Golf stores ready for visitors

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Augusta is full of people watching golf this week. Golf stores across the area are prepared for those fans to be inspired by the players and spend hefty sums on their own game.

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Sales associate Kris Bishop (right) talks with customer Matt Pantsari about drivers at Edwin Watts Golf store.   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Sales associate Kris Bishop (right) talks with customer Matt Pantsari about drivers at Edwin Watts Golf store.

Andy Schrader, the manager at Edwin Watts Golf on Bobby Jones Expressway, said he and his employees are gearing up for one of their favorite weeks.

"We expect it to be outrageously busy," Schrader said.

Edwin Watts will host demonstrations every day this week from major golf brands such as Calloway and Bridgestone.

Schrader said his Masters traffic started weeks ago and he has several international customers who placed orders to pick up this week.

Bonaventure Golf Shop owner L.D. Waters has been in the golf business since 1955, and says Masters Week is like "a second Christmas."

Waters said he and his Frontage Road store staff lay out an extra $200,000 worth of merchandise to prepare for the steady stream of traffic that will pass through this week.

"I'm glad when they come, and I'll be glad when they leave," he said with a laugh.

The increase in visitors starts the week before the Masters and will continue through next week, Waters said.

Many international golf fans especially come early or stay late to enjoy Augusta's many courses.

The store usually sees large numbers from South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan. This year, because of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, Waters knows he and his staff will miss many of their regular customers from that area.

"We have a lot of friends from over there that have already called to let us know they won't be coming," he said. "It makes us very sad, because they really are our friends."

Masters Week isn't just big for Augusta retailers -- Waters said many golf manufacturers use the week to release new items because of the significant increase in golf interest.

Drivers make up the majority of Masters Week purchases, but Waters said his big ticket items are most often bought the week after Masters.

Fans will see a famous golfer use a certain club, he said, and they decide to buy it to see whether it will work for them.

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