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The guide to working in a big-box golf store

The guide to working in a big

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#31 CCUgolfer23

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:07 PM

Seen and heard it all working at a PGA Tour Superstore. Spot on and a great read.

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#32 MtlJeff

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

thanks guys, glad you liked it
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#33 tripnipp

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:29 PM

Homerun Jeff - very well done! LOL a few times. Give this guy more ink time!

#34 mmack067

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:36 PM

Well done Jeff! Great read.
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#35 Petethreeput

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

View PostFunkey, on 21 November 2012 - 06:12 PM, said:

Of the big box stores I have been in.  It looks like they went to all the local McDonalds and hired all the folks that could not cut fast food.  Most don't have the intelligence to carry off the dialog as stated.  Even if you wrote it down for them they would have problems reading the list.  Much less pulling it off.

First off, Jeff very funny article.  I have never been to a big box golf store, but I believe there are these types of shoppers in all retail stores.

Second, To blanket a whole population as stupid is, well, er... stupid.  GolfWRX isn't the place for you to put down fast food workers and box store employees because of a misplaced myopic, condescending, and generally inaccurate view.  I wouldn't be surprised if many of these part-time workers/ students don't go on to be very successful.  Perhaps because they have learned how to deal with all types of customers, even the condescending ones.


#36 PINGRebel

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:48 PM

You totally forgot "Guy who thinks he's going to become a better ball striker by using muscle-back blades". Or
"Guy that thinks club fitting is all a hoax"

#37 PINGRebel

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:58 PM

Someone needs to write this up again about "typical golf course/store employees". That would be a good read.  Then we can hear about "guy who pretended to play in college & mini tour and still can't break 80".

#38 Yepyukon

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:21 PM

Awesome read.  I worked as a teacher/fitter for years and that is pretty spot on.  The only one you are seeing more and more of nowadays is the guy who comes in to use the monitor to get his numbers, then leave and buy his clubs online.
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#39 driverwedge3putt

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:27 PM

Awesome!!!!!!!!

That was great.

You forgot the guy who know everything about clubs but doesnt want to undermine the salesman so he pretends to listen!

#40 DublinBomber

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 06:22 AM

haha this was brilliant..i remember going to a GG back when i lived in the states and hitting a bunch of drivers looking for a new one. The LM was showing high distances and the guy was telling me this one went the farthest. Asked for dispersion, and he had no idea what that meant, just kept saying, "yea the burner is def going the furthest, if you can just get used to the weight and length you'll be killing it."

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#41 Funkey

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 07:36 AM

View PostPetethreeput, on 21 November 2012 - 10:40 PM, said:

View PostFunkey, on 21 November 2012 - 06:12 PM, said:

Of the big box stores I have been in.  It looks like they went to all the local McDonalds and hired all the folks that could not cut fast food.  Most don't have the intelligence to carry off the dialog as stated.  Even if you wrote it down for them they would have problems reading the list.  Much less pulling it off.

First off, Jeff very funny article.  I have never been to a big box golf store, but I believe there are these types of shoppers in all retail stores.

Second, To blanket a whole population as stupid is, well, er... stupid.  GolfWRX isn't the place for you to put down fast food workers and box store employees because of a misplaced myopic, condescending, and generally inaccurate view.  I wouldn't be surprised if many of these part-time workers/ students don't go on to be very successful.  Perhaps because they have learned how to deal with all types of customers, even the condescending ones.

Your wrong.  If you have never been to a big box store how can you state facts about them?  You think they require a PGA school degree to work there?  They are min wage jobs.  You can go in a week later and it's all new employees.  The manger may know whats going on but he/she is the only one. Your on your own.

#42 pingman1

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:30 AM

Several years ago I went in to a Golfsmith store looking for a Titleist driver, it went like this:

Salesman: "can I help you?"

Me: "yes I want a Titleist 975 D".

Salesman: "What is your handicap?"

Me: "sixteen"

Salesman: "Can you punch a 3 iron out of the woods, under a tree and get the ball back in play?"

Me: "yes, sometime"

Salesman: "Good, with a 16 HDCP, if you buy the Titleist, you are going to need that shot!"

Salesman: Yells to another salesman, "Hey Joe, would you sell a Titleist 975D to a 16 HDCP?"

