The Medford, Ore., club’s shop is now run by an outside retailer, after its longtime head pro retired.
Jim Wise, head pro at Rogue Valley Country Club (RVCC) in Medford, Ore., retired from his position at the end of 2011. He operated the shop as a separate retail entity, but had no interest in continuing to mind the store, the Oregon Mail Tribune reports.
“We had to make a decision over whether we wanted to own merchandise and deal with retail sales, or go to an outside vendor,” said Jim Norris, RVCC’s General Manager.
Norris approached Jim Zentgraf, owner of Golf Etc., about handling the club’s pro shop. Golf Etc., has been in business for five years and Zentgraf sees the operations at Rogue Valley as an extension of that business.
“Club employees [still] handle the tee-times and starts and open and close the shop, and they are paid a commission on sales,” Zentgraf said about the arrangement, which Norris acknowledged is not typical for club shop operations.
“In the southeast United States, the pro typically owns the merchandise and in the West, typically the club owns the merchandise,” Norris said. Club professionals often augment their salaries by operating the pro shop as a separate entity, he added, so the club doesn’t have to reduce payroll or invest in inventory.
Rogue Valley’s pro shop is maintaining a merchandise mix of 60 percent apparel and 40 percent equipment through the new arrangement.
“We’ll stay the course here,” Zentgraf said. “We want to put our fingers on the pulse of the members and adjust our business accordingly. The upside to our business plan is considerable.”rss