Saturday, May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024
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The 25-Year-Old Who Sold 36,000 Golf Clubs in One Year

After rediscovering the sport his dad and grandpa taught him as a toddler, Benjamin Stromberg started selling golf equipment out of his parentsʼ Dallas garage. We let the GolfRoots CEO tee off.
| |As told to S. Holland Murphy, Illustration by Dean MacAdam
GolfRoots co-founder Benjamin Stromberg refers to his company as the "Robin Hood of golf clubs." Dean MacAdam

“I started selling golf clubs I had in my garage on Facebook Marketplace during the summer of 2020 while I was still in college. You know, bored at home needing something to do. I’d always played used clubs when I was starting out playing golf, because it’s the cheaper way to go. But most people don’t have access to hand-me-down clubs or weren’t as obsessive about learning about golf equipment as I was, so I started to build these full sets.

“I tried to sell clubs to my friend Jake. He was not interested in the clubs but was interested in the business. That’s where GolfRoots really started. It was based on the idea of, How can we make this game more accessible? And how can we break down as many barriers to entry as we possibly can? We started running the business in January of 2021 from college, from my dorm room and his apartment in St. Louis. [Co-founder and COO Jake Hoffman went to Washington University.] We had a high school kid here in Dallas who did all of our local deliveries. He’d go into my parent’s garage, take the clubs, and go meet people on this cul-de-sac. 

“We partner with some of the best private clubs around the United States running trade days, so our team is there on-site. You bring in your old clubs, and you trade them in. You get credit there at the pro shop to buy new clubs. We pay the private club for the golf clubs. Essentially, we’re like the Robin Hood of golf clubs. We’re taking from the rich and selling to everyone else. It allows us to create a sort of symbiosis within the industry where the courses are able to provide a value for the members, the members are able to provide a value to us, the clubs were able to provide a value to the new golfers. 

Do you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm? Larry David traded in $400 of clubs. Larry David doesn’t need $400 of credit.

“Larry David has a net worth of over $400 million. But it’s the ease of being able to trade them in while being able to support someone else’s golf experience. And these new golfers eventually become the next generation to become members of the clubs. 

“So we’re creating a system in which every single part of this industry is connected, from the super-elite private side, where people pay half a million dollars to join a club, to, you know, Joe is going to play Keeton Park for $25 in the middle of the week. Not only are we trying to make this game more accessible, but the entire business is based on that principle of sustainability within this whole massive $102 billion golf industry.”

Stromberg’s Picks for Beginners

“Have you looked around at Topgolf and seen who’s there? It’s everyone. We’re trying to be that bridge that takes people from Topgolf to the course, and Golf Ranch is also a big part of that. It’s owned by Blue Jeans Golf, which is Dallas-based. The two guys who founded it came from Topgolf. The idea is rounding up underperforming driving ranges and putting in technology, food, and beverage. It’s that next step: higher level practicing, more focused environments, but still fun. Golf Ranch has been completely revitalized. It’s amazing. It’s part of the future of golf.

“The best place to play for beginner golfers is Keeton Park. It’s just super friendly. The head pro there, Tony Martinez, is amazing. They do a lot of cool, young events. It’s a very laid-back, chill, very welcoming place for an industry that is overall unwelcoming. No one’s gonna give you hate for being a newer golfer. They’re the model of what I think most public golf courses should be like. It’s like an experience. It’s not just about the golf. It’s about the community that’s there.”

This story originally appeared in the April issue of D Magazine. Write to [email protected].