Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore

#56 - PGA Tour Superstore: Randy Peitsch (COO)

August 18, 2021 Paul Liberatore Season 2 Episode 56
Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore
#56 - PGA Tour Superstore: Randy Peitsch (COO)
Show Notes Transcript

We made it to Episode 56 of the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast.  In this week's episode, I interview my good friends Randy Peitsch the COO of PGA Tour Superstore. 

With Randy Peitsch at the help, at PGA Tour Superstore they inspire people to play their best, and grow the game. They have the knowledge, passion, depth of assortment and experience to inspire golfers everywhere to play better, have more fun and grow the game.  As a part of the Blank Family of Businesses, they  observe their Core Values as an important part of how we operate each day. They invite you to learn more about the Blank Family of Businesses and our Core Values and discover how they are giving back to their communities

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/golfersauthority)
Speaker 1:

What's up guys, Paul from golfers authority, welcome to behind the golf brand podcast. This week. I have a really good friend of mine, Randy, high-ish the COO , uh , PGA tour Superstore. I'm actually really excited because I like this is kind of where I started. My journey was at the PGA tour Superstore and getting into like learning, you know, why I want to get better. And you know, so I was kind of blown away when they actually reached out to me. So I feel like about a ball right now because I got Randy on the show and restaurant the laugh. And, but it's really super exciting. You guys, although a PJ toward Superstore is because they're like all across the United States , um, and they're probably in your neighborhood. So without further ado, welcome to the show.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much. And , uh, first of all, thank you for being a loyal customer of ours. Really appreciate

Speaker 1:

That. Yeah . I like grips done there. I like they're actually, this is cool. You got your stories, right? I want to tell you guys, like I I've gone there and like I'll buy grips, right? There's I first started, I buy grips and then I was brand new at Lyft , but the blog. And so like, they had a huge area where they put the grips on. So I asked the guy, I'm like, can I come in there? Which is probably you probably get fired now that I'm telling Randy the story. But, so this happened like five years ago. So I go in there and I'm like, Hey , take pictures of all this stuff. Because if you look really good in the blog article I'm doing about how to change your own grips, I goes , oh yeah, sure. Come on in, like, he's explaining everything. It's like, that's how cool they are over there. Like, they're like, oh yeah, sure, no problem. You know? So as you found, I

Speaker 2:

Mean, we , we , we don't like to say no to customers with anything, so we've , we get all kinds of weird requests and uh, we like to be able to say yes,

Speaker 1:

I think what I liked the most about it is like, you have all those Sims, like you walk, well , at least the location I'm on you walk into the right , like SIM bill USA, right. It's just like, I don't know how many, there were probably 10 of them, 12 of them. And then before that's a big putting green. So my kids went over there, started putting it's a huge putting green and oh know , it's like a candy land for adults really

Speaker 2:

Well. Uh , that's, that's what we like to say. We like to say that we're Disney world for golf where , uh , it's not just , uh , we've got a lot of stuff that we can sell you, but we also have a lot of really fun activities to come in and participate in. And if you just want to come in and roll putts and hit some balls in the simulator, that's okay too. Um, you know, I think you and I have talked a lot about , uh, being in the relationship business and that's , that's certainly what we want to be. We , uh, we don't really want to be in the transaction business. We want wanting to develop relationships and make people better golfers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I mean, cause like there are, that's kind of the hard part. I feel like, especially in retail, because a lot of retail companies don't do that. And then especially with COVID, you know, we didn't have the ability to pull off in the stores and other everything's on e-com , but like if they don't have that loyalty to you, because they like the brand itself, then they're going to go to one of 20 other e-com companies. So it's like an advantage that e-comm doesn't have, they don't have the econ by itself to not build a relationship with a brand.

Speaker 2:

Right. Exactly, exactly. And I mean, e-commerce is obviously here to stay and you know, the Amazons of the world and , and all, all companies today, if , if they're not growing and building their e-commerce business, they're probably doing something wrong and ours is growing as well. Uh , but there are certain things that , um, golfers in particular, like to feel how a shot is hit. They like to, they have to bring clubs in to be re gripped. So that that's one thing, but they like to see how it feels and in their hands and , um , the interaction with the , the golf ball. And , um, there's a certain element to our business that has to be very hands-on and that's , uh , that's the good news for us in the , uh, in the environment we're in now, because I think COVID did force people to , uh, to get more comfortable with things like grocery delivery and other things that they probably went to the grocery store before and then post COVID there. They found the convenience of, Hey, I can just click on some buttons and the groceries show up in my garage, you know, the , the advent of things like Instacart , uh, are really amazing. And, and, you know, I , I certainly hope that , uh, our business never goes fully that way because I think people are missing out on the experience that they would have coming into a store like ours.

Speaker 1:

So, I mean, candy land, I mean, seriously,

Speaker 2:

We we've seen, we've seen increased traffic on our website, but we've seen increased business in our stores to go along with it, which is, which is fantastic. And , uh, you probably know as well as , uh , better than me , uh, how great the , uh, the industry's doing and , uh, you know, up 33% and in rounds in 2021, which is, which is amazing. So people are out there on the golf course if you've , if you're trying to get a tee time today , uh , Arizona. Yeah. I know. I , I guess where you are, you , uh, you, you have a little bit of an easier time when it's 115 out, but, but most courses are , uh, are , are, are a lot fuller than they were a couple of years ago, which is great for, for all of us. So it's a , it's, it's really good .

Speaker 1:

A lot of people were worried a about the brands I talked to, they're worried, they're like, is that going to happen again this year? Right. Because we all know what happened last year. And I'm like, why would it happen again? Because you have all those new golfers that are new and then now they're back, right? Like, so the cattle's already occurred. It's not , now , I'm not saying it's not going to slip over time. It might may or may not. Who knows. It depends, but I mean, for the time being, I don't think so. I don't see it at all.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think the fear was that people didn't have a lot of choices in 2020. Right. So golf was one of those things that you could do , uh , in your hometown, be socially distant, do all the things that you are supposed to be doing to stay safe and still have , um, it's a social game. So you could still interact with your friends socially and in person, but you could still be distant from them. And I think the big fear in the, was in 2021, when people can go on vacation or start to go on cruises or take flights again, are these people going to adjust ? Is it going to go back to the way that it used to be? And fortunately it really hasn't. Um, you know, we've had, we've had 3 million people in the last year that are new to the game and three more million people that have not played the game in the last five years that have come back to it. So that's 6 million people now that are, that are brand new to the game. And I don't, I don't see them going away. It's certainly our business wouldn't indicate that they are and, and neither would rounds played or any other metric that you look at , um, which is great. And I think it's part of our job to then help them with their journey. You know, if they bought a starter set because they just wanted to get out on the golf course and see what it was all about, how do we help them with some lessons and , uh , playing better golf in the future and, and really walking them through the journey of how to go from a beginner golfer to , to somebody who's more avid. So that's been fun. And we, you know, we've seen every demographic you can imagine go in, whether it's kids playing more or women playing for the first time or the first time in a long time, it's been really, really nice to see , um, more diversity in our sport , um, than we've seen in the past. And that's

Speaker 1:

The face of golf is definitely changing, which I think is so cool. I mean, I started seeing it about , uh, two years ago with the clothing that was coming out and I was like, finally, right? Yeah . Um, and then now it's really happening now. It's still weird though. Who was I talking about? Oh, I was talking to the guys at Debra about this. I told him, I was like, yeah, I was wearing a Travis, Matthew t-shirt and a pair of shorts. And I went to play golf at a country club. I didn't realize the country, I thought was like that , that was like a normal course. So I went over there and I had like nice shoes on or whatever. So I go in my buddies at GM, I'm a , and we'll film some video. Right. So he's like, what are you wearing? I'm like, I'm gonna go hit the video. And he's like, can you gotta wear a polo shirt? I was like, are you serious? And so then I ended up having to spend, like for real, I spent $150 on clothes in the pro shop in order. And it's the ugliest crap, like seriously, it was like skinny tight. And I don't like it. And I hate the video because I'm like, that's not even my clothes. Not , no one knows what video it is, but I'm just telling you it still exists, which I think is crazy because it's like, I don't know . You're never gonna get rid of the polo shirt. That's I feel , I know that for sure. But I don't know if we're gonna go play with your friends. Like, why can't you smart ? T-shirt

Speaker 2:

Yeah. You know, and sometimes it's hard to turn a barge around this going down there. You know, we get a lot of talks about the PGA tour. Why do they still have to wear long pants when it's, you know, 80 degrees with 80% humidity and in Memphis, you know, like why, why do these guys not wear shorts? But I do think that golf is getting a little bit more friendly toward that. I mean, even just like take footwear, you know, as an example, you know, it's not welded construction shoes anymore, right. There's athletic styles that look cool with lots of color and they're fun to wear golf shoes. You could wear them off the course too . Um, you know, there's bright color, there's more kind of athlete , leisure type of look. And even, you know, the big stink about , uh , PGA tour pros wearing hoodies, you know, it

Speaker 1:

Was a little cool. Remember that last

Speaker 2:

What's , what's wrong with the hoodie. Right? Put a hoodie on and go, go swing a golf club. And you know, it's like, there shouldn't be this big , um, this big divide between, Hey, you can only play if you look a certain way. And I , I think that's changing a lot and we've certainly seen it from some of these, you know, Barstool, golf, and bad birdie and William Murray. And you know, some of these brands that are sort of up and coming.

Speaker 1:

So I know them all like, yeah, there's like, and they're , I mean, bad blurred. He blew up last year, like up . Right. It's very interesting. Let's talk about fashion for a second. It's very interesting because like, we're kinda talking about before the show, like with big business, right? Because the business comes in, like Travis Matthews got bought out, right? Like what it wasn't two years ago it was Callaway bottom or somebody account Calloway owns them . You could tell big company owns them now. Like, I I've had this conversation with a lot of brands it's hard and I like to have is Matthews and they make awesome clothes. But you can just tell, I don't know what that is. You can just tell, right? Like it's like nothing because Travis Matthews , but ultimately more conservative, right? Like it's to the masses, not so much like, well, we make what we make, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I think you'll find that. I mean, you, you see that in order for brands to really succeed, they do have to reinvent themselves. And I think foot joy went through this several years ago where they, they may be were too hesitant to get out of the age of like, Hey, this is the, this is the style of shoe we're going to make. And this is what the only style we're going to make. And then you had all these athletic brands coming in and people wearing Nike and just, and, and, and it hurt foot joy for a while until they figured out, okay, we got to get into this game as well. And this is what people want to wear. And if we don't change with what people want, then eventually they're going to lose a lot of market share , uh , or, or, or all of it. So I think, I think brands have to figure that out over time and , um, and especially apparel and footwear brands and really be relevant. We're super,

Speaker 1:

Super, super hard. And my very limited experience that's the hardest businesses is apparel. Like it is hands down. And I had no idea like how hard it is. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Well, we have one of , one of the benefits of having the, one of the best apparel teams. I think they're the best, but I'm probably a little biased in the, in the industry. And they're actually looking for these up and coming brands all the time. And we've probably taken more risks than, than any other golf retailer, just to say, I mean, we've , we've , we failed just as many times as we succeed, but , but we want to be cutting edge and we want, we want to be bold and we want to be aggressive and think that's, that's the right strategy for apparel and footwear is to always be thinking about what's next and not just be content with what people are wearing today.

Speaker 1:

Hobby catters though, too. Right now it feels like, especially like I've noticed that like, he's a bad birdie , for example, like there's probably like 20 brands that do the same thing now. Right? Like the last two years, not even the last second, last year that come out and I'm like, as a direct copy can come on. I mean, yeah. It looks different, but it's like, you were, I don't know. It just that's the hard part. Right. So as soon as something hits and then everybody jumps on board and tries to like, yeah ,

Speaker 2:

You know, it's a copycat industry. I mean, golf balls is another example of that. Right. So at one point you had this brand called Volvic, right. That came out with these colorful colors. And like all of a sudden, for one year they were on a, just this huge role , because it was like, Hey, they're the only brand that makes this color golf ball in it. And then sure enough, the next year you see all the major brands coming up with color. Right. You know, the day that you saw provi ones in yellow, you knew that, that, that was something that

Speaker 1:

It jumped the shark. Like you'll find Fonzie jumped the shark when you started, like when your parents and like a phrase , and you're like, oh wait, did you just say that? And like, oh yeah, you know, that's rad. It's like, wait that

Speaker 2:

Exactly right. Exactly. Right. But it's a, you know, it's a copycat industry in that way, for sure.

Speaker 1:

All right. So let's play a game. I always play this game. Okay. Um, what is your first golf memory? I told you the one I told about Dean Snellville , what's yours.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah. No, that was, I can't top that story. He has. Nobody has he had no, I, you know what, my, my first golf memory, which is, this is going to sound really bad from somebody that's been in the golf industry, as long as I have and is passionate as I am about it. I just didn't think it was cool at all. Right. I was like, I grew up in Florida where you could play golf 365 days a year. And I, I always thought, you know, my dad liked it. I didn't want anything to do with it. I wanted to be in the coolest sports. Right. I wanted to play, you know, all the other stuff. And so that's, my first memory is saying no to golf. Right. Which is not good. Right. And then, and then I got on board when , uh, we had a, we had a person in our school or one of the alumni donate money so that our school could have a golf team. And I was a senior in high school and I didn't play any of the spring sports. You know, I wasn't a baseball player. And I was like, oh, you know what? I have nothing else to do between being on my last, my last semester here before college, I'm going to take up golf, I guess I'm going to just go out there and sure enough, I did it. And that got me really hooked. Like I started, I'm like, I got the feeling of like what it was like to hit a good shot, even though I didn't hit many. Cause I was my very first tournament. This is really funny. I first high school tournament, but our high school have golf. So none of these guys that were on the team were golfers. So you had all these people playing that were like athletic, but none of them could really hit a golf ball. So I get out there and this tournament and my first nine hole match, I shot 63 for nine holes. So I'm like, all right , well maybe the sport isn't for me at all. But uh , Hey , you have a team. That's half the battle right there. I know. But I'm like, I mean, this guy, this guy I'm playing, you know, I don't know , shot 41 or 42 or something. And he's like, man, is this kid ever going to get on the green? And you know, just ,

Speaker 1:

He always laughing in his head. He's like, oh , like no pressure at all. You

Speaker 2:

Guys hitting out of bounds. And he's like, oh no, you need to go back to the tee and rehab . You can't just drop it up there. I saw I'm learning as I'm on the fly, playing in golf tournaments. And uh, so that's my first memory. It didn't start out too well, but , uh, but I really, really took hold of me and , uh, got played a lot of golf in college just because I fell in love with it. And so, so

Speaker 1:

You weren't like, so you were like, everybody else, you were crappy terrible. I'm still crappy. I

Speaker 2:

Remember the first time I broke a hundred and I'm like, oh man, this is awesome. And so, you know, just, yeah, but it, it comes and goes like anything else, you know, I've gotten, gotten better, but you know, it can start with a seven, it can start with a nine. I don't know what my score is going to be, but I , I learned a long time ago that I'm not good enough to get angry at a bad golf shot. So I just enjoy being out there. And I love the social element of it. I like being with people a little competition.

