December 5, 2014

Rick Kline: Create a Ladies-Only Demo Day

rick-klineRick Kline, the 2013 PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities, is the PGA head professional at Sittler Golf Center in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and the owner of Sittler Golf Academy.

Rick Kline on the importance of creating a ladies-only demo day:
A few years ago, at our Demo Day the last weekend in April, I was watching the customers in attendance: their excitement and enjoyment as they hit balls and tried out new equipment. As I looked down the line on the range, I realized they were all guys. I asked a few women present if they had tried hitting some clubs. No, they said; it was intimidating. So I suggested to my wife (Patty Kline, GM of Sittler Golf Center) that we needed to start a ladies-only demo day, making it fun and less intimidating. In 2007 we initiated our first all-inclusive demo day for ladies, and we now have several a year. We do more of them in season, when it’s warmer, because the weather is a key factor. We partner with a few vendors that have female-friendly products, send out invitations and email blasts and advertise on road signs. This year we partnered with Cobra, Adams and Callaway. We encouraged ladies to bring friends, and we offered a 45-minute free clinic. 38 women participated at our last event, half of whom were new. We offered complimentary drinks, wine coolers, cheese and crackers. The women relaxed, hit balls and had fun. Each year these events get bigger and better.

Rick Kline on the business impact of creating a ladies-only demo day:
We make our Ladies-Only Demo Day a special event each time. Late on a summer afternoon, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., proved to be a good time frame this year. Two of us conducted the clinic. We picked up on common flaws and selected two topics to emphasize: grip and set-up. We also noticed that many of the women had gaps in their bags. Maybe they were missing a hybrid, for example, or they hit three of their clubs the same distance. We were able to help with club suggestions to fill the gaps. This is just one example of how trying different things leads to success. If something works, try it again and make it better. If it doesn’t, try to determine why not and what can be done differently next time. We found these to be effective strategies: Be involved and have the staff involved; encourage women to bring friends; and don’t be afraid to give away your time, free lessons and free advice – on the spot. Our Ladies-Only Demo Days are no-charge events, as we are hoping to attract attention, make sales and book future business. They are a successful way of marketing our facility and drawing new customers. The most recent event generated $2,757, which includes equipment purchases and additional lesson revenue.

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