Keith Stewart: Offer a $1,000 Challenge

Keith Stewart, a two-time New Jersey PGA Section Horton Smith Award winner and a Section board member, is the PGA Head Professional at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, New Jersey.

Each year when I attend the PGA Merchandise show with my professional team, I allocate $1,000 in open to buy spending for each of my assistant professionals. Their “1K Challenge” is to find a new product for our facility. They will have to take full ownership of their purchase, much like the responsibility of regular buying. They search the PGA Show floor all morning for their product and then pitch the item to me at lunch. If approved, they return to the floor in the afternoon to purchase it and decide on a delivery date. From there, they follow through on their purchase by receiving, pricing, marketing and selling it. In 2015, my three assistants brought in CertiFresh Cigars, Nexbelts and 2-Undr briefs. All were great additions; currently 2-Undr is leading the way. The final step is that each assistant has to review their product choice, determine its net value and report again. The winner receives a cash reward, and I receive new fresh products for my shop, assistant buyer training and, most importantly, the personal rewards of successful mentorship.

Not all facilities have the luxury of a shop merchandiser, therefore I train my assistant professionals on all aspect from purchase to sale, marketing to inventory. These skills are required, as I manage several hundred products throughout the year, and my assistants will need them one day as well. Allocating $3,000 for my assistants to spend goes a long way in the development of their professional skills here at Springdale and into the future. Overall it is a great win-win. I am able to use my time wisely at the PGA Show while they find new and interesting items. Don’t just have your assistants follow you around this PGA Show. Give them the 1K Challenge and watch their professional acumen flourish!