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November 2018

Two Operators- Two Questions: Bringing in the Holiday Shoppers

By Steve Donahue

Dan Jacott
GENERAL MANAGER
Majestic Oaks Golf Club
HAM LAKE, MINNESOTA

Brett Johnson
GENERAL MANAGER
Whitetail Ridge Golf Course
YORKVILLE, ILLINOIS

Most golf operations have a year-end holiday sale. Here’s how two successful operators handle them.

Golf Business: Do you advertise your sale in advance and, if so, how?

Dan Jacott: Managing a golf merchandise operation in northern climates like Minnesota can have its challenges. One of the most important things I have found in trying to move excess merchandise is not to wait too late in the season. We hold our year-end sale in September, when we still have superb weather and the greatest number of golfers. Advertising is focused on our membership, as many have shop credit left to spend. We promote the sale for at least three to four weeks leading into the event. Additionally, we target other audiences for which we have accumulated databases, including special events, dinner-theater patrons, FootGolf leagues and Majestic cardholders.

Brett Johnson: This year, the golf shop and adjacent “19th hole snack bar” area will again add state-of-the-art golf simulators available for winter-season social activities, as well as practice and instruction during a time when many Chicagoland golfers put their clubs away for a few months. Creating more winter-season traffic by offering simulators allows us to keep merchandise stocked and promote winter and holiday sales. Advance promotion is critical. Social Media drip campaigns and targeting the email database begins in October. We initiate marketing efforts by creating additional value to our membership by offering members early access to merchandise sales and winter programming.

GB: What are the particulars of your holiday sale or alternative ways of getting rid of excess merchandise?

Dan Jacott: Making our year-end sale festive and fun is always important to attracting customers and stimulating the buying atmosphere. The sale is held in tents next to the golf shop. They are very visible and attract interest. Merchandise is showcased in themed displays (golf, juniors, football) and holiday music is piped into the area. Complimentary appetizers and beverage “tastings” add to the celebratory atmosphere, as does a daily drawing or give away. For each $10 spent, purchasers are given a ticket for a drawing to win equipment and apparel.

Brett Johnson: The Whitetail Ridge Golf Expo debuting in February is designed to be an effective campaign that motivates golfers to visit the golf course in the off-season and prepares the club for a successful merchandise effort during the upcoming season. We are partnering with several nearby golf courses and our full line of vendors to create a new event for 2019 that locals won’t want to miss. The one-day expo will be hosted in the 4,800-square-foot Whitetail Ridge ballroom and includes simulators available to demo equipment, great values on hard and soft goods, and menu selections from the Whitetail Ridge Bar & Grill. This event will create some golf buzz before the spring season and help us recoup our original investment in merchandise that didn’t move, as we plan purchasing strategies for the new season.

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