2004: Newsmakers - PGA Tour Superstores coming soon

The PGA Tour is partnering with a group of former Home Depot executives to create a national, Tour-branded chain of golf superstores as large as 70,000 square foot each.

The retail project is the first major development to materialize from the Tour’s 2003 licensing deal with Golf & Tennis Pro Shop Inc., designating it as the Tour’s exclusive partner for off-course and off-airport retail operations.

GTPS, which earlier this year purchased two Martin’s Golf & Tennis Superstores in Myrtle Beach, S.C., plans to rename those stores Martin’s PGA Tour Superstores. A proposed national rollout is expected to begin next year in Atlanta, spread to select Florida markets in 2006, then gradually broaden into the Sunbelt and the Southwest. GTPS anticipates opening four to eight stores annually. The additional stores will be named PGA Tour Superstores, and be adorned on the outside with Tour logos.

If the aggressive schedule is executed according to plan, GTPS quickly will find itself in competition with regional retail powers such as Edwin Watts, which is entrenched in the Southeast. An expansion west will find the newcomer in markets dominated by Golfsmith International, the Austin, Texas-based chain, which in recent years has retreated from plans to create potentially cash-draining mega-stores.

Store size nor competitors appears to be a concern for GTPS.

“The customer will decide which one they prefer to shop in,” said Jorge Cora, chief financial officer at GTPS.

GTPS has expanded Martin’s selection of products to include golf cars, synthetic greens, furniture,

artwork and memorabilia.

The retailer – led by Bill Hamlin, a former Home Depot executive – also has installed swing simulators and launch monitors to provide a “Tour van feel.”

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