Jobs in Golf: Retail
Oct 14, 2014
This is the sixth post in a series exploring professional career paths in the golf industry.
From clubs and tees, right down to specialized shoes, golf is a sport that requires a fair amount of gear.
A retail outlet is any place where golfers can purchase equipment, clothing and supplies.
Approximately 25 percent of total consumer spending on golf is in a retail setting, with other funds going to green fees. For those interested in an accessible golf job with plenty of room for career advancement, retail is a good place to start.
Who Sells Golf Gear?
There are a lot of ways to buy your golf gear. In fact, The National Golf Foundation identifies eight distinct categories of retail sales in golf:
- Mass merchants, like Walmart or Target
- Sporting goods stores, like The Sports Authority, Oshmann’s or Dick’s
- Warehouse clubs, like Costco or Sam’s
- Mail order companies, like Golfsmith or The Women’s Golf Company
- Custom club makers, individuals who craft made-to-order clubs
- Ecommerce golf retailers
- On-course retailers, found at golf facilities
- Off-course retailers, like Edwin Watts Golf Shops, The PGA Tour Shops or privately owned shops
The golf industry's demand for quality, knowledgeable retail professionals is greatest at on and off-course retailers. These employees need to have an outgoing personality and plenty of patience, according to Buzz Gill, Director Career Services at Golf Academy of America in San Diego. A bachelor’s degree and golf experience are also helpful.
What are the Duties of Golf Retailers?
At “on-course” shops, a Head Professional or Director of Golf often manages the facility and receives a commission from sales. Some larger facilities will employ a separate store manager. Either way, it is hard to find an entry-level position without experience in a golf professional program, such as that offered by Golf Academy of America or through the PGA.
At “off course” retailers, occupations include buyers, managers and sales associates.
Buyers have their work cut out for them. A shop’s customers might range from beginning golfer to expert, with a wide range of disposable incomes. It is the buyer’s job to anticipate customer needs and stock gear that will sell. They might attend industry trade shows to find the latest products, including the PGA Merchandise Show.
Store managers have an important function, particularly at off-course retailers. They manage stock, track sales and supervise employees. While there is no formal career path to becoming a store manager, sales experience and a background in business and golf are helpful.
According to Gill, retailers look for sales associates who are passionate about golf and their customers, not just a commission check. Work on nights and weekends is often a necessity. Product knowledge is a necessity, as well as the ability to interact well with customers.
All in all, retail is vital to golf and its growth. Retail spending is a good barometer of interest in the game. For example, a consumer spending money on clubs indicates a long-term investment in the sport. A good retail experience with a knowledgeable associate can drastically improve an individual’s experience with the sport and raise the profile of the golf industry overall. “Especially in the golf club sector, properly fitted equipment helps a person learn the swing in a proper manner to have fun,” said Gill. “That is the name of the game!”
Learn more about golf jobs from previous posts in this series: