Clint Avret, the 2015 North Florida PGA Section Northern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is the PGA Head Professional at the Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Florida.
For the last eight years, when my fellow golf staff and I go over to TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship, we take a stack of gift certificates (between 40–60) for free lessons with the staff and discounts with us. The discounts are usually for merchandise in the golf shop and range from 20 to 70 percent off. When we spot a person, member or otherwise, that is wearing a piece of logoed Timuquana apparel, we will offer them a selection of a card as a reward for wearing our brand. If they spot one of us in the crowd, they will quickly call attention to the apparel item they are wearing. As a staff we seek out as many Timuquana logos as possible. It’s become a great sense of pride for everyone involved and a competition of sorts for the members who want to get the gift certificates.
Over the years the membership has embraced this opportunity and buys more Timuquana gear prior to The Players Championship and proudly displays it during the week. From an economic standpoint, it has increased our sales in the shop prior to The Players, with the amount increasing each year as the program’s popularity has grown. After the tournament ends, we see a sudden uptick in folks bringing in their certificates to help clear out our spring merchandise or take the complimentary lesson. We usually give out five to eight free lessons for myself and eight to 10 for each of our two assistants, and almost all come back for a follow up. That is approximately 20 students who may or may not have been taking lessons previously, but will now that they have been introduced to one of our teachers. The program boosts morale around the club too, because not only do we hand out these cards to members, but guests who are wearing our merchandise get them as well. As a result, it’s a great thing to try at other local events like high school sporting events, picnics and so on. So give your members an incentive to wear club gear to a local tournament or event in your area. Club pride will be at its highest and your bottom line may well be smiling soon after, too.