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Pro shop retail tips with Gordon Robertson

 

The head PGA professional at Drumpellier Golf Club in Lanarkshire talks about the shorter hole courses the venue has established to help him introduce the game to beginners and the technology he’s invested in to ensure his business never stands still.

What daily challenges do you face in running a pro shop and teaching?

For me it’s all about member and guest experience; ensuring that this is surpassed every day is vital in my view. I absolutely love my job providing a service and building the retail, custom fit and tuition side of the business so that my members and guests can satisfy their golfing needs.

I pride myself on keeping the shop looking sharp and well merchandised and my assistants are very much involved with this.

Teaching wise I generally do most through the week during the day and evenings as I like to be in the shop on weekends behind the counter to allow me speak to the members.

There is a constant flow of new golf products – how do you manage your stock to serve the needs of your members and visitors?

I have recently invested in a Crossover XPOS system so I’m looking forward to seeing the reports it has to offer and what works well and what doesn’t. In previous years I have gone with the brands I know the best from my time in the industry.

I only started in business in 2017 so went with the little and often approach, which worked well within my budget until I could build up enough cashflow to provide a wider range of products.

I have always offered a different range of products from three or four different suppliers, whether it be apparel or hardware. It’s difficult to cater for everyone’s needs but as long as you offer a variety in each range I think it satisfies customers.

How do you manage your day?

Like most PGA pros this is a difficult challenge on a daily basis. Most of the time I compile a to-do list on my phone, as you know something new always pops up. Generally I try to get all marketing, emails and admin done during quiet days when I’m not coaching or fitting. I’ve also got my assistants more involved with the marketing side of things.

 

What are you doing to support junior golf and introduce kids to the sport?

We have recently started our Junior Academy which has seen a great uptake, we also offer free junior coaching camps throughout the school holidays and visit the local driving range with the kids during the winter.

Our junior section is growing all the time thanks to the junior convenors at the club who have been great at driving the junior section and developing new ideas. We are looking to head into local schools and offer taster sessions to primary school kids.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

It’s an area we would like to attract more golfers to and we will look to begin our ladies’ ‘Get into golf’ offering at the club. We are lucky to have an active ladies’ section and we shall look to involve the current ladies’ section as well as gents to encourage family members and friends to start the game.

Do you have any programmes in place such as academy membership to make it easier to introduce beginners to the game?

We have a programme in place to make it easier for beginners. The club has recently installed a six-hole course on the practice area to help introduce new golfers and on the main course we have a short nine-hole course, where the tees have been moved up so beginners can develop and learn to play on the main 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?

We have installed a brand new indoor swing studio with Trackman 4 Launch Monitor, which we use for all coaching and fittings. It’s been a massive success thus far for us as it has really increased the services we can offer.

We also use it for our Junior Academy as the kids love the simulator. I believe having technology is a must as it’s so competitive and members are always looking to get the best service.