PGA Fellow Professional Stuart Disney (The Mendip Golf Club) talks about how his pro shop won a ‘Most Improved Business of the Year’ at the recent TGI Awards.
What daily challenges do you face in running a pro shop and teaching?
Time management can be a bit of a headache at times, but, fortunately, my head assistant James and my wife, Susanne, are brilliant at organising my time for me!
We have a busy season ahead with lots of club competitions, matches and visiting groups. Delegating tasks to staff is key to enable us to function and they also feel a sense of ownership.
Dealing with customers is what we are good at and it’s so important that each day starts with a brief 10 minute meeting discussing what’s ahead. This has become crucial to maintain our customer service levels.
We also have a weekly meeting to review the week and to also plan for the next. Nothing is left to chance and the systems we have in place enable us to respond to the everyday challenges we face.
There is a constant flow of new golf products – how do you manage your stock to serve the needs of your members and visitors?
When I started as a head professional in 2009, I invested in Crossover’s XPOS till system. The reporting it gives us as a business is brilliant and my staff are tasked with stock taking on a weekly basis, finding our weakest selling products, pushing these out the door and looking at the latest product launches.
James, my head assistant, and I go to stock rooms and if he can’t go, he is always looking at what’s in the pipeline from manufacturers, what our current suppliers are offering and finding out if we should be changing what we offer.
One key area in the past 12 months we have worked hard on improving is our stock holding and stock turn. We used to hold close to £50,000-worth of stock and our turn was poor at 1.78. Looking at how we buy and stock the shop was eye-opening and we have now reduced our stock holding to £30,000 and improved our stock turn to 3.79.
The result from a shop layout perspective was better merchandising, something that Susanne is brilliant at, and customers can now see what we have to offer. It does mean more time spent ordering and stock controlling, but isn’t that what business is about?
A lot of PGA pros are having to be a step ahead of their competitors in their offerings and technology – what additional added value services do you provide?
I have installed a swing studio right next door to my shop with GC2 Launch Monitor. It has been the best investment I have ever made. It enables me to coach all year round, to offer the best custom fitting service around and also helps me to engage with members through the use of ‘Nearest the Pin’ challenges and ‘Long Drive’ events along with members playing other courses if ours is closed or they want to have some fun playing indoors!
I have continually updated the studio, with better product displays, adding in a Huxley putting mat, and showcasing specific brands and the demo equipment on offer. Hosting demo events has proven to be a huge benefit to having the studio, keeping it all close to the heart of the golf club.