For this group on the Top 32 list, the Pro Shops are profiled for Belmont (Mass.) Country Club; Kalamazoo (Mich.) Country Club; We-Ko-Pa Golf Club in Fort McDowell, Ariz.; Spring Run Golf Club in Bonita Springs, Fla.; The Milbrook Club in Greenwich, Conn.; Reunion Golf & Country Club in Madison, Miss.; and Pretty Lake Golf Club, Plymouth, Ind.
Club + Resort Business has released its list of Top Ranked Pro Shops (including golf shops, tennis shops and other retail shops at club and golf course properties) for 2021.
The rankings reflect the judges’ scoring of data provided on shop square footage; annual sales revenues; number of stockkeeping units (SKUs); percent of revenues from hard-goods and soft-goods sales, and from online sales; whether clubfitting service is provided; the number of vendor demo days held; and shop ownership.
Entries also included descriptions submitted by the club and resort properties on why their pro shops should be top ranked, and a full complement of supporting photos. The judges weighted the data and material provided to score all entries.
In addition to the profiles of the properties below, details about all of the Top Ranked Pro Shops are available HERE and will be profiled across our social-media platforms.
The staff at Belmont CC strives to operate one of the most customer-friendly private golf shops in the country. The staff has total buy-in to the member and customer experience, and golf staff members are trained to anticipate the needs of customers and formally initiate all communications with them to support those needs.
Belmont CC hosts many events for its members and their guests, and the staff’s goal is to exceed all expectations. Consistent leadership has members trusting the expertise of the team and knowing they are receiving the best customer care.
The Belmont pro shop team believes that it can deliver on its promise to provide the best goods and services available in the golf industry, keeping with both traditional and trending product selections.
A customer service initiative that Belmont CC continues to have success with from year to year is its “Custom Order Program”. This program allows members and guests to special-order any items they want from brands and companies the shop has accounts with. As a smaller golf shop (only 800 sq. ft.), giving the option to our customers to order items we do not physically have in our shop is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and sales.
If a member is looking for a specific item, the staff first searches through the company’s website and/or catalog together to find exactly what they are looking for. Next (if applicable) the staff discusses whether they would like the item customized with embroidery or not. It then contacts the representative from that company and place the order. Once the item arrives, we notify that member with an e-mail.
From May to September, the Belmont CC staff has processed about 200 special orders in this way, including items such as custom golf clubs, golf bags, golf balls, and clothing.
Due to the COVID Pandemic, the Belmont golf shop did not actually open its doors in 2021 until mid-June (it normally opens April 1st). To offset some of this loss, an outdoor pro shop in May, with items such as golf bags, golf balls, and gloves. This enabled the shop to make some sales while ensuring that the membership had the essential items needed for their golf rounds. During this time members were also able to special-order any items they wanted from the shop’s vendors.
The Belmont CC staff is always receiving new and exciting requests from members as they learn about the special-order program. This season, a request was received from a member for a custom golf bag from Titleist. To complete this order, the golf shop manager first showed the member all of the golf bags and color options that Titleist has. Once the member selected a bag and color, it was then customized, with the member choosing to monogram it with initials and the Belmont logo, and also requesting that the Titleist logo be removed from the side of the bag. Titleist was called with these specifications, and an art proof was sent for the member’s approval.
Belmont members enjoy this service because of how the golf staff can maintain the quality of products being offered to them. Also, members can receive their 20%-off member discount when ordering items through the shop. This extra discount and high-quality products offered by the shop help to dissuade the membership from buying golf apparel and gear from other retailers.
The golf shop has become an integral part of not only Kalamazoo Country Club, but the Kalamazoo community, by fostering a culture of personalized service and attention from a staff that is dedicated to creating friendships.
The KCC team has a passion for getting to know everyone on a personal level; learning their kids’ names, favorite vacation spots, and when their dog’s birthday is. In addition, the store features a product offering that features brands that are unique to the area, as well as product categories that allow the customer to shop for a multitude of occasions. This product offering and friendly atmosphere helps to create a shopping experience in the store that is welcoming, relaxing, and memorable.
In addition, the KCC staff uses a variety of marketing tactics to keep members and customers informed. Focused e-mails and social-media posts are sent and posted at the most opportune times, including weekly staff videos that feature products and services. Personal shopping appointments are also employed on a consistent basis. All of these methods, and more, help to create a welcoming, friendly culture at the store, which is the staff’s biggest source of pride in what makes the club’s shop special.
The golf shop at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club is housed in the Golden Nugget Award-winning clubhouse. It features an enormous selection of the latest trends in golf attire, as well as the newest models in golf equipment from some of the top brands.
