TGI Golf Partnership Managing Director Eddie Reid uses his final column of 2019 to look back on the last 12 months and where the industry stands.
Following on from a particularly tough year in 2018 that started with the Beast from the East, ended with the collapse of the biggest off course retailer with the hottest summer on record and the football World Cup sandwiched in between, it was always going to be interesting to see where 2019 took us.
As the year draws to a close it appears, on the surface, to be business as usual. We still face the challenges of lack of growth and drop in participation numbers and there are many positive and negative stories around golf club memberships.
Looking at this we could well be in danger of heading towards a very flat line in respect of the medium to long term destination of our industry as a whole. Which, on the face of it, may seem like a doomsday scenario, but that is certainly not the way to look at it.
Commercially the market place has a stability we have not seen for many years. That, allied to the maintaining of premium pricing of many hardware products, the growth of retail pricing and margin of irons in particular, and the exceptional service offered by many retailers through custom fit, has improved margins and certainly made many businesses far more sustainable than they were five to 10 years ago.
So the comments I’ve made in respect of a flat line market is really something that we as an industry have complete control of. But only if we decide to be more strategically aware of how our industry will look and feel in three to five years.
The alignment of commercial goals of both wholesalers and retailers will need to be investigated in more depth. The business models of the past will no longer be fit for purpose in the future and we will need to be far more imaginative and creative in the way that we conduct business together.
Without the stimulus of participation growth everyone is fighting for their own individual piece of the very same pie. Forward thinking brands and retailers will need to work hand-in-hand in order for any sustainable growth to be maintained.
So, our challenge as an industry, in the spirit of partnership, is to start preparing now for how the business landscape will look in the future. If we fail to do this we will be staring over the precipice into an abyss where self-interest will rule and the race to the bottom will once again be commonplace in our world.
So let’s big up our industry and shout about how we’ve come through the toughest of times, but let’s not forget everything that we’ve had to go through just to reach this point.
I implore all relevant stakeholders in this wonderful sport we work in to come together, look to the future and make it all shine bright for everyone.
Keep The Revenue Coming Over The Winter
During the winter when the nights have drawn in, it’s cold and the course and Pro Shop are particularly quiet it’s important to work on other avenues to generate revenue.
One particular road that is becoming more popular is overseas coaching breaks…in other words spending time in the sunshine teaching your valued customers and getting paid for it – sounds good right?
However, if you haven’t planned an overseas coaching break before it can be quite a daunting prospect – where to go? Who to invite? How to market it? How to pay for it? There are companies out there who can assist with all this, we have one ourselves in TGI Golf Travel.
Now, while this company is owned by TGI Golf it is not just for our Partners. We will work with any PGA Professionals who would like to take advantage of our services and keep their business ticking over during the winter.
For more details visit tgigolftravel.com or call 01505 353500.
Eddie Reid is the Managing Director of the TGI Golf Partnership, golf’s leading retail services group, assisting more than 500 independent golf retailers across the UK and Ireland to maintain successful and profitable businesses.
For more information on TGI Golf visit tgigolf.com.