Speaker 1:

It's almost like it's like very, it's like serenity kind of, even though it's a stressful sport, like I've had so many good memories and so many beautiful places that were called courses that you didn't even know existed. And you were like back up on, you know, 11 it's like, holy crap, this is gorgeous back here, you know? And then it's like, you make bonds with people. You have stories about like what our sport, and you're not even playing against them. You know what I mean? So like,

Speaker 2:

Well , you might be playing against them. And that's fun too , to hand someone 10 bucks at the end of the round. And you had a little competition, but that the whole story comes full circle because I played my, my father passed away last year, the last round of golf, I played with him, which we ended up playing a lot of golf after I said no, for so many years, as a kid was at pebble beach. And if you never have taken your significant loved one, dad, brother, uncle do that. It's , it's expensive. It's worth all of it to create those memories that are like, Hey, I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life. That the last round I ever played was at pebble beach with my dad. And, you know, those are the things that, that the stories that we just live for. And it's why I love being part of the golf industry, because these are the kinds of things that we see every day, guys coming in on buddy trips guys saying, Hey, I'm off to Bandon dunes. You know, I might be in Phoenix, Arizona now, but I'm going off to Bandon dunes for some cool weather and some fun golf with people that I like to hang out with. And that's, what's so great about our industry. And I think why it's flourished the last couple of years was , um, people discovering what I discovered that so many years ago.

Speaker 1:

So where'd you go to college? I went to Auburn university.

Speaker 2:

Yes , I may . Uh, yes. Uh, yes , yes, it was, it was, it was a , it was a great place to go to the coolest house . Love the experience. Yes.

Speaker 1:

What was your major in like marketing

Speaker 2:

Or so? Yeah, so my, my undergraduate major was actually in , in communication and I , I wanted to go into , uh , I wanted to be a sports writer. That's what I did . Cool

Speaker 1:

Or hire you if you want , if you got some time

Speaker 2:

How long that career would have gone writing for a newspaper. Cause those are kind of few and far between these days, but there's, there's other media things. And then I , I, I stayed and got my MBA in, in, in business and marketing. And so that, that , uh, you know, I wanted that . I , I went from wanting to do that, to wanting to be a stockbroker. And I had a summer where I didn't have anything lined up and a buddy of mine was in retail and a management training program. And I said, Hey, I'm going to do it for six months. And then I'm going to go do this stockbroker thing or become a writer. And , uh , the retail bug hit me much like the golf business did. So I ,

Speaker 1:

What did you like, did you like the sales aspect then ?

Speaker 2:

Here's what I really, I, here's where I really like,

Speaker 1:

I , I,

Speaker 2:

I just, I just love being able to give customers a great experience. You know, I , I grew up in a small family business and

Speaker 1:

So he, he,

Speaker 2:

He was in a , he was an engineer for Chrysler, but he, he, he left that, took his life savings and bought him a motel in south Florida, which grew up. And, you know, it was a small family run business , uh , you know, 18 apartments where people would come on vacation and you know, it was all about, yeah , I know it was great. I mean, the whole thing was about like, you know, if the guest wants something, we got to drop, drop everything we're doing and take care of the guests and make the guests experience great. And it's, it's so funny how it's come full circle. Now that that's what I fell in love with was, you know, I love doing it then taking care of people when you can put a smile on someone's face that that means everything. And so that, that retail train program was like, how, you know what? You just, you treat people the way they want to be treated. And they walk out with a smile and then they come back and then they tell your boss how great you did and what a great job. And it's like, Hey, it's.

Speaker 1:

And no one realizes that anymore. Everyone's like , I was like, I don't really like me, me, me,

Speaker 2:

Me, me, me, me, me. Yeah . off the air about, you know, it's not that hard of a concept, but there's so few people that give a great customer experience anymore. And that's why we do everything we can at PGA tour Superstore to say,

Speaker 1:

It's like zero pressure. When you go in there zero, it's like little , like do whatever you want. And you , if you buy something cool, if you don't cool too, we'll see you next time. Like you don't even care. You know what I mean? Like you're just there to make the experience like that gives somebody the ability to do enjoy it .

Speaker 2:

Right? The results for us are going to come. I mean, we're, we're financially driven company, but the results are gonna come based on us doing the right thing for the customer every single day. And sometimes that's not selling them a thousand dollars set of irons. Right.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes let me off you . You don't ever come and come back, you know , like , right.

Speaker 2:

We, we, we do everything we can to develop. As I said, develop relationships and to make people better golfers. And it's not always buying a $500 driver. That's going to make you a better golfer. A lot of times it does, but it doesn't always. And when it's not, we don't want to be the high pressure. Let me just see what I can put in your bag today before you leave our store. It's Hey, you know what? You brought your old driver in and we couldn't get you any better numbers. So you have the most optimal driver for you. That's great. And then, and that's that's okay. And th those are some of the best letters we get is how much trust that customers have in the people that work in our stores. And we just, we're so excited and proud to have such a great team , um, in each one of our 46 locations, seven and two more weeks. But that is , uh, that's, that's what we do.

Speaker 1:

I think it's like a two it's a two-sided sword though. Yeah. He's on the phone. Tell them

Speaker 2:

To leave. I have a, yes.

Speaker 1:

Tell me to say I have my wife on the phone, so, okay. Oh, I want to say it's like a two-edged sword, right? Because you don't put the pressure, but then it's like, you still want to give good service and you get information on a product, but sometimes people don't feel the , the push to buy it, then they don't buy it. And now they're just like, it's almost like it's hard, right? Because like were like, well, I'm gonna to , I'm going to sell X and that's the goal, but you guys do the opposite. Like, well, we're going to sell. If we sell it , we'll give as much information as we can, but it's really at the end of the day, it's your decision. And like, there's no right or wrong answer.

