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Merchandisers of the Year - Watt, Erger and Haas

October 20th, 2020

Watt Wins Private Merchandiser of the Year

Riverside, Iowa – Steve Watt of Glen Oaks Country Club has been named the 2020 Iowa PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year. This award is presented to the PGA Professional who demonstrated superior skills as a merchandiser in the promoting of golf at a private facility.
 
As Director of Golf at Glen Oaks Country Club Watt personally takes tremendous pride in the overall operation and in his facility as it is the finest private club in the state of Iowa.  Watt feels the club, the members, and the investors deserve a World Class retail operation. He is willing to do whatever it takes with his team of Professionals to see that happen.  To see the membership wearing the clothing that he has picked out months in advance, is really a cool feeling.  With all the successes comes some failure too, not every polo can be the best seller and most popular item.  It is at those points his team needs to be smart retailers and cut their loses as well and run a unique, creative and effective sales to move out the stale product and create space for the new and classy gear.
 
“With the challenges of today’s world, Steve has done a terrific job in maintaining the interest and service to members and guests.  His customer service skills, positive attitude and personality overtake the intricate circumstances we are facing in today’s world.  As a result, inventory and special orders have maintained at conventional levels. Steve has a great passion for the golf business.   His enthusiasm and expertise in all lines of merchandise, shows a result of prominent achievement for the Professional Golf Shop at Glen Oaks Country Club,” All Star Pro Golf, Darin C. Justice, PGA commented.
 
“Steve has orchestrated another aggressive club fitting schedule this year, ensuring golfers are provided dozens of opportunities to stay in touch with the latest technology in clubs and custom fitting from the best brand names in golf. The Club does not staff a typical Merchandiser, which allows our young professionals to be very involved alongside Steve in learning the value and necessary skills needed to be in charge of their own shop in the future,” commented Jeffrey Stahl, CCM.
Watt has also won the Professional Development (formally known as the Horton Smith) Award previously in 2018 and Merchandiser of the Year – Private Facilities in 2018.
 
The PGA Congratulates Steve Watt as our 2020 Private Merchandiser of the Year.
 
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Erger Wins Public Merchandiser of the Year

Riverside, Iowa – Matt Erger of Airport National Public Golf Course has been named the 2020 Iowa PGA Public Merchandiser of the Year. This award is presented to the PGA Professional that demonstrated superior skills as a merchandiser in the promotion of golf at a public facility.


Erger started working for Airport National back in 1994 as a freshman in college and turned Professional in 1999. He was fortunate to have Greg Mason and Mark Lemon mentorship for multiple aspects of the golf business. It’s nice to have great relationships with the Sales Reps in our Section.
 
Erger helped Airport National start off as a small golf retail shop 26 years ago with small loyal customer base, then adding retail space with a club house expansion and this year they added a 20’ x 40’ addition to the club house again with two golf simulators using two GC Quad launch monitors.
 
“I’m very honored and humbled to win this award. Want to thank the two other Golf Professionals on staff, Dillon Baker and Ben Montgomery as well my part time staff. Without them we would not be able to do what we do. We all do our best to serve customers who come in the door.” Erger said.
 
This will be his second Iowa PGA Award. Erger received the Assistant of the Year Award back in 2004.
 
This year started off slow with Covid and how to manage the changing regulations, but we are now up 19% over last year’s merchandise sales. He attribute the increase in sales to hiring an additional PGA Golf Professional Ben Montgomery to assist Dillon Baker and himself. They also set aside more time for the three of the Golf Professionals on staff for teaching, which increased sales to students. We added “Operation 36” golf program which also helped increase sales to parents and students. We also started custom fitting clubs for customers with quality GC Quad launch monitors outdoors and indoors with our new simulator addition.
 
The Iowa PGA Congratulates Matt Erger as our 2020 Public Merchandiser of the Year.
 
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Haas Wins Resort Merchandiser of the Year 

Riverside, Iowa – Bryan Haas of Blue Top Ridge at Riverside has been named the 2020 Iowa PGA Resort Merchandiser of the Year. This award is presented to the PGA Professional that demonstrated superior skills as a merchandiser in the promotion of golf at a resort.
 
“We truly appreciate the recognition and honor of this award.” remarked Haas, “Our Professional Staff takes pride in providing a well-rounded golf shop and are dedicated to providing a great experience to each of our Resort Guests.  I appreciate all of the time and effort that each of our Professional Staff members put into making the Blue Top Ridge Golf Shop a contender for this award on a daily basis.”
 
2020 has been an odd year to say the least.  Their retail sales are only slightly down due to Covid.  The positive is that number is shrinking and they are gaining back some of their 2019 sales every day.  They attribute their strong sales following the Nations lockdown to golf being one of the few fun outdoor games we could all play during and after lock down.  They have had a strong clothing and equipment year again.  Players were finding more time to play and were evaluating their equipment performance and updating their bags and new with better performing equipment.  If their current sales pace continues, they will catch up to their 2019 sales by the end of October.  Their profit margins have continued to grow due to their commitment to the retail side of their business and their strong relationships they have created with their vendors and manufactures.
 
The Blue Top Ridge golf shop is divided into three even sections with three prominent clothing vendors. This creates a defined look to the store and creates unique marketing and brand opportunity with each of their vendors. In addition to his shop’s sectional layout, Haas creates displays that capture golfers, which creates a need for them to come back to the store after their round.
 
Another great aspect that drives the golf shop at Blue Top Ridge is its inventory mix. Its current mix consists of three clothing vendors, FootJoy, Puma and Travis Matthews.  In addition to clothing, the Blue Top Ridge golf shop also features equipment from a variety of different vendors, including Titleist, Callaway, Ping, TaylorMade and Cobra.
 
“Our merchandising philosophy is simple and is truly a part of a bigger picture.” stated Haas, “Providing a great shopping experience for each of our guests is our end result.”
 
Their Commitment Statement reads:  Blue Top Ridge is committed to exceeding our guest’s expectations by providing an unprecedented resort experience.  We will succeed through a combination of professional training, teamwork, integrity and respect while creating a fun environment.  We will strive to operate efficiently by balancing our business with the highest quality services and amenities. 
 
Bryan and his staff focus on creating a great shopping experience for each person that walks into the Blue Top Ridge pro shop. It is clear that they have achieved that goal yet again, as this marks Bryan’s sixth time (2008, 2009, 2011, 2018 and 2019) winning the Iowa PGA Resort Merchandiser of the Year.
 
The Iowa PGA Congratulates Bryan Haas as our 2020 Resort Merchandiser of the Year.
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For more information and schedule updates, fans can follow the Iowa PGA on Facebook (facebook.com/Iowapga), Twitter (@iowapga) and YouTube (youtube.com/iowapga).  Fans can also get a behind the scenes look on Instagram (@iowapga).