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Published in Golf Shop Operations, January 1986
How a major Chicago-area club put its shop “on-line”
Bob Hickman, head professional at Medinah (Ill.) C.C., admits he is not much different from many other pros who run their own shops. “innovation,” Hickman insists warily, “makes me uneasy.”
But in some respects, Hickman is different from his fellow pros. The 1980 “PGA Merchandiser of the Year” award that he has hidden on the side wall of his shop attests to that. You see, as much as innovation makes him uncomfortable, Hickman acknowledges its importance. He even stress it, “You need to surround yourself with new ideas in this business.”
This past summer, Hickman and his wife Susan (“She’s the glue that holds the shop together,” Hickman says) installed a computer system in their shop. It was a decision they first considered five years ago, but one they kept resisting.
Hickman leans back in his office chair, contemplating the question, perhaps reflecting on his 40-plus years of golf experience.
“The single largest mistake I’ve made in the business,” he says, peering at the computer screen in front of him, “was waiting as long as I did to put the computer in. It has done nothing but create time.”
When the Hickmans finally decided last July that it was time to purchase a computer, they consulted with several colleagues in the business with systems, trying to find an established computer company with golf expertise. They settled on Handicomp, a company that produces, markets and provides support for systems designed strictly for golf and country clubs.
Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Handicomp has 18 years of experience in golf. It is best known for its computer handicapping service, used by over 800 clubs across the country. Handicomp’s software, as of last October, is used in over 80 shops. Linda Healey and her husband Bill were the Handicomp representatives who assisted the Hickmans with the installation and support of their new system.
PUTTING AN INVENTORY ON LINE WASN’T EASY
Once the Hickmans had chosen Handicomp, the first step was to run a complete inventory of the Medinah shop. Every item had to be counted and listed, a task more complicated than it sounds. Clothing was recorded by color and size, equipment by manufacturer and specific model, balls by brand and compression.
At Medinah, where the shop covers 3,000 square feet and houses approximately $300,000 worth of merchandise, the item-by-item inventory took the Hickmans, the Healeys, and 20 full-time employees an entire week to complete.
The inventory lists were then sent to Handicomp, where each item was numbered according to product class and vendor.
The Healeys believe Handicomp’s assistance during the programming of the inventory is one of the most unique and helpful services.
One of Handicomp’s goals each time it automates a shop is to have its clients fully operational within 30 da