By Kurt Kragthorpe
Thomas Barksdale makes selling sound simple. In purchasing products for the pro shop of Talisker Golf Club at Tuhaye, he asks himself one question: “What do the members want?”
Barksdale obviously has found the answers. By concentrating on “brands that make sense for the mountains,” he has become the Utah Section PGA’s Merchandiser of the Year for private facilities.
The award stems from what Barksdale labels “a three-year build” in his job at Tuhaye, tied into a new ownership group and “added enthusiasm from the membership,” he said. Barksdale came to Utah in 2019 from a country club in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and has thrived.
He views the group of PGA Professionals in the Park City area as an informal chapter of the Utah Section PGA, bonded by working at clubs with distinct memberships, compared with other courses in the Section.
Barksdale treats merchandising as an extension of the membership experience. If members like the way they’re being treated, they respond loyally. “There’s no magic to it,” he said. “It’s everybody getting together and turning our shop into a special place.”
The timing of his arrival at Tuhaye was good. As many pros would attest, the pandemic has been “probably the best thing that ever happened to our industry,” Barksdale said. Talisker members, including owners of second homes, have been eager to visit and play golf, coinciding with ownership’s commitment to “making the club what it should have been, the whole time,” he said.
Increased merchandise sales are just one of those effects.