“We are always looking at ways to add value to stay ahead of the competition”

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 11, 2024 11:33

Gavin Abson, the head golf professional at The West Lancashire Golf Club, which has just been named Marquee Pro Shop of the Year, discusses the benefits of having assistants, reaching out to the local community and why TGI Golf has helped his business flourish.

How has your business adapted to the golf industry’s changes since the start of this decade?

The biggest change I have noticed since the start of this decade is the increase in cost of products, especially from a hardware perspective. With this in mind we are always conscious about adding value for customers in any way possible.

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

The main challenge for me is time management, but having three fantastic assistants does help to ease that pressure.

I enjoy every aspect of my job, but it’s impossible to do everything yourself so having good staff is imperative for the business to run efficiently and for me not to burn out.

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 feel we have a great handle on the needs of our customers and how those needs change seasonally.

We try to offer products from different categories, such as fashion, sport and traditional, and price points so there is something for everyone.

We use XPOS to ensure stock levels are managed efficiently and ordering is at a level that satisfies both demand from customers and demand from me for growth.

How do you manage your day?

My day is managed by our online diary and a daily task list which my assistants help with.

Having the help of my assistants allows me to free up time which then allows me to coach, custom fit and spend time in the shop with members, their guests and visitors in addition to doing admin.

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

We offer free coaching on Friday evenings to junior members throughout the season in addition to offering Easter and Summer holiday camps.

We are also looking at opportunities to go into schools to offer coaching to juniors who have either never tried golf or who have limited / no access to the sport.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

We have a great pathway for ladies. We offer beginner lessons which offer progress to a type of membership (academy membership), that gives access to the golf course in addition to bi-weekly group lessons. This then gives opportunities to join the club as a full member.

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

The programme we currently have in operation is for ladies only due to our membership being closed / full for the last several years.

That said, we have a team of four PGA professionals including myself offering coaching for all abilities so we’re always very inclusive in our offering.

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?

Firstly, the value in the advice being given is important so having four PGA golf professionals at the club is a huge advantage over our competitors.

We offer a free custom fitting service for anyone buying golf clubs from us and when customers purchase, we often provide a gift with the purchase as a thank you.

We are always looking at ways to add value to stay ahead of the competition and retain our existing customers in addition to gaining new customers.

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

I joined the TGI Golf Partnership in 2016 when I became head PGA golf professional at West Lancashire.

The first attraction was that a good friend of 25 years, Chris Taylor, was to be my retail consultant – he was someone I could trust to help me and offer me honest advice. He is someone I rely on to ensure my business is performing as I wish.

I was also attracted to the idea of being a shareholder in the company, which gives me the opportunity to have an input in how we move forwards as a group.

The financial kick back each year, dependent upon spend with suppliers within the group, is also a huge advantage. I also get support with every aspect of my business and it is all tailored to help me as an independent business, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, everything on offer will help me.

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

TGI Golf has been a huge benefit to me by giving me opportunities to enhance my skill set and become a more rounded PGA professional.

These skills are either enhanced via my retail consultant or via the annual TGI Business Conference where we engage in valuable workshops from influential figures.

TGI Golf also provides opportunities to play in outstanding events, which I think is something many PGA golf professionals are guilty of not doing mainly due to time constraints.

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

I turned professional in 2002 and started my PGA career at a municipal course in Birmingham, Cocks Moors Woods, under the guidance of Steve Ellis whom I will always be grateful to for giving me the opportunity.

I moved onto become a qualified PGA professional at Royal Troon Golf Club in 2007 before moving on to The Carrick on ‘Loch Lomond’ as head PGA professional in 2009.

From a playing perspective my career highlight was in 2004, qualifying for Final Qualifying held at Western Gailes for the Open at Royal Troon. I also played on the EuroPro Tour for several years and caddied on the European Tour on and off for 10 years.

I was recently named Marquee Pro Shop of the Year at the TGI Golf awards, which was a real honour. There are many amazing PGA professionals and pro shops within the group so to come out on top of all those first class retail outlets was an amazing achievement.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 11, 2024 11:33
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