Pro shops are becoming more member-friendly with restructured floor plans and space for additional amenities.
No credit card? No problem.
Can’t find the right size? We can special order it.
Meet the modern-day pro shop, where there isn’t a need that can’t be met. More versatile than ever, these member hot spots have become a comprehensive resource for all things retail and then some. As clubs learn how to best service their membership, they are finetuning their pro shop operations with redefined layouts that broaden their usefulness.
Good vibes are coming from the pro shop at the Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. Last year, the club underwent an extensive renovation to its golf course, surrounding grounds and clubhouse, where a renovated pro shop is attracting members and guests alike. After breaking ground in January 2021, the facility reopened last October and has been serving the needs of its golfers ever since.
Despite a modest 680-sq.-ft. layout, the Santa Rosa pro shop’s performance belies its stature.“The size of our golf shop, while [it] may seem small in dimensions, is actually perfect [for] the size of our club and has become a high-performing golf shop with the ability to turn merchandise over more frequently,” says Director of Golf Zach Phillips. “In return, [this] means our members always have the best and latest trends and materials available to them.”
He counts 100-200 visitors to the shop on a daily basis.
Although the pro shop has maintained its original footprint, it underwent a top-to-bottom overhaul, complete with new drywall, furnishings, and lighting. Floor-to-ceiling windows illuminate the already brightened white walls, neutral wood flooring and blue carpet tiling, all of which exudes a contemporary coastal feel. Given the open floor plan, the shop does not have a designated traffic pattern per se, but benefits from unobstructed views that enable shoppers to peruse merchandise freely.
“If you see our most popular items near the windows/front entrance or logo whiskey glasses in the back, the space naturally begs the customer to walk in and explore,” notes Phillips.
Sprinkled throughout the shop are a variety of merchandising fixtures, from nesting tables and slatwalls to interchangeable tables and tabletop displays. Each can be adjusted with the arrival of seasonal and featured items.
“We also tied in a modern beach vibe to warm up the white spaces throughout with things like live edge wood shelving,” he adds.
A small office for staff is also part of the layout.
Because the shop’s design fosters staggered foot traffic, smaller groups of shoppers can easily social distance themselves—a plus during the pandemic. An added safety measure is the ability for touchless transactions, which allow members to charge purchases directly to their accounts versus having to use cash or credit cards. The shop, however, did need to adjust its operations during last year’s holiday sales promotion that offered members deep discounts on all merchandise.
“To ensure the safety of our staff and members, we were still able to host a successful shopping event by limiting the number of customers in the store at a time,” says Phillips.
To strengthen its operational output, Hunting Creek Country Club in Prospect, Ky., recently restructured its existing golf shop whose previous structure included a men’s grille and fitness center.
“The goal was to better utilize space, place the golf shop strategically in a location to maximize foot traffic and update to a more contemporary design to become more inviting to members and guests,” says Marketing & Membership Director Lisa Wade.
Renovation of the updated facility began in August 2019 and was unveiled to membership in June 2020.
Finetuning the pro shop’s design required rejiggering the overall layout, including removing a bar in the men’s grille room, converting a large closet into office space and extracting a wall to create storage space for golf clubs.
With three entrances to the shop, foot traffic is generated from the main clubhouse, a side door where guests check in for golf carts and another entrance leading to the 10th tee box. In high season, nearly 250-300 people pass through the shop on a daily basis, reaffirming the need for multiple access points. The prime location “allows the staff to keep an eye on the shop and the course simultaneously,” notes Wade.
Outfitted in soft, warm neutrals with blue and gray accents, the interior design boasts cherry wooden panels and marble countertops, along with detail down lights and custom spotlights. Noticeable updates to the structure include new ceilings and freshly painted walls, while underfoot, old carpeting has been swapped out for a more contemporary style.
When entering through the main clubhouse, shoppers are immediately greeted by an area of clothing displays, organized by gender and color. The next section houses hats and other apparel, followed by golf clubs. Golf balls and gloves are merchandised at the main desk, while behind it is a storage facility where members can store their clubs in a climate-controlled room.
“Club storage utilizes space by holding clubs at an angle to maximize the number of bags we can fit,” notes Wade.
A separate 12 x 10.5 office located by a back door, leads to the men’s and women’s locker rooms, while a mini lounge area with two chairs provides a space for trying on shoes, watching television or simply taking a load off.
The shop makes good use of varying merchandisers to showcase its vast selection. Wall panel displays can be customized with spotlights to highlight specific items as desired, as can clothing displays with wall slat attachments. Shoe shelves and other freestanding displays call attention to depth of product by vendor.
Adhering to safety guidelines, the shop’s displays are more than six feet apart and hand sanitizer and extra masks are available for members’ convenience. While this facility is well-stocked, special orders can be placed as needed and can be drop-shipped to any location in the United States.
Banking on Simulator Success
Following the 2019 renovation of the clubhouse at Westborough (Mass.) Country Club, management proceeded with the next phase in its reinvention: a redesigned pro shop with two Full Swing simulators and full-service lounge.
“This project was a redesign of the existing structure, remodeling the interior and relocating key features with the pro shop,” explains Head Golf Professional Jeffrey Field, PGA.
The new space, which was re-designed during the off season, is slated to open in March 2022.
Situated in a separate building from the main clubhouse, the shop normally sees 75 percent of its golfers each day and expects to maintain, if not exceed, this growth. The previous shop, which measured 1,340 sq. ft., has been bumped up to 1,931 sq. ft., making better use of the space. According to project manager/interior designer Chelsea Zwick of Killeen Studio Architects, a frameless glass wall replaces a wood storefront wall “creating more visibility and making the building feel like one connected space rather than two separate entities.”
Using the clubhouse as a model, the pro shop will be outfitted with a transitional décor.
“With very soft tones, we wanted to create more of a feel of comfort, rather than elegance, which is reflective of our membership,” notes General Manager/COO Jim Capek.
Pops of color will be carried out via two areas of chartreuse acoustic ceiling tiles and brick-red acoustic felt pendant lights. Additional ambient lighting, which can be adjusted as needed, does double duty by showcasing select merchandise and creating a relaxing shopping experience. Luxury vinyl plank flooring in a herringbone pattern will contrast nicely against the predominantly white walls, while blending well with other textured wallcoverings.
With a layout designed to maximize traffic flow to the register, the floor plan contains a variety of display fixtures for varying merchandising needs. Custom cabinetry on three walls is designated for apparel and golf bags, while a makeshift shoe department is comprised of a cabinet containing a mounted television and seating area. Two three-piece nesting tables, four T-stands for hanging apparel, two 42-inch diameter rounders with 20-inch diameter risers, two hang/fold displays and one three-sided waterfall fixtures round out the merchandisers.
In addition to the main sales floor, the shop houses two golf professional offices, a dressing room and two simulator bays for club fittings and lessons. An enclosed simulator lounge area, with four upholstered armchairs and three café tables, provides ample space for leagues and parties. And because the shop connects to a bag storage facility within the same building, golfers have the added benefit of sliding bag racks that can hold 500+ golf bags.
Summing It Up
> When determining approximate dimensions, factor in merchandise needs and room to move about the sales floor without obstruction.
> Multiple entry points help to boost overall foot traffic and drive prospective sales.
> Adjustable display fixtures and lighting enable shops to customize merchandise selections on an as-needed basis.