Business Profile: AC Golf

Name: Ashley Clements
Company: AC Golf
Contact details: 07712417700

Can you describe your business?

AC Golf is a PGA pro shop run by club professional Ashley Clements and is located at Fintona Golf Club. We stock everything a golfer needs from hardware to soft goods from all majot brands at competitive prices. Other services include golf lessons, custom fitting, club repair, re gripping and we have an indoor simulator which allows golf to be played no matter what the weather is doing.

Why did you start your own business?

I had always wanted to play golf professionally but it got to the stage when I realised it wasn’t going to happen. My golf coach at the time Seamus Duffy advised going down the route of the Professional Golfers Association and becoming a club pro. Running a business has a history in my family with my Granda and Granny running a successful general merchant store for nearly 50 years in Augher and my Auntie owning her own Hotel in Scotland. With this in mind joining the PGA was an easy decision and the thought of owning my own shop and helping people improve at the sport became my passion. I trained for three years under the guidance of PGA professional Liam McCool working in both Enniskillen and Fintona Golf Club. I graduated in 2016 and took over the shop in Fintona later that year.

What are the best things about running your own business?

Running your own business can be hard but the enjoyment of achieving your goal and helping people achieve in the game outweigh the hard times. I love the day to day interaction with my customers, club members and students. When you get up each day looking forward to going to work it always helps. I also get enjoyment from dealing with the daily tasks of running the shop whether that be ordering new stock or keeping on top of my accounts.

What are the main challenges facing the business?

The main challenge with working in the golf industry is the fact that it is very seasonal. The golf season runs from March to September which means my busy period is during the summer months. Turnover drops considerably as footfall decreases over the winter months and this is when having your own business can be challenging. Trying to keep money coming in to survive during the off season and balancing stock levels etc can be very difficult.

What advice would you give to someone starting a business?

I would advise anyone starting their own business to invest their money wisely focusing on the things that are immediately important, only invest when you have the means to do so. At the start I received help drawing up my business plan with Invest NI, this service was very useful. Build your business up slowly as it takes a while to know what works and what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Always work hard in customer relations and make yourself stand out by offering a high level of customer service.

Can you describe your experience of running a business in three words or less?

Challenging / Rewarding / Educational