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“HOW TO BECOME A GOLF SALES REP”

Golf Sales Rep

By: Titleist / Foot-Joy Rep.

As I sit here in my office typing on my computer, plugging in the orders generated throughout the day, and preparing for the week ahead, I think to myself…..How did I get here? How did I become a Territory Sales Representative for one of the Major Golf Equipment Manufacturers. This is my “How To Guide” on “How To Become a Golf Sales Representative”.

The first plan will follow “My Path” into the Golf Sales game working for just one Company and the “Alternate Path” will be a guide to entering the business as an Independent Salesman (obtaining multiple lines of golf related products from different companies).

Step 1: Understanding the Process

Education:

While a college degree is not required to become a golf Salesperson, most of the Major Manufacturers (ie..Ping, Titleist, FootJoy, TaylorMade, and Callaway) typically prefer candidates who possess a four year degree.

Majors to consider: Business Administration and/or Marketing….however, any four year degree would be sufficient.

Your college choice is never really that important, but attending a college with a PGM (Professional Golf Management) program is a way to enter into the golf industry and develop contacts that may help get you on board with one of the large companies.

PGM Schools (this list may not be complete): Ferris State, New Mexico State, Mississippi State, Penn State, Methodist College, Campbell University, Coastal Carolina, Clemson, Florida State….etc)

After Graduation

There are multiple ways to get yourself hired by a Golf Manufacturer. I took a road less traveled. I took a job with an independent golf company with the intentions of gaining some quick experience. My intent was to impress a larger company by showing them my commitment to becoming a Golf Sales Rep. After a year of grinding it out on the road, quite far from home, I headed to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL. I spoke with several companies while at the Show, explained what I had done in an attempt to impress the large companies, and ended up getting hired by one of them.

Now you might be thinking, “Wow, that doesn’t seem too difficult! A year out of college and already a big time salesman.” NOPE. I didn’t accept a job as a Sales Person, I accepted a job as a Customer Service Representative. That’s how most of the large companies work. You grind it out on the phones for a number of years, paying your dues, learning the ins and outs of the company and its policies and procedures, and preparing yourself for the possibility that someday you will be lucky enough to get into the Outside Sales Force.

For me, it took five years. Five years of taking my 4 year college education and using to place orders over the phone. Not the easiest five years, but the learning experience turned out to be invaluable once I got into the field.

Once I was transferred from the Time Life phone lines to field sales, I was given a small territory to work. After a three year stint in that territory, I was shifted to a much larger territory and my early career goal had been met. I was now an official Field Sales Representative in the golf industry.

Now there is a new goal for my career and maybe it will be followed up by another “How To Guide”…….”How To Become and Executive in the Golf Industry.”

Step 2: Alternative Process

While hard work and luck played a large role in my rise to Field Sales. I spent five years in a not so satisfying position in an effort to reach my goal. I look back on that experience with pride and affection, but I am certainly glad that it is behind me.

Should you not be interested in taking the slow and steady route into a Sales Rep position, there is another way.

You could become an Independent Sales Rep.

The top six or eight name brand golf equipment companies hire their Sales Reps as exclusive employees. That means that you work for that company only and you may not work for and/or sell another product to your customer base. Larger companies can afford to do this because the Volume of business generated per territory is enough to support the salary and benefit needs of the Sales Rep.

Smaller companies do not have this luxury. They rely on the pool of Independent Reps to pick up their product and promote them throughout their territory. The goal of an independent rep is to represent a combination of products (that hopefully do not compete with one another) that ensures that you can support your lifestyle and your travel expenses. Most independents have one or two major lines that end up paying the bulk of their overall salaries, while the smaller lines are just a bonus to add to the bottom line.

The following is a small list of companies who hire independently: Sun Mountain, Bushnell, Antigua, Ahead, Carnoustie, Straight Down, Adams Golf, Nicklaus Golf, US Kids Golf, Club Glove, Pukka Headwear, etc. Cleveland Golf use to be on this list, but they are currently merging Sales Forces with new parent company Srixon.

Picking Up Your Lines

Unless you are already well connected to the inner circle of the golf business in your area, there is only one place to go when looking to find independent golf product lines, the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL.

