Time for a Little Perspective

Following on from the Tony Clark’s Trade Talk article in last month’s issue of Golf Retailing, Eddie Reid, Managing Director TGI Golf gives his take in his monthly blog, on the firing of nearly 500 US PGA pros by Dicks Sporting GoodsEddie Reid

The recent news from across the Pond about Dicks Sporting Goods releasing all 478 of its PGA professionals has caused more than a few raised eyebrows within the golf industry here. There have been claims that what starts in the US invariably comes here and people are concerned as to what sort of impact this will have on our own PGA Professionals.

A little perspective may be required I think. While it is undoubtedly terrible news for those pros at Dicks who now find themselves out of work, I believe the negativity of this story has clouded the positive light Dicks shone on the PGA professional.

As one of, if not the, largest sporting retailers in America, the store placed a huge emphasis on the importance and benefits of having PGA professionals within the business. The management freely admitted the PGA professional gave their business credibility and saw fit to employ pros at every one of their outlets to provide added value and expert service to the golf consumer.

As Dicks Sporting Goods is answerable to shareholders, and with a warning of a reduction in profits of 10 percent this year, like most businesses it has to cut their cloth accordingly. In my opinion, in this case it was purely a business decision to release the PGA professionals, it has nothing to do with the service they were providing.

That assumption can be backed up by the fact that Dicks alluded to specific issues with the profitability of its business and how market forces affected it. The decision to release the pros was made wholly on financial necessity, not on levels of service. In fact, from the stories emanating from the States, the reasons for the downturn in business and the cause of the decision to release staff was clearly highlighted and at no point was there a swipe at the PGA pro.

DicksAs for our own PGA professionals here, they will continue to thrive as long as they have a sound business model based on quality of service and a commercially agile attitude which permits them to change and adapt to the current market forces, whatever they may be at any given time.

In earlier blog piece ‘Dare to be Different’, I talked about the US publication from SGI that claimed “the golf consumer has definitely been trained to wait for a sale”. From the articles I’ve read on the Dicks Sporting Goods situation it appears this report has hit the nail on the head. Rather than purchasing the latest products, customers are waiting for them to be reduced before parting with their cash.

Unfortunately it’s these buying habits that have caused the troubles at Dicks – don’t blame the pro.

To read more of Eddie Reid’s blogs please visit: www.tgigolfblog.com