Other salesman: "No, he needs the new Taylormade."

By then, several customers and sales guys were laughing. I left the store, went to a Edwin Watts store, bought the Titleist.  After about 3 rounds, I realized the Golfsmith salesman was right!!!

#43 PINGRebel

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:04 AM

View Postpingman1, on 22 November 2012 - 08:30 AM, said:

Several years ago I went in to a Golfsmith store looking for a Titleist driver, it went like this:

Salesman: "can I help you?"

Me: "yes I want a Titleist 975 D".

Salesman: "What is your handicap?"

Me: "sixteen"

Salesman: "Can you punch a 3 iron out of the woods, under a tree and get the ball back in play?"

Me: "yes, sometime"

Salesman: "Good, with a 16 HDCP, if you buy the Titleist, you are going to need that shot!"

Salesman: Yells to another salesman, "Hey Joe, would you sell a Titleist 975D to a 16 HDCP?"

Other salesman: "No, he needs the new Taylormade."

By then, several customers and sales guys were laughing. I left the store, went to a Edwin Watts store, bought the Titleist.  After about 3 rounds, I realized the Golfsmith salesman was right!!!

I was in the golf business for 12 years and now that I'm recently out (1 year) I can't tell you how many times I've heard big-box sales guys say "those pings are too harsh, you need Taylor-made" , or "Titleist clubs are for good players, you need RocketBallz".  Basically, you can fill in any conversation and at the end,  Dicks sporting goods employed is going to say....you should buy the Taylor Made.

#44 MtlJeff

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:19 AM

View Postpingman1, on 22 November 2012 - 08:30 AM, said:

Several years ago I went in to a Golfsmith store looking for a Titleist driver, it went like this:

Salesman: "can I help you?"

Me: "yes I want a Titleist 975 D".

Salesman: "What is your handicap?"

Me: "sixteen"

Salesman: "Can you punch a 3 iron out of the woods, under a tree and get the ball back in play?"

Me: "yes, sometime"

Salesman: "Good, with a 16 HDCP, if you buy the Titleist, you are going to need that shot!"

Salesman: Yells to another salesman, "Hey Joe, would you sell a Titleist 975D to a 16 HDCP?"

Other salesman: "No, he needs the new Taylormade."

By then, several customers and sales guys were laughing. I left the store, went to a Edwin Watts store, bought the Titleist.  After about 3 rounds, I realized the Golfsmith salesman was right!!!

haha, not exactly sales 101....but that's pretty funny!
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#45 Petethreeput

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:21 AM

View PostFunkey, on 22 November 2012 - 07:36 AM, said:

View PostPetethreeput, on 21 November 2012 - 10:40 PM, said:

View PostFunkey, on 21 November 2012 - 06:12 PM, said:

Of the big box stores I have been in.  It looks like they went to all the local McDonalds and hired all the folks that could not cut fast food.  Most don't have the intelligence to carry off the dialog as stated.  Even if you wrote it down for them they would have problems reading the list.  Much less pulling it off.

First off, Jeff very funny article.  I have never been to a big box golf store, but I believe there are these types of shoppers in all retail stores.

Second, To blanket a whole population as stupid is, well, er... stupid.  GolfWRX isn't the place for you to put down fast food workers and box store employees because of a misplaced myopic, condescending, and generally inaccurate view.  I wouldn't be surprised if many of these part-time workers/ students don't go on to be very successful.  Perhaps because they have learned how to deal with all types of customers, even the condescending ones.

Your wrong.  If you have never been to a big box store how can you state facts about them?  You think they require a PGA school degree to work there?  They are min wage jobs.  You can go in a week later and it's all new employees.  The manger may know whats going on but he/she is the only one. Your on your own.

So maybe we agree.  I have worked in fast food, and I have been in big box stores (just not golf stores), and I have worked in hobby stores like golf where the customers fit all the descriptions, only they are looking for fishing rods, baseball gloves, etc.  If you are stating some don't care because they are getting paid minimum wage, OK; or the training is not good, because the guy making $9 hour doesnt care to train them, OK.

I simply took offense to the idea that a job defines intelligence.  I owned a fast food restaurant and I employed a lot of college kids.  While they were perceived as stupid by my customers (anyone, including myself, in the uniform loses 50 IQ points just by slipping on the shirt), many of them have gone to become very successful in their own right.


