By Rusty Hampton
In 2009, the club in northeast Jackson underwent a major renovation that included the addition of a new dual-purpose building adjoining the sprawling clubhouse. The bottom half of the building is for cart storage. On top, sitting high on a hill overlooking the massive new practice area and the club’s Dogwood-Azalea Course, is the pro shop. At 2,100 square feet, it’s one of the biggest, most well-stocked on-course pro shops in the state.
CCJ head professional Jason Prendergast, who runs the pro shop, was involved in the design of the new building and is in charge of keeping it stocked and running.
He carries all the major brands of balls and equipment, including Titleist, Callaway, Cobra, Taylor Made and Ping. His top-selling clothing and shoe lines are FootJoy and Nike, but he carries a wide variety of other goods because he has learned to stock what the customer wants.
“One of my mentors told me long ago to allow your pro shop identity to create itself and that’s what I’ve tried to do,” said Prendergast. “I find myself spending a lot of time paying attention what people wear.”
One trend he’s seen is that businessmen are buying more dual-purpose golf attire, especially shirts that are functional on the course but look fine under a sports coat for business or lunch.
That’s why he stocks such brands as Fairway & Greene and Polo, and even devotes a small section of his pro shop to upscale clothier Brooks Brothers.
In 2009, Prendergast was voted by his peers as the Merchandiser of the Year for the PGA of America Gulf States Section, which encompasses Mississippi and Louisiana. The award is based partly on sales but also takes into account atmosphere and service.
Prendergast says having such a large pro shop enables him to stock a large selection and also allows him to try new brands and alter his displays and the look of his pro shop often.
“It’s very important to bring new items in and to change things up,” said Prendergast.