Speaker 2:

Just like, it's a big decision, right? I mean, to, to, to spend that much money on, on a , a it's a discretionary spend, right? We're not in the , we're not selling gasoline or toothpaste or medicine. Right. It's, you're, you're coming. You want to play better golf for tennis. So we , we don't, we're not high pressure sales. We are all about what's right for you. And, you know, I, I just read a letter at a store in Boston that I was at this week about a customer that came in six times for the same fruit to make one purchase. And he goes, I came in and the previous five times I got no pressure to buy this driver. And I've been wanting it for six months. And I finally saved up enough money to come in and buy the driver. And he said, there was no chance I was going anywhere else. Because the previous five times you let me hit it as much as I want you, let me see the numbers, but you didn't, you didn't put tons of pressure on me because I told you upfront , I'm , I'm probably not going to buy it anyway. And he said, I was so grateful that they even let me go into a simulator after, right after I told you I can't afford it yet. Right. But we knew that that customer was going to come back because we treated him the right way. Right. And so, and that's, like I said, that's, that's, what's so great about not just being in retail, but I've been with companies that didn't embrace that philosophy.

Speaker 1:

Right ? Yeah. And when,

Speaker 2:

When you sued that, you know, I don't, I didn't want to be a part of it anymore. So I think, you know, starting with our, you know, our, obviously our owner is Arthur blank, who co-founded the second largest retailer in the world with home Depot. Um, but, but that's what he preaches to us every time that we meet with them, as well as it's about doing the little things that are right for the customer. And then the results will be that's the same way

Speaker 1:

He builds other brand . I mean, it's same way. Right.

Speaker 2:

And, and, you know, one of our core values is listen and respond. And that's just not a plaque on the wall. That's something that we really live is if you listen to what a customer is saying, and you respond that way, that's, what's going to create, that's why this guy that came in six times at our store in Boston, that's why , uh , we had that experience as we listened to him saying, okay, we understand you, you might not make this purchase today, but we also understand that you want to know if this driver is right for your game. So come on in and let's see if it really is right. And I think he saw that. And so, and I, and I've thousands of letters annually that I read that are very, very similar to that. And it all starts from the top of our organization. And, and that's, that's how we , we call our organization and inverted pyramid. And our CEO will , will say this he's at the bottom cause he's furthest from the customers. So the most important people in our entire organization are the people that are having those interactions with the customers. And that's what we, we structure our whole organization around that because that's where it all happens. The day that I, we sit in an ivory tower and we don't understand what's going on out there, that I want to be gone. I don't, I don't never want it to do that. I love what happens day to day with , uh, with our customers. And I feel like my job is to support everything possible, to make that a better experience for our customer and a more seamless thing for our associates to provide.

Speaker 1:

So you graduated from Auburn, you would have this , you wanted this management program. Yes. Well , what retailer was that?

Speaker 2:

So it was JC penny. So, and I was with them for about a year and a half. And then I had the opportunity to go into a department store called Parisian, which was a division of sacks awhile ago. They're now part of Belk, you know, there's lots of changes in the department store realm. Um, and I was , it was in Birmingham, Alabama. It was based in Birmingham. And , uh, you know, I got a , I got a call from a sporting goods store called galleons. And they said, we're , we're expanding all over the Midwest. And we , we are , we are , our golf business has grown and we don't even have a golf buyer position and we're creating a role for a golf buyer. And I was like, well, as avid of a golfer, as I was, that's a dream job for me. I, it sounds amazing. And , uh , I went and took that job. And two years later they were bought out by sporting goods. So , um, that was back in 2004 that they were purchased . I , I, I , I started the industry in 2002 with them, and then two years later, and

Speaker 1:

We're pretty close. We gotta be pretty close. Right. Yeah. But you had an MBA, but I got my law degree. So I mean, that's two years in a year.

Speaker 2:

The law degree has gotta be so much harder than getting an MBA. I just taking the LSAT and all that.

Speaker 1:

Okay. First of all, Elsa was stupid and they made these tests that are supposed to like cut people into like buckets and like, really it's so dumb. Like, you know, I don't know . I , you hear my sad story. So like my wife, here's my story of going to law school. So I remember mowing my lawn and I had this great idea. We'll mow the lawn . I'm like, I should go to law school. Literally . This is what happened. My wife was five months pregnant. So she was like, all right , whatever. And so I'm like, I'll make a deal with you. I go, if I can get into law school, I'll go to law school. But I go, if I could do well on the Alsace , that was his key. Right. Cause you're going to law school , but I'm like, then I'll go to law school. And she said , no , that was kind of like the differentiator. So I took the LSAT the day before my first son was born. Like he was born on a Sunday at the jail , sat on a Saturday. So I was like, I literally asked that test. I was like, I'm going to be a dad tomorrow. And then I got into law school and all that, but that was like good times. Oh, that's awesome. So you went, all right. So you went to in 2002?

