Establishing Relationships with Vendors

cimarron-grubbCimarron Grubb, the 2010 South Central PGA Section Horton Smith Award Winner, is the PGA director of tournament operations for the South Central PGA Section in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

In 2014, the South Central PGA Section utilized an extensive vendor partnership program to further enhance the experience for all tournament contestants. After contacting vendors we’ve previously used and with a proven track record, we then reached out to smaller companies or ones new to the industry, as there was a good chance they would be more willing to promote an event. We partnered with more than a dozen companies, including major names, niche outfits, and even a non-industry vendor. Together, these companies provided financial support, as well as items such as blazer crests, apparel, footwear and accessories. We also offered them access to contestants, allowing them to provide literature, products for sampling, and take part in the award presentation. Partnerships were created, as seen in our deal with Spackler Golf, as we utilized their custom flags for all events and awards during the season, while in return they provided free flags for the golf course during the James P. Jordan Cup Matches to further promote the event and other sponsors.

Utilizing both new- and old-school methods to inform our members and the public of the partnerships has helped tremendously, creating additional business opportunities. Through these partnerships, we were able to reduce expenses by $5,000 (through products provided at no charge or at a substantial discount), allowing us to enhance each event and provide a greater value for each entry fee paid. The majority of the vendors were engaged, watching competition and interacting with the players. We also invited a potential future sponsor to attend an event, and based on what he saw, we were able to secure his company for 2015. Free rounds at Section courses were offered to our highest-producing sponsor, which they appreciated, as they have nine stores nearby and took their clients out for a day of business and golf. The success has also led to increased interest from our professionals in future events, which creates additional opportunities for our sponsors, and rounds played for the host facility. Going outside the box to create unique partnerships with your vendors can not only help you for next season, but for years to come.

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Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America.