!” I continually search for new trends, keeping the shop exciting and fresh. Not only keeping products interesting but also displays. I strive to create repeat customers through a unique shopping experience. My goal is for all customers to walk into the shop and exclaim, “wow”, “what is that?” and “I’ve never seen these before!” As I expand my strategy, our shop merchandise is projected to add $100,000 to the bottom line this year, turning merchandising into a tangible profit and a successful career.
- Grow the game and educate professionals
Merchandising is undoubtedly my passion. I use my knowledge to teach our assistants so they may grow in the golf and merchandising industry. My staff receives daily hands-on training, placing orders, arranging displays, and selling products. Recently, I was honored to hold a PGA Assistant Tournament. I used time following the tournament to speak to the group sharing tips, techniques, and resources to help expand their knowledge and grow their career path. I similarly strive to continue my education as I serve as Secretary on our Chapter Board. I feel education is essential to the success of PGA Professionals and the golf industry.