This past week, my wife and I traveled to Southern California to spend time with our daughter and grandsons. While there, I happened to drop in to a PGA Tour Superstore in Irvine, Calif., to look around and see if there might be something I was missing in my golf collection. This was not my first visit to one of these truly “Super” stores. I have also been to the one in the Woodlands and to the newest one in Austin (near the Domain area). What is behind this golf superstore phenomenon that seemed to pop up overnight all over the country when the once-popular Golfsmith recently went out of business?
I visited with Tony Mascarenas, marketing manager of this store, and Travis Vorpahl, general manager, to get the story. These stores are part of the Arthur M. Blank family of businesses. Mr. Blank is a very successful American businessman and a co-founder of The Home Depot. In addition to all the PGA superstores, the Blank family also owns two professional sporting teams: the Atlanta Falcons football team and the Atlanta United FC soccer team. There are currently 42 superstores throughout the United States. Many of their locations are in previous Toys “R” Us vacated buildings. Florida has the most, with seven stores. Texas is right behind with six stores. California has three. The newest store will be opening in New Jersey in a few weeks. Travis told me the corporate plan is to have fifty stores open and operating by the end of 2020.
PGA Tour Superstores are promoted as “golf and tennis” stores, and they do have everything you could possibly imagine related to these sports in each store. Tony says they are now starting to stock and promote equipment and accessories for pickleball. This seems to be the latest popular sport in California and some locations.
For the golfer, they have just about every piece of equipment, apparel and golf accessories you could imagine. Every store has a number of full swing practice bays where you can try out all the latest golf equipment and also get a custom fitting if you prefer. They have all the latest electronics to measure every aspect of your swing. Tony mentioned that they offer memberships that allow local golfers to come in on their lunch hour or in the evenings and use the air-conditioned practice facilities.
The corporate philosophy of each store is to be an active participant in the local community and give back as much as possible. Tony is in charge of partnering with local charities for many events. Their stores are open to all “First Tee” events, and they sponsor many free junior golf clinics throughout the year. He also said they tend to overstaff their stores with qualified golf professionals so the customer experience is never lacking. I found this to be true at all the locations I visited.
If you have never been to a PGA Tour Superstore, I encourage you to check one out if you are ever close. The closest one to Victoria is in Katy. You will be amazed at the presentation and the number of products available, but hold on to your wallet. It is really hard to get out of one of those stores without one or several bags of golf-related items. I surely have never walked out empty-handed.