Survey Members for Tee Gifts

Jeff Nichols, the 2014 Carolinas PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA director of golf at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

We’ve found that when dealing with frequent outing participants, only offering one specific item as a tee gift creates the possibility of leaving them with a gift they’ve already received. So here at Carmel Country Club, we made a change and have implemented a new way for members and guests to select their own tee prizes via online entry forms and surveys. Our initial trial gave every participant their choice of putter style and custom length, with the survey presenting the member with a choice of a right- or left-handed, head style and length. It was important to have samples of the product on-hand for the members to look at or try. The end goal was to give the player multiple options so they could make an individualized purchase feeling like you got the putter you wanted instead of just a new putter. We replicated that experience again at our next event, this time with various choices of outerwear, sweaters, and base layers.

The responses have been extremely positive from a customer service and merchandising standpoint. Being able to target specifically what players wanted allowed us to eliminate massive returns and exchanges. We went from 25 percent of the product being returned or exchanged to now less than five percent, with that mainly being a simple swap for size. We’ve also reduced the money we spend on tee gifts. Instead of having massive amounts of stock on-hand, we now only make exact purchases of what the players requested and then handle exchanges or additional purchases of a product (in another color, for example) through special orders. Overall, we’ve found that players have bought more merchandise because of this program, with approximately 40 players per a 200-person event making special orders. We also offer products to our membership that we may not have previously had in the golf shop, as we can see the data on our members’ purchasing patterns, sizes and colors. Participant satisfaction has gone up by 20 percent to 90 percent overall. Taken together, it’s a process that has indeed allowed the tee gift to become a more personal gift. To view a sample of one of our surveys, click here.

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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.