Speaker 2:

No, I went to galleons in 2002. And then when sporting goods bought them , um, you know, I, I had a chance to go there and I , I actually had the same offer from and golf Smith on the same day , um, and golf Smith , uh , I chose to go to there and Austin, Texas. Um, so I went, went there, learned a lot about the golf industry there . They, you know, they have, they had a lot of , uh, they're pretty well-established brand at that time , um, in the early two thousands. Um,

Speaker 1:

And hyper-focused too , not just like, you know, very morning good stores , like a millionaire

Speaker 2:

Very much. Very much. Yeah. So then ,

Speaker 1:

Uh, what did you, you were a buyer at Goldsmith then , or what I

Speaker 2:

Was, I was the, I was the senior club merchant at golf Smith. So that was , uh, that was , uh , that was , uh , uh , uh, you know, it was a , it was a great time is great, great time to , to be part of the golf industry. And, you know, there's a lot of, as you said, a lot of good people in the golf industry. Let me go have

Speaker 1:

Friends. Yeah. And then, okay, so then how long were you at Goldsmith

Speaker 2:

There until 2003 years? In 2007? Um, I had a , a rare opportunity to get a promotion with going to another company. So I was hired as a vice president at sports authority , um, from a merchant role at golf Smith . So it was pretty hard to get down. Yes. But then they went bankrupt. They did, they did. And you know, and it's just

Speaker 1:

Crazy. Like that's a huge company when they went bigger . I was like, what the hell? Because of the market. Right. Cause the 2013, 14 months ,

Speaker 2:

It was a little bit of, a lot of things. You know, there was some, there was some mismanagement of, of some, some assets that they had along with, you know, 2008 and the bubble and all these different things going on, the morning's happening. They probably overhired. But , uh , but like I said, I think they, you know, I think they, at some point I think they stopped listening to their customer. I think that really was the key. And that's what I said. Like, I I've been with organizations where I ,

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you seen it, you can see right away

Speaker 2:

About it. And you know, there's some, there were some great people at sports authority that I moved on to other things, but , um, you know, I, I had the chance to , uh, you know, I , I had a , uh, a recruiter in 2011 , um, call me about PGA tour Superstore and the , from what I knew about it, and then finding out even more about it, it was, there was no question that this to be , it was, it was, I mean, between Arthur blank and Dick Sullivan, our CEO and, and the whole management team. It's , uh , you know, I, I don't regret it for a minute. And it is by far, I tell everybody this it's by far the best culture and the best company that I've ever worked for. It's really, really well-run . And there's a, there's a high level of respect among peers. There's not a lot of bureaucracy. You know, our , our, our CEO says that all the time, he does not want a bureaucratic company where, where there's lots of infighting , obviously there's some in every organization, but , uh, but it's really okay . Common

Speaker 1:

Goal though. That's , uh , that's , uh ,

Speaker 2:

You know, it's the, it's the kind of place where you can make a mistake or even even call someone out for, you can question someone in there . They're not thinking that you're just backstabbing them or it's , I've

Speaker 1:

Done it for the job.

Speaker 2:

It's like, Hey, we're all working for this common goal. And, you know, it's , it all comes from our leaders that I mentioned before that, that have created this environment, but it allows somebody like me and , and our other leaders to really come in and feel comfortable being empowered, to make decisions on behalf of our customer. Like I said, and that that's the best part is

Speaker 1:

The freedom to like , be creative, right. And like , to really care, like if you, if you don't, if you don't have employees or leadership that cares you're screwed, right. Like if they're just, they're a clerk paycheck, like I've been at corporations and as in-house counsel, and I was like, I'm out, like, because you just, that's literally a disaster waiting to happen.

Speaker 2:

W we have so many, we have dozens and dozens of people every day that I worked with that are not really in this for the paycheck. I mean, obviously we all need to make money, but we all need to do that. But, but so many people could be at so many other places. Um, you know, we, we get recruited by, I'm sure you can imagine. We get, we get calls from recruiters every day. And I, you know, I , I put my hand up right away and say, not interested. And we have so many people like that. We have so many really talented people that are here because of the culture and because of the philosophy and because of the values and, and giving back and, you know, the things that we've done, you know, we could spend the rest of the time talking about, you know, not just Arthur blank, donating almost $10 million to the first tee last year and this year. But , but all of the different ways that we're giving back to charity and the , and the number of like when we did international women's golf day, right? So we had our store in Indianapolis where several of our ladies flew up to Indianapolis and they worked in the store. We had an all ladies team for an entire day on women's golf day in our Indianapolis stores. And the men didn't go play golf. The men in the store actually went and volunteered at a women's shelter that day. And it was just like, we, we have story after story. We have, we have the first tee , um, not just the money that we give them. Uh, but we're going to give for students the opportunity tunity to participate in an annual summit at Arthur blanks ranch in Montana, to go out there and do a leadership summit with CEOs, from, from several companies and, and the leadership of our, of our , uh , organization. And they get to learn about leadership skills and development. And then, and then we stay in touch with, with these kids. We, we, there's so many of these things that we're doing, I could talk all day about where we're going to go , uh, participate in Billy Horschel event. Um, which, which benefits , um, golfers that are trying to make it on the PGA tour , um, with different ethnic backgrounds. Right? So, so a lot of , um, you know, I think that the proper term is, is BiPAP, right? It's so, and it's, and it's, it's just an amazing thing. Like there was a guy on the PGA tour event in Detroit last week that had graduated from this program onto web.com and now PGA tour that came through this program that Billy Horschel supports . So, but many of the people that are in that program don't make it on the PGA tour. Right. But they're all, they're all obviously very good golfers and they want careers in the golf industry. So we can help provide that if they don't make it on the tour, Hey, these, the careers that we offer, there's a whole other world that you could be doing all of the ways we give back that to me. And by the way, every single dollar of profit that we make is given back to the community. Right? So everything that , that we do that goes to, you know, people say, Hey, you're just lining Arthur blanks pocket. Well, everything goes into his foundation, right? So all the profit we make gets churned back out and into these causes for the community, whether it's, you know, the west side here in Atlanta or any of these other things, first tee and all of it. So it's such a cool thing to be part of an organization where it's not like, Hey, no , yeah . Pockets with money.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah . It's like the stock, right. It's all about the stockholders. And like making sure we hit our numbers so we can make our profit.

Speaker 2:

It's, you know, we're a board of one, we have a board of one, one person and, and he directs all of that money into his foundation. So it's, it's awesome. The way that we can say, Hey, not only are we doing all the right things to run a business , um , like good business people do, but the money and the profits go somewhere that is benefiting the community

Speaker 1:

And the world. That's crazy. Every pocket . Yeah . It's

Speaker 2:

Awesome. And it's, it's just so, like I said, it's great to be part of it . You know, it's, it's glamorous to be part of the Falcons and Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta United and that's , that's all great. And they do a lot of great things too, but , um, you know, couldn't, couldn't be happier to be part of the organization. It's , uh , it's , it's a lot of, it's a lot of hard work.

Speaker 1:

Never knew anything about this. This is what's so cool. Because like, it sounds like a play . Like, it gives me more respect for the company and the brand. Cause you just think, you know, on paper, everyone looks the same. Right. All the big retailers with the same, their retailers. Right. But then you start like until you start actually talking, it's what I enjoy about doing the podcast until I really get to know the person who's like leading the charge. That's like, oh wow, they are different. Right. And this is how they're different. And that's why people buy from them because they're different. They're not just trying to make money or exactly.

Speaker 2:

And it's one of the core values that I mentioned earlier. Right. So give back to others is one, right. But it's not, again, it's not a plaque on the wall. We could, we could spend the next hour talking about ways that we give back. And you know, when you, when you have the kind of money that that Arthur has, and then you see what that money can do for our communities, it's just, it's just incredible. And even the, the west side ranch in Montana, is it , it does these things throughout the year. It's this, the first teeth thing. It's just one thing. I mean, there are many charitable companies,

Speaker 1:

Right ? Sure . That's the thing. Right? So like, how do you want to go out? Like I saw my kids yesterday, we were driving to swim lessons. I said , you know what? Life's short guy. That must tell you that right now, like right on that

Speaker 2:

Well purpose. Right. I mean, so like, if you're working toward a greater purpose, it's more than just, Hey, how do we run retail stores that help people play better golf? And we make a little money along the way. Like, that's, that's one part of it. The other part is can we, can we impact the world in a better way? So that those are the , those are many of the reasons, like I said, I feel like I'm doing a sales pitch for coming to work for an Arthur blank company. But, but I I've said this at dinner parties as well. Right. It's just, it's a great place to work and

Speaker 1:

Hire me right now. Yeah . Come on, Paul,

Speaker 2:

Come on. We , we need, we need an attorney. I like that one needs that everybody needs an attorney. Right. I

Speaker 1:

Need the attorney to make fun of and be like, I'm glad I'm a attorney. So they come to the lawyer jokes. Yeah . Yes,

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, no. It's , uh, I , I know a lot of really fun lawyers and I know you're one , you're one of them too. I can tell . I can tell just from our time today and others . Well,

Speaker 1:

That's the thing. Like I have meetings , I didn't mean to speak to these clients and they go, we were so nervous to come to your law firm. And I'm like, why? And they're like, oh, we thought you'd be stuffy. And like the guy on bull, I swear to God, it's what they said. And , um , or the guy or those guys on suits. And I was like, no, that's not how

Speaker 2:

We do things here. I'm like,

Speaker 1:

Did you walk in? And it was really like, you know, marble when you first walked into the building. No. So don't worry about it. Have you seen marble in a building and you first walked in, he knows paying for that. I thought I stopped people, but so what, what kind of things are going on with TJ for supers ? Like what do you guys got going on? No . So

Speaker 2:

We've , we've got a lot going on. We , um, as I mentioned, we have , uh, we have 46 stores today and , uh, we are going to be opening four more stores this year. So we're going to have , uh , another store in the Dallas area, in Arlington and a couple of weeks. And then in August, we're going to have our first store in Virginia. So that will be in Fairfax, Virginia in August. And then we have two more Texas stores coming in October. Cool.

Speaker 1:

This is, I think about this retail is opening stores, right? Like that's a big deal. It's not like they're holding onto what they got. Right? Like you guys are literally making new ones. Exactly.

Speaker 2:

And with , with lots of other retailers going the other way, it's a once again, fun to be part of a growing and opening stores. So yes, we have Houston and San Antonio coming in August. Um , our third store in Houston. And then , uh, then we've got, we've got a few more lined up for the beginning of next year. We're going to have our first store in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. Uh, we're going to have a store in Tampa coming up early in the year. And , um, yeah, we're also going to have a store in Charlotte, North Carolina, our first North Carolina store. So three new states coming up here in the next six months.

Speaker 1:

So where are you? Not at mainly the Midwest, like mid, like North Dakota

Speaker 2:

Kind of thing. We're pretty much coast to coast. Yeah. North Dakota. We're not, we're not, we haven't made it to the Northwest corner of the U S yet either. So we have lots of people asking why we're not in Seattle and Portland yet, but it takes time to get there eventually strategy.

