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How this Arizona golf club maker thrived during the COVID pandemic

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Tens of thousands of small businesses have struggled over the past year and a half amid COVID-19 infections and disruption to the economy. But the pandemic has allowed a Scottsdale-based golf club manufacturer to increase its prospects for growth.

Parsons Xtreme Golf, or PXG, has gotten some favorable breaks from the pandemic.

For starters, golf participation and income increased as courses across the country were allowed to remain open. Additionally, the business, which connects directly with consumers, was able to stay open and maintain revenue because it didn’t need to rely on sales through third-party stores, many of which had to temporarily close.

The company, which is owned by GoDaddy founder and Arizona billionaire Bob Parsons, has increased sales and employment and expanded its marketing reach. It opened its fourth store in Arizona and its 10th overall on Nov. 17 at the Norterra Mall in north Phoenix, which Parsons’ Yam Worldwide also owns. PXG plans to have two dozen stores nationwide by the end of 2022.

Parsons, a self-proclaimed “golf freak” with a handicap of 12, became interested in the game as a child in Baltimore. He gained more enthusiasm after serving in the military in Vietnam, graduating from college, and founding several companies, of which GoDaddy is the largest.

Golf technology

As Parsons got richer, he spent more money on this hobby, eventually reaching what he said was $ 300,000 in annual spending on golf clubs and other equipment. He became obsessed with technological improvements that could allow players to hit farther, straighter, and better. This culminated in his founding of PXG in 2014.

The company now has about 650 employees in Arizona, with about 340 hired this year. PXG has dramatically increased sales, Parsons said, although the private company is not releasing financial figures. It holds nearly 550 worldwide patents, mainly for club design.

The PXG 0311 club heads are hollow and filled with a gel that the company says improves sound and feel. Photo by PXG

“The idea was that we could make a better club,” Parsons said in an interview before a dedication ceremony for the new Arizona store.

“If you had unlimited time and money, could you start a better club? Parsons said. “Absoutely.”

The importance of swing analysis

PXG stores sell clubs, clothing, and other equipment. They also have rooms with golf simulators where players can test clubs and have their swings analyzed by experts and computers. In addition, PXG hosts club tests and swing analysis events or “tweaks” at driving ranges and elsewhere. Fitting sessions assess a player’s swing speed and angle and other aspects in the hope of recommending the most suitable clubs.

“Nothing is sold off the shelf,” Parsons said.

Jeremy Knowles, co-owner of the 500 Club Golf Course in Glendale, Ariz., Attends the fitting sessions where PXG representatives allow golfers to try on clubs and have their swings analyzed have proven to be very popular.

Knowles said he recently purchased a set of PXG clubs himself. “The feel of them is fantastic,” he said. “And the sound of the driver and the distance traveled are very good.”

Prices range from $ 89 for a cheaper single club to $ 2,999 for a premium club set, with products suitable for beginners and advanced players. PXG stores also sell hats, golf gear, club bags, and other items. Discounts are available to first responders and veterans.

Bypass supply chain disruptions

PXG clubs are made in Asia and elsewhere, but otherwise PXG is an American company, with engineering, product development, marketing, and the like here. Because PXG has remained open throughout the pandemic, it hasn’t faced supply chain disruptions to the extent that competitors have, Parsons said.

“All of our competitors marketed in department stores,” he said. “During COVID they closed but we stayed open.”

Parsons bypassed concerns about COVID-19 vaccinations with a new policy offering a payment of $ 1,000 to any staff member willing to be vaccinated.

Bob parsons

Bob Parsons of Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) at his private club, Scottsdale National, in 2015. Photo by Tracy Wilcox / Golfweek

“For the employees who already did it, it was free money for them,” Parsons said.

For others who were on the fence, the $ 1,000 bonus was an incentive to continue with the vaccinations.

And for those who remain reluctant for religious or other reasons, the policy has been popular “because it allows them to make their own decisions,” he added.