Head PGA Pro Sarah Walton on Lock Down

sarah walton lessons from lockdown

Sarah Walton, Head PGA Pro at Belton Park Golf Club in the East Midlands

Sarah Walton, had just completed a refurbishment project in the pro shop when lock down was announced.  “The previous layout in the pro shop hadn’t offered the freedom to display stock as we wanted to, or merchandise creatively at all,” says Sarah, “When the shop had to close, we’d just been celebrating the completion of this fantastic new refurbishment project, with new fittings and carpets and we’d also relocated the counter to make better use of space. Members were really positive about the changes and, like most pro shops, we were looking forward to the new season.”

 

belton park golf club pro shop

SYSTEM OVERHAUL

We saw the email from the guys at XPOS suggesting we take the PC out of the shop for safety reasons.  I went in on the Tuesday to put things away, shut the shop down properly and take the PC home.

"like most pro shops, we were looking forward to the new season.”

My partner, Chris Thompson, who runs the shop, and I, inherited the original PC hardware and sales system from the previous golf Pro and a week before lock down, we’d just invested in a new PC and upgraded to XPOS Version 2.  It’s quite different to Version 1 and we’ve really been able to get to grips with V2 over the last few weeks.

Moving onto V2 has flagged up issues with our product data: mainly around how it was initially put onto the system.  Lock down has provided time to go through everything, clean the data and get better practices in place.  We’ve done a clean sweep of old member accounts and overhauled lots of the information on there so now it will be in sync with XCODES. This also puts us in a better position to train the pro shop staff when we get back.

 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

In normal, everyday life we’re so busy dealing with customers and coaching, that it’s hard to put aside time for self-improvement.  I’ve been determined to allocate time during lock down to better some of my skills, so I’ve studied quite a bit. I’ve completed Trackman levels 1 and 2 and done some Mizuno product and customer fitting training. I’ve also brought forward starting my second year of my Bull3D education program.

New projects have also cropped up that I don’t think would have otherwise come my way.  I’ve been asked to get involved in a new initiative with a golf Professional who wants to set up a podcast for pro’s in our county. It’s an exciting new venture to get clubs together and he’s asked me to provide technical insights.  Watch this space on that one!

 

lessons from lock down sarah walton

 

Having the online Hub in XPOS V2 is brilliant. I can run reports off at home and when life resumes to normal, I’ll be able to check on products in stock and keep an eye on sales from home as well.

The Knowledge Centre in the Hub is a fantastic port of call when you’ve forgotten how to do something, or want to train up on a particular function within XPOS.

 

IN TOUCH WITH MEMBERS

Every couple of weeks, I update and send out my TGI newsletter. I took some photos on the course last week and sent those out with some short blog posts. I’ve received a lot of emails from members and customers so I make sure to reply to those quickly.  Social media isn’t a strong point of mine, mainly due to lack of time, but I appreciate I should do more – focusing on Facebook probably, which is where most of our members and customers spend their time.

 

READY TO RE-OPEN

We’re currently waiting for more news about what we need to put in place so that we can open the shop safely and adhering to whatever new guidelines are in place.  The new shop layout will be a bonus for new Coronavirus restrictions and will certainly help us with social distancing measures. Thank goodness we did the refurbishment when we did!

We’re working on the basis that individual lessons will be able to start again: maybe in 15 minute slots to help people get back into the swing of things.

Chris and I will need to decide what stock to display but a lot will depend on the new shop environment. Hopefully we’ll know more soon.  As well as the shop, we’ll play a pivotal role in the Club. We’ll need to ensure members are safe and engaged, and that staff are cared for, too.

We’re working on the basis that individual lessons will be able to start again: maybe in 15 minute slots to help people get back into the swing of things. Coaching in ‘pockets’ and offering online lessons should go down well.  We’re trying to adapt to the new challenges and need to make sure our services are even more accessible and affordable.

 

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