Tony Santillo, the 2011 New Jersey PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is the PGA head professional at Spring Brook Country Club in Morristown, New Jersey.
Two times a year, I bring in a golf car into our golf shop and decorate it, making it the focal point of the shop. It’s a conversation piece and it gets people into the shop that might not normally come in. Somebody will say, “Did you see that golf car in the golf shop?” and it will stir interest among the members. I first brought it in when we hosted the New Jersey State Open in 2010 and put all the commemorative hats, T-shirts and ball markers on and around the car. It went over so well that we now bring it in for Christmas each year. I was fortunate enough that one of my members gave me an old stuffed Santa Claus, and he is always driving the car. We usually have golf staff bags on the back with hot golf clubs for the season, as well as any promotional or sale items around. This past Christmas, we had Callaway golf balls on sale because those models were being discontinued. This was a great way to feature the item and move it out the door. Last season, we had Peter Millar car coats hanging. This is an expensive ticket item, but we were able to sell two of three that I brought in. We usually have ribbons, a wreath, fake snow, garland and wrapped gifts in a Santa sack to help decorate the golf car. This season, I decided to bring it in during the fall for the Ryder Cup in mid-September and display red, white and blue apparel, as well as flags and Ryder Cup promotional items.
I have definitely noticed that sell-through has been tremendous with the items that have been featured in or around these golf car displays. We sold out of all of our 2010 New Jersey State Open merchandise when we first brought the golf car in the shop. It’s unique, something you don’t always see in the golf shop. It is a conversation piece and definitely gets guests or infrequent members into the golf shop and moves more traffic in the end.