Speaker 1:

Yes . Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yes, we will. We'll get, we'll get to these places eventually, but yeah, it's pretty much a in that, that middle, middle part of the country, the Dakotas and Montana and those places are

Speaker 1:

Given Arizona three, we have

Speaker 2:

Four and Phoenix and Tucson.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I didn't think about the one Tucson . So

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes. We , uh, yes, it's, it's uh, Arizona has been a great market for us. It's a joke. The joke

Speaker 1:

In Arizona is like, if Phoenix is the armpit, what does that make Tucson? That's always the joke.

Speaker 2:

I liked him . I've been to Tucson a few times. So

Speaker 1:

Chill it's like Phoenix. It was very laid

Speaker 2:

Back. And , uh, you know, there's some good golf courses down there too. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Um, so how long have you been in your position then at PGA tour Superstore? So

Speaker 2:

I have been, I've been, I started with the company, as I mentioned in, in November of 2011. So I'm coming up on 10 years as the VP of like , yes . So I was, I started as a VP of hard goods merchandising. So that was a , I did that until 2017 and I've spent the last four years in operations.

Speaker 1:

So then wow. 10 years. And it's your favorite company to be at so far?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Yes. Yes. It's a, it's a great, great place. So, yeah, and it's a , it's a fun, fun environment in a, in a fun industry. And, you know, we, we, we there's retail is, is a lot of hard work, but , um, as I said, it's, it's very rewarding as well to , uh, to see what, see those smiles on , on people's spaces and how we give back. So how good

Speaker 1:

Are you at golf now that you're the CEO, you should be like, you got to be like the best player ever. Well, I told

Speaker 2:

You, I said it can start with a seven or it can start with that interchange . I thought that was in high school . I have a very wide range of , uh, you know, I'm , I'm currently a six, but you know, like I said, I whole dandy cab. I could shoot 75 . I could shoot 85. It just, who knows every day,

Speaker 1:

Far from it. So he's like , I'll be honest. It's probably like three months ago. Right? So,

Speaker 2:

So this is a , this is actually the joke about, you know, people get into the golf business because they really like golf. And then they realize when you're in that industry, that you don't play as much golf. So I'm going to tell you a number, but whenever I say this, number, it people , some people think this is a lot of golf and some people think it's hardly any at all. But I usually play between 20 and 25 rounds a year.

Speaker 1:

So twice a month,

Speaker 2:

I tell that to some people and they say, oh, that's a lot. But , um, I don't think it's a lot. I , I, I play more if I, if I didn't have a job, but then I don't know if I could play.

Speaker 1:

So here's the thing, right?

Speaker 2:

Uh , yes. Uh , I love it. And , uh, you know, I'm , uh, I have three, three kids, so I'm the all boys and we , uh, we go to a lot of sporting events for all of them. So , uh ,

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's all like me, that's me. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

In the throws of that. But you know, they play golf too. So I'll take them for nine holes every once in a while ,

Speaker 1:

But one year old and eight year old. So I like I'm in the same thing, you know, all about why did you start a website or a blog, or do what you did. I'm like, because I didn't have six hours on a weekend to go play golf. Like, that's one of the reasons because what , what dad has that much. Now your wife now, as they get older, it's easier to get out there, but need a little babies. Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. When they're young, you , you, you can forget it. But , um, but that , that , that makes for the , the, you know, the times you do play to be even that much more special and something you can say ,

Speaker 1:

No , my best memories and my worst memories with my dad playing golf

Speaker 2:

So I can relate.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So, I mean, I'm really excited to have you like today on the show, because I don't know. I've I never thought I'd have you on the show. I don't know . Also the best way I can say it. Like I started out, I was just a guy going over to PGA tour zebras, or looking around, trying to like, see what I could afford or hit or test and then go write about it. So it's kind of come full circle in that regard. It's kind of cool. So, well , cool. We started talking yesterday too. We were like not able to,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, that was a , we had a little, little technical glitch yesterday, but , uh, I'm , I'm really excited to be beyond as well. And , um, you know, you could probably tell from this already that I could talk off all day long and , um, certainly love , loved talking to you. And , um, you know, you're , we, we, next time we , uh, next time I'm in Phoenix, we need to tee it up at some place .

Speaker 1:

We should email, he'd go dinner, hang out. Or like , that sounds great. I

Speaker 2:

Would love to cause this , uh, this conversation is great. And , um, we have, we have a lot, we can talk about I'm sure. Oh, I ,

Speaker 1:

That , I mean, I, yeah, you're cool. I like you . You're really cool . I mean, sometimes I'm just like, oh yeah. I start telling my wife about people I'm talking to. Like, she was like, oh, she knows it's a good, it's someone who's cool. You know, sometimes I don't even tell her. I'm like, she not even gonna be interested. So I mean, you guys can check out PGA tour Superstore. There literally has to be one in your town if, unless you live in like Montana, which would be cool. But I mean, there's not many golf courses there. Um, but I mean , to me, you guys are like the retailer for golf equipment. Like I don't go anywhere else for in retail. And so I've always had good experiences with you guys. It's low. There's like no pressure to buy products and they just let you play. Right. And like, and ask questions and whatever. So that's really cool. And you can see even by the leadership, why it's like that. So thank you for being on the show and I look forward to doing more with you in the future.

Speaker 2:

Appreciate you having me, Paul. I really appreciate it. And congrats on all your success as well. Great. Thank you.