The head professional at Kemnay Golf Club in Aberdeenshire, Simon Hanson, is TGI’s ‘new partner of the year’. Simon talks about the technology he uses to boost his pro shop.
What year did you turn professional and what have been your career highlights, both playing and employment?
I turned professional back in 2003 and was a relative latecomer as I was 25 at the time. I had already completed a university degree in business while previously working in the finance industry. However, I decided to get out of the ‘Rat Race’ and took the opportunity to work as a trainee PGA professional at Elgin Golf Club.
My playing career highlights are not too exciting, as an amateur I played competitively at local level, winning both the junior and adult club championship at my home club, and playing for the North East of Scotland team on several occasions.
When turning professional I didn’t see a career in playing, instead I focused on developing a career in a sport that I have a passion for. During my PGA training I was successful in becoming Trainee of the Year for Scotland in both my first and second years of training, narrowly missing out on winning it for all three years.
I was recently named at TGI Golf’s New Partner of the Year at the annual awards held at Trump Turnberry, which was an amazing experience.
What daily challenges do you face in running a pro shop?
The daily challenges in the pro shop vary day-to-day. Primarily the challenges are ensuring the members and visitors to Kemnay Golf Club receive the best possible experience when they visit the pro shop – maintaining a well presented and stocked shop with a friendly face to greet them.
There is a constant flow of new golf products – how do you manage your stock to serve the needs of your members and visitors?
As my business is only in its second year, I’m still in the process of building up the business and re-investing back into the it while keeping a very close eye on cash flow.
To ensure I offer the right number of products and services to our customers, I constantly analyse my stock control to make sure I’m not overstocked and keep stock turns as high as possible.
I also have a sales forecast and buying plan which allows me to manage my stock expenditure based on my forecast sales.
How do you manage your day?
I use an online diary which I can access anywhere through an app on my phone. I’m also a big fan of making to-do lists, which I prioritise each morning. During the day there are always things that crop up that become a priority, to manage the business effectively I will make sure I set out time each week for different tasks, whether that be accountancy, marketing, shop analysis and so on.
Do you have any programmes in place such as academy membership to make it easier to introduce beginners to the game?
We have an excellent practice facility at the golf club with our Beechbank six-hole golf course and practice area, which is perfect for beginners to learn to play the game rather than just hitting balls at a driving range.
The club offers a specific membership for Beechbank, which allows beginners and families to learn to play the game in a relaxed environment until they build confidence to move on to the 18-hole championship course.
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?
Technology is becoming a vital part of the services you offer to your customers. Whether that be for coaching and custom fitting, or for marketing and advertising in store.