Utah-based Uinta Golf stores have been serving the region for 45 years!
Gordon O’Neil had to make a decision. Should he build a cabin in the Uinta Mountains, a range in Northeastern Utah that is the highest east-west running range in the contiguous United States? Or, should he open a golf shop in the Salt Lake City area? • O’Neil wound up doing both, and the result was a boon for Utah golfers. The small golf shop he opened in 1971 in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City has now grown to five throughout the state and, in 2013, Uinta Golf became part of the WorldWide Golf Shops chain of stores.
“Working with WorldWide Golf Shops has been unbelievable,” says Joe Judd, who began working with Uinta Golf in 1999 and now is district manager for the five stores located in the state. “They definitely under- stand golf and with the 90-day satisfaction guarantee, it’s been phenomenal for our customers.”
Judd joined Uinta Golf during its second phase, one year after O’Neil sold his lone store to Sean Smith, whose grandfather launched Smith’s Food and Drug in 1932 in Brigham City, Utah. Judd had worked with Smith at the grocery chain and though both were somewhat new to golf at the time, the same customer-first mentality at the fam- ily-owned grocery store was implemented at Uinta Golf.
“Sean was looking for something differ- ent to do and Gordon had done a very nice job establishing the business – and it had such a great reputation,” Judd said. “There were a lot of golf people already there and Sean brought the same philosophy that his grandpa started his grocery store with, and went in with the intent of growing the busi- ness and opening more locations to provide opportunities for people who love golf.”
Over the next 10-12 years, Judd said, four more Uinta Golf stores were opened and in April, 2012, Smith sold the company to Edwin Watts Golf. World- wide Golf Shops acquired Uinta as part of its pur- chase of Edwin Watts Golf in December 2013.
Due to the region’s high elevation, most Uinta Golf Shops are seasonal, with business picking up once the snow breaks in the spring and peaking in June. One location that isn’t seasonal is St. George.
“St. George is kind of the Palm Springs of Utah,” Judd said. “You can pretty much golf year-round there be- cause it doesn’t get the snow we get up north. A lot of people plan trips there during the winter, so that really helps us from a business standpoint.”
Along with the St. George location, Uinta has shops in Sandy, which Judd manages, its flagship shop in Salt Lake City, and in Orem and Riverdale. And its ability to hold onto its brand combined with WorldWide Golf’s way of doing business has been a per- fect fit, Judd said.
“It really has been awesome. We always prided ourselves on great serv- ice, but we didn’t have anything like the 90-day satisfaction guarantee. That was something new and our customers absolutely love it.”