BANGOR – Mike Clendenning is eager to dispel the rumor that Golf Country at the Airport Mall on Union Street is going out of business.
“We’ve been fighting this for three weeks,” said Clendenning, one of the four owners (along with his wife Nikki and Bill and Carol Curtis) of the business that features equipment, shoes and golf simulators.
“I’ve heard all kinds of stuff about golf courses for sale. I guess it’s our turn now,” he said.
Clendenning and store staffer Bob McGown think they know where the confusion is coming from.
“Pet Palace across the way closed,” said McGown, who thinks some people may have been confused because of the signs that were up for that.
Others may have thought the business was closing because of a limited amount of some of its inventory.
The inventory situation is due to model changes being made by various golf companies, according to Clendenning.
“New clubs are coming out from Cobra, Adams, Titleist [and others] on Sept. 1,” he said. That’s because they companies are gearing up for the fall surge at southern golf courses and golf businesses.
But that means Golf Country gets new equipment as well, so they don’t want to fill their shelves now with equipment that will be obsolete in a few weeks.
“We’re waiting for new product to show up,” said Clendenning. “That’s what everybody comes here for, the new stuff.”
That applies to golf balls as well. Titleist is making changes to their NXT and NXT Tour balls, including prices.
“The NXT, which is our best-selling ball, will be cheaper and the NXT Tour will be more expensive,” Clendenning said. So while supplies of the NXT may appear to be down, Clendenning said he doesn’t want to stock up on balls that will be overpriced when the new ones become available on Aug. 15.
As for business, Clendenning said, “I can’t sit here and say sales are up. Nobody in Bangor can. If we come out even like last year, I’ll be happy.”
In addition to the store, Golf Country also opened a driving range next to the Airport Mall parking lot behind McDonald’s.
“It’s been popular, very active,” McGown said.
That includes a certain high-ranking member of state government.
“Three weeks ago, Gov. [John] Baldacci came in. I made him pay for his balls [like everyone else],” said McGown with a laugh. “He hit balls for about an hour. Nobody bothered him.”
With the two enterprises, the Clendennings and the Curtises are looking into consolidating, which makes the rumor more disconcerting.
“[We’re] trying to put up a building over here [by the range],” said an exasperated Clendenning.
The Clendennings also bought Green Valley Golf Course in Enfield last year, and Mike said that was going well, also.
“Last Sunday we had our best day on record,” he said. “We had a hundred paid rounds.”
“I just played there,” said McGown. “The greens are hard and fast, but they putt true. It’s in good condition.”
McGown and Clendenning pointed out a challenging opponent in retailing – the Internet.
“People think they’re saving money buying on the Internet,” said Clendenning.
That isn’t always the case, though.
Clendenning recounted an occasion where an area golfer bought a set of Cleveland golf clubs online.
One of the clubs broke and the owner took it to Golf Country to be shipped to Cleveland Golf Co. to be repaired or replaced. It turned out to be a counterfeit club.
The whole set was confiscated and discovered to be counterfeit as well, according to Clendenning. When Cleveland tried to find the seller, that company was long gone.
“Cleveland, Calloway, and another company admit they’re having a problem with counterfeit clubs online,” said Clendenning.
Another problem is not getting what was ordered. The buyer is told to go to a retailer and swap it for what they want.
That won’t happen, though, said Clendenning, because the retailer doesn’t have a stake in the sale.
“Come on, people, show a little common sense,” he said.
Dave Barber can be reached at 990-8170, 1-800-310-8600, or by e-mail at email@example.com.