Golf retailer stays in the green - East Valley Tribune: Business

Golf retailer stays in the green

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Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2006 6:26 am | Updated: 2:18 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

For Roger Maxwell, golf is his life. He’s also managed to make golf his living. Maxwell attended Oklahoma State on a golf scholarship, and went on to become a teaching professional.

For 23 years, he worked as a golf professional at the Marriott, working his way up to vice president of operations and development for Marriott Golf, where the Class-A member of the Professional Golfers Association of America was responsible for overseeing 23 golf facilities in the U.S., grossing $65 million a year.

In September 1995, Maxwell founded In Celebration of Golf at the Scottsdale Seville. The 12,400-square-foot retail “experience” combines a museum, antiques, clothing, furniture, shoes and clubs filled with rare and unique items that would give golf enthusiasts a reason to celebrate.

“Nobody had ever taken the history, romance and tradition of the game and put it together to create the retail experience,” Maxwell said.

The retailer has expanded to seven locations across the country, adding two locations in Phoenix, three in Texas and one in Tennessee.

Maxwell said he feels fortunate because his stores generate strong word-of-mouth.

“People may spend an hour in here and not buy anything, but then they leave and might tell 100 people about us,” Maxwell said.

The store features “celebrations” such as the player’s room, which sells signature clothing lines by famous golfers, the club maker’s workbench, an old-fashioned club repair service manned by Cobbler Tom, a jovial mannequin whose motion sensor greets customers as they walk by, the practice tee, a computerized indoor practice simulator, and green Masters Champions jackets hanging in the locker rooms.

Judy Bender, who has worked at In Celebration of Golf for eight years, said one of the things that makes the retailer unique is its attention to detail, such as wooden hangars embossed with the store’s logo, hanging on racks that are “not too crowded.”

As she pointed out an oldfashioned writing desk that is used as a prop in the women’s clothing section of the store, she said, “We like to present our displays as pleasing and as artistically as possible.”

Maxwell also founded In Celebration of Golf Management in 1996, which oversees the food and beverage needs, maintenance and daily operations of 10 courses in the Valley.

Customer service is of high importance to Maxwell and his associates, which can be shown through their complimentary gift-wrapping service, the talking dummies like Cobbler Tom, or the caddies and scorecards provided on the courses the company manages.

“Our customers are looking for brand names, quality and experience,” Maxwell said, and added most of the company’s customers are repeat customers for that reason.

Maxwell said he sees great growth potential for the business in the future. He said there is a great opportunity in Internet retail that has not yet been tapped, and would like to see the company head in that direction.

Maxwell has won several accolades for his contributions to the golf industry, including four Horton Smith Awards, and was named Golf Professional of the Year in 1984 and 1986, as well as one of four Golf Entrepreneurs of the Year in 1990, was recognized as one of the 18 most influential individuals in the industry by Golf Week Magazine, and one of the 36 most powerful individuals in golf by Golf Digest.

In Celebration of Golf has also been listed in Ranking Arizona, a publication of Arizona Business Magazine, for 10 of the last 11 years.

“You’re going to be far more successful if you thoroughly embrace and love what you do,” Maxwell said.

Roger Maxwell

Family: Wife Kathy, daughter Jennifer

Resides in: Paradise Valley

Key achievement: Having worked in every aspect within the golf industry

Success philosophy: Have passion, believe in your business and in your concept, and work hard.

Information: (480) 951-4444 or

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