The Private Merchandiser of the Year Award recognizes a Colorado PGA Professional who has demonstrated superior skills as a merchandiser in the promotion of golf at a private facility. Congratulations to this year’s award recipient, Tristen Fay, PGA Head Golf Professional at Fort Collins Country Club!
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Fay began his golf career at Denver Country Club as a caddie and bag room attendant. The Club introduced him to the PGA Golf Management Program, which he participated in at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). During the program, he completed internships at Southern Hills Country Club and The Broadmoor Golf Club. After graduation, Fay returned to Denver CC as an assistant golf professional until 2015. During that time, he also worked at The Masters Tournament in the retail operation from 2013-2015.
In his spare time, Fay and his wife, Leslie, enjoy taking their white shepherd, Tallie, to the local breweries in Fort Collins and exploring the beautiful outdoors.
What does it mean to you to receive this award?
As we bring this award back to Northern Colorado for the first time in a long time, the team and I are honored to be listed alongside so many other great clubs in our section. Since I joined FCCC in 2016, we’ve worked tirelessly to strengthen our merchandising operation. This award symbolizes the culmination of our hard work and we’re proud to celebrate this milestone.
What are the qualities you possess that you believe supported you receiving the Private Merchandiser of the Year Award?
We’ve got a little something special going up here in Fort Collins. We’ve created a culture centered around service, approachability, transparency, and of course, fun! And I’d be nowhere without my team, especially my retail coordinator Meg Hunter. The team is out there every day bringing our vision to life and executing best-in-class service and I’m grateful to work alongside them.
What are two tools you use in your profession that help you with your success?
Each day, my team and I get to share our passion for golf with our members. We truly epitomize “practice what you preach.” By sharing our love of the game and creating a connection with our members, they can be confident we’re providing them an experience that comes from a place of trust. Our success is nothing without the support of our members and we’re so grateful for their support. At each stage of our merchandising operation, we keep member preferences and service top of mind.
I constantly tap into my network of fellow PGA Professionals to share ideas, ask for advice, and learn from other clubs. We all share similar challenges, especially after this past year or so, and being able to talk it through with others going through the same has been a critical piece of our success. It can be easy to only look inward at your own club, so I also try to take advantage of all the member services that the Colorado PGA provides, including events and educational resources.
What is your merchandising strategy?
The merchandise operation at a private facility is an amenity that is often overlooked as a critical piece of the member experience. My philosophy for merchandising is based on four principles: member service, product selection, visual displays, and sound fiscal management.
Member service is the cornerstone for any successful merchandising operation. This high level of service is achieved by having a well-trained staff that can tell a product story including technical details, benefits, fit and care suggestions.
The products we select for our golf shop are first driven on selection of vendors who will be long term partners for the club. We are looking for vendors that have smaller distribution channels that are not always found in big box stores or through online outlets. When we place the club logo on these products, it gives our members a sense of pride and exclusivity.
Visual displays are critical to the success of the merchandising operation. The keys to our displays are they must be visually appealing while easy to shop and merchandised with complementary products. We want our members and guests to pick up the merchandise and make tangible connections with our products with the potential to make multiple sales.
Sound fiscal management is the one measurable metric of my merchandising philosophy. This metric incorporates the revenue generation without sacrificing profit margin, cost of goods management, and proper inventory levels that reflect the seasonality of our business.
As it relates to golf, what is the best piece of advice that you have received and what advice would you give to others?
A mentor once told me “Always know your wake.” That is to say, everything you do – and don’t do – has an impact on those around you. As a leader at my club, I ask myself “what am I leaving behind with my actions and conversations?” Each day, I strive to create a positive wake to instill trust, empower my team and build a successful operation. I also encourage my team to consider their wake as they interact with members and other team members.
What is your proudest moment as a golf professional?
My proudest moment as a golf professional came when I was selected as the Assistant Golf Professional of the Year for the Colorado Section in 2015, which propelled me to become the Head Golf Professional at Fort Collins Country Club.
Share something about yourself that others may not know:
I grew up in a decommissioned firehouse in the Congress Park neighborhood of Denver. My parents remodeled the firehouse into a single-family home, complete with two fire poles and an antique Ford Fire Truck. What more could a kid ask for?