Golfsmith’s Course of Action: Focus on Multichannel Commerce
From the moment you pull into the 40-acre Golfsmith campus in Austin, Texas, you know you’re in a golfers’ mecca. But as it turns out, the company’s on-site driving range and golf academy are just the beginning.
Inside the 92,000 square-foot corporate headquarters, there’s a putting green for employees, and a large retail store complete with indoor waterfall and Clubhouse Café. The clubmaking workshop not only crafts custom-made clubs, it also holds weeklong classes for those who want to learn the art. A research and development team is developing clubs and testing
vendor-sourced products. Enlarged pictures capturing golf imagery hang over the crisp green and yellow décor in the office area. The wide open but structured layout of the workstations and offices are reminiscent of an airy and well-designed golf course.
This place breathes the game.
Begun 37 years ago in the home of an engineer who saw a ripe opportunity to make and sell custom-fit golf clubs, Golfsmith is today a $257 million, multichannel merchant of golf equipment, apparel and clubmaking supplies and services. Those 2003 fiscal year revenues were up 18 percent from 2002, and its same-store sales were up 7.4 percent. And from 2002 to 2003, Golfsmith grew its 12-month housefile by a whopping 158 percent.
What’s fueling that growth is a combination of youthful energy, seasoned smarts and outside capital. The platform for this growth includes a multichannel-marketing strategy employed in the still-fragmented golf industry dominated by mom-and-pop shops. Oh, and then there’s the Tiger Woods effect. By all accounts, the star athlete has made golf cool, generating legions of young enthusiasts of the game.
All of these variables make Golfsmith look perfectly poised for growth. This story is about senior management’s vision, the multichannel strategy they’ve employed to achieve that vision, and the challenges they’ve already tackled and will face in the future.