Ted Maher, the head PGA Professional at Great Barr Golf Club in the West Midlands tells Adrian Milledge how his regripping service and support from Golf Pride is benefitting his business.
The internet has a lot to answer, good and bad. Not least for PGA pros.
In some instances it can be boon when spreading their skills as coaches, giving feedback to students, or promoting themselves via websites and social media.
In others, the lack of expensive overheads in terms of well-equipped and buyer friendly premises means internet traders can under-cut the price of the shiny new clubs and colourful clothing on sale in pro shops.
There is one thing the ubiquitous world wide web cannot accomplish, however.
That’s regrip a golf club – a process that golfers who play on a weekly basis are advised to have done annually.
And with grips costing from £6.50 to £14 and, in Ted Maher’s case, taking him on average half-an-hour to re-grip a full set of clubs, the exercise can be a nice little earner.
“It one of the biggest parts of my business,” says Maher, the head PGA Professional at Great Barr Golf Club in the West Midlands.
“One of my goals when I took over as head pro three years ago was to boost the regripping side of the business.
“As a result we’ve grown it from being quite small to something we do that’s very profitable.”
In addition to his own efforts and that of his assistant Tom Palmer, Maher is indebted to the support he has received from Golf Pride and Craig Watson, the company’s territory sales manager for the UK.
“We’ve had loads of support from Craig at Golf Pride,” Maher confirms. “He came to our captain’s day and offered free grips to the members. The ratio of those guys coming back to have full sets done was incredible.”
Watson who, in common with his boss Conor Dillon, is a PGA pro, also equipped Maher with a Golf Pride grip wall for his shop.
As well as featuring a wide selection of grips of varying colours, textures and costs, the stand includes a grip bar that has grips attached to shafts.
“Grip Pride are brilliant,” says Maher. “They offer us a load of support and this grip bar has been a game-changer in my opinion.
“We used to sell grips with no support inside them and it was difficult for the customer to get a real feel for them. Grips on the bars, however, allow the customer to feel exactly how the grip would feel on their clubs. They look good as well with the baskets of grips underneath.”
The presence of an eye-catching display stand dominating one of his pro shop walls, however, is just a stage of the journey en route to closing a regripping sale.
“Some of our customers just don’t know when to renew their grips,” Maher explains. “The stand is just one way we encourage our members to re-grip their clubs.
“We educate them as well. That can be in our newsletter or face to face.
“We also see a lot of people coming through the shop or in the studio and are able to advise them.
“And coaching is also a good opportunity – we get to see their clubs when we coach them and we can tell straight away what condition their grips are in.
“We can show and compare their grips with a new one – and how it would feel. They’re very receptive – a lot better than I envisaged.
“As long as you educate them and take them through a process they understand the value of grips and how they can help them to improve their game.
“We rarely see people who give us clubs and tell us to re-grip them. We follow a process of size, type of grip, their playing style and fit the grip to that individual.”
Golf Pride, a PGA Official Supplier, is the dominant force when it comes to supplying golf club grips. So much so that its market share hovers around the 80 per cent mark. Conor Dillon, the company’s regional manager EMEA, has no doubt PGA pros play a key role in that domination.
“PGA pros are at the heart of everything we do,” he says. “Eighty per cent of all consumers go to their PGA pro seeking advice as to how to find the right grip.
“It’s not about finding one size of grip fits all – there are a number of things to take into consideration. The texture of the grip, the sizing of the grip – the PGA pro can help the consumer.
“We have raised the overall awareness of re-gripping in the pro shop. We feel it’s very much an educational process which we provide. The grip walls have been key to getting the message across. Typically, three or four years ago, grips would be kept out of sight in the workshop. Now everything is on display in the shop. It’s all about raising the importance of re-gripping and the benefits it has for golfers.
“PGA pros also use their expertise. They know about a customer’s swing and what size to fit."