Careers in Golf: Manufacturing Equipment for Consumers and Golf Courses
Sep 1, 2014
The realm of golf manufacturing is a wide one. Consumers need balls and clubs (hard goods) along with apparel, gloves and golf bags (soft goods) in order to play the game, not to mention all the equipment courses must maintain. From golf carts to ball washers and scheduling software, it takes a lot to keep golf facilities running smoothly.
A trip to the PGA Expo, held in Orlando each January, reveals the wide extent of the manufacturing sector. Within this field, it’s possible to make a career as a product designer, or more commonly, in the sales arena.
How to Find a Job in Golf Equipment Manufacturing Sales
There are three ways to find employment on the sales end of manufacturing: inside sales, outside sales and as independent contractor.
As an example, manufacturers of turf equipment often sell their machines to dealers, who then sell them to the final user, and handle all repair services. You can sell for the manufacturer or the dealer.
More About Inside Sales
If you are employed by the manufacturer, your position is considered “inside sales.” These representatives may cover a geographic territory, and their income is largely commission-based.
According to Buzz Gill, Director of Career Services at Golf Academy of America in San Diego, inside sales careers often begin with phone order positions. For those with a territory, sales calls are all made with a personal visit to each facility, at least quarterly. “It is an eight hour shift, five days a week, with benefits,” he said.
“All the manufacturers are now looking for experience,” said Gill. “This can be a sales experience with any product. They all look at higher education and a BA degree in sales/marketing. However, experience still out ranks education.”
Jim Hart, President of Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach added that knowledge of the golf business essential. “A GAA degree would be most helpful,” he said.
More About Outside Sales
Those working for a dealer are in “outside sales.” They sell to the end user. In order to succeed, outside sales representatives need to be competitive and have good presentation skills. “Personality, patience, and being service-minded are also important traits,” said Hart. “A good sales rep keeps people interested and always wants to improve. Customers are buying the hope and expectation of getting better!”
More about Being an Independent Representative in the Golf Industry
An independent sales representative is a contract employee who receives no benefits and pays his or her own expenses. This is more commonly seen in smaller manufacturers or start-up companies. The independent contractors may represent multiple products. The National Golf Sales Representatives Association serves independent sales reps.
Hart closed by saying that inside, outside or independent manufacturing sales can provide a rewarding golf career. “There are a lot of baby boomer sales reps out there nearing retirement. This is a good career option now.”