Shrugging off the softness of the golf market, Pro Golf of America is finding opportunities for growth in the golf retail sector by opening a record number of new stores this year. The company projects that it will lead the golf retail category with 15 new store owners in 2003. “The dynamics of the Pro Golf retail brand and its recognition in the marketplace is the driving factor in store expansion,” said Joseph J. White, President and COO of Pro Golf of America. “We’ve made expansion of our chain a major objective during the downside of the golf economy and have succeeded through the worst of market conditions. We have become the fastest growing chain of retail golf stores in North America and are outdistancing even our closest competitor. When you look at the overall golf market in the last few years and measure what’s happened to our retail competition, and even some in the vendor community, it’s pretty impressive to see the growth we’ve experienced this year.”

That growth is expected to continue to accelerate in 2004 with an anticipated 18 new stores opening in the next year. These openings will be taking place throughout the country. “Stores will be opening in our traditionally strong areas in the Southeast, and Midwest, but we are also seeing additional opportunities in the Southwest, West and Northeast. While there are markets that are crowded with too much retail competition, there are still market areas that are underserved. Our retail system is working well in these markets.”

What about Pro Golf has helped it buck the trends? White attributes the company’s success to an established model that has been proven over time combined with a total commitment to making its franchisees successful through training, as well as innovative service offerings, merchandising, and national marketing and promotional support.

“We have some great supporting vendors who are providing our storeowners with a distinct advantage over independent golf specialty retailers. In addition, we out-service the sporting goods chains and Big Boxes who have recently entered the golf business by making the Pro Golf customer receive the best in custom fitting and overall service. ”

“We are passionate about the success of our franchisees, and that makes our franchising system attractive to entrepreneurs who want to create their own business in golf retail,” White said.

In addition to strategic opportunities in the market, Pro Golf sees a brighter picture for golf retail sales in the upcoming year based upon the increased buying activities of its franchisees at the company’s National Planning and Buying Show held last month in Atlanta. “Most of the equipment vendors who participated in our buying show witnessed significant increases in the volume of ordering that took place at this year’s show. We interpret that as an optimistic sign for the upcoming and all important Holiday selling season.”