The expansive and roomy golf shop is designed to embody the untouched Sonoran Desert, and also houses unique Southwestern decor, trinkets and handmade jewelry produced by members of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
Spring Run was incorporated in 1998 and quickly became one of the fastest-selling private golf club properties in the United States from 1999 through 2002 when the community sold out, more than two years ahead of schedule.
Club amenities include an 18-hole golf course designed by Gordy Lewis, four lighted tennis courts, and a community clubhouse with a dining room/lounge, fitness facility, heated swimming pool/spa with cabana, and pro shop.
The Spring Run golf staff strives to distinguish its pro shop by offering a wide variety of products and pricing for all budgets.
The Milbrook Club is a bucolic, elegant and sophisticated private golf and country club that was established in 1923 on the former site of the William “Boss” Tweed estate in the gated Milbrook district.
Its nine-hole, tree-lined, parkland-style golf course can be played to par 70 at 6,287 yards for 18 holes.
Complementing the course is a full -service golf shop that is stocked with the latest equipment, which can be custom-fit to match members’ ability and measurements, along with the latest styles in golf fashion.
The Milbrook Club shop, while operating as part of a relatively small club, still offers impressive retail space and a product mix that rivals other clubs with much more activity. The shop has grown in gross sales and profit margin each year for the past eight years.
With the growing participation in golf and increasing membership, Reunion Golf & Country Club made the decision to stay up to par and grow along with the game. In 2015, clubhouse renovations began, with the new clubhouse being completed in August of 2018.
The previous golf shop is now a members’ golf lounge, measuring up to 500 sq. ft., for golfers to use as a social area before and after their round. The new golf shop is now located on the bottom floor of the clubhouse and has almost tripled in size since the renovations, reaching 1,300 sq. ft. The interior design is a classic, modern style, with enhanced lighting and contrasting décor and displays to exhibit a newly expanded range of merchandise.
With the increased space in the golf shop, Reunion’s shop can not only accommodate more brands, but also provide an additional seating area for members to relax, watch TV or simply catch up with the professional staff.
The renovations have proved to be a successful development, with more space to adapt to the growing membership and more display area for emerging brands, while also creating a more welcoming environment.
The Reunion staff has found various ways to promote the shop’s merchandise, from floor plans to displays. Dark-stained wood merchandise displays are surrounded by the bright white interior of the golf shop, creating a very appealing atmosphere that is attractive to members and guests. Each brand is separated accordingly, to maintain consistency and convenience for customers.
The visual aesthetics and inviting design provide members and guests with a positive shopping experience each time they visit the shop. The staff often alters the layout of the shop by moving displays and brands to new, more prevalent areas to attract new attention. Attention is paid to recognizing where the members walk in and where they will initially look, to help plan new displays.
The shop’s front table is used for a predominant display of the newest lines, new drops, and holiday displays. The merchandising team also rotate items around the shop, to make sure every item is seen. To keep things fresh, the front table is changed every two weeks, and clothing racks are rotated every 30 days. Items that have been sitting for a while or are not as popular are moved to sale racks, including one discount rack at 25% for items that have been present for a month or longer, and a 45% discount rack for items that have been present for two months or longer.
Throughout a good part of 2020, when the shop’s staff was not seeing as many members because of virus fears and indoor restrictions, merchandise was taken outside to a patio that overlooks the golf course. Engagement for the many members who were playing on the course was further enhanced by setting up golf clubs and bags and promoting discounts ranging from 25%-50% off. More than $20,000 in revenue was generated: 70% in clubs alone. The approach proved to be so effective in selling clubs and bags, it is being retained as an ongoing merchandising strategy.
Pretty Lake Golf Club sits on 130 acres along the shores of the picturesque lake in Northern Indiana from which it takes its name. Its golf course features 18 holes spread across wetlands, wooded areas, and the lake’s shoreline.
While the club, and its pro shop, is a small operation with a small membership in a small town, its golf staff has pursued a merchandising philosophy that has proved to be very successful: Offer quality merchandise at competitive pricing with outstanding customer service.
Identifying price points that fit with the shop’s customers has proved to be an important focuses this season. By stocking shoes that sold for under $100, the shop’s shoe business increased from 43 pairs of shoes sold in 2020 to 110 in the first 10 months of 2021. Through a similar strategy, the shop’s men’s shirt business increased from 180 sold in 2020 to 330 in the first 10 months of 2021. Basis, quality shirts are sold for what many venders charge the shop, and it still able to maintain a 35% profit margin.
The shop’s greatest revenue gains have been made through equipment sales. Three very successful demo days generated over $15,000 in sales, and the Pretty Lake staff was then able to build on that success with a complimentary, launch monitor-based custom fitting program.