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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone in the Business of Golf

NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF

Club Champion

Category

Corporate Headquarters

Highland Park, Illinois

Website

Key Employees

Keith D. Bank: Co-Founder, Chairman of The Board of Directors
Joseph L. Lee: Co-Founder and CEO
Nick Sherburne: Co-Founder, Master Fitter
Brian Burke, VP of Finance
Jay Hubbard, VP of Marketing

Profile

With 36 nationwide locations open by Spring 2018, Club Champion offers premium club-fitting services for the leading equipment brands in golf. In addition to fittings and the sale of golf clubs, the firm also offers complete club building, customization, and repair services, including re-shafting, re-gripping, wedge grinding, swing weighting, loft and lie adjustments, face angle adjustments, SST PUREing of shafts, and custom stamping and painting services.

The company was known as EJL Custom Golf, Inc prior to 2011. Club Champion’s offerings range from 3 1/2 hour, $350 full-bag fittings to $80 wedge fittings.

Club Champion’s studios carry a full range of top quality clubs, shafts, and grips from all major manufacturers as well as some exclusive brands. This allows the company’s certified fitters to present customers with more than 35,000 head and shaft combinations.

Club Champion plans to open a minimum of 30 stores over the next two years.

“Most golf stores or club professionals use fitting carts with limited options; you are unable to mix and match across different brands,” says co-founder Joseph J. Lee. “Club Champion offers hundreds of shafts, many of which are not available through other fitters and retailers.”

Lee says that the majority of golfers could be hitting the ball further and more accurately given the advancements in equipment technology, but cites a Golf Magazine study that found 90 percent of U.S. golfers are likely playing with improperly fit clubs.

“Our company’s passion is to help golfers hit longer, more accurate shots, lower their scores, and enjoy the game more,” says Lee.

Club Champion Chairman and Co-Founder Keith Bank estimates that 10 million of the approximately 24 million U.S. golfers are passionate players seeking improvement.

“The retail landscape is changing and consumers want tailored products that make their lives easier and the game more fun,” says Bank. “Club Champion has tapped into that wave of change and we are building a successful retail model that will drive growth for the next decade.”

NGF Takeaways

Along with True Spec, Club Champion is positioned at the forefront of the fitting and premium club sales business, with overall revenue growth near 100 percent in 2017. Because Club Champion’s products are fitted or customized and can’t be replicated by online stores, they don’t compete against web-based retailers.

Since 2014, Club Champion’s revenues have grown more than 450 percent and it plans to open a minimum of 30 stores over the next two years. The company’s success shows how the industry’s education on the benefits of club fitting is working and how this approach just might be the best way to “buy” a better game.

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