#46 Dire Wolf

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:54 AM

View Posthonketyhank, on 21 November 2012 - 02:56 PM, said:

I am the guy that walks into the local GG or GS about once a month with nothing really on my mind except maybe "I could use a new grip on my 3-hybrid" (and all I want is the grip because I will install it myself). But I usually make a turn thru the new clubs section, the used club section, maybe a few other sections. I don't really want any help because I know that what I came for is either in plain view or not there at all. So a request of "How can I help you today?" is usually met with "I came for a new grip, they are right over there, right? Thanks, I'll yell if I need you."

But sometimes I will see something I want to try out. After the above, I think many sales folks are turned off. And then, they are hard to find.

So how do you sell something to me besides the measly grip I came for in the first place? (Not that I really want to spend more money than planned, but just curious.)


They don't, and after they figure out what you're doing they stop trying, as you've noticed.  You're what's known as a "tire-kicker". People run away from you because, as you admit, you're just there to try things out and not spend any money beyond a few bucks on a grip/tees/tape/etc.

Which is fine, so long as you don't waste too much of anyone's time, you don't get irritated and complain to the manager when the clerks eventually focus more on someone else, and you don't hog the simulator/monitor for 45 minutes while people are waiting.

I kick tires sometimes.  We all do when we're genuinely browsing.  But that's not the kind of guy we're talking about.  We're talking about the serial tire-kicker who can even make a game of it, to see how much he can get away with before he's cut off.  There was one guy who came in like clockwork every week or so (and at every demo day or product release) to hit everything in the store, often just to kill time or practice, and never to buy.  We used to call him "The CEO" because he was the "head tirekicker at Bridgestone".  ;)

(article was dead on, btw...nice job)


I would also add (from my retail days) the type of customer who is what I call the "Mindless Question Generator".  He asks an endless stream questions that often make no sense, seemingly out of habit.  This person is barely listening to your answers and doesn't wait for you to finish.  Some keyword out of your mouth (like "bounce") or in his head (could be anything...maybe an image of a bear on a unicycle) starts a new question/tangent.  He rarely buys and is using you like a Golf Google.  Not to be confused with someone who is genuinely interested and just has some questions.

There's also the "Check With My Wife Guy", who isn't buying anything and is using his wife as an excuse to leave.  Sometimes this guy can be sold, but not often.  Oddly enough, the information about his wife being the decision maker isn't provided until the end of the hour-long hitting session.  Hmmm...

And of course, there's the "Ebay Guy".  He's using your time and equipment to test out something he KNOWS he's buying online.  Total waste of time.  Sometimes he lets slip that he's looking at a club online.  When you hear that, it's over.  Tape him up and go help someone else.


Again, great article, Jeff.

#47 MtlJeff

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:01 AM

^^^ thanks again everyone!

I wanted to include a few more "guys" but the thing was i didn't want the article to be too long. If it's way too big i worried people wouldn't want to read it so i just put some of the funnier, or more common ones. But there's definitely a few more like "guy who's just taking up golf, and has learned a few buzzwords on the internet", "guy who haggles you over trade in value"

haha...maybe there should be a part 2!
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#48 realitycheck

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:09 AM

View PostPetethreeput, on 21 November 2012 - 10:40 PM, said:

View PostFunkey, on 21 November 2012 - 06:12 PM, said:

Of the big box stores I have been in.  It looks like they went to all the local McDonalds and hired all the folks that could not cut fast food.  Most don't have the intelligence to carry off the dialog as stated.  Even if you wrote it down for them they would have problems reading the list.  Much less pulling it off.

First off, Jeff very funny article.  I have never been to a big box golf store, but I believe there are these types of shoppers in all retail stores.

Second, To blanket a whole population as stupid is, well, er... stupid.  GolfWRX isn't the place for you to put down fast food workers and box store employees because of a misplaced myopic, condescending, and generally inaccurate view.  I wouldn't be surprised if many of these part-time workers/ students don't go on to be very successful.  Perhaps because they have learned how to deal with all types of customers, even the condescending ones.
Very well said!

