A small, quaint pro shop is a Cool Golf Thing
Coziness and quaintness are qualities I value in and around golf courses. Big and showy courses and clubhouses are fun, for sure, but I tend to feel most at home when the confines are a little more modest and low-key.
To wit, I've never met a tiny golf course pro shop I didn't like.
The explosion in golf merch might seem incompatible with the idea of a pro shop that's no bigger than most bedrooms, but if anything, the overstuffing of the space with shirts, hats and other memorabilia only adds to the friendly feeling. The more browsing a pro shop feels like rummaging through your Grandma's house, the better, I say.
This realization solidified itself during a too-brief stop at Belvedere Golf Club during a trip to northern Michigan this summer. I didn't get to play the course, but a quick tour of a few holes and a few minutes spent perusing the pint-sized shop made me sure it's my type of place.
Belvedere's tiny but well-stocked pro shop reminded me of some of my other favorites. Seminole Golf Club, South Florida's most significant private golf retreat, has a similarly appointed shop, not a square foot larger than it needs to be. After all, with a first-rate clubhouse and terrific golf course just outside, why would you want to feel encouraged to linger in the shop?
Because I'm a homer, my favorite tiny pro shop is at The Country Club in Farmington, Connecticut. The quaint building that houses it is known as The Little Red Clock Shop, and actually dates back to 1790, more than a century before golf was played in the area. It may not sell timepieces anymore, but it is still timeless.