C+RB‘s 15th Annual Ideas Issue highlights creative new events and approaches, born out of pandemic necessity, that have earned permanent popularity. In this article, we look at how the Country Club of Jackson (Miss.) has been helping its members promote their personal businesses with a custom-branding initiative started by the pro shop.
When a company gets its name out in front of the public, it’s good for business. As it turns out, getting someone else’s name out in front of the public can be good for business, too.
The Country Club of Jackson (Miss.) has been helping its members promote their personal businesses with an initiative started by the pro shop. Members, many of whom are business owners, can order customized merchandise that displays their corporate logos at discounted prices.
Head Golf Professional Jason Prendergast, PGA, who owns the golf shop and the merchandise, had been filling orders for two or three members who own their own businesses. Because of his additional duties, however, he didn’t always have to time to give the initiative the attention it merited. But since Assistant Golf Professional Taylor Ross, PGA, started working at the pro shop in March 2020, she has taken the program and run with it.
“We have a corporate pricing structure for our membership,” says Ross. “The bigger the order, the higher the discount.”
Members can order logoed items including shirts, hats, towels, golf tees, golf bags and umbrellas. Minimum orders depend on the vendor, but typically, hats and golf balls are available in quantities of 24, 48, 72, or 96. Golf tees come in quantities of 1,000. However, the pro shop can also order a single logoed shirt for a member. “Once we create a logo, we can put it on anything they want,” says Ross.
Vendors used for the program include Peter Millar, FootJoy, Imperial, Titleist, Callaway and Fairway & Greene, and Ross says the program has enhanced the Country Club of Jackson’s relationship with all of them.
“Some of them have given us a deeper discount than we expected,” she says. “Some vendors offer tournament pricing or 25% off wholesale prices. The corporate prices are lower than the shop prices.”
To promote the initiative, Ross features information about the service in the club’s newsletter every three or four months. She includes photos of logoed items with the writeup as well.
Ross also handles the social-media accounts for the pro shop, and she posts pictures of the new products and corporate orders on Facebook and Instagram.
The membership has taken notice. In March, the Country Club of Jackson had seven corporate orders, and the pro shop got three new orders after the release of the April newsletter.
“Honestly, I didn’t think people even read it,” Ross laughs.
The orders have been as varied— and effective—as the membership. The pro shop made 96 campaign hats for a member who ran for Mississippi Supreme Court. (He won.)
An attorney who has a membership at the property ordered customized golf balls, which can include three lines of text, during a Titleist promotion in which members could buy three dozen golf balls and get a fourth dozen for free.
Afterward, Ross called his office and asked someone to send her the company logo file, and she had a shirt made with his company logo for him as a thank-you. Now, he plans to place two orders a year.
Another member has a top position at the local Renasant Bank, which has ordered shirts from different companies. While the bank can order shirts in a 60/30 split from two separate companies, it works out to one 90-shirt order for the pro shop.
“We don’t do orders per vendor,” Ross notes. “We do them per shirt.”
CCJ hosts a large tournament every year, and the pro shop creates shirts with the Country Club of Jackson logo, along with the leading sponsor’s logo, for the event.
“For outings or big corporate events, we do co-branding with our logo and the company or sponsor logo,” Ross says.
As the site of the Sanderson Farms Championship, a PGA Tour event in the fall, CCJ also offers members a shirt with the property’s and tournament’s logos on it.
To place an order, Ross only needs to know the item requested, quantity, color, and size.
She also needs the digital stitching file (DST) of the logo to place an order, and she keeps a file of DSTs on her computer as well as an Excel file of the pricing structure.
A new order can take a month to come in from the time the logo is submitted. However, if CCJ already has a logo on file through previous transactions, a company can expect to receive its order in about two weeks.
Ross requests an image of the merchandise with the logo before production. “The member has to approve it before we go to production,” she notes.
The property has a digital catalog of available items as well as physical catalogs that members can take with them to pass around among the employees at their companies. Members can also visit vendors’ websites to view available selections.
“All they have to do is get sizing and approve logo images,” says Ross. “Other than that, we do everything for them. We even individually bag items and tag them with the person’s name when they arrive, so they do not have to sort through them at their office. I package everyone’s orders for them, so all they have to do is hand them out.
“I have gotten a really good response from this,” Ross adds. “It helps that they don’t have to keep track of anything, since I do that for them after the order is handed over.”
While Ross and Prendergast get a cut of the sales, they put most of the proceeds back into the initiative, to get more product samples. In addition, Ross says, “We have been lucky enough to get orders from businesses that have no member relationship by word-of-mouth.”
She encourages other properties that might consider offering the service to create sample products for members.
“Don’t tell the member you’re putting their logo on a product,” she says. “A lot of companies have marketing departments, so I can call them for the logo.”
It’s well worth it to spend $50 on a sample, Ross adds, and properties can incorporate sample costs into their budget as well.