The pro who makes the shop swing at Ebotse Links

Michael Vlismas

BENONI (4 August 2015) - One of the many success stories of the Ebotse Links is its pro shop run by Craig Stickling and which for years has been one of the leading on-course pro shops in the country as it caters for junior golfers to seasoned professionals.

The Ebotse Links Pro Shop is in fact South Africa's top on-course retailer for TaylorMade/Adidas product.

For Stickling, the reasons for this are simple.

"You have to be hands on at all times. With all the competition out there at the moment service is key and the only way to keep customers and to get new ones is to make sure they get the best service possible."

As a respected PGA professional, Stickling says relationships are also a key part of running a successful on-course pro shop.

"You must have a very good relationship with your suppliers as both parties need to contribute otherwise it won't work. I also try to take my staff with to all the suppliers when I place orders. This way they will learn more about the business and appreciate the way I work. Your staff needs to be knowledgeable on all products that you stock as this will assist in the service required. Ebotse Links also provides the perfect platform for my business, which really helps. My weekly newsletter and social media through Twitter and Facebook provides me with a footprint in the golf industry as well."

To compete against the bigger retailers, Stickling has had to identify his own competitive advantage.

"Adding value is key to sustaining business. I provide a special membership in my shop for Ebotse Links members that benefit all age groups and gender types, so everyone can get products at the best prices possible. I also don't believe in selling clubs without fittings, so I provide my customers with a free fitting through the professional demo reps. This will ensure that they try all possibilities and get fitted correctly before purchasing any equipment.

"Shop merchandising also plays a big role. We merchandise the shop in different ways all the time to provide our members and customers with a fresh and new look all the time."

Stickling's pro shop may have a fresh look now and again, but it's his tried and tested methods that keep him raising the bar in golf retail in South Africa.

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About the PGA of South Africa

The Professional Golfers Association of South Africa is a members' organization of over 500 qualified Club Professionals. The PGA was founded in 1925 and lists amongst its members over the years many of South Africa's greatest golfers and most dedicated servants of the game.

The PGA is committed to training and serving golf pros whose principal aim is to offer a highly professional service to golfers in all aspects of the game.

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