The PGA Merchandise Show is held at the end of every January. This show is the single largest gathering of the golf industry manufacturers. There is a “Positions Available” board positioned inside the show that lists a large amount of Sales Positions that are open throughout the country. You can take this information and seek out the companies that you are interested in while walking the show floor……and then go ask for the job.

Next thing you know, you are on your way!

Step 3: Decision Time

Now that you have two different paths to becoming a Golf Sales Representative, it’s time to make a decision. There are positives and negatives to any job. All you need to do is determine what is important to you and what would make you happy.

Here’s a list of Pro’s and Con’s of each position:

Pro’s (Company Man):

  1. Job Stability
  2. Established and consistent territory sales
  3. Benefits
  4. Focus (clear and concise message to customers)

Con’s (Company Man):

  1. Limited Products
  2. Unable to adjust to what’s HOTIndependent Sales

Pro’s (Independent Sales):

  1. Control your product offerings
  2. Ability to adjust to What’s HOT
  3. Unlimited income potential

Con’s (Independent Sales):

  1. No stability
  2. Competition with other independents for HOT new lines
  3. No benefits

Last Word

Do you want the freedom of the independent rep? Or do you want the stability and typically well established position within one of the larger companies? Are benefits important? Or do you feel you can be successful enough to foot the healthcare and retirement plans on your own.

The choice is yours. GOOD LUCK!

Today’s article is part of a Two-Week series on “How To Get Your Dream Golf Job”:

SERIES – Week One:

SERIES – Week Two:

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin Gonzalez July 24, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I found your article very intering, but my question is how do you break into the golf equipment supplier role when you have a good golf product to sell. It seems that you can not communicate with the Pros, because they all have equipment contracts with the majors.
I manufacture a revolutionary perfect pendulum center shafted made in America stainless steel putter. see http://www.railgun.com. When I read about a PGA professional struggeling with his putting, I want to introduce him to my putter, but i have no access to him. How do I break into a closed industry? Martin Gonzalez, the Weekend Pro.

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richard silva December 9, 2008 at 8:21 am

You are absolutely right that the golf pros are contractual obligated to play their equipment . I will assist you in getting your product in their hands as i’m in that process myself .when you become successful please return the favor .the golf pro’s teacher are not obligated. you can pay for a putting lesson with them and show them your product .you can market your product as a teaching tool that can be used on tour .you can show it to their head assistant .Do you have what it take to do what i suggest, then at lest you have a chance .nothing ventured nothing gained .

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Martin Gonzalez December 9, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Hi Richard, thanks for the offer. How can you assist me? If you can get a putter in a pro’s hands, I am ready work with you. How do I find the golf pro teachers? How can we discuss this further? Martin

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Walker April 7, 2009 at 7:55 am

Hi – I just started a new golf company and I am looking to hire experienced sales reps for all of the territories in the US. Can you please lead me in the right direction. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Russell Lunsford May 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

My name is Russ Lunsford and i have been around the game of golf my entire life. I played on the mini tours for 6 years. I finally realized that my 71′s and 72′s were not going to pay the bills. I have been running a mortgage company for the last few years. Bringing in the Business and every bit of my income was generated by me. I was on a small base, but most of my income was bonuses and commision. I am really interested in speaking with you about working with you. My brother has been in the golf business for almost 20 years now. He is a Head Golf Professional at one of the Robert Trent Jones courses and i have many contacts outside of him at many golf clubs and know that i can move the merchandise if it is a quality product.
i would love for you to call me
email me if you are interested in speaking further on this

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Ron Bostock March 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I have a killer product for the US market.. manufactured in UK, looking for collabration

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Katherine June 23, 2009 at 11:00 am

Do you have any sales representative positions in the Phoenix, Arizona, territory.

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Vicki Forster June 25, 2009 at 7:17 am
Sue Townsend September 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Nif Tee Seat, custom embroidered golf cart seat covers is looking for sales reps. Please go to our web site, http://www.NifTeeSeat.com and check out our products. We are constantly growing our line, and this is a terrific growth opportunity. Please contact us from the website if you’re interested.

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Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Hello Katherine how are you today? Are you interested in selling multiple products in the Phoenix area? Our company manufacturers really nice leather golf bag tags and would be interested in working with you to sell these for us. We also make really nice leather belts and shoe bags. We would work out a good commission structure with you, Phoenix is a great area for golf. If interested in working with us please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks Katherine.

