Approximately 94% of off-course golf retail stores are open to customers as of June 15 — more than 6 million square feet in total. Close to 90% of pro shops at operational golf courses are also open for business, the equivalent of about 10 million square feet of retail space.
In early April, during the height of the pandemic, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Just over two months later, 98% of the total square footage is open to customers.
Interior of the new PGA Tour Superstore location in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. (Photo courtesy: Clark Brown)
After having all retail locations closed to customer traffic for more than a month to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, PGA Tour Superstore became the first of the national retailers to reopen its doors on April 24 with enhanced safety protocols for customers and employees.
Now, all of Superstore’s 43 locations have reopened, including the debut of its newest store last month in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
“We had a little bit of an advantage because we didn’t open until the end of April and we were able to see what other retailers were doing — the Home Depots of the world, the grocery stores, and others,” said PGA Tour Superstore President and CEO Dick Sullivan. “We learned quite a bit from them and then said, ‘Let’s do more.’ Because our environment is different. People are wanting to touch clubs and demo clubs, whether on the putting greens or in the practice bays. We’re not a sporting goods store where people come in, pick up a product and walk out. We’re going to be fitting people and people get to experiment with products, so we had to do a little bit more.”
Golf Galaxy has now reopened all of its nearly 100 stores while Worldwide Golf Shops has reopened all of its locations except for a few Roger Dunn shops in Hawaii.
PGA Tour Superstore implemented a series of enhancements to protect those in its stores that are open, including six-foot spacing increments designated on the floor in both high-traffic areas and checkout areas where lines form. Other safeguards include: sanitizing golf clubs and balls both before and after any customer uses or “demos” them, placing multiple hand sanitization stations throughout stores, requiring associates to wear masks, and regularly disinfecting high-touch areas.
Superstore has also implemented a “starter” program, with an associate who’s designated as both a greeter and an information source for arriving customers who are unsure what exactly to do under the new protocols or have questions about safety measures.
In the custom fitting category, Club Champion has reopened 71 of its 74 locations, with only its two New York City and one Washington D.C. stores closed — though the D.C. venue is expected to reopen this week. True Spec has reopened all but four of its 20 fitting studios (Boston, La Costa, New York City and Jupiter, Florida), with appointment-only operations and enhanced cleaning and socializing protocols.
GOLFTEC has reopened all of its U.S. locations and only has two international facilities that remain closed, putting them at 208 of 210 locations operational worldwide.
While most retail locations have reopened, golfers have recently indicated increased concern about visiting golf retail stores and shops.
The latest NGF consumer surveys indicate that more than 12% of core golfers (those who played 8+ rounds in the past 12 months) said they’re “very concerned” about going into stores or pro shops, up 3 percentage points from the previous week. Overall, 59% said they’re not at all concerned or not too concerned about shopping in person rather than online.
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