Shopping at the club has evolved into an unexpected retail experience.
A comfy pair of pajamas. A heavenly scented candle. An eye-catching charcuterie board for your next cocktail party. A few years ago, members would be hard-pressed to find one of these items in their club’s pro shops, but these days, they are becoming more prevalent on store shelves and in shopping bags.
As facilities update their clubhouses with shops that go beyond club fittings and racquet restringing, members can expect to see more shops that carry home décor, children’s gifts and other goods that speak to their penchant for fine merchandise. Be it a modest update or a top-down renovation, retail venues that go beyond the basics are catching on.
Creating a Destination Station
At Lantana (Texas) Golf Club, pro shop upkeep is just as important as fairway maintenance. Designers had this in mind when they updated the clubhouse last June and moved the retail shop to a more accessible location. The changes have translated to a venue that has allowed Lantana to expand its merchandise and reposition itself as a lifestyle goods retailer.
The 800-sq.-ft. pro shop, situated in the front of the clubhouse, is the first point of entry for Lantana members and guests. While the original footprint remained intact—including storage, office space and a dressing room—the new spot offers greater visibility and more convenient access.
“We’re fortunate that every day, our members pass through this retail location: on their way to play golf, dine or meet friends,” says Linda Garland, National Retail Director for Arcis Golf, which manages the property. Foot traffic amounts to approximately 100-150 visitors per day.
New life has been breathed into the space, formerly occupied by offices and a cart barn, and features an open concept floor plan. A classic, neutral color palette was chosen to not detract from the product on display, while wall fixtures are designed with built-in lighting to accent featured items. A mixture of wall fixtures and built-ins are peppered throughout the shop, providing the flexibility to swap out items and showcase newer merchandise. For instance, a wall display with shelving can house folded apparel and bags or, when readjusted, hanging items.
“These units have a variety of flexibility, and each section can look different and give the customer a new journey at each different point,” notes Garland. Floor fixtures can also be restructured in a similar fashion, enabling the shop to adjust its displays with the changing season or when new brands come in.
With this higher level of customization, Lantana Golf Club has been able to broaden its retail inventory significantly.
“Expanding into unconventional items is the cornerstone of our retail philosophy and our positioning as a ‘lifestyle’ shop,” says Garland.
Golf balls and apparel have now found themselves competing for space with a full range of gifts and home décor—everything from cocktail napkins, wine bottles openers and charcuterie boards, to blankets, baskets and candles. Feedback from customers has been phenomenal, as evidenced by a 30-percent increase in retail sales. Garland believes that the shop’s new location, coupled with a comprehensive merchandise selection boasting greater appeal, has helped to motivate members to visit this portion of the clubhouse more regularly.
“In the past, social members may have not walked into the old golf shop, but now they have a reason to walk through the new retail space and see what is being offered or highlighted,” she says.
Lighter and Brighter
The shopping experience at Cleveland Country Club in Shelby, N.C., has become more illuminating, thanks to a recent redesign. Following the clubhouse grounds and club dining facelift of the 90-year-facility in 2021, updating the pro shop with a refreshed interior with new lighting, fixtures and flooring has enhanced the space dramatically without requiring a complete overhaul. The two-month-long project was made possible by a legacy gift from the family of Gordon McLarty, a long-time member of the club’s men’s league.
By opening up a wall and installing large windows and French doors in the 900-sq.-ft. shop, the interior is now flooded with natural light.
“The footprint of the shop is so small that this had made a very big difference in the space,” says General Manager Allyson Kahl Darling. “It was our intent to provide the entrance (awning, doors and windows) with the modern feel of the rest of the clubhouse, while keeping the interior of the golf shop more classic and traditional.”
Additional inset lighting was installed throughout, while carpeting was swapped out with wood flooring.
Helping to better showcase the shop’s product selection is new custom millwork, including a standalone kiosk, built-in merchandise cabinets, counter space and wall-mounted displays. Of particular note are commemorative photos and other memorabilia that pay tribute to McLarty and his love of golf.
Since the retail shop’s reinvention, Cleveland Country Club has been able to provide a much more satisfying shopping experience for its membership. And with its prime location on the first level of the three-story clubhouse, prompting all golfers to pass through on their way to the locker rooms, golf lounge and game area, the aesthetically pleasing shop and all its offerings are hard to resist.
“Not only do all the new fixtures provide more space for inventory displays, but changing the layout of the space increased the ‘flow’ of the shop as well as its merchandise visibility,” adds Darling.
Building Out Retail
Members at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club are eager to peruse freshly stocked shelves of a redesigned pro shop, slated to open later this month. It’s all part of a two-part clubhouse enhancement project that will include a new 19,500-sq.-ft. building, complete with underground golf cart storage, locker rooms and restrooms.
The original pro shop, which dates back to 1928, was overdue for a facelift, according to Cameron Kaplan, Director of Marketing for JCM Partners, which manages the property.
“The 95-year-old structure, while charming, is in need of constant repair and does not offer the modern amenities for members and guests,” she explains.
The soon-to-be updated facility will be adequately designed to house the 6,300-sq.-ft. shop (a modest bump up from the previous 6,000-sq.-ft. design), along with 13,000 sq. ft. dedicated to golf cart storage and a 7,500-sq.-ft. cart barn.
Members will not feel displaced by the new shop, located a mere 30 yards southeast from the original building. Kaplan describes the single-story structure as “a luxurious estate conversant with its immediate neighbors, merging seamlessly into the community.” The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture features smooth plaster earthtone walls, natural ledgestone walls and sandstone tile walls, while embodying design elements from the Biltmore resort community, such as concrete Biltmore block and patina copper fascia.
Stepping inside, visitors are instantly welcomed into the cool confines of the store, where large windows look out onto the Adobe Golf Course and views of downtown Phoenix in the distance. On the left-hand side, additional windows frame the cart staging area and an eye-catching water feature, which speaks to the modern and sophisticated vibe. Colorful rugs, natural millwork and leather-wrapped floating ceilings further enhance the shop’s contemporary vibe.
A check-in counter is located just past the merchandise displays, comprised of different fixture styles. Among these are a geometric slat wall that transitions into a built-in shoe display, a feature hat wall with LED lighting and slatwalls outfitted with men’s, women’s and children’s apparel. Four-way and two-way displays and nesting tables also showcase assorted goods, while a golf checkout counter is decked out with logo golf balls and additional glass shelving.
With so many options for merchandising, the golf shop is designed to expand its product selection beyond the traditional mix. Shelves are currently being stocked with such items as jewelry, resort/active wear, kids’ golf shirts, baby onesies and children’s books from local authors—a breadth of goods that was not feasible with the previous design.
“With the club’s close proximity and relationship with the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort, we expect new sales opportunities for these non-traditional items,” notes Kaplan. C+RB
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