How did you start out in the golf industry?
As a passionate golfer, I always wanted to have a career in the golf industry. I started off working in the American Golf store in Edinburgh 20 years ago, and have followed a national career progression to get to where I am now in the company. There is a lot of support in the company in terms of training and opportunities. I’ve stayed here because it’s a great industry and a lot of fun.
What do you do now for American Golf?
My current role is a brand new one. I am Head of New Business Development, which means that I am responsible for managing anything new to the business. That includes new store openings, our on course business, a new outlet concept and our pre-owned business. It’s a really exciting time for the business and I am thoroughly enjoying this new opportunity.
Why has American Golf expanded its business to include outlet stores?
Golfers come in all shapes and sizes and we need to adapt our offering to meet their needs. Not everyone wants to buy a brand new set of clubs, so we decided to enter the pre-owned market. By widening our range to include pre-owned clubs we can help more people get into the game in an affordable manner, boost the second hand market and reach a new type of customer.
Is growing your on course presence still important?
Yes, but we only work with sites that we can add value to and who add value to our business. It is all about collaboration. We work really closely with the landlords or owners to integrate our offering into their existing business. A great example of this is at Malkin’s Bank in Sandbach. The AG store is bringing new people to the facility, increasing their visibility and in turn their associated businesses are growing.
What happens to the current staff when you work with an existing site?
Continuity is really important, so we retain the existing team and train them to AG standards. We want to build their confidence and maintain the relationship with the current clientele. We don’t come in to change things, we come in to offer our expertise and make things better for all concerned.
What are American Golf’s plans for coming year?
We are committed to growing our business. We have already opened 7 new sites this year. We’re getting enquiries all the time from operators who want to work with us - we just need to make sure that we continue to select the sites that will benefit from our expertise and complement our business.
What constitutes an ideal site?
We want to be at the point of play, so working with a busy club or a driving range is ideal. It’s important to acknowledge that each site is different, but we have the flexibility to adapt to the sometimes complex needs of each venue we work with. That’s the great part about my job. We understand that one size does not fit all!
Finally, what is your dream fourball?
This is an easy one. I’ve been a golf fan all my life and my favourite golfers of all time are Seve, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart.