Club Champion intends to open 30 new locations over the next two years
The boutique custom fitting chain Club Champion is growing rapidly. It’s not Topgolf pace but it’s fast, and it’s coming at a surprising time in retail history.
A 2017 feature on NBC Nightly News reported that more than 6,700 retail brick-and-mortar locations closed in 2017. According to Fox News, in 2017 Sears closed more than 300 stores, JCPenney 138 stores, Macy’s 68 and Payless shoes closed about 800 locations after filing for bankruptcy. Things have changed in the golf equipment landscape, as well. adidas sold TaylorMade, Nike exited the golf club business and major retailer Golfsmith shut its doors (all within the last two years).
Amid the doom and gloom, Club Champion has emerged as a premium clubfitting location and offsite equipment retailer. The company delivers “Tour quality” fittings with an astounding 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations. It’s an impressive setup, as they offer virtually every major and premium brand of club (including drivers, fairways, irons, wedges and putters) with virtually infinite shaft options.
The company has driven average annual samestore sales growth in excess of 50 percent and is planning to open a minimum of 30 stores over the next two years. Furthermore, they aim to be one of the leading employers of PGA Professionals. With a planned 50 to 60 new job openings in the next two years, the company has said they’re looking to give PGA Professionals the first crack at those positions.
Many on-course facilities may look at them as a competitor. However, the company is making many of its moves with the health of the industry in mind. In addition to the their commitment to hiring PGA Professionals, they’ve also implemented an incentive based referral program that kicks back 10 percent to any golf pro who refers a customer to them. A recent store grand opening in Newport Beach, California served as a fundraising event for the Folds of Honor. The single night raised more than $1,000 for the foundation that provides scholarships to the families of fallen and wounded warriors.
“This is the kind of evening that makes me happy to be part of Club Champion,” said PGA Professional Jordan King, a master clubfitter and builder who manages the Newport Beach store. “We want to help support the industry first and foremost, while also helping golfers have access to an array of equipment options that were previously limited to tour professionals and the game’s elite.”
Folds of Honor VP of PGA Relations, Matthew Regan, was on hand for the evening. “We greatly appreciated Club Champion’s dedication to the Folds,” said Regan, addressing the audience. “This has been a special night, and we look forward to further aligning with them as they continue to grow and offer an amazing service to golfers.” With 32 studios already in the U.S., and a planned 30 more on the horizon, Club Champion will grow indeed. “By 2015, we had proven our new store concept as well as the ability to open multiple locations in a market. It was time to roll out Club Champion nationally,” said company CEO Joe Lee. “We knew we had hit on a concept that would work and we’ve been opening new locations at an accelerated pace ever since.”