Where Eagles Dare

Custom-fit golf shop in Novi thrives as larger competitors struggle.


Published:

Golf Tech Inc., a retail store in Novi that custom fits golf clubs, draws customers locally and from as far away as Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Bay City, Saginaw, and the Thumb area.

As notable golf equipment stores in metro Detroit have shuttered their doors and gone out of business — Nevada Bob’s, Caddy Shack, Golfsmith, and King Par, to name a few — a cozy, 1,500-square-foot store in Novi chugs along profitably, just like The Little Engine that Could.

Golf Tech Inc., a labor of love passed on from a father to his son, is thriving despite the downturn in the golf industry. The failures of its much larger competitors opened new opportunities for Jim Kitchen and the Golf Tech operation that he took over from his father, Dennis.

Where the defunct stores were loaded down with costly overhead in apparel and golf accessories, Kitchen focuses on basic needs like custom-fitting new clubs, selling used ones, repairing damaged clubs, refinishing and personalizing clubs, re-gripping and re-shafting, adjusting lie and lofts, and offering lessons.

In addition, Golf Tech can refinish a driver in a customer’s favorite team colors, restore old collector’s clubs, or emboss initials on a trusted putter. Buying and selling used clubs is a big part of the business, as well.

Golf Tech is certified as a performance fitting center, meaning the store can sell finely-tuned shafts for the most discerning golfer.

“We stock unique, high-performance shafts for the golfer who wants every shaft on all (his or her) clubs to feel exactly the same,” Kitchen says. “We saw a 50 percent increase in the business last year. Everybody’s pushing product, but offering personal service is what we thrive on.”

Christian Ludwig, a Westland resident and an automotive software engineer, is a 10-year Golf Tech customer who demands the precision of fine-tuned shafts on his everyday clubs, while appreciating the art of playing the game with old hickory sticks. “They’re the only ones that I’ve found that can do both, and they never disappoint,” Ludwig says.

The story of Golf Tech’s success began with the Detroit Police Department’s narcotics section, where Kitchen’s father, Dennis, spent a major portion of his career as a police officer. The sergeant’s passion for the game led him to tinkering with clubs as a way to relax.

“I love golf and I was always curious about clubs, how they were put together, and how they worked,” Dennis says. That early interest in clubs led him to the time-consuming hobby of refinishing the heads on classic old persimmon wood clubs.

When he retired, Kitchen opened his first golf shop in 1988 in Livonia, and two years later he moved into the space at 41300 W. 10 Mile Road.

With an eye on playing more golf, Dennis turned the daily operation over to Jim in 1992. Now the senior Kitchen helps out in the store and is Golf Tech’s instructor. One of the keys to Golf Tech’s success is a trio of Mitchell angle machines that Jim and a pair of part-time helpers use to bend or adjust clubs to the proper lie and loft for individual players.

“Golfsmith had these machines but used them only for customers buying clubs. We offer the service to everybody,” Jim says.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Green Wave

OHM Advisors in Livonia helps limit environmental challenges like harmful algae.

Books and Mortar

Local comic book stores suffer as online retailers and auction sites become more prominent.

Data Highway

KLA Laboratories is moving into the digital world of autonomous and connected vehicles.

Vested Interest

How a local real estate agent built a $60 million client base from scratch.

Expansion Draft

Ferndale's Urbanrest Brewing temporarily shut its doors for a week for an unusual reason.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. William Davidson Foundation Makes $1.7 Million Donation to the Belle Isle Aquarium
    The Belle Isle Conservancy today announced that the William Davidson Foundation in Troy has...
  2. Restoration of Old Wayne County Building in Downtown Detroit Gets $7M Makeover
    The ownership group of The Old Wayne County Building, located at 600 Randolph Street in downtown...
  3. $136M Mixed-use Development Slated for Detroit’s East Riverfront District
    City Growth Partners in Detroit today announced it would construct a $136-million mixed-use...
  4. Retail Tenants Announced For Bedrock’s Shinola Hotel in Downtown Detroit
    Bedrock has announced four retail tenants that are coming to the 1400 Woodward block in Detroit,...
  5. Ford Brings 600 Employees to Wagner Place in Downtown West Dearborn, Announces Commercial Tenants
    Ford Motor Co. today announced it has started moving 600 employees into Wagner Place along...
  6. Delta Offers Two Detroit Metro Flights With New A220-100 Aircraft, Service Launches in 2019
    Delta Air Lines Inc. today announced it will begin offering domestic business routes on the new...