Jon DePriest, the 1994 PGA Gateway Section Junior Golf Leader Award Recipient and Merchandiser of the Year, 2013 Section Player Development Award Recipient, 2015 Section Golf Professional of the Year, 2017 Section Patriot Award Recipient, and 2019 Section Youth Player Development Award Recipient, is the PGA Director of Golf at Sunset Hills Country Club, in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Jon DePriest on the importance of attending Demo Day for new developments:
I attend the PGA Merchandise Show every year. In addition to catching up with old friends, and meeting new people in our industry, I strive to increase my knowledge of the latest clubs and balls being marketed by the industry leaders in golf equipment, and also learn as much as I can on the newest teaching technology. I often view Tuesday’s Demo Day as the most important day of the week. Being able to try the newest clubs being promoted is an ideal way to gain firsthand knowledge of performance and results. In addition, I meet with reps who may not frequent our area during the winter months, picking their brains on what’s popular and selling in areas of the country who remain “in season”. This creates a foundation upon which I can base my buying decisions, hoping to satisfy my members’ hard goods needs. Golfers are more educated on equipment and technology than ever, and validating our position as the experts in the game is important to success at our club and within the industry as a whole. They often come to you to confirm or refute something they may have read about the new clubs and golf balls on the market. Members of my staff work with our sales reps to try the equipment and discuss the ideal method of fitting members and students – this experience carries a lot of weight when we get home and are approached by members. They rely on us to be their “Resident Professional Experts” when getting fit for new equipment. The opportunity to talk to the best in our business helps make us better professionals, something all PGA Members should take advantage of, if given the chance.
Jon DePriest on the business impact of attending the PGA Merchandise Show for new developments:
In addition to boosting our product and tech knowledge, we handle much of our soft goods and awards/gifts review and specialty buying. With everything under one roof, we save ourselves many hours of time and effort when we return home to prepare for another great season at Sunset Hills. It is a targeted effort, with the goal of adding a new men’s and women’s apparel line to our golf shop. Through communication with vendors and reps, each one understanding our goals and priorities, we gain invaluable knowledge of the latest clubs and technology, with careful consideration of our members’ needs and desires. Our staff knows our members well and what to look for. By venturing to Orlando each January on this educational, yet enjoyable trip, we promote camaraderie and teamwork amongst our staff and reinforce our mission to satisfy our members. After all, we strive to address their needs and boost golf shop sales, the crux of what makes us a successful golf operation.
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