This month we interview Bruce Christy, winner of the 2022 PNW PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Resort category. Bruce has consistently increased sales for 16 consecutive years. He shows incredible business acumen with his cost of goods sold, as well as a creative flair for merchandising with beautiful shop displays that are well-organized and frequently updated. What stands out most about Bruce, however, is his team approach and the dedication that he shows for his staff.  He mentors them in an inclusive environment, training them in every facet of the buying process.

Facility: White Horse GC

Hometown: Edmonds, WA

PGA Member Since: 1993

Awards won:

  • 2022 PNW Section Merchandiser of the Year -Resort Facility
  • 2022 WWC Merchandiser of the Year-Resort Facility
  • 2018 WWC Merchandiser of the Year –Resort Facility
  • 2006 Billy Casper Golf National Merchandiser of the Year

Tell us a little bit about your career. Who or what inspired you to become a Golf Professional? 

My father was a PGA Professional, and I always admired his unwavering passion for customer service and his dedication to his profession. I started working in the golf industry at Puetz Golf Range, when I was eight years old, on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I would pick up all the range balls, sweep the tee lines, fill the coke machines, break down all the cardboard boxes and refresh the advertising sign at the driveway entrance. I started at 25 cents an hour and it took forever to pay off my first set of golf clubs, but it was worth it. I worked there all through high school and college. Our family built and operated Christy’s Golf Range in Milton, WA just south of Federal Way for 30+ years and I learned a lot about the business—mostly on the working end of a shovel.

I played two years for Green River C.C. and earned a scholarship at the University of Washington playing for coach Bill Tindall. Our team won the Pac-10 championship in 1998. After college, I started my PGA career working at the Nile Golf Course in Mountlake Terrace for four years and started Willows Run Golf Club from scratch with PGA Professional Travis Cox. I later took the Assistant professional job at Sand Point and learned a tremendous amount about the golf industry during my five years from my Head Professional and mentor Ron Stull. Ron helped me secure my first PGA Head Professional job at Inglewood G&CC.

I later took an amazing opportunity to run multiple courses and restaurants with a company called GRI and worked for two PGA Pacific Northwest PGA Hall of Famers—Ron Hagen and Ron Coleman. I learned so much from these two individuals, and they helped make me a more complete professional. Later Billy Casper Golf Management took over the contract for the city of Everett and I worked for them for a number of years before leaving to explore my current position at White Horse Golf Club where I’m in my 17th year as the General Manager and Head PGA Professional. I helped start the facility as the first employee and together with amazing staff over the years, we have developed White Horse into one of the states premiere public golf facilities.

You are known for your creative flair for merchandising with beautiful shop displays that are frequently updated. Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from many different places both within and outside the golf industry. I am always observing the amazing displays in the various golf shops that I have visited, read about and pictured in magazines. I also pay attention to other retailers of products that are similar and some that are diverse to the golf industry. I am constantly looking for color palettes, fabric features and color designs that will work well with our themes and presentations throughout the year. I do not want to create displays that are so picture perfect that no one wants to touch or investigate the items for fear of messing up the display. I want messy displays—that means they are effective.

Do you have any merchandising tips you’d like to share with PNW PGA members?

Think outside the box and do not hesitate to be a bit different in your approach. There are many ways to accomplish your goals and we are definitely not a one-size-fits-all industry.  The most innovative and unique are usually the most successful because they are setting the trends rather than following them. Know your audience!

You were also recognized for your team approach and your dedication to staff. Do you have any tips for mentoring pro shop staff?

Having a team approach to golf merchandising is very important to me, as it helps to empower everyone on staff to work cohesively as a group united with the same goals and focus to deliver unparalleled customer service. Each staff member brings their own creativity to displays, which helps to provide multiple looks and set ups that provide a fresh look on a constant basis.

What merchandising trends do you foresee, or would like to see, in 2023?

I am hopeful that the 2023 season will bring with it the consistency needed in product deliveries. If this takes place, it will help in timing of displays to coincide with particular events, holidays and tournaments at the facility in order to maximize merchandise sales opportunities.