Meet the PGA pro: Scotscraig GC’s Craig Mackie

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire December 2, 2019 19:25

Craig talks about managing stock in the shop, introducing the game to local school children and the success he’s had at attracting women to the venue.

 

What daily challenges do you face in running a pro shop and teaching?

Staffing for myself is always the most difficult part of running a pro shop; the hours that we all do are not very socially friendly and I always find it a challenge to work out the shifts to allow my staff to spend time at the weekend with their families. A lot of the time I find myself working both days, which does make it difficult during the 65 to 75 hours per week.

There is a constant flow of new golf products – how do you manage your stock to serve the needs of your members and visitors?

I’m lucky that we have quite a large visitor base so logo products do well. With regards to hardware, I always pick no more than three hardware companies and try to do them as tight in pre book as I can, and do the rest in custom fit using the Flightscope.

I used to buy heavy in pre books but have now tightened that up and order as and when I need it. This has been a great exercise as turnover has remained very similar but margin has been slowly increasing, allowing better stock turns and cash flow.

Members are fairly supportive which helps, but we always try to get stock in as fast as we can to keep them coming back.

Craig Mackie and his team, who have been ever present at the TGI Golf Team Challenge since the inaugural event in 2009. From left: Dennis West, Craig Mackie, John Rankin, Ian Mackie

How do you manage your day?

I normally set my diary plan out two weeks in advance and put aside time for my coaching, which is a big part of my business.

I also try to set aside time for keeping the bookwork up to date as I’m not a fan of taking it home (although it happens); I’m busy here with committee meetings so always need to make sure that I use my diary time effectively.

What are you doing to support junior golf and introduce kids to the sport?

We run a busy and productive junior academy, which is always well attended. Between myself and my assistant we deliver pretty much weekly coaching over three days per week.

We are also in the schools every year and deliver taster sessions to local schools as part of a replenishing effort.

We also have lots of competitions they play in such as the GolfSixes, which is sweeping the country, the kids are really enjoying the whole experience.

I’m always active in attracting money to keep the junior fund topped up so we can offer the kids as much as possible.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

Four years ago I started a Get into Golf programme for ladies and is has really taken off.

I run the classes almost every week, twice on a Thursday, and also on a Saturday, we are looking to also add in a Wednesday as numbers are high. I have built it now to more than 55 ladies with a conversion to membership of around 12 so far. The step up programme includes a four month trial membership with clubs, which the club own, and after that time if they join they get to use the clubs for a further eight months giving them a full year without too much cost.

It has been fantastic and great fun with regular nights out bonding friendships along the way.

Do you have any programmes in place such as academy membership to make it easier to introduce beginners to the game?

The club has embraced a new membership category called the ‘Pathway’ membership. This allows a golfer to join us for a full year for only £395, getting full playing rights but no competition play.  It has been a superb way of letting golfers try the club fully in all seasons of the year and entice them into joining fully. I also introduced a trial membership years ago which has had an unbelievable response, this allows you to join as a one-off for four months to include all playing rights including competitions.

The team celebrating a birdie during the Team Challenge 2018 at Sueno Golf Club, Belek, Turkey

A lot of PGA pros are having to be a step ahead of their competitors in their offerings and technology – what additional added value services do you provide?

The golf industry is continuing to be more difficult year-on-year and that is why it is so important to stay ahead of the game. Every club has its own individual and unique challenges and for that it is always difficult to say what will work, however my motto is to try everything at least once to find out, never be frightened to try and fail.

We have St Andrews so close to us so we have to make sure that we offer a friendly and inviting service, making them feel part of the bricks from the word go.

I always keep my technology up to date which has always helped me to stay ahead or at least up with my competitors.

Price doesn’t always come into it if the service is right.

When did you join the TGI Golf Partnership and what was it about it that attracted you?

I joined TGI Golf in around 2004.

What attracted me to the company over its competitors was the freedom of the company, the professionalism, the friendship and support and the offerings and services provided.

As an equal partner we make the decisions and not a single owner, this makes the company work hard for us achieving best buying terms and all the latest technology including retail consultants, e-newsletter programmes, marketing material, digital advertising, pro-ams and much more.

Eddie Reid (TGI managing director) and the team cannot do enough for all of us and they certainly inspire me to work hard within my business.

As a partner I also get a yearly pay out from my shares which has a real benefit to my business.

If anyone is unsure please contact the team on the road and they will pop into your shop and discuss the benefits of joining such a friendly family-based team.

Has TGI Golf been of benefit to you as a PGA professional?

For sure, TGI Golf is my go to company if I have any questions or issues I need advice on, the PGA is fantastic also but because we see the TGI team and partners on a regular basis around the country it just seems that the discussions take place here. They have allowed me to buy better, compete and enhance the PGA services and offerings.

What year did you turn professional and what have been your career highlights, both playing and employment?

I turned professional around 1999 and have never looked back, I love being part of the PGA and have met some fantastic people over the years. The golf industry is very much a close-knit family and for me the people I have met has to be the highlight, anyone who knows me knows I like to talk so for me this friendship has meant the most.

As a junior of Scotscraig GC another highlight must be the fact that I am now the head professional, strange sometimes, but nice.

As I don’t play much due to work commitments my golf has sadly taken a back seat but finishing second in the TGI Team Challenge in Turkey has to be up there, especially with my team – they’re the best entertainment in the bars, which hampers their golf a little – so it’s hard to believe we could finish that high!

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire December 2, 2019 19:25
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1 Comment

  1. Peter November 29, 14:40

    A group of 24 of us played at Scotscraig and Craig couldn’t of been nicer. Customer service second to none!

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