I can already tell you, after just a few days back here in Florida, that the Level 2 Seminars have a completely different feel than the Level 1 Seminars. Maybe it’s knowing what to expect or not being as stressed out about the Work Experience Portfolio, but I have to say that it’s actually been a pleasure to be here!
The evenings are much more laid back, and there are already way more opportunities to either go play golf at the end of the day or go out and relax with your classmates. It’s a subtle reminder of what a big deal it is to make it through Level 1 and how we all have an obligation to help others at our facilities get through the process, especially Level 1, which is largely designed to weed-out the less motivated.
Day 3 was all about Merchandising and Inventory Management. It was a rainy walk from the hotel to the PGA Education Center up the street. There has been rain in the forecast every day this week, and luckily it held off until today. Mark Black (PGA) from Encanterra was back at the helm along with Michelle Hupfer (PGA) who we also had for Level 1. Of course, you can’t do Merchandising without doing a little math.
That brings us to the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) formula. Cost of Goods Sold is often shown as a percentage of sales (COGS/Total Sales = COGS %). It’s usually higher for hard goods than it is for soft goods because hard goods are more expensive. Based on a 2010 PGA Study, sample COGS percentage benchmarks were 50-60% for soft goods, 65-75% for hard goods, and 72% on average, for both categories.
After lunch, we continued by developing a fictional Open-to-Buy (OTB) plan and a Merchandise Assortment Plan (MAP) for men’s shirts in one of our Case Studies, Saguaro Sands. An OTB plan tells you how much product you must bring in each month, in each category, to support forecasted sales. Basically, as the rounds ramp up during the year, you want to have the inventory on-hand to handle the rush. A MAP establishes the desired merchandise mix of brands, sizes, colors, materials, models and price points for both soft and hard goods.
We also discussed markup approaches from Keystone Pricing to The Mill River Plan and establishing vendor relationships that contribute to the overall growth and success of the merchandise operation.
Mark is always talking about the golf boom in the 80s and how everything in the golf industry was so great back then. I asked him how that compared to boom of the late 90s and early 2000s that we’re all more familiar with. He told us that golf in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s up through Tiger Woods was great up until the lull around 2008.
Then he asked us if we noticed that the younger guys on Tour these days all seemed to talk to one another.
“Did you notice who had already changed clothes and was there to meet Justin Thomas near the 18th green right after he won the PGA?” Mark asked. We said we saw Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. And that was his point. “The younger guys talk to each other during competition,” he said.
“It’s a different animal. They’re actually friends! In my day, if you knew something, you certainly didn’t share it. Think Tiger and Phil (Mickelson). Those guys never talked to each other. I think golf is going to have another boom.” I hope Mark is right.
A few of my classmates decided to go to the beach when we got out of class around 4:30p, and I was invited to tag along. We jumped into an Uber, and 25 minutes later, we spilled out onto the Fort Pierce Inlet. We took some great shots of the beach on a sunny afternoon, and I have to say, the Atlantic Ocean was a lot warmer than I was expecting it to be. It was a lot warmer than the Pacific, that’s for sure! We saw plenty of pelicans and what we think was a sea lion (or maybe it was a seal). We also saw some fresh coconuts and smashed a couple of them open. Two of my classmates ate some fresh coconut from one while the other drank the water right out of another!
My Level 2 Work Experience Portfolio Completion Status is now over 30% complete. I’ve gone about as far as I can go without fudging interviews and making-up answers. I have a few interviews to conduct when I get back to Arizona, most notably with our Director of Agronomy, Head Golf Professional, and Merchandise Manager. I feel pretty good about my progress through just three days.
Preview of Day 4: Intermediate Teaching and Golf Club Alteration (8:30a-5:20p)
Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for: Intermediate Teaching and Golf Club Alteration with Rafael Floriani (PGA) and Brad Brewer (PGA). The only problem is that there’s rain in the forecast much of the day. I’m told we may have to flip-flop the schedule so we can go outside in the morning instead of in the afternoon. I hope we’re not cooped up all day! It’s going to be the 2nd-longest day of the week schedule-wise. On Monday, we got out before 5:00p even though we were scheduled to go until 5:30p.