Marty DeAngelo: Use Event Cards to Simplify Tee Gifts

Marty DeAngelo is the PGA Director of Golf at Medinah (Illinois) Country Club.

When we have big outings come in, they sometimes want to do a gift card. But if you issue a gift card in Illinois, it has to be valid for five years. So we came up with event cards, which look like gift cards but are good only the day of the event. Each season we order new cards from Club Forms, and after a few years of doing this, our Golf Shop Buyer / Merchandiser Becky Schlimm has been able to figure about how many of each we need, and we budget for this expense every year as well. Prior to the event, we find out how many event cards they need and the value they want, which usually ranges from $100 to $150. It is important to be sure you are staffed properly in the golf shop for days like this. As stated on the card, it must be used in the golf shop, on the day of the event and expires after that day. Medinah is a private country club and guests of an outing are invited for the day of the outing only.

We usually have around five outings using event cards each year. With three courses and some of them using more than one of our courses, this can really add up. Easily, 60 to 75 percent of participants go over the amount on the card – some by a few dollars and some by a lot more. I would say the average amount over is in the $25-$50 range. Event cards are a win for the participants as they get to choose their tee gift. When you receive a pair of shoes you don’t like or need, a shirt that is not your style, or a wedge that you will not use, it becomes a gift you can re-gift or donate. Granted, the purpose of the outing is not about the gifts but when corporations are spending that kind of money, it is important that everyone goes home with something they like. It’s a win for the golf shop, as it is a great way to move inventory. Margins are higher if they order the same thing for everyone. Many people who might not come into the shop do and usually go above the value of the card. Unused gift cards are not refunded. If they give out 110 cards and only 108 are redeemed, that money is profit. Guests who don’t spend the entire amount are not refunded either, so the $8.23 that might be left on the card is also profit.