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August 2021

Local Knowledge Leads To Added Sales

By: Steve Eubanks

Every golf merchandiser has been struck by the unpredictability of weather. Three days of rain over a holiday weekend and green-grass shops see sales plummet, while big-box stores, filled with simulators and flashy displays, experience an uptick in traffic. On the other hand, if your men’s club championship starts on a rain-soaked Saturday, you’re likely going to sell out of umbrellas and outerwear, but you won’t get many people testing the latest and greatest drivers.

Sometimes weather helps, sometimes it hurts. But almost never is it something you can plan. Unless you’re hosting a major championship on the Pacific shores of San Francisco. Then, you know you’ve struck gold. 

In early June, the USGA hosted the U.S. Women’s Open at Olympic Club, the first time a women’s major has been contested at the historic site and the first time Olympic has hosted an open of any kind since 2012. To their credit, merchandisers for the event – both from the USGA and the club – understood what was coming and planned accordingly.

The folks at Olympic Club knew something that guests at this U.S. Women’s Open did not. Five miles inland, the weather in suburban San Francisco is sunny and beautiful, mid- to upper 60s in the summer without a cloud of the sky. But in a half-mile stretch west of Interstate 280, something Northern Californians refer to as a “marine layer” sets in like the gloomy fog out of a Dracula movie. Temperatures might be a balmy 65 at the San Francisco airport, but in and around Olympic Club, they might never touch 50 degrees. Throw in a steady breeze from the ocean and the sweaters worn by most spectators were not nearly enough.

“We knew what was coming,” one of the Olympic Club merchandisers said with a smile. “Fleece jackets and sweatshirts were always going to be the biggest sellers. So, we stocked up.”

They weren’t wrong. The biggest selling items were jackets and hoodies, not because of the souvenir value of the U.S. Women’s Open logo, but because of the average fans’ miscalculation of the weather. 

“We saw this coming,” the on-site merchandiser said. “If you’re out here all the time, you know. If not, you don’t ever come prepared.” 


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