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December 29, 2016

James Hong: Budget for a “Game-changing” Product at the PGA Merchandise Show

james-hong2-1James Hong, a PGA apprentice professional, is the director of instruction and a PGA assistant professional at the Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington, New York.

James Hong on the importance of budgeting for a “game-changing” product at the PGA Merchandise Show:
Because I work for a municipality, I have to create a strict PGA Merchandise Show budget I can afford, since most of the cost for products is coming out of my own pocket. But every year, I also create a second budget, a “blow my mind budget,” just in case I find a product that I believe is a necessity for my students and myself as a teacher. My rationale: If it’s a game-changer for my students, then I’ll eventually make back the cost. And if nothing grabs my attention at the PGA Show, that budget can potentially be reinvested during the season, or carry over to next year’s Show. I always do an inventory of my current products to see if there’s any with strong market resale value. My goal here is to essentially see if I can pay for the new product by getting a strong ROI on a similar product or a prior version (ex: selling TrackMan 3 so I can buy TrackMan 4). I will then compare the resale value versus the trade-in credit to determine which is the better option for me. My goal is to have the best and most important tools so both parties can improve. As a result, my main thought is: What common flaws have I seen recently? And what technology can I get to fix them?

James Hong on the business impact of budgeting for a “game-changing” product at the PGA Merchandise Show:
Two stories about this technique: The first is that I had two K-Vest systems, and came across a new 3-D motion capture system I wanted. The value of selling one the K-Vests provided me with enough money and then some for the new system, while also keeping the other K-Vest, in case that was the right tool for a particular student. Similarly, I heard about the BodiTrak pressure mat, a device that helps promote good footwork in the golf swing. In the run-up to the PGA Show, I had a string of students that had problems grasping footwork drills I was putting them through. What they were feeling didn’t correlate to what I saw with my eyes. I chalked that up to a student feeling uncomfortable in a new position, but after getting the BodiTrak, I found out that they were right and I was wrong! That instantly made me a better teacher and made them more satisfied students. In the eight years using this budgeting technique, I’ve easily gained 20 percent more clients, particularly long-term students, because of the safety net of knowing I have the right technology for their needs. My final message: if you see a product you think is right for your students, go for it.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email jhong@palmergolf.com