Todd Firestone, past president of the Indiana PGA Section, is the PGA head professional at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Several years ago I started going to the PGA Merchandise Show looking for a unique gift or item we could offer to our member-guest participants, as it’s a showcase event for the club. Four years ago I saw a Travis Mathew Tour Bus Experience rig parked on the PGA Show floor, and got them to come to my previous facility’s member-guest for the weekend along with a country music singer. It was such a success that I’ve done it every year since, and brought the rig to Meridian Hills when I started here earlier this year. The bus contains one side that folds out for a stage/bar, and a stairwell that goes to the second floor/roof where there are tables, TVs and chairs for hanging out. The bus also contains a mobile basketball hoop and myriad other products, from promo items to a full selection of apparel and accessories you can order while there. A participant’s purchase is drop shipped to their house the following week at no additional charge.
The money to bring the bus here came straight out of the overall entry fee for the member-guest. We offered a $120 stipend when they signed up to be spent on the bus. With items marked up 20 percent, a shirt-and-pant purchase that was usually $160-170 was suddenly $120. This year alone it brought in $18,000 in sales, making back the cost of the stipend. They also offer items on the bus that most shops due not carry, such as luggage, denim, t-shirts, button ups, and more which, as a result, allowed members and guests to make unique, one-time-only purchases. Year-over-year bus purchases went up at my previous facility, along with a higher per sale price for items on the Travis Mathew rack as members became more familiar with the brand. So go above and beyond for your showcase events. It’ll be worth every single penny.