Personal Engagement in the Golf Shop is the Recipe for Success
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Ken Morton Jr. at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, California.
Golf is all about customer service - and so is retail. Marry the two and you have PGA Professionals focusing on member engagement and personal attention to deliver an exceptional customer experience with every visit.
Most PGA Professionals will tell you that they strive to make every member feel like he or she is the only member, and their methods of doing so can get quite interesting. Take Chip King at Grandfather Golf and Country Club in North Carolina. He’s won several Carolinas PGA Section awards and is a Section Hall of Fame inductee.
To include his members in the buying process and ensure sales on the backend, he recruits influential women members to sample apparel - wear, wash and wear again - and takes their feedback into account BEFORE ordering for his golf shop. He works with vendors to get samples and collaborates with members for feedback - vital relationships that add to the success of his golf shop.
“They enjoy that sense of partnership,” King says, “as they understand that their input and feedback play a great role in the new items brought into our golf shop.”
Another example comes from Claremont Country Club in Oakland, California, where PGA Director of Golf Jay McDaniel is providing personal service at its finest. Upon the conclusion of the many custom club fittings that McDaniel conducts, he doesn’t just grab the chosen club or clubs from stock or place a special order. He assembles the new clubs for members right there in front of them.
The components are laid out on a table, and members experience the complete process. From the first ball hit in the fitting to the time they walk out with their new club in hand, members feel special when treated this way by their PGA Professional.
“Providing great service in golf often sets the tone for a plethora of great moments at your club,” McDaniel states. “We have several programs that cater to the individual side of our members – ball fittings, putting days, wedge clinics and of course, our custom fitting sessions with personal club assembly on the spot.”
Finally, when it comes to shopping for golf apparel and the ever-more-popular athleisure wear, who wouldn’t appreciate a personal shopping experience? At Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, California, personal shoppers reach out to clients and invite them in for a personal shopping experience. They interview them in advance for sizes and preferences, and have samples waiting when customers arrive. They also get a glass of wine (if desired) with the session.
“Under this new concept, our customers can enjoy a complimentary hour-long apparel fitting appointment, just as they would a custom golf club fitting,” says Ken Morton Jr., the facility’s VP of Retail and Merchandising. “Our personal stylists each have personalized cards that they regularly send out as invitations, and they’ve come to love and cherish the one-on-one time they get to share with their customers.”
Personal service isn’t a new concept in golf or in retail - but there are new and innovative ways of satisfying members and customers with an exemplary experience. If you’re a golfer, look for a PGA Professional who’s doing something special. Get to know your pro, and become part of the experience at your club or golf course.