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Golf Pride Plans New Global HQ at Pinehurst!

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From today's InBox -- kind of a cool place to have your HQ!!!



Golf Company Headquarters Planned For Pinehurst No. 8 Golf Pride Would Move From Its SP Location

An architectural rendering of the proposed Golf Pride Global Innovation Campus that would be built just inside the gates at the Pinehurst No. 8 golf course in Pinehurst.

Courtesy/Golf Pride

Golf Pride, the sport's largest manufacturer of golf club grips, is looking to trade its inconspicuous Southern Pines presence for a significantly higher profile one just inside the gates of the Pinehurst No. 8 golf course.

The company, a division of the international conglomerate Eaton Corp. will go before the Pinehurst Planning and Zoning Board Thursday afternoon to present its plans for an $8 million facility that would include corporate offices, a consumer interactive wing, and a research and development operation. The company is calling the project its “Global Innovation Campus.”

Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, which owns the land, would sell roughly 10 acres for the project. The building would be just inside the No. 8 gates off Murdocksville Road and nestled in among a wooded lot.


The building would be 36,000 square feet, or about half the size of the Harris Teeter grocery store just about a mile west on N.C. 211. Between 40 and 50 people would work at the headquarters. Those individuals are currently in three locations between Southern Pines and Aberdeen.

Golf Pride President James Ledford said the company likes being in the area but wanted to be able to have ready access to consumers. While most of Eaton's divisions are businesses that sell to other businesses, Golf Pride sells its grips directly to golfers.

“We're betting on staying in the local community for the long term,” he said. “We're learning how to plug into consumer product development, and we were looking to be more visible.”

Golf Pride's current building on Murray Hill Road just off U.S. 15-501 didn't fit that criteria. “You have to text me now if you're coming so I can come let you in,” Ledford said. “You can't work at Golf Pride and not engage with people buying the product.”

Golf Pride employees began talking more than three years ago about a new location, spending time with consultants and construction professionals about the presence it wanted to project. Ledford, who worked previously as an executive with Callaway Golf in Carlsbad, Calif., said the company wanted a building true to its natural surroundings but modern enough inside to represent its innovative work process.

“It needed to be additive to the local community,” he said. “It draws on the history and heritage of Pinehurst. And it has that excitement factor of a global brand pushing growth and innovation.”

With that in mind, the company began talking with the Pinehurst Resort in 2015 about a possible partnership. “We need to be more visible,” Ledford said, “and there are not many places to be more visible than right there when people come to play No. 8.”

“The synergies of these brands coming together makes a lot of sense,” said Tom Pashley, president and CEO of Pinehurst Resort and Country Club. “Why not Pinehurst?

“It's a great validation not only for Pinehurst Resort but this great community.”

Although it fits within a small niche in the golf industry, Golf Pride has established itself in a substantial way over the years. The company makes club grips for a number of club manufacturers, but it also makes them under its own name. It is currently the top grip company on the pro tours, and its grips are on the clubs of a vast majority of touring pros.

Like the rest of the golf industry, Golf Pride finds itself fighting some unfavorable trends. Studies by the National Golf Foundation over the last few years have found fewer people playing fewer rounds. Club sales are down 50 percent in the last five years.

In the face of that, however, Golf Pride has continued to grow. It now markets its grips more as a piece of key equipment than just a “handle” on a club. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a new club, a number of golfers are refitting those clubs with $10 grips to help improve their games.

And there are signs that golf could be on an upward swing again. Pashley says the industry is seeing signs of renewed interest from “aspiring golfers.”


“There's a groundswell that's coming,” he said.

Indeed, Ledford said, the Golf Foundation studies show a lot of that growth is occurring among children under the age of 13.

Ledford says the key benefit to being at Pinehurst No. 8 will be the ability to walk new products out the back door of its research and design space over to the driving range and solicit immediate feedback from potential customers.

The village's Planning and Zoning Board will get its first look at the project Thursday afternoon. The property would have to be rezoned from residential to professional office. Right now, there is a string of newer homes that line Murdocksville Road on the east side. On the west side, developers are constructing a senior living facility and a cluster of townhomes.

Consultants have designed the facility to have less parking and built-on space than would otherwise be allowed. Bob Koontz, the Southern Pines-based land planner, said the project was designed to fit within the confines of what is an Audubon Society Signature Sanctuary golf course.

The village planning staff has recommended approval with no conditions. Assuming the project proceeds without any snags, a ground-breaking could occur before the end of the year, and Golf Pride could move in by early 2019, Ledford said.

The Planning Board meeting begins at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Village Council meeting room, 395 Magnolia Road.



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What's in the bag:
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:

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Saw that this morning.  Pretty cool addition to the Pinehurst area!

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:ping-small:  G410 FW 5, 7 Alta CB R flex 

:ping-small: G410 Hybrid 26 degree Alta CB R Flex

:titelist-small: T100S/T200 Combo 5-7 T100S 8-P T200 TT Black Oynx R Flex

:titelist-small: SM7 54.08 F 58.12 K 

:scotty-small:  Phantom 5.5   35" 

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