FAIRBORN, OH – The Southern Ohio PGA is excited to name Chad Gilligan, PGA Head Professional at Losantiville Country Club, SOPGA Merchandiser of the Year at a private facility.
Chad Gilligan, PGA Head Professional at Losantiville Country Club, is the 2022 Southern Ohio PGA Merchandiser of the Year at a private facility. Gilligan provides his members with a unique, but functional golf shop adding value and excitement to their Club. In eight seasons leading the golf shop, he has built trust among his membership by meeting their basic golf needs while incorporating new items they may only be able to purchase inside of his shop. His meticulously curated shop includes a wide array of items from sport coats and golf shorts to training aids and travel gear as he understands the more functionality an item has, the more value a customer will see in the item and the shop itself. A 13-year PGA of America Member, Gilligan developed his merchandising philosophy through experiences in the Carolinas and Georgia PGA Sections before returning to Southern Ohio in 2012. The 2022 SOPGA Merchandiser of the Year award is now his second recognition in the Southern Ohio Section for success in the industry after receiving the Assistant Professional of the Year award in 2013.
Q: What does it mean to you to be named the Southern Ohio PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year?
CG: It means a lot to be nominated and respected by your peers, recognizing the work that we put into the retail operation.
Q: What has been the most important factor in running a successful golf shop (ie. product selection, strong support staff, physical layout, etc.)?
CG: Product selection and earning the trust of your members. If you bring in items and brands that are somewhat exclusive or unique that they can’t get most anywhere. If they trust that you know the products and believe in the products, they are more likely to support you and be loyal customers.
Q: Since beginning to work in the merchandise part of the industry, what has been the most interesting / surprising thing you have learned about maintaining a successful private golf shop?
CG: Most interesting is the clientele and how it is ever evolving. I had to go from buying cotton and traditional items in sizes large and up to buying more prints, in Smalls, Mediums, and up as our membership has evolved and expanded to include a more diverse group of people. Trying to meet all of your members’ needs can be like a puzzle.
Q: Have there been any mentors or peers who have helped develop you as a merchandiser?
CG: Larry McIntyre, PGA at Moundbuilders Country Club; Danny Ackerman, PGA at Longaberger Golf Club; and Stephen Cryan, PGA and Billy Hanlon at Pinehurst were the most hands on in helping me understand all of the ins and outs of merchandising in the golf business, from buying, to displays, and understanding the needs and wants of the customers.
Q: Is there a “Best Practice” you’ve utilized as a merchandiser to build your successful golf shop at a private facility?
CG: Back to the trust factor, caring about the members and their purchases, and being knowledgeable about what you sell and to who, goes a long way. For example, just asking a member “how is that new wedge working out for you?” a few weeks after they bought it from you. If they know you care about them, they’ll return the favor.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just beginning to learn about building a successful golf shop?
CG: Talk to as many successful Golf Professionals as possible, to gather information about what works and what doesn’t work. Once you do that you can create a game plan on where to start. If you’re coming into a new facility you will need to learn more about the Club and its members before you can build on what you’ve started.
The SOPGA recognizes Members who have demonstrated superior skills as merchandisers in the promotion of golf. Awarded in two categories (Private and Public/Municipal/Military/Semi-Private). Credit rating, community involvement, staffing, inventory, displays and merchandising techniques are some of the criteria considered for this award. Click here to learn more about the Southern Ohio PGA Special Awards and to view previous recipients.