One of the best ways to build sales in your pro shop is to make the law of averages work for you. Get more golfers to your facility, and some of that traffic is bound to result in higher sales in the shop.
That formula seems to be working for the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The resort is combining a unique golf experience with a powerful promotion package to significantly increase rounds played and provide a sales boost to virtually every profit center. The strategy is embodied in the resort’s philosophy of, “If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.”
Banking On the Float
It all starts with the facility. Coeur d’Alene Resort is that have been introduced to help promote dead-of-summer golf, including awnings and 6-foot water-cooled fans for driving ranges and air conditioners for golf carts, the Journal gave several resorts some nice free publicity (to a very desirable target market) by describing these “hot offerings”:
• At the Bonaventure Resort & Spa, Weston, Fla. (near Fort Lauderdale), the “Golfanatic” package ($114.50 per person per night) includes a breakfast buffet and a round of golf at one of two courses at Bonaventure Country Club. In-room after-golf massages are an extra $130.
• At the Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando, the “Watson Golf Package” starts at $208 per night, and themed parties like Hawaiian luaus are offered for non-golfers. The resort, which is six miles from Disney World, also opened a new swimming pavilion this summer with an “interactive” water playground.
• Crown Golf Properties in Florida cut its greens fees from the $95 winter rate to $54, and launched an airline-style rewards programs for frequent players (local players comprise up to 75% of Crown’s summer customers).
• The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Ariz., is offering “Chill Out on the Links” for $199 and up per night; a one-night stay gets two people unlimited golf time, use of air-conditioned golf carts, and an array of “aromatherapy” treatments right on the golf cart. The resort also promotes its air-conditioned driving range that cools practicing players by using giant “swamp fans” that Westin Kierland installed as part of a $100,000 property makeover designed to ensure a “climate-controlled” golf experience all year round.
• The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Ariz., is offering package deals that combine golf with race-car lessons, cattle drives and wagon rides.
• The “Unlimited Golf Package” at The Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa in Carefree (Phoenix), Ariz. goes for $319 per night, double occupancy, and includes free ice towels, cart misters and cold beverages available on the course. The resort also offers a package that allows guests discounts for staying in one of 55 on-property villas.
• A stay-and-play package for two, with unlimited golf on five courses, that goes for $850 in peak season can be had for as little as $179 a night at the La Quinta resort outside Palm Springs, Calif.
• Then there’s “The His & Hers Golf/Spa Summer Package” offered by Palm Springs’ Viceroy Palm Springs & Estrella Spa. This little bundle, starting at a cool $1,800, includes three nights in a one-bedroom villa, breakfast, golf, and a choice of one 50-minute spa treatment. The resort also offers a pool special that includes free flip-flops, suntan lotion and two poolside margarita popsicles.
• Finally, at the other end of the spectrum, if not the thermometer, the Journal highlighted the “Extreme Golf” deal offered by the aptly named Furnace Creek Golf Course in Death Valley, Calif. For just a $25 greens fee, golfers get carts, clubs, balls, tees, and unlimited bottled water as they go through “the Furnace” —where temperatures routinely hit 115 degrees.
Summing It Up
• Find ways to get more golfers to your course, and in turn more of them will find their way into your stores.
• Equipment distributors and reps will be surprisingly eager to provide merchandise in bulk at rock-bottom prices for course and resort promotions.
• Driving-range awnings and fans and mountable air-conditioning units for golf carts are making it easier even for courses that are deep in the Sunbelt to successfully lure mid-summer players.
More strategies for moving the summer sales needle
Mill River Plan. More than 250 of Pleasant Valley Country Club’s 650 golfing members belong to this buying plan, which allows them to purchase clubs and other equipment, apparel and accessories in the pro shop for just 10% over wholesale cost. Members of this Little Rock, AR club pay $100 over and above their membership fee to join the MRP. More than 85% of the pro shop’s sales are made to members, and about half of total pro shop sales are made on the Mill River Plan, so members clearly see it as a value. So does Pleasant Valley General Manager/COO David Jewitt. “[The Mill River Plan] is a valuable tool that helps our shop compete with discounters and catalog retailers,” Jewitt says.
Develop a “home-made” plan. St. Andrews Links Golf Course, a municipal course in Dunedin, FL, offers its own value-added card that allows customers to accumulate points by making purchases, according to Harry Gross, Director of Leisure Services. Points can then be redeemed for merchandise.
Cater to kids. St. Andrews has also worked hard to cultivate youth business through summer golf camps, Gross says. The pro shop capitalizes on this by stocking plenty of kids’ golf sets and apparel. —LO
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