NCGA Golf

FALL 2017

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the man responsible for hiring Morton in 1958, launched the complex's original retail outlet in the 1950s and Morton took it into another realm—especially in 1996, when he built the super-store after the previous facility went down in a storm. Morton's sons, Tom and Ken Jr., help manage the sprawling business, which stretches far beyond the standard municipal golf-course fare. (Haggin Oaks is owned by the city of Sacramento and managed by Morton Golf; the company also runs Bing Maloney, Bartley Cavanaugh and Sacramento's William Land Park courses). The average golf shop does between $250,000 and $300,000 in revenue, according to director of golf Mike Woods, but Haggin Oaks generates more than double that much in shoes alone. A typical pro shop is between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet; Haggin Oaks has 16,000 square feet. There are about 200 employees, and 12 of the 16 assistant pros are on the sales team. Indeed, this is a retail golf business as much as a place to play. "We're good at building loyalty, because people get taken care of," says Woods, one of five partners in Morton Golf (including all three Mortons and company president Terry Daubert). "We've taken time over the decades to build the business a few percent every year. "A lot of golf pros think they can go from A to Z very quickly. It's little steps." One step was finding a way to persuade more women to spend time at Haggin Oaks. To achieve this logical conclusion, Morton Sr. hired Linda Reid as women's ambassador in early 2016, knowing she had connections in the Sacramento women's golf community. Reid started a Friday night couples league, among other programs, but her most impactful venture has been a mentor league onWednesday mornings. She devel- oped an e-mail list with about 110 women; then she gathers responses from those interested in playing on a particular week and pairs newer players with mentors, culled from a group of 15 mostly retired women. The concept developed from a conver- sation between Reid and Morton Sr., both of whom recognized there really wasn't a transition between lessons and the course. Now, at Haggin Oaks, the mentor league offers this vital link. "It's kind of grown more than we could imagine," Reid says. And it circles back to Ken Morton Sr. perpetually seeking new ways to introduce people to this golf carnival. Tom Morton recalls his dad always encouraging his kids to move the business forward at least an inch every day. Eventually, it adds up. Maybe that's why Ken Jr. calls Haggin Oaks a "60-year overnight success," a tribute to his father's patience and perseverance. "He's never content with the status quo," Reid says of Ken Sr. "He's always looking ahead and thinking, 'What's going to happen next?' I love that. It's so unique." Ron Kroichick covers golf for the San Francisco Chronicle. From an Alister MacKenzie layout to a driving range that often is packed near midnight, Haggin Oaks is "a 60-year overnight success" story, cracks Ken Morton Jr. 34 FALL 2017 | NCGA.ORG

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