Canadian Style Golf
By mustang6560 on 3/8/11
If you're like the majority of golfers, you have visited a golf retail store at some point in your life. In the USA, there is no shortage of golf retailers. You can find a Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy or Edwin Watts in most major cities across the USA. Not satisfied with your current golf retailer options? Then have no fear, Golf Town is here.
Two weeks after Loblaw Cos. announced it would open stand-alone Joe Fresh apparel boutiques in New York, and as Lululemon and Tim Hortons enjoy new levels of success in their respective stateside ventures, the Toronto-based specialty golf chain has announced it will open five stores in Massachusetts later this month. "We are entering Boston to own it -we will be the largest retailer of golf equipment in market overnight and that is going to have a major impact for us," said Golf Town chief executive Stephen Bebis, who wants to build a minimum of 12 stores in the Greater Boston area before moving into the southern part of New Hampshire.
I have no dog in this fight, but I'm a little surprised to hear another retailer is moving into the American golf market. The market seems a little saturated. Most cities already have several golf retailers and mom 'n' pop golf shops, not to mention pro shops at golf courses. So I'm just not sure there is a market for Golf Town.

That being said, I like their strategy. They are aggressively targeting the Northeast, in particular the Boston-area and they are going to hit the ground running with a vengeance. I like this because instead of trying to open one store in each major city (where they would just blend in), they are hedging their bet trying to dominate market share one city at a time. If this works, they could steal the majority of sales in the Boston-area almost overnight and develop a great reputation. If successful, then they can expand into other cities in New England. Not sure if they will find success in America, but sounds like they are willing to go down in flames.

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[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
I think you're right there, the market IS saturated in the US. I think the chain or store that wins though, is going to be the one that has: Excellent customer service, a free fitting program, and offers basic services for free or significantly less than the competitors. I know that's what I'M looking for when I go. I've already walked out of a Dick's sporting goods because i wasn't being helped even though they had pretty decent specials. I've also not bought a club from a local store because they wanted to charge me full price AND a fitting fee on top of that. With golf equipment as expensive as it is, you need to have the edge on the little things for the game.
mustang6560 says:
good points. with as "hot" as custom fitting is right now, if Golf Town offered a free fitting program, I'm sure they'd attract a lot of happy golfers.
JTW1 says:
Good luck to them, but I hope they have something new and fresh to bring. Most golfers I know are very loyal to the their golf shops, and it will be hard to pull them away.
mjaber says:
The market as a whole may be saturated, but living where I do (on the MA/NH border), I can tell you that there is a shortage of golf superstores. There's a Dick's about 40 minutes away, and a couple Sports Authorities, but other than that there isn't a whole lot. No Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy or Edwin Watts in the general vicinity, as far as I know.

If they are smart, they'll put a store in one of the border towns in NH, since everyone north of Boston hops the border into NH to save sales tax.
Banker85 says:
im with mjaber. there are a couple dicks around and little mom and pop shops but no stores devoted soley to golf like golf galaxy or golfsmith... that would be nice to have something like that out here in NW indiana.
TeT says:
Why I like golfsmith, I buy about $150 worth of stuff there a year, tees grips balls maybe a shirt or two etc... They let me hit balls there every week with never a sideways glance, even bringing in my driver to tweak it on the launch gizmo..
stedar says:
The smaller boutique stores are going to do it tough. The large format works for a couple of reasons - one stop shop and cheap deals. It appears these guys will not only offer everything you get now, but they will make it easier to buy, and probably have great terms: HP and credit options on top of the trade in and customer fitting plans. They have resources and the ability to source anything you want, if they don't stock it, they will get it in store at no extra charge to you. All this from their website! I think a change is gong to happen - great news for the golf customer, not so great for existing businesses. The only way the smaller guy can stick it out is to join up with lots of other smaller guys and create a large buying power to offer better deals. Can't see it happening as small guys like to do it on their own...
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