When Tee to Green Golf Shop opened in 1984, woods were wood and shafts were steel.
Tee to Green is still in its original location on Highway 14 in Eden, but just about everything else has changed.
“It was laminated or persimmon with all steel shafts,” said Jerry Woodall, who took over ownership of the store not long after it opened. “It has changed dramatically over the years. Technology has been incredible.”
Many of the independently-owned golf shops that sprung up during the last three decades are now gone – swallowed up by the big-box chain stores along with a trend of less people playing golf. But Tee to Green has survived.
“That’s a tremendous achievement,” said Ron Venters, who’s in his 32nd year as a PING rep. “Jerry without question has the (state) record of the mom & pops.”
Tee to Green expanded into a larger space in the early days, taking over the adjacent side of the building occupied by a video store and then a hobby shop. The showroom at Tee to Green is packed with all the major brands in clubs, golf attire, shoes and accessories. It also has the latest technology to measure swings and putting strokes.
“We try to pay attention to details,” Woodall said. “There’s no extra charge for being fitted for a driver or a putter – why would you do that. That’s part of the process.”
Through it all, there has been upswings in the number of people playing golf and downturns, which seems to be the case now. The USGA and other golf organizations have tried to address the situation with programs such as First Tee to get more youth involved. Other initiatives, such as “Play it Forward” and “While We’re Young” have been introduced to make golf more fun and less time-consuming.
“Back in the day, it seemed like every one was playing golf,” Woodall said. “Now it seems like people don’t have as much spare time for whatever reason. People are looking for instant gratification and golf is not that way. Golf takes a lot of patience and practice.”
Internet sales have also taken a bite out of his business.
“A lot of people are purchasing the wrong thing,” said Woodall, who has tried to keep golfers informed that there are a lot of knock-off equipment and counterfeit clubs in the market.
“It’s an interesting time in retail,” Venters said. “It takes somebody like Jerry Woodall, who has commitment, who has great in-depth knowledge about golf and the golf swing, and more importantly the fitting process, to help people play their best. That’s a huge advantage that an independent store can afford that kind of service built over a 30-year reputation.”
Woodall has twice been named PING regional fitter of the year.
“He’s a valued PING resource in that area, without question,” Venters said.
Tee to Green, which opened in March 1984, has been running storewide specials throughout the 30th year celebration. A customer appreciation day is scheduled for Oct. 18.