Jill Spiegel, President of PGA Tour Superstore, Heads Up Next Expansion

PGA Tour Superstore,Syndication: Westchester County Journal News
PGA Tour Superstore,Syndication: Westchester County Journal News /

Recently, I sat down with Jill Spiegel, President of PGA Tour Superstore, for a one-on-one interview to discuss the growth of the company and her part in it.  In addition, Spiegel was a guest on The Golf Show 2.0 podcast. This is Part I of a two-part article. Part II, tomorrow.

Late last summer, Jill Spiegel was Senior VP and Chief Merchandising Officer of PGA Tour Superstores. Then things got better.

The company owner, Arthur Blank, elevated her boss, Dick Sullivan, to CEO and Executive Chairman of the company, and made Spiegel President. Now, in addition to running day-to-day operations, she’s in charge of what will surely be an even more massive expansion in the company’s footprint.

Spiegel came to PGA Tour Superstores from a large department store in Atlanta where she had headed up a number of different departments, including men’s wear, over her career.

“Dick (Sullivan) and Arthur (Blank, one of the founders of Home Depot) hired me to be the VP of soft goods because they had a lot of people who were golf people who really didn’t understand that piece of the business,” she explained.

“My background was department stores, so I understood markdown cadence and seasonality, those pieces of the business. That’s what I was brought in to do.”

"“You can’t just take someone who knows how to buy golf balls and put them in men’s apparel or women’s apparel. It’s really, really different.”  – Jill Spiegel"

When she made the transition to golf a decade ago, there were just 11 stores. In December 2022, she led the team that opened the company’s first store in Milwaukee, bringing the total to 58.  Eight of them opened in the last year.

By the end of 2023, PGA Tour Superstore will have 66 locations with no end in sight.

At least as long as there are golfers on the planet. The reason is that the owner knows how to grow a company. Home Depot has 2300+ locations. While it’s doubtful PGA Tour Superstore will grow to that size, it does have a big runway.

When Spiegel first joined PGA Tour Superstore, she was in charge of all the golf clothing and shoes for men, women, boys, girls, and teens. Five years later she was put in charge of all merchandising including hard goods, otherwise known as golf equipment and golf balls and bags, and the rest of the items related to playing the game.

"“You can’t just take someone who knows how to buy golf balls and put them in men’s apparel or women’s apparel,” she said. “It’s really, really different.”"

The same could probably be said for someone who makes the transition from clothing to clubs, but Spiegel grew up in a family that played golf, so she knew which end of the club to hold, how to hold it, and how to hit it. That has certainly helped her grow into her position.

She still plays golf when time allows.

Today, PGA Tour Superstore looks at their operation as a department store for men because their customers are predominantly men, versus the rest of retail, which is predominantly women.

“Most people come into our stores, initially, because they’re golfers,” she explained.

Then it changes. After that, many are buying their entire wardrobe, particularly men.

“As a women, you’re not going to wear a golf dress to work, but a man’s golf pants are golf pants and the shoes can go — if they’re not spiked — the shoes can go either way,” she said.

She used her husband and the men she works with as a perfect example.

"“Most of the men in our office, and my husband even, you don’t look at them and say oh they’re wearing golf clothes.”"

Not only has there been a change in where men buy clothes, there’s also been a change in where golfers play. Spiegel has seen the advent of range-type companies such as Top Golf and others.

That change has dropped the golf demographic lower and caused some new styles to come to the forefront.

Ten years ago, she said, they would not have been able to sell hoodies or joggers.  But those kinds of styles have become known as athleisure and are their own accepted category at many courses and clubs.

“The face of golf is changing. It’s younger. It’s more modern, more inclusive,” she said.  “You have on course and off course, and then you have those that play both.”

The average age for golfers, according to Spiegel, is now about 8 years younger than it used to be.  That means mid-40s instead of mid-50s.

For women golfers, it’s a bit different.

"“When you look at what the young women are wearing on the LPGA, if you’re a 14 year-old girl, you look great.  You don’t want to have a Catholic school rule.  Short (skirts and shorts) on certain people is really good.”"

Businesswomen are probably not going to wear the same kind of clothing as the Korda sisters, but there are plenty of fashionable and fun choices for them at PGA Tour Superstore as well.

Spiegel pointed out that, overall, most golfers want a professional look that respects the sport, even if it’s more casual than it used to be. She cited Drive Shack, Five Iron and Top Golf, and other off-course facilities as being part of the push to change apparel.

“Some of those people also play on course, but some people just play off course,” she added. “Then you have the group that plays green grass, but they also do this.”

The combination of the two has caused real growth in the sport.

Spiegel cited the recently opened Milwaukee store as an example.

That is a new market for PGA Tour Superstore.

Because it’s a northern market they tried a new concept with nine practice bays.

“We really wanted to create, instead of just an individual going in there and banging balls, we wanted to make it more social, so we put high top tables, chairs,” she explained.

"“I was there just a couple weeks ago just looking at it since it had just opened, and every bay was full, but what was even cooler about that was every bay had multiple people in it .”"

She said they have a different membership model for bays in that location. She predicted success for it, so much so that they are going to roll it out to other locations.

With more new stores slated for spring 2023 and beyond, this is just the beginning for Spiegel.

Next. 2023 Valero Texas Open Rundown. dark

Coming Next: Part II — E-commerce, The Pandemic, Future Growth