Call it the ultimate pop-up store.
Since May, the PGA Championship has been building and upfitting a football-field-sized merchandise shop on the Quail Hollow Club grounds that will be open for only nine days. It will hold its grand opening Saturday, and close its doors when the last ball is putted Aug. 13.
In between that time, thousands of fans attending the first-ever golf major held in Charlotte will get a chance to snap up everything from hats to golf shirts to pin flags to shot glasses emblazoned with the logo of the 99th PGA Championship.
"A lot of people just want to take home a memory from the event," said Michael Quirk, senior director for merchandising and licensing at the PGA of America, which organizes the tournament. "I guarantee you're going to find something in here."
The 43,000-square-foot store will be open Saturday and Sunday for a sneak preview, with no ticket needed. After that, it will be available to ticket holders visiting the club for practice rounds and tournament play Monday through Sunday.
After the initial construction phase, Quirk's team inherited a cavernous tent with just a wooden floor. Since then, they have turned the space into an upscale clothing and accessories store that would fit in well at SouthPark mall.
About 700 volunteers will staff the shop over the nine days. The sturdy tent has already experienced multiple thunderstorms and held up well, he said.
Using a football field analogy, Quirk says fans will enter in one end zone of the store and exit at the other.
When they first walk in, they will be greeted by two huge video walls. Life-size video versions of golfers Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia repeatedly saunter by on the walls and ask guests if they want to pose for selfies.
Once inside, shoppers can explore aisles and aisles of golf gear and souvenirs and even check out vehicles from sponsor Mercedes-Benz. TVs are positioned around the room, so you will still be able to keep an eye on the golf going on outside.
Don't forget your credit card because the merchandise can get expensive. A sampling of prices: $38 for a T-shirt, $28 for a hat and $65 for a golf shirt. You can, however, pick up cheaper souvenirs, from $3 for a pack of tees to $16 for a flag or a golf towel.
Among the top-selling items, golf towels, made by Monroe-based Devant Sport Towels, are expected to be the biggest seller, with about 25,000 going out the door over the nine days. Flags are typically the second-biggest seller, at about 10,000 sold.
For Carolinas residents, Quirk expects hats and shirts co-branded with PGA Championship logos as well as insignias from area universities such as Clemson and North Carolina will be popular. Another favorite is the ability to buy the same shirts that top players such as Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will be wearing each day of the tournament, he said.
At check-out, as many as 2,000 shoppers may be waiting to make their purchases, but the shop has 42 registers to handle sales.
"We want to get them back to the golf as quickly as possible," Quirk said. "That's why they're here."
Quirk advises that items will run out, so shoppers might want to pounce if they spot a must-have purchase. Merchandise is also available online at shop.pga.com, but the site only carries about 5 percent of the items that are in the store. The tournament has a free storage area to stow purchases while you walk the course.
After the shop closes, it will take about a week and a half to deconstruct, Quirk said. A couple months later, his staff will start gearing up for sales at next year's PGA Championship.
This article is written by Rick Rothacker from The Charlotte Observer and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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