[email protected]

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Sarah MCafee February 21, 2013 at 12:09 am

Do you have any sales representative positions in the Joplin, Missouri territory?

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Randy January 4, 2010 at 8:21 am

I was surfing the web and came across this site with your information. I’ve developed a golf product and am looking to establish factory rep’s throughout NA. Have you found a site which might list potential rep’s selling to golf courses??

Thanks for your feedback in advance,

Randy

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Marilyn Weeks January 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Let me know where to send my resume. How is your company doing now? Would love to cover the southern Calif area, San Diego, or Seattle, WA area, or Phoenix, AZ area.

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vicki January 17, 2011 at 7:15 am
Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Marilyn would you also be interested in selling our product in all the territories you mentioned. We manufacturer very nice leather bag tags, belts, and shoe bags for the golf industry and would work with you on a good commission structure. If interested please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks marilyn.

Nathan Kohrig
Vice President of Sales
Heskett Saddleworks
[email protected]

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Todd Geatz September 22, 2009 at 11:12 am

Asst. Golf Pro currently looking for a couple of lines to rep for the winter months. North Dakota, South Dakota or Western Minnesota.

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Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Todd would you also be interested in selling our product in all the territories you mentioned. We manufacturer very nice leather bag tags, belts, and shoe bags for the golf industry and would work with you on a good commission structure. If interested please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks Todd.

Nathan Kohrig
Vice President of Sales
Heskett Saddleworks
[email protected]

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Tim Flaherty November 12, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I’m enjoying selling some great lines online. I’m just getting started but have enjoyed the process.

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mygolfspy November 12, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Are you a rep for a company Tim…interested in hearing more.

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Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Tim would you also be interested in selling our product in all the territories you mentioned. We manufacturer very nice leather bag tags, belts, and shoe bags for the golf industry and would work with you on a good commission structure. If interested please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks Tim.

Nathan Kohrig
Vice President of Sales
Heskett Saddleworks
[email protected]

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vicki forster November 13, 2009 at 8:05 am
Samson February 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Asher Golf is looking to hire independent sales reps around the country. We make unique, fun, edgy, creative golf gloves that are nothing like you’ve ever seen. EASY to sell. Good margins for retailers and good commissions for YOU. PLUS, profit sharing incentives to top sales reps.

You can view our current product line at http://www.ashergolf.com. Email me at [email protected] if you’re interested and we’ll get in touch.

Thanks.

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The Swing Glove February 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm
ted August 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm

This was a great article as I am trying to break into the business as a golf sales rep in Ontario Canada. I would like to attend the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in Jan 2011, but on contacting the organizers I have been told I cant attend because its for EXISTING golf insiders, not WANNABEES like me. This closed approach is very distressing. How does one get started or get into this show?

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Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Ted would you also be interested in selling our product in all the territories you mentioned. We manufacturer very nice leather bag tags, belts, and shoe bags for the golf industry and would work with you on a good commission structure. If interested please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks Ted.

Nathan Kohrig
Vice President of Sales
Heskett Saddleworks
[email protected]

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Dan September 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm
Howard November 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I’m looking for a sales rep position as well. I live in the Palm Springs area (La Quinta) in California,golf haven and home to many golf pros and enthusiasts. I’m willing to travel. l also have several friends and personal ties to the PGA,Nationwide, mini tours and the golfing community. I have been playing golf and caddied for over 30yrs. I have over 20yrs of sales expierence. If a product has good features and benifits,I can sell it!
If any company is looking for a top sales producer please feel free to contact me at
[email protected]

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jg January 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I am an assistant golf pro in Indianapolis. I am looking for a job in golf sales. As an Indianapolis native I have numerous golf connections in the metro area. I am a hard worker with a go get em’ work ethic. Would love the opportunity!
thanks

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Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

JG would you also be interested in selling our product in Indiana and all the surrounding states?. We manufacturer very nice leather bag tags, belts, and shoe bags for the golf industry and would work with you on a good commission structure. If interested please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks JG

.Nathan Kohrig
Vice President of Sales
Heskett Saddleworks
[email protected]

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John Wade May 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

I have been in sales for over 35 years. I am in the automotive business and as we all know the automotive business is not getting better.
I love the game of golf and have played it since I have was 8 years old. I am interested in becoming a sales rep for a company. I live in the state of Indiana at this time, and if anyone is looking for someone to represent this area and surrounding states, I would really enjoy hearing from you. You can e-mail me at

[email protected]

Thank you

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Michael White May 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I am looking for any kind of sales job that includes selling golf merchandise, clubls, ball etc. I used to own a sporting good store and met alot of people in this industry. It seems like everyone loved their job and I really miss being involved in the sporting goods market. I would love to contact someone who is hiring for sales representatives or get pointed in the right direction.

