PGA Tour Event Turns into Shopping Spree
Inside the 1,000-square-foot air-conditioned tent was a shopper's paradise. Burberry was selling $40 gloves and $65 caps with its plaid prints. Tehama and Ashworth had a collection of shirts. Maui Jim had a rack of sunglasses.
A city known for its high-end shopping set up a small boutique at a golf tournament, where more than 100,000 spectators passed through the gates on the weekend, many of them women.
A year ago, women's apparel sales were $34,000 for the week at the Byron Nelson Championship. This year, they were $27,000 on the first day - a Tuesday practice round - and $125,000 for the week, an increase of 255 percent.
The boutique was so successful that the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which runs the Byron Nelson, wonders why it didn't think of this sooner. And its merchandising director, Andy Stern, would not be surprised if more PGA Tour events in affluent markets followed their lead.
'We get a lot of wives of corporates,' said Stern, chairman of Sunwest Communications in Dallas. 'Their husbands are watching golf, and they'd say, 'Let's go shop.' Before this, we had no reason for them to do that.'
Just about every golf tournament sells merchandise. Most do business in the pro shop, while the bigger events, such as The Players Championship and the World Golf Championships, also have a separate merchandise tent.
Some don't need one. Pebble Beach has a miniature mall area surrounding the putting green next to the Lodge, with shops that sell fine jewelry, art, crystal and regular golf merchandise. Doral has something similar on a smaller scale.
Then there's the U.S. Open, which builds something that resembles a department store. The main merchandise tent at Shinnecock Hills will be 36,000 square feet (nearly double the size from the last U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 1995) and is so big that it has more than 300 mannequins.
The Byron Nelson Championship for years had a main merchandise tent with the usual wares - shirts, hats, umbrellas, golf balls, towels, rain gear. Stern wanted something more, and a trip to Olympia Fields south of Chicago last year for the U.S. Open opened his eyes.
'It looked like a Nordstrom's,' Stern said. 'I thought, 'This does not look like what we've been doing.''
The Salesmanship Club, which has given more to charity than any other PGA Tour event the last four years, had little need for a merchandise tent the size of the U.S. Open. But it decided to do a better job catering to women, giving them more options than a sleeveless golf shirt with a logo on the lapel.
That was no small task in Dallas.
'To make this work, we had to find the buzz,' Stern said. 'Nike would have sent me some ladies' stuff, same with Antigua. But that wasn't going to get the Dallas women very excited.'
The first designer to sign up for the small boutique was Jamie Sadock, one of the top sellers in pro shops at resorts and private golf clubs.
'We're just offering ladies something different, something fun,' said John Chinni, regional marketing representative for Jamie Sadock. 'It was the first time we've done this (at a tournament), and we didn't know what to expect. The response has been phenomenal.'
Chinni said he had to have three overnight shipments to restock his shelves in the tent.
What also makes the boutique different from a regular merchandise tent is the lack of logos. Most merchants say those are for men, who want to show their friends where they have been.
Not so for women.
The proof was in a small display of Jamie Sadock shirts with the EDS Byron Nelson Championship logo, which the company made to offer women a choice. Chinni said he sold four of those shirts all week.
Mary Lopuszynski has been merchandising director for the USGA since 1995, and she has noticed vast changes in women's golf apparel.
'When I first started, it was more like vendors taking men's shirts and making them a smaller size,' she said. 'Gradually, it has become definitely a more retail fit - things like sleeveless, different necklines, what women can wear away from the golf course. It continues to move in that direction.'
Lopuszynski was the unofficial host when Stern and his crew visited the U.S. Open merchandise tent last year at Olympia Fields, showing him not only what they were selling, but how to present it. Stern wound up hiring Dale Simon, a visual merchandiser, to set up the boutique in a way to maximize sales.
Stern added his own touch.
Corporate sponsors often get a goody bag at the tournament - a leather briefcase or bag with golf shirts, crystal paperweights and other mementos. Stern swapped that out for gift cards to the boutique, which led to even more sales once the sponsors got inside.
'When they buy, they buy big,' said Kristi McAnder, a Lilly Pulitzer sales associate in Dallas who described her company's typical customer as married with two or three kids and an average household income of $200,000.
Stern already is looking ahead to next year.
The Salesmanship Club plans to double the size of its boutique, and Stern said he might add a Starbucks in the middle of the shop.
It might not work at every tournament, because not every PGA Tour stop has the demographics of Dallas. Still, Chinni said he noticed representatives from other tour events stick their head in the door at the Byron Nelson to see how things were going.
'I guarantee you, they'll follow suit,' he said.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.
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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake
Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.
Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.
Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.
Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.
Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.
Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?
Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.
It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.
A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.
Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.
Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews
The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.
According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:
TAKE CARE – ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE AREA— Fife Police (@FifePolice) September 19, 2018
Police in Fife are asking the public to take care around St Andrews Old Course after reports of tents from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships site being blown about. #stormy #stormAli #staysafe
While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.