Kyle Capps, the 2017 Sun Country PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is the PGA Head Professional at Hallbrook Country Club in Leawood, Kansas.
In 2022, Hallbrook Country Club became more heavily focused on its social media presence. Here in the golf shop, we’ve continued to use weekly emails, Instagram posts and stories and a monthly video newsletter to get the word out on sales and special events. However, we have also elevated our social media footprint by optimizing screens on our golf carts and fitness equipment. This new marketing initiative has kept our golf members more informed and engaged, while also adding golf shop exposure to our social and tennis members who were not previously aware of our merchandise assortment in the golf shop.
In addition to our regular social media platforms, we have recently started using the E-Z-GO Pace GPS screens on our golf carts. The new fleet of golf carts with Pace Technology has been a way for us to market directly to the golfers. When golfers are finishing their round on the 18th green, a picture appears on the screen and highlights our most recent merchandise delivery. This grabs their attention as they are driving back to the clubhouse and encourages them to stop in the golf shop and explore the new collection further.
Our expanded marketing has not just been focused on the golf operations. We found a new and creative way to showcase merchandise at the club’s fitness center by optimizing the digital screens on all the treadmills. Each week, we add a fresh image that features new merchandise and current promotions. This encourages our tennis and social members to shop with us for their fitness apparel and allows them to see the diversity of our inventory. Over the past 12 months, we have doubled our sales to social and tennis members and increased the number of social and tennis members purchasing from the shop by 70 percent.
Our fitness and leisure apparel comes primarily from lululemon, although we do mix in Peter Millar and Greyson activewear, as well as Recovery and Studio for both men and women. Men’s categories include hoodies, joggers, tees, shorts, coats, jackets, socks and underwear. Women’s categories include leggings, joggers, tennis skirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, tanks, tees, socks and scrunchies.
In an effort to provide a service that meets the needs of our members on and off the course, we have diversified our inventory to suit their interests in and out of the club. Our average member only plays 40 rounds of golf per year. The other 325 days of the year they aren’t reaching for a golf outfit in their closet. This is where it became obvious that we had room for growth by expanding our inventory levels in categories outside of golf.
Additionally, by diversifying our inventory and focusing our marketing efforts on fitness and leisure apparel, we have been able to expand our customer base to non-golfers within our membership. And by adding promotional and informative posts on our golf cart screens and fitness center treadmills, we are able to provide the latest information on multiple platforms to reach and engage the most members possible. This added exposure has brought new faces to our shop and contributed to an overall sales increase of more than 33 percent.
Based on the success of our digital marketing initiative during the summer of 2022, we began hosting pop-up shops in the off-season and winter months. These once or twice monthly pop-ups allow our merchandising team the opportunity to get our inventory seen by an entirely different group of members and create new relationships with a diverse member demographic that may or may not currently support our golf shop. Additionally, it has led to increased sales during our quieter months. This tactic has proven quite successful in January and February, when the fitness center receives quite a bit more traffic than the golf shop daily.