In yet another move to grow its brand in China, the PGA Tour announced plans to open 180 PGA Tour Shops in key cities and golf clubs around the country.
The retail venture is a partnership with Oriental Albatross (Beijing) International Trading Co. Ltd., one of China’s leading e-commerce golf retailers, and Global Brands Group, which has the rights to represent Tour business outside of the U.S. and Japan.
The alliance complements the Tour’s recent moves to increase its footprint in Asia, most notably efforts to capitalize on the promise of China’s golf market.
The Tour has increased its visibility with the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai being upgraded last year to a World Golf Championships event. It also is co-sanctioning with the Asian Tour the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The event, which is scheduled for late October and will precede the HSBC by one week, features a 40-man field comprising the top-25 available PGA Tour players from the FedEx Cup standings, the top-10 players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit and five sponsor exemptions.
In addition, the Tour has worked on building its relationship with the China Golf Association, including hosting China’s national golf team for training sessions at its headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Now, the Tour is making inroads into China’s retail market with the help of Oriental Albatross. The e-commerce retailer established itself in 2006 with the founding of http://www.100golf.com.
According to a Tour spokesman, the venture’s flagship “brick-and-mortar” store soon is opening in Beijing; it will feature 10,000 square feet of retail space and represents the prototype of the large-format stores. Three smaller, “store-within-a-store” locations opened in June.
“With 100golf setting the precedent by offering such a strong consumer proposition via its e-commerce platform, Oriental Albatross can now add the PGA Tour stores and product to the goods and services it offers to China’s golfing community,” said Liu Yongmao, chairman of Oriental Albatross. “. . . In this strategic partnership with PGA Tour and Global Brands Group, Oriental Albatross is looking to open 180 PGA TOUR Shops which will be located in key cities and famous golf clubs all over China.”
Since acquiring the right to represent PGA Tour business internationally, Global Brands Group has “developed a PGA Tour-specific retail environment where authentic and credible PGA Tour licensed products can be merchandised,” said Mark Matheny, the company’s CEO.