Golf Pride Retail Lab
a Must-See Pinehurst Experience
By Brad King
While re-gripping your golf clubs may not be the “sexiest” facet of the game, it is almost certainly among the most underappreciated ways to quickly enhance performance.
Think about it — the grip represents the sole connection between a golfer’s hands and the club.
That connection is a recurring theme around Golf Pride’s 36,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Global Innovation Center and headquarters, which debuted in 2019 near the entrance of Pinehurst Resort’s No. 8 course.
The building was brought to life by the renowned Charlotte-based firm Cline Design, and reflects traditional Pinehurst architecture through its composition of brick and wood, offering cues to the rich golf history of North Carolina’s Sandhills region. Its open-office concept introduces unobstructed workstations, collaborative areas and focus rooms to foster creativity and encourage interaction among Golf Pride’s 50-some employees.
“We’re constantly looking to learn more about the connection between the golfer and their clubs, and strive to ensure that connection supports their performance,” said Golf Pride President Jamie Ledford.
Golf Pride’s Retail Lab, which opened in late June 2022, tees up for guests an “inside the ropes” style of grip consultation, selection and personal installation experience equivalent to that enjoyed by a tour professional. The contemporary facility allows golfers of all abilities to touch, feel and witness the regripping process firsthand, and is intended to help simplify what often seems a complicated process — making grip selection more approachable and welcoming, and making the install process faster and more convenient.
At almost 1,000 square feet, the Retail Lab offers more than 100 different products, including full swing and putter grips, as well as other Golf Pride branded merchandise. The interior features design elements of their grips subtly woven into the fabric of the building from golf grip mimicked lighting and carpet, to floor-to-ceiling wall graphics.
Golf Pride’s lead tour technician Andy Bare, a native of Moore County, can generally be found around the hub of the Retail Lab, a custom-built grip install station that allows for the most accurate installation, generally in about an hour. “We call it a Retail Lab because it is an investment in our learning about how to help get golfers into the right grip, and install it in an easy and convenient way,” said Ledford.
The process is a two-way street also designed to enhance innovation. The lessons gleaned by the Golf Pride technicians during each experience also have positive effects on evolving the retail experience across Golf Pride’s retail partners, OEM, and eCommerce channels, improving the retail journey, and providing a more memorable consumer experience. The brand can even test and experiment with faster drying and more environmentally friendly solvents.
Golf Pride’s motto, almost to the day Thomas L. Fawick founded the company back in 1949, can be summed up in two words: perpetual innovation. Fawick was an industrialist and inventor from Cleveland, Ohio, who also happened to be a golf nut. He came upon the notion that rubber grips provided a more secure and durable gripping surface than their leather counterparts, which had been a part of golf clubs for more than a century.
Golf Pride’s parent company was acquired by Eaton Corporation in 1968. More than a half-decade later, Eaton has approximately 92,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. Today, Ledford says, “more than 80 percent of tour pros use Golf Pride grips without endorsement” — and the innovation continues. More than 50 percent of Golf Pride’s revenue comes from products that have been developed within the last decade.
For true golf aficionados, particularly those who are serious about their own game, a visit to the Golf Pride Retail Lab is a must-see addition to your next Pinehurst itinerary.
The Retail Lab is located at 15 Centennial Blvd in Pinehurst. Regular operating hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The facility is closed on weekends and holidays. Phone: (833) 890-4039