PGA Tour Tees Off With Catalog

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The PGA Tour is rewarding pro golfers with more prize money than ever before and giving fans more opportunities to purchase golf merchandise with its largest catalog drop to date.


The spring edition of the Official PGA Tour Catalog, which is being produced by HA-LO Creative Concepts and Marketing, Chicago, will be mailed to 500,000 to 700,000 prospects starting this week. By the end of the year, the PGA Tour, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, could mail up to 2 million catalogs, which would be "the most ever by a long shot" according to vice president of retail licensing Wesley Haynes.


The new 44-page catalog, shot on location at the TPC of Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra Beach, is the second one produced by HA-LO, which was selected after a six-month search of 10 candidates. The Tour had worked briefly with Genesis Direct, but both parties decided they would be better served with different partners, Haynes said.


A second version of the catalog with a father and son on the cover and an eight-page Father's Day product insert will be mailed in April. While most of the catalog products are apparel or accessories from Tour licensees like Cross Creek, Sun Mountain Outerwear, International Children's Wear and Mercury Luggage and retailers Bobby Jones, Cutter & Buck, Ashworth and Reebok, the insert will feature hard goods such as bookends and licensed furniture.


A summer version with a lithograph of golfer Fred Couples on the cover and the Father's Day insert will be mailed in May. Three hundred copies of the signed and numbered lithograph will be available as a catalog exclusive for $699. All three books will contain the same merchandise. New products will be featured in the fall catalog.


As many as six versions of the catalog will be mailed this year. Haynes said the Tour is contemplating adding a catalog that focuses on golf equipment and other specialty books.


Each seasonal edition of the catalog will be based around a certain TPC course, an idea proposed by HA-LO. All products will be shot at that course, and an explanation of the course and tournament held there will appear inside. The fall/winter book was based around the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, while the spring/summer edition highlights The Players Championship to be held at the TPC of Sawgrass March 22-28.


"The Tour had not taken a lot of interest in past catalogs but the marketing has improved for this one," said HA-LO catalog production manager Terri Carroll.


HA-LO is promoting the catalog with print advertisements in BusinessWeek, Golf Magazine and other national publications.


Direct marketing consultant Herb Kruge & Associates, Evanston, IL, handles list rental for the Tour, which generates about half of all prospect names. The rest are obtained from internal sources, which include the membership list of the PGA Tour Partners Club, the PGA Tour Direct database of golf fans who attend PGA tournaments and relationships with PGA Tour marketing partners. The Tour has co-marketing agreements with some golf-related magazines for the use of names from subscription lists. The Tour also collects names at its 35 retail locations in airports and the W.C. Bradley Tour Stop, an interactive retail outlet located at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL.


"If you take a look at the Tour in totality and all the different business we touch, there are various and multiple ways we can get at names," Haynes said.


When choosing which products to place in the catalog, the Tour considers vendors that have shown strong sales in retail ventures but Haynes said there is ample room for growth. The Tour is seeking to expand its relationship with all the major golf brands and fill product niches the catalog does not currently cover. It has been selling a limited selection of merchandise online for nine months at the PGA Tour Shop (www.pgatour.com) and will broaden that offering in much the same way as the catalog.


"Hopefully, we will grow the game of golf and business for our licensees,'' Haynes said. "We want to be the one-stop shop for golfing consumers."
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