Nobody wants to lose the charm...
Goodbye Mom And Pops
By Kickntrue on 11/18/09
245 off-course golf retail shops have closed in the past 12 months. I can promise you, most of them were not Dicks or Golfsmith.
The closures represent more than a 17 percent decline in store locations and a 9.6 percent shrinkage in total retail square footage.

Meanwhile, so-called “big-box” stores, or golf retail chains, continue to increase their market share: Big-box retailers now account for 24 percent of all stores and occupy 60 percent of all available retail space.

“Many of the mom & pops that could not survive the economic downturn had been in business for 20-plus years. . .” said Sara Killeen, president of Longitudes Group, in a statement.
As the founder of a small golf company, this makes me sad. Still- I'm still not personally willing to change the situation. I want the cheaper gear. It's an unfortunate fact, but the economy has hit me too, and while I still want my golf gear I'm not going to pay a premium for it. Those are just the facts.

I'd love to hear solutions if anyone has them. One thing I thought of was bringing the expertise of the independent shop owners into the big box stores, but from a business perspective, why pay a business owner a salary when you can pay a high schooler who plays golf $8/hr to do the job instead?

What can the independent stores offer that the big stores never could? That will be the solution. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like anyone is sharing that answer if it exists.

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[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
I have seen two here in Lansing Il close down in the past 3 months... but like you said with ebay and big box stores why pay $250 for a drivewr when you can get the same kind for $150... The only thing i could think of is...... sorry drawing a blank. how about this? SUCKS FOR THEM. lifes not always fair.
mjaber says:
I think what keeps my local golf shop running is 2 things. 1 is that they have a driving range. I'm there 2-3 times a week hitting balls. When I buy any new clubs, I almost always go there. I'll check prices online, but if they're within $10-$20, I'll get them from the local. Plus, I get to actually swing the clubs before I buy them.

They also have a sports/athletic gear store. Most of the high school sports teams get their shoes/uniforms from the store. The owner ran track for my high school, and holds in the indoor mile record. He always gave our track/XC teams a great discount on our shoes.
Shankapotamus says:
Hopefully retailers such as Golf Galaxy and Golfsmith will stay solvent. I fear a world where the only place to buy golf equipment is Dick's. They have great deals but only carry certain brands so, if you want Titleist, Mizuno, Ping etc. you have to go elsewhere. This is likely due to the fact that those manufacturers won't let Dick's offer deep discounts on their stuff.

The biggest advantage the local shops had in the past was the ability to fit and customize clubs. Now you can get that done just about anywhere including ordering them online once you have your specs.
elhacker says:
Golf Galaxy is owned and operated by Dick's Sporting Goods.
mjaber says:
I think the key is diversification, especially here in the Northeast. You can't have a store that just sells golf equipment, because people aren't golfing year-round.

My local shop (as stated above) sells other sports clothing/shoes, etc.

There is a small chain-type company, the Golf & Ski Warehouse, that has a shop right outside my most-played course. They have an enormous, all grass driving range, and like the name says, they sell Golf equipment and Ski/snowboard equipment.
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