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Nathan Kohrig June 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Michael would you also be interested in selling our product in any territories your interested in?. We manufacturer very nice leather bag tags, belts, and shoe bags for the golf industry and would work with you on a good commission structure. If interested please shoot me an email and we can discuss further. Thanks Michael.

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Todd June 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Any openings in the midwest?

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Tyler Wisdom June 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Looking for entry level sales representative position – midwest Kansas, Missouri territory. Can relocate. Willing to start from the ground up. Recent college graduate – Kansas State, any leads or ideas please shoot me an email.

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Alex M July 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I have come across this information on the Internet and am very interested in this field. I badly want to be a rep for a golf company or promotions for a golf company. I have over 10 years of inside and outside sales experience and am looking for a change so I can follow my dreams of working in the golf industry. I believe given the opportunity to speak to someone rather than electronically sending resumes and not getting any responses. Does any have any suggestions? Thanks

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Curtis Allen July 26, 2011 at 7:47 am

I manufacture hot gloves; hand warming golf gloves. It is desired to set up a network of sales reps blanketing the country. Any ideas on how to do this?

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Luiz Corrieri July 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Dear Sirs or Madams,

My name is Luiz Corrieri, I am from Brazil and I would like to sell some golf products in Brazil.

Initially I would start selling through my golf store located in Belo Horizonte (which is the third biggest city in Brazil) and then by internet and in courses.

Could you help me indicating prices, terms, products.

Best regards,

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Mike Mixon September 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Tyler Klatt January 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

As I sit here on my computer and try to comprehend Plato, I realize what I am doing all of this for. It’s been about a year since I first read this article. I have contemplated my options over and over as far as how to become a sales rep. I attended a 17 month golf school in hopes for a sales rep position. After finishing I realized that having a Bachelors degree was something I could use to help seperate myself from the rest. I decided to go back to my four year university to achieve this. I am still attending but always ready to jump in. Please help if you have any ideas for me as well as feedback.

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Patrick Burnett March 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm
Ken Rust April 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

I have been in sales for 40 years and am interested in becoming an Independent Rep for golf products in Western Canada. If anyone has something available for Western Canada, please send me an email.

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Cally Fornia August 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I am a golf fanatic. I live in northern California, east bay… I would like a job doing ANYTHING golf related. Can anyone point me in a direction?

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Tim Garrett October 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Looking for Independent Reps for Tennessee, Minnesota and Colorado. Please send your resume to above email address. We are a great apparel line that has very moderate price point with high margins and terrific quality. We are the only fully vertical company in the golf business. We do it all from dying the yarn to cutting the fabric. Pay like clockwork on the 15th of the month.

Thanks,

Tim Garrett

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Tim Garrett October 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm
jacki October 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

hi,my name is Jacki, from Australia. I live halfway between Brisbane & Gold Coast, so a good spot to be if becoming a Rep. I would like to become a Rep for Golf Clubs, Equipment. I have had golf experience & worked in a pro shop etc. Some feedback please?????

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Tom February 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I have 10+ years of sales experience. I am looking to transition into the golf industry and rep golf apparel and products. I am in Chicago Metro area. Thanks.

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Christine February 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I have been in retail for 20 years. I have worked on the planning and allocation side of the retail business, my focus has been on apparel. At this time I would like to look into breaking into the golf industry by leveraging my retail knowledge and love for the game. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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vicki forster July 28, 2008 at 7:10 am

I manufacture a unique golf accessory called the Golfing Caddy. How would I go about hiring independent reps? The Golfing Caddy is perfect for Golf Pro Shops, retailers and tournament gift bags. You can view the Golfing Caddy at http://www.bvtproducts.com. Thanks.

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jacki October 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

hi Vicki, Im looking at rep positions. From golf clubs to anything related.
jacki 0425167923

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