The Public 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 public facility. Congratulations to this year’s award recipient, Cody Hasten, PGA Head Golf Professional at Haymaker Golf Course!

Hasten started playing golf near his home in Littleton when he was eight years old. His love of golf is a life-long obsession that followed him to college at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he earned a degree in professional golf management.

After graduation, he worked as an assistant professional at The Golf Club at Bear Dance for nearly six years and helped build development programs for juniors and adults. In 2015, Hasten moved to Columbine Country Club where he worked three years as an assistant until accepting the head professional position at Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat Springs.

What does it mean to you to receive this award?

I see retail sales as an indicator of how our team is doing in all facets of the operation. When you can build a report and trust with your customers, I think retail sales come naturally. The fact that our golf shop is doing well tells me we are doing a great job in building these positive relationships.

Our entire team works so hard throughout the year in all aspects with retail being a small piece of a big pie. I have tremendous respect and have drawn from many other PGA Professionals in this Section and to be recognized by those same professionals really means a lot to me and my team.

What are the qualities you possess that you believe supported you receiving the Public Merchandiser of the Year Award?

I have always been able to build trust with our customers through product knowledge and an understanding of what our golfers are looking for.

What are two tools you use in your profession that help you with your success?

Our staff is the most important tool that I have. Investing in staff and promoting retention between seasons is the only way we can build that positive rapport with customers that we rely on in all areas of the business. Having a staff I can rely on allows me the time to stay in touch with customers and understand their needs.

We also use end-of-the-year surveys to keep tabs on how we are doing in all areas including in the golf shop. Specific to retail, we have questions regarding overall satisfaction with the golf shop offerings, as well as specific questions on preferred brands and sizing.

What is your merchandising strategy?

We understand that as a tourist destination, in our market there are two different customer groups: out of town vacationers and local golfers. The key that has allowed our merchandise sales to grow so quickly is identifying these two distinctly different groups and what their needs are.

We cater to our vacationing guests by purchasing items specific to Colorado, the mountains, and to Steamboat Springs. We use heavy logoing on all our golf-specific items and incorporate both the Haymaker logo (or some variation of our logo) along with the Colorado flag or “Steamboat Springs” on every hat we design.

By utilizing our new member registration forms, we can collect data from our local golfers on brand preferences, sizing, color, etc. to make more informed buying decisions in the offseason. We are also able to use this information to foster better, more trusting relationships with our locals by making unsolicited suggestions to them while shopping.

By regularly engaging staff in educational opportunities and fostering trusting relationships between our staff members and guests, we have seen a huge increase in hard good sales as well. We actively promote and sell equipment on a daily basis by having knowledgeable staff members who continue to develop relationships with our local golfers.

Whether they are local or visiting from out of town, we remain committed to providing personalized service to all our guests. I believe that by doing this we not only spur merchandise sales but also create returning guests who will golf and shop with us for years to come.

As it relates to golf, what is the best piece of advice that you have received, and what advice would you give to others?

As much behind the scenes work that we do as professionals be it tournaments, staffing, retail, course management, etc., the golf industry always comes down to personal relationships. It is important to always remember that and make a point to connect with the people we rely on for our success. To build positive relationships with both customers and staff is what it means to be a good leader and good golf professional.

What is your proudest moment as a golf professional?

My proudest moment in golf is being able to take over this role here at Haymaker. As a relatively young professional, it is great to have support from staff and the City of Steamboat Springs in some of the things we have done over the past four years. We have gained the trust and appreciation of the community which makes me extremely proud.

Share something about yourself that others may not know:

I love to cook. In one of my first golf jobs at Bear Dance, I was a regular in the kitchen extracting all kinds of tips from chef Daly. BBQ is my new passion and in an alternate universe I would be living in Texas smoking brisket at 3 am for my own BBQ joint.