Greg Hopkins turning ‘hobby’ into next big thing
Equipment Golf Biz

Greg Hopkins turning ‘hobby’ into next big thing

Looking for something to do in retirement, Greg Hopkins opened Hopkins Golf in Newport Beach, Ca., in 2013 with the goal of providing golfers with tour authentic, personalized and customizable equipment all without a hefty price tag. A year later, that “hobby” has turned into another full-time job for the 32-year golf industry jack-of-all trades who has worked as a club pro, publisher, sales rep, sales manager, sales executive in addition to serving as CEO of Cleveland/Srixon Golf for 16 years.

As he says, he still hasn’t figured out what he wants to be when he grows up.

“I have been watching the macro trends in both golf and Internet sales and see a huge opportunity for a new company to take advantage to offer golfers services and products they just can’t get through traditional operations, such as better pricing, larger selections, and quicker turnarounds on custom clubs,” Hopkins said.

The company currently has eight full-time employees plus a support staff of about 350,000 thanks to an innovative partnership with the United Parcel Service (UPS) whereby Hopkins Golf club assembly actually takes place inside UPS facilities. The arrangement means not only less overhead for Hopkins but lower prices for consumers.

“Developing an assembly operation inside a UPS hub is revolutionary, even for UPS,” Hopkins said. “This allows us to make and ship custom clubs in 2-3 days, very big. Speed of delivery for custom products, no one can match us. Also our pricing is very, very attractive to golfers.”

The base price of a Hopkins wedge is just over $100 without personalization. Prices will vary depending on the level of personalization you select for your clubs – and oh are there options for personalization from grinds to shafts to lofts to finishes to ferrules to grips… or as the company puts it “over 3 trillion options.”

“Golfers have always liked and supported new brands that do things differently and we fall into that category so the response has been good,” Hopkins said. “Offering equipment and customization/personalization that were mostly available only to Tour players has hit home with golfers and at a fulfillment speed traditional golf companies can’t do… home run!”

According to Hopkins, more than 40 Champions Tour pros have Hopkins wedges in their bag right now, including PGA Hall of Famer Vijay Singh, a tribute Hopkins says to how well the clubs play and the growing buzz surrounding them.

“Getting Vijay Singh to play our equipment, wear the hat and carry our bag, that just doesn’t happen with startup companies,” Hopkins said. “The grinds we offer are tried and true performers.”

A huge pro for customers is Hopkins Golf’s 30-day no-hassle money back guarantee which provides the piece of mind of trying out the clubs and exchanging and/or returning them. For Hopkins, the reason for the guarantee is quite simple.

“I think golf companies should stand behind their products and what better way than to give somebody a 30-day demo experience,” Hopkins said. “I believe our clubs are outstanding and if my customer doesn’t agree, we’ll take them back. That’s belief in your product!”

In addition to offering balls, apparel, hats and other accessories, Hopkins Golf recently launched its DJ21 performance cavity back irons. Hopkins said to be on the lookout for a new set of game improvement irons around Christmas.

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John Lahtinen

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