In ‘Made to measure’ we look at ways club professionals can ensure their workshop is as profitable and efficient as possible. Now that the summer holidays are finished and the peak golfing season is winding down, autumn is an ideal time for pros to encourage customers to have their golf equipment thoroughly checked over – a golfing ‘M.O.T.’ It will put money in the till and help to keep pro shop footfall ticking over. GOLF RETAILING asked four industry experts for their advice in compiling the golfing M.O.T
Conor Dillon, EMEA Regional Manager, Golf Pride
Golf Pride research shows that one third of golfers re-grip their clubs, and over half of golfers interviewed change their grips once every two years. While two thirds of golfers still do not re-grip at all, the research shows that consumer attitudes to re-gripping are improving, and increased frequency in re-gripping will provide long-term, sustainable revenue. There is a lot of money to be made out of re-gripping if pro shops advertise the service, and have new grips on specific POS displays in the shop, so golfers can literally see, touch and feel the difference between new grips and their old ones.
We also estimate as many as 35% of golfers use grips that are too large or too small for them. If pros check grips for size and condition, a lot of re-grips can be sold, bringing immediate improvements to a customer’s golf. Custom fitting of grips has increased by 75% over the last decade, as golfers are beginning to realise that having the correct size and model grip will increase the quality of their play.
Checking grips free of charge helps to engage customers, as does the promise that only a golfer’s most worn grips will need replacing. This will normally result in re-gripping a full set, as once a golfer feels the difference of the new grips, they will almost certainly be back to get their remaining clubs re-gripped to match.
The motivating factors for golfers changing their grips are performance, feel and size, however, the cosmetic appearance of the grip is also catching the eye of golfers in increasing numbers.
Cris Simpson, Managing Director, LitePower
A lead acid battery is what I call a ‘dumb’ battery as it has no way of protecting itself from being under or over-charged, which can ultimately lead to a reduction in its life. In contrast, a lithium battery is an ‘intelligent’ battery as it has its own computer, which will stop the user from abusing it and ultimately shortening its lifespan.
Because of the Battery Management System inside LitePower batteries, the chances of a failing are greatly reduced, as the built-in protection helps guard the battery from damage.
As lead acid batteries get old, their capacity will diminish. Failing batteries may also appear swollen and show signs of bulging on the sides and base.
So come the autumn, there is an opportunity for professionals to check the power of their customers’ lead acid batteries, with a view to encouraging a lithium upgrade.
The best way for a pro to check a customer’s golf battery is to measure its capacity when fully charged. Capacity testers designed for golf are available, with manufacturers like Astratec.
LOFTS & LIES
Doug Poole, Golf industry consultant, Douglas Poole Golf Consultancy
After a busy summer’s golf on firm courses, golfers can under-estimate how much iron lofts and lies can be out of kilter, so providing a loft and lie service is the quickest way to make a difference to a golfer’s performance. Lie affects accuracy and loft trajectory, two of the most important playing factors.
For pros in the market for a new loft and lie machine, invest in the very best machine and bending bar you can afford, and a stand for the machine is a must. This allows you to display your loft and lie service both in and out of the shop. The machine is a great conversation starter with customers, and displaying the machine in the clubhouse bar on a wet autumn’s afternoon is a good way to market an ‘M.O.T.’ service.
By the way, remember to be careful when bending irons! Not all irons bend easily or beyond two to three degrees, so always check on the materials used in the manufacture of the head. Always use masking tape to cover all parts on the machine and bending bar that come in contact with the clubhead and lastly, bend softly, without aggression!
Neil Parker, Sales Director, Motocaddy
Through stocking winter wheels, pro shops can ensure year-round trolley use, which encourages more winter play, retains members and takes in more visitor revenue. It’s proven that trolley bans instigated by wet weather drive members and visitors away from the course. If golfers are restricted in using trolleys, it also makes them less likely to purchase one in the first place, as they question the value they should get from a trolley.
Most golf courses now welcome Hedgehog wheels, like the Motocaddy Winter Wheels (pictured), because they are proven to protect golf courses in wet conditions by reducing turf wear and improving traction, thanks to an anti-skid tread design.
It is also important that clubs fit Hedgehog wheels to rental trolleys, with a view to boosting winter rental income. The Motocaddy Hedgehog wheels feature an easy-to-use release mechanism, so fitting and removing them is very simple.