This past Saturday November 30th was “Small Business Saturday” which encourages folks to shop at local stores. It’s a great idea after the orgy of stupidity and mayhem that often accompanies the so-called “Black” Friday after Thanksgiving. Since golf stuffs are always in good taste and honestly- why not buy for yourself (my arguement is that I know I’ll like it, and I’ll be happy to have it…and other than maybe a bottle of good scotch there’s not much else I’d want)?

So armed with money and my sanity, I set out to find out how I could do that.

The trouble started when I did some online searching- Howard County is a lot of things, but clearly, we’re not larded up with golf retailers. And by “not larded up” I mean “none exist”…which is okay, I thought- I can go to courses and they’ll have stuff- surely they’ll want to get in on the fun, right?

Not so much. The Columbia Association courses were shuttered. Empty parking lots and dark pro shops mean no revenue (and if we’re being honest, the pro shops at Hobbit’s Glen and Fairway Hills are, at best, poorly stocked afterthoughts). Calls to Waverly Woods and Timbers at Troy found no success either. Yes- we had a horrible cold snap and we had heavy rain in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and I’m sure that this impacted things. Nonetheless, it’s frustrating when, as a consumer, you have money to spend and a desire to spend it, and you have zero luck trying to support a local business.

Having lived here, I supported the now-defunct Mammoth Golf from its infancy to its death (I was deeply saddened to see it close up) and still try, whenever possible, to support local businesses. With that being said, as a golf consumer, I had two options in Howard County- go to the dueling big-box retailers on Rt. 175 (that would be Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy). Of the two I’ve always preferred Golf Galaxy even though they’re the same parent company- the people at Golf Galaxy are more in the know about golf.

Never mind that they don’t sell big and tall sized golf apparel (nor do they even offer it online- for golf apparel I have to shop online (I’ve had my best success buying shoes through TGW and buying apparel through Cutter and Buck’s online store)- even shoes (I have a wide foot and wear a wide width) has become an online-only episode (although at Golf Galaxy they did have a few wide sizes in a few models) as well.

I don’t want to be made to feel as though my only option for buying clothes and shoes is online. While it’s convenient, I like to try before I buy.

As much as it pains me to point this out, the Montgomery County courses had specials and did a much better job marketing Small Business Saturday (they sent out emails with specials and have indoor simulator packages).

Hopefully next year we’ll see a Small Business Saturday that golfers can participate in. I hope.