Use PGA Merchandise Show to Enhance Outing Experience


DaveHarnerDave Harner, the 2012 Indiana PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year and three-time Indiana PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities, is the PGA director of golf operations at the French Lick (Ind.) Resort.

Many times we grow stagnant in our approach to outings, especially with repeating groups. My staff and I have found that there is no better place to revive our approach to outings and enhance the overall experience than the PGA Merchandise Show. Vendors display many new items that are not only unique, but moderately priced and will help add to the wow factor of any outing. Additionally, every piece of tournament software available for golf courses is on display there, each with their own unique way to assist in organizing, planning, and carrying out a successful outing. Other areas to explore while at the Show include options for signage concepts, logo creations, and unique prize ideas. A great tip is to assemble a list of your 10 top outings and think about the individual wants and needs of each of those 10 planners. If they are repeat players, you should know something about their expectation; use the PGA Merchandise Show as a tool to exceed those expectations.

The thing about acquiring new items that can help your outings experience is that the benefits can be immediate. Take the software aspect, for example. Any software that can help us retain important information pertaining to events, key decision-makers, planners, and participants can help us reconnect with those players months after the events took place is helpful to us. A good outing software will allow us to send special offers, coupons and more to the participants. How good would you feel if you received an e-birthday or holiday greeting from the course where your outing was held? We’ve found going the extra mile and doing things like that, something as simple as letting them know that we enjoyed their presence at our course, increases their return rate. More than 65 percent of French Lick Resort’s guests/players are returning visitors. In addition, the effort we’ve made to go the extra mile has led to referrals, which have given us a base of new customers to build upon. Also, by finding new software that helps us organize data, and allows us to stay in touch with our guests, we don’t have to go out and seek new customers. Instead we build off that database and can market directly to a targeted audience on demand. The bottom line: a simple walk around the PGA Show to find ways to better your outings can prove very useful down the line and help make your club the best it’s ever been.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email