#49 Golfjunki71

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

Much better than that orange grip article.
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#50 Bluefan75

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

great article.  I was in a store a few years back trying on some shoes.  I tend to be a bit picky so I just told the guy I was good as long as I could find the shoes, and to go help other customers.  He wished he hadn't taken me up on that.

A few minutes later a guy who can't speak english comes in with his 20-ish year old son.  He hits some clubs, and then his son starts in on making deals.  He talks about how his dad has been a really good customer at places and could be a really good one here if they make the right deal.  (He didn't explain why he wasn't doing business at those places if he was such a good customer, but I digress.)  The kid also had a thing for saying "taxes in", like a little kid who just learned the meaning of the F word and tries to say it as often as possible.  The sales guy must have gone back two or three times to get "approval" on the kid's offers, and finally he figured out what was going on, and said they couldn't do it.  The kid said they would be sorry at all the lost business.  Ironically, this store just recently closed down because the big box, and their generous dealings had done them in, which says something about this kid if they couldn't make a deal.

After it was done I talked to the guys and told him they were right to turn his offers away.  They would never make any money off him.  We had some good laughs and then they gave me a coupon for a free round at a local course!


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#51 AmazinBlue

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:17 AM

Coffee is for Closers!!!

Awesome article.  I worked at Bobicks years ago and I learned the unfortunate truth that you can't make enough $$ working in a golf store to buy the stuff you're selling.  I love the technology aspect of the game and an am enamored by the physics, even though I don't understand all of it, but if I could make a decent living selling golf equiipment, I'd do it in a hot minute.  What could be better than talking golf all day and getting paid for it?  Awesome.
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#52 nbg352

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

This thread should be pinned and it should become required reading for all new big box golf store employees.
I see every one of these customer types on a regular basis and the ones I find most difficult are the ones who know everything (arrogant) and the onses who think they know everything ( rudely arrogant). All the rest can be great fun to deal and work with.
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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

YepYukon, you are correct. "Awesome read.  I worked as a teacher/fitter for years and that is pretty spot on.  The only one you are seeing more and more of nowadays is the guy who comes in to use the monitor to get his numbers, then leave and buy his clubs online."

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#54 SundayBag

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 03:11 PM

this made me laugh. we had a couple different ones outside of this, like the guy who wants a deal on everything, but a great list nonetheless.

#55 gregcindyh

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 04:45 PM

I was in retail for over 25 years and owned a car stereo business for 10, but sold it to change careers when the market slowed down. Good observation on reading customers. But the best advice, treat everyone like gold and be as helpful as possible, even to the jerks. Pre-qualifing customers is the first way to get yourself in trouble, sometimes you just never know who will buy and who will spread the news about how nice the guys were or how horrible they were. I had a customer walk in my store and all of the salesman avoided him because he was dirty and didn't speak very good english, I helped him out and he spent $54k on his truck, $8k on his 260z and $5k on his wifes corvette, Never, never judge a book by its cover, EVER! When you have a great positive atmosphere, price will be a secoundary issue. For you young guys starting out, you may be selling to your next boss so becareful how you treat people. "Help enough people get what they want, so you can get what you want" Zig Zigglar

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#56 oldflgolfer

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 04:51 PM

I always ask "do you know the head weight?" If he answers then I'll stick with him and play with his brain. If he sends me to the 22yr old club tech, then it's game on. I love messing with you guys.....part of being an old golf junking
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#57 theinsider

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:56 PM

Great stuff. Enjoyed the piece Jeff.

#58 damo

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:47 PM

I used like getting the sales where the guy comes in, grabs what he wants and all you need to do is grab the headcover and his money. We used to call them the drive-thru sales. They were literally in and out in the space of a few minutes. They use to happen a lot on friday afternoons. All you needed to do is wait at the counter.

#59 Dscvrr St Louis

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:54 PM

Mtljeff...that was you..dang, I thought MTL was your first name!! LOL!!
You nailed it man...! I have been at my GG for three years and I believe on last Sunday during my 7 hour shift, I dealt with almost everyone in your story.
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#60 makaveli

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:01 AM

I love the Glengarry Glen Ross references.  The all-star cast in that movie alone makes it worth watching.  I didnt know this was MtlJeff either!  Jeff you da man, good article.

Edited by makaveli, 23 November 2012 - 12:27 AM.


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