Gary Favell – American Golf CEO talks to Golf Features

The New Maldon refit brings a new experience to American Golf customers

The American Golf flagship store at New Malden is now open and it’s taking the golf shopping experience to the next level.

The stunning new store boasts a state of the art custom fitting centre with 2 fitting nets, a huge range of products from all the favourite brands and interactive kiosks around the store for the best golf shopping experience ever.

Whether customers want to freshen up their wardrobe, test out clubs in the nets or get custom fitted for their next putter with the SamPutt Putting experience – everyone is welcome and can shop safely with complete social distancing procedures in place today. 

The New Malden Experience includes: 

• Custom Fitting Centre With 2 X Fitting Nets

• Gcquad Launch Monitor

• Sam Puttlab

• Our Largest Selection Of Golf Footwear

• Dedicated Ladies & Junior Areas

• 60 X Bay Driving Range With Top Tracer Technology

• Costa Coffee On Site

• Adventure Golf

Golf Features caught up with Gary Favell, Chief Executive of American Golf, to ask him a few questions about the new store and retailing in general in these difficult times.

Golf Features: Since reopening have you seen optimistic signs for the future of golf retailing?

Gary Favell: Obviously there’s been a huge pent-up demand, so it is hard to judge because we are early on into the recovery, but the signs certainly look promising. Perhaps even more so - we’ve had a fantastic response to our custom fit service, which is fully booked for the next week across almost all of our stores. In addition we have had a huge number of our package sets being sold prior to reopening on our online offer. This shows how many new people are taking up the game, and that is really encouraging for golf.

Golf Features: The new store at New Malden looks fantastic. Will you roll this out to lots more sites?

Gary Favell: New Malden is a flagship store and we are delighted with its progress. Obviously we would like to roll out more like this and the next one we try will be at Trafford, which is an exceptional store already. Our customers have described the new feeling of the stores as being like an up market West End experience and that’s precisely what we are trying to achieve. We want our customers to feel special and the staff to enjoy working in this new and exciting environment. 

Golf Features: How has business been during the lockdown with online sales?

Gary Favell: With 97 stores closed, takings obviously took a massive hit. Also we were not able to do any custom fit, which is at the heart of our business. So everything considered, we are delighted with the very strong trade we have had online, but it’s even better to be back trading fully since the reopening.

Golf Features: What measures have you put in place, particularly for custom fit, to ensure customers and staff are safe?

Gary Favell: Obviously we are fully compliant with all of the government’s recommendations and advice, providing all of our customers on arrival with a personal greeting during which they are offered gloves, mask and full sanitisation. Everybody has to keep the 2m distance rule in all the shops until the government guidelines are adjusted. When it comes to custom fit, as the specialists we wear visors so that the customers can be free of face coverings while they’re trying out the new equipment. All clubs that are trialled are wiped down with an anti-viral solution and there is a gap between each appointment to ensure that the fitting bay can be completely sanitised before the next customer arrives. This may sound like a lot of palaver, but we are only prepared to trade with the highest possible standards of safety in this difficult time.

Golf Features: Have the manufacturers and suppliers been helpful during these unprecedented times?

Gary Favell: It’s been a very trying time for everybody in the golf and leisure industry. Obviously the same is true for the manufacturers. The suppliers have all been very understanding, and everybody has taken a bit of a hit. We are all in this situation together and I’ve been very impressed with the mature and sensitive attitude that has been shown by everybody that we do business with.

Golf Features: How do you see the golf market changing over the next five years?

Gary Favell: During the lockdown, it has been very difficult for most golf retailers, but the one really positive thing that has come from it is that there has been an unprecedented demand for new sets of golf clubs for beginners and we have noticed a strong pick up from ladies and juniors. This is very encouraging and we are very keen to see new people coming into the game.

Golf Features: The group has been busy buying up brands - how do you plan to integrate these new companies into your retail offering?

Gary Favell: We are very pleased to be able to have a top quality products at all the price points that our customers what. Stromberg is a very established clothing brand, and we have seen strong growth from all types of clothing within the Stromberg range across all of our stores. A new range of Rife shoes is selling very strongly both online and in stores. It’s an excellent product and one that we are very happy to present to our customers.  We are very pleased to be able to have top quality products at all the price points that our customers want.  All our other own brands have continued to sell well. 

Golf Features: You have recently co-sponsored the Rose Ladies Series with Justin and Kate Rose. Can you explain how your involvement will work and will it continue in years to come?

Gary Favell: There has been a lot of talk in the golf industry about encouraging golf, ladies golf and children’s golf in general. With Justin and Kate’s fantastic initiative, we felt that, as the leading retailer in Europe, we just had to get involved and support this fabulous and daring opportunity. Without top quality tournaments there will be little to look up to for aspiring young lady golfers; it is vital that these tournaments are given a successful boost to drive the champions of the future so we can ensure that the Solheim Cup stays mainly in Europe in the years to come.

You can see more information on American Golf on their website: