Productive AGM Retail Conference Provides Education, Panel Discussions, Speakers, Product Reception

In celebration of golf’s popularity and new opportunities for growth, the Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) hosted its annual retail conference on Tuesday under the banner of “fun and connection.”

As in past years, the event featured educational sessions, panel discussions and keynote addresses, all followed by a Product Preview Reception where AGM vendor partners give attendees a sneak peek at their lines in advance of this week’s PGA Merchandise Show.

“It’s all about getting back together, face to face, reconnecting, forming new relationships,” said Jennifer Morton, Director of Marketing and Sales/Certified Retail Manager for the AGM.

“Our mission is to enhance relationships, elevate retail and educate always, and focusing on the core of what that means is everything this year.”

The event kicked off with a keynote address by renowned leadership coach and author Dr. Heather Penny, who spoke about how to overcome mental fatigue to achieve clarity of purpose and personal growth – giving each attendee a copy of her book, The Life You’re Made for.

There were also several breakout sessions, and for the first time, attendees were able to choose between a merchandising track with a focus on retail and merchandising strategies, and a management track with programs addressing burnout, the importance of sustainability and leadership.

In one breakout, titled “Retail Minded,” author/business expert Nicole Leinbach Rehyle discussed strategies for successfully managing a golf shop, including creating a digital component, understanding what drives different generations of customers and delivering memorable customer support. Other sessions included “Keys to Merchandising” led by former AGM President Ken Morton Jr., VP of Retail & Marketing at the Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop, and “All-Out Retail” moderated by Alecia Lane, Director of Retail at Quail West Golf & Country Club.

At the lunch-time Member Meeting, the AGM honored longtime Executive Director Desane Blaney, who retired at the end of 2022. Also recognized were 30-year AGM members and recent graduates of the AGM Certified Retail Manager Program, as well as Ahead and Greg Norman Collection, the first recipients of the AGM Vendor Appreciation Award in honor of Blaney.

Events later in the day included a Sustainability Panel Discussion featuring Tasc, Galvin Green and Radmor and a closing keynote address from Tommy Tanous, VP of International and Amateur Scouting for the New York Mets.

“There was a huge void throughout the pandemic, as Zoom and phone calls are not the same as seeing people and building relationships,” noted Kevin Cashman, PGA Head Professional at Bearpath Golf & Country Club in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “We’re excited to be able to network in person again, which is certainly what drives our business.”