Professionally Speaking…

5 QuestionsWe asked club professionals and retailers in the UK five questions about the footwear category in 2014, and this is what they are saying

Paul Oliver, Director of golf, Addington Court

1. The Nike Power Player is our top selling shoe, although we have seen a significant growth in spikeless shoe sales.

2. We aim for 15 percent-plus, which should grow now as golfers are adding a more versatile shoe to their collection, while retaining the standard black winter shoe.

3. Just over 30 percent.

4. The earlier the better as you can never guess when the winter turns.

5. You cannot ignore FootJoy and the historical value they give the industry. I’ve always been impressed with their service, although in recent years the emergence of adidas and Nike has curtailed their dominance. Our client base is possibly more geared towards the swoosh or the three stripes.

Andy Herridge, Academy manager, Leeds Golf Centre

1. adidas, Ashworth and Nike.

2. In 2013: 5.36 percent. In 2014: 6.12 percent.

3. 59 percent.

4. February.

5. Design, comfort, value and reliability. Also, offers throughout the year and help with moving stock if needed.

Graham Coombe, PGA Professional, Burnham & Berrow GC

1. Footjoy, Stuburt

2. 8 percent.

3. 10 percent.

4. February.

5. Quality, comfort, features and benefits.

Ryan Done, Clubfit Golf Ltd, Heysham GC

1. FootJoy is generally our strongest brand in 2014, with adidas also providing strong competition. We have also had great success with Stuburt as it provides a lower cost shoe with great quality.

2. 6 percent of turnover.

3. There has been a big spike this year in spikeless shoes (forgive the pun!). Our best sales have been though Stuburt Urban spikeless and adicross. Roughly 25% of shoes sold since March have been spikeless.

4. As soon as it is available. By the time March comes we have space clear to bring in the new stock.

5. The main factors are reliability and quality. We pride ourselves on a good service and we have a lot of loyal customers, so the last thing we want to do is sell them poor quality shoes. Another big factor is availability and choice, as customers expect it these days. Lastly, price – not just the margins but also the right price points for our customers. We are more likely to sell a £50 golf shoe than a £150 shoe.

Edward Parker, Golf manager, Peover GC

1.  FootJoy.

2. 10 percent.

3. 60 percent.

4. 2015.

5. Account flexibility, warranty, and good sales rep service.

John Gregory, Head professional, Dartford GC

1. FootJoy and Stuburt this year.

2. 8-10 percent.

3. My spikeless business has increased this year by around 40% due to the drier start to the summer, and players were looking for more comfort when the ground become harder.

4. I always get my shoe deliveries in January.

5. Value for money, good stock and after-sales support.

Tim McSherry, Head professional, Yelverton GC

1. FootJoy and adidas.

2. 7.37 percent.

3. 50-50.

4. We intend to stock the 2015 range at the end of January.

5. We look for good customer service, returns policy, percentage of returns, profit margin, range of shoes, and what initial order volume we would have to place. We also check what brands our customers are looking for from our marketing surveys.

Carl Bianco, Head professional, Woking GC

1. Ecco, Ashworth and FootJoy, in that order.

2. 5-8 percent.

3. 60 percent.

4. February 2015.

5. Product quality, stock availability, and easy to deal with.

John Griffith, Golf shop manager, Marriott St. Pierre Hotel & CC

1. Ecco and FootJoy, which is by far the best seller

2. 12 percent.

3. 5 percent.

4. March 2015.

5. A: great product; B: great service and delivery; C: staff training; D: regular appointments with company reps; E: staff incentives; F: free product for staff to wear.

Tim Hall, Head professional, Ross-on-Wye GC

1. Nike is the standout leader in all categories. The Lunar Control is my best seller.

2. 25-30 percent.

3. My spikeless sales have increased by 20% vs. last year.

4. As soon as the new styles are available I want them on sale in my shop. There is nothing worse than seeing them on TV then having to wait for a month to get them!

5. They have to be innovative and have a strong range in all areas. Looking to the future, a brand’s spikeless range is crucial. They must also offer both sporty shoes and classic options. It is also crucial that I get a well-balanced ladies range. Customer Service is important as well, and suppliers must have an easy-to-use online ordering system, and have a strong returns policy.

Jeremy Harold, Head professional, Perton GC

1. FootJoy and Nike.

2. 12 percent.

3. 30 percent.

4. January if they are on six months’ dating. Otherwise in February or March.

5. Margin and a great returns policy.

Simon Gilbert, Golf shop manager, Woodhall Spa National Golf Centre

1. FootJoy is always our strongest brand but in recent years Ecco has performed very well, especially in the spikeless/hybrid category.

2. This year so far shoes account for 10 percent of turnover, so it’s a really important area of the business. This is slightly up on last year, which was 8 percent.

3. This category has been growing massively in the last couple of years and this year has accounted for 40 percent of all shoe sales so far.

4. I like to get the bulk of shoes in early, so normally around February, and freshen things up with different models or brands phased in over the rest of the year.

5. The most important factor is good quality shoes that are comfortable to wear. The service received is vital too. I really like the FootJoy e-sales website; it makes ordering really easy as you can do it while the customer is in the shop, and the free carriage offer on one pair of shoes is fantastic at the moment. The support received from agents and reps is crucial.

Guy Wills, Head professional, Fulford GC

1. Nike and Ecco.

2. 10 percent.

3. 100 percent.

4. Ecco and Nike.

5. Quality, price and good returns procedures.

Tony Clingan, PGA professional, Redhill & Reigate GC

1. Stuburt has been a great success.

2. 5-7 percent.

3. 80-85 percent.

4. Late March-early April. We are quite wet in the winter so the interest rises as conditions dry out.

5. Product quality, stock service, no-quibble returns policy and if I don’t pay the same price as the multiples they don’t come in the door!