CLUB PRO MANUFACTURING
INTERVIEW WITH MATT WARD
I started as a pro shop kid at age 13. After college I landed a job with a golf bag manufacturer and over 40 years later, I’m still surrounded by golf every day. More than 30 years ago, I teamed up with our founder and PGA Club Professional Bill Ridge. We’ve collaborated on multiple products under the Club Pro Manufacturing brand. It’s been a rewarding career with an amazing group of guys, truly a labor of love.
THE CLUB PRO MANUFACTURING STORY —
Club Pro Manufacturing listens to its customers. Whether it’s tweaking a design on a part or searching for something that has never been done before, we take great pride in meeting the needs and wants of our customers. We began hearing from many of our customers about being able to reopen, but their revenues were cut in half because they could only send out one golfer per cart. Their costs remained the same. We simply heard the need and responded with this project. The goal was to get the cost of the unit to the golf courses so that it could pay for itself after a round or two, and we achieved that.
Club Pro Manufacturing USA is now producing a divider for usage in power carts.
What prompted the desire to do this?
All of our products are designed with golf course operations in mind. Our mission is to give the operators accessories that improve their efficiencies and provide value-added services for customers. This idea came about because a lot of our customers started complaining about only being able to send out one person per cart. We listen to our customers; they are on the front lines.
How long is the process from idea concept to finished product?
About 4 weeks. The process continues with securing raw goods and juggling production time with our other products.
From a marketing perspective how are you making courses and clubs aware of your efforts?
With over 30 years developing products for golf operations, we are usually the first call our customers make when searching for accessories. We also use our social media platforms for exposure and word of mouth through our network.
Have any of the major golf organizations — PGA of America, National Golf Course Owners Association, USGA, others — expressed interest in spreading the word?
We’ve had news releases in front of most of those organizations and their constituencies. The PGA of America launched their Back2Golf initiative, and one of the recommendations for riding two people in a cart was to have a divider in it.
From a production standpoint — how many dividers can be produced over a given time frame — say in a week, month, etc, etc.
Anywhere from (60) units up to (500) units daily, just depends on what other products we are producing that day.
The dividers are made exclusively in the USA — how important is that connection in building positive momentum in going forward?
Very important. We take great pride putting that ‘Made in the USA’ tag on our products. We made a cautious decision several years ago to not rely on overseas production. It’s made us more nimble and able to adapt to situations quickly.
Costs for each divider is listed at $65 — how much of a profit margin are you anticipating per unit?
We are working on a tight margin and have asked our dealers and distributors to do the same in order to get golf courses at a price that it will pay for itself in a round or two depending on the type of facility.
Club Pro Manufacturing is on the front lines to assist golf professionals. Define the customer service approach followed and how feedback plays a role in your future efforts.
Feedback is hugely important, that’s how this product came about and it’s how we continue to develop and improve our products. As mentioned, we listen to our customers’ feedback, both positive and negative. We treasure the positive and take action on the negative.
The overall golf industry was already going through challenging times following The Great Recession in ’07-’09 with much of that tied to attempts in expanding a pool of new players to the sport such as Millennials, women and minorities.
With the pandemic’s impact not fully calculated at this point — how do you see the overall golf industry going forward?
I think the industry will fare very strongly going forward. We’ve been in quarantine and are itching to get out. Golf is such a perfect sport to get outside with friends or family for a few hours, enjoy the weather and get some exercise.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion for you?
Constant improvement to our line-up through product innovation.
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