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About Golfsmith > Company History

COMPANY HISTORY

 
     
 
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In 1967, Carl Paul was an established engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in New York City when he fell in love with the game of golf. His professional background and desire to make things work better led to his interest in repairing golf clubs. The more involved he became, the more Paul realized that he had discovered an untapped niche in the golf industry — the design and distribution of custom-fit golf club components for golf club repair shops nationwide.

With the help of his wife, Barbara, Paul converted their two-bedroom suburban home in New Jersey into a virtual factory. He traded in his wife's “green stamp books” for an electric drill, his first clubmaking tool. He designed machinery to manufacture wood clubheads and contracted a forging company to build iron clubheads to his design and specification. Barbara took orders and managed the business during the day while Carl commuted to his “regular” job at the EPA. In the evenings and on weekends, Carl grew his golf components business, helping transform repair shops across the country into custom-fit golf clubmakers. Carl and Barbara printed their company’s first golf club components catalog; the catalog itself was comprised of two, typewritten pages by Barbara and hand-drawn pictures by Carl.

This formed the foundation of Golfsmith and lead to more than 4 decades of growth:


 
Frank Paul

1970s

Golfsmith offered the first golf clubmaker training programs to teach golf clubmaking and repair. In 1973, Carl’s brother, Frank, joined the business, which relocated to Austin, Texas. The Pauls opened a small components showroom in 6,000 square feet of unused army barracks. In 1975, the Pauls embarked on their first consumer retail expansion by creating The Golfsmith Store accessory catalog. In 1976, the company grossed more than $1 million.

   
   
Golf Clubmakers Association

1980s

In 1980, Golfsmith established the Golf Clubmakers Association (GCA), an organization designed to support and guide the growing number of clubmakers around the world. In 1988, Golfsmith hosted the first annual GCA Conference to offer members access to the latest technical information and clubmaking innovations from the industry’s leading equipment vendors.

   
   
The Golfsmith Flagship Superstore.

1990s

In 1992, the company moved to its present headquarters location — a 40-acre campus that includes the corporate administration offices, a practice range, a 30,000-square-foot Golfsmith superstore, and 240,000 square feet of shipping and distribution facilities.

Golfsmith’s aggressive retail expansion began in 1995 with the opening of superstores in Houston, Denver and Dallas. Today, Golfsmith operates over 50 retail superstores that reach nationwide.

In 1998, Golfsmith secured a $30 million private placement with DLJ Investment Partners. The private placement helped fund the acquisitions of Lynx Golf, Inc.; Black Rock Golf Corp. (maker of Killer Bee golf clubs); and Snake Eyes Golf Club, Inc.

   
   
 

2000s

In October 2002, Golfsmith sold a majority share in its company to First Atlantic Capital to expand the company's multi-channel retail strategy (stores, catalogs, internet).

In 2003, the company began offering tennis equipment and apparel with the acquisition of six San Francisco-based Don Sherwood Golf & Tennis stores and began offering a wide selection of tennis merchandise online and in many of the already-established stores soon thereafter.  In-store kiosks were added to retail locations nationwide in 2004 to enhance the guest experience by providing access to Golfsmith’s entire golf and tennis inventory to local retail shoppers. On June 15, 2006, Golfsmith made its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and today is traded under NASDAQ symbol GOLF.    

From October 2002 to July 2007 Golfsmith experienced unprecedented growth, with the number of retail stores more than tripling in that time period. During that span, the company also added several new catalog titles for women golfers (Drive), tennis players (Center Court) and a comprehensive 200-plus page annual Buyer’s Guide for all golfers.

Over the last five years Golfsmith has further shown its commitment to putting Guests first by providing a world class experience for online shoppers. Golfsmith.com now features enhanced navigation, more product reviews and many other shopper-friendly services like in-store pickup.

Golfsmith celebrated its 40th anniversary during the spring of 2007.