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September 2020

Fitting Market Booms in a Covid-19 Era

By Steve Eubanks

The mantra coming out of the COVID crisis was near universal. Rounds were up; revenues were down. But dumping all the golf business into such a big pile meant operators missed a lot of gemstones hidden in the rubble. The biggest among those was the club-fitting market.

Because ranges closed for a long time and many operators failed to break out or report fitting numbers, the best source for that segment of the business was the off-course retailer, such as Club Champion, which does nothing but specialty fitting.

And it did more business than anyone could have predicted. According to Cassandra Bausch, who is the public relations manager for Club Champion, “June was a blockbuster month, due in part to the passion and desire shown by golfers as nationwide restrictions eased. Thankfully, the sport is thriving. Shortly after our stores reopened, we conducted a survey with our customers, 58% of whom said they were spending measurably more on golf this year compared to years past.”
“We knew people were itching to get out and play — really, to get out and do anything — but we couldn’t have imagined the sort of demand we would see as operations resumed,” said Club Champion CEO Joe Lee. “That demand, coupled with a nationwide reopening promotion, drove a 49% increase for June same store sales year-over-year and outpaced anything I’ve seen in my decade with Club Champion.”

Green-grass operators, those willing to capitalize on the pent-up demand for custom clubs, should reap the benefits in the months ahead.

Shop Talk Tip: Going Digital
Several businesses are getting creative when it comes to reaching their customers.
Utilize your online platform to reach customers by partnering with vendors via e-mail marketing.
Promote sales on specific items
Showcase an exclusive brand
Encourage gift cards
Offer curbside pickup or shipping
Develop online shops
Increase use of social media shopping features like in Facebook and Instagram

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