Experiential Retail Concept ‘Modern Golf’ Expanding with 1st Shopping Centre Location: Interview

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Toronto-based retailer Modern Golf continues to capitalize on the current golfing boom in Canada and is poised to continue to grow its operations across the country.

Paul Fisher

The unique concept, which offers an indoor experience for avid golfers, fitting and lessons, will open its eighth location in early May in the Mic Mac Mall – Atlantic Canada’s largest enclosed shopping centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, across the harbour from Halifax.

The launch of the new location is the company’s first inside an enclosed mall in Canada.

Paul Fisher, Managing Partner of Modern Golf, said six more Modern Golf locations in Canada are planned for the rest of this year. 

“We’ve definitely ramped up the growth and the indoor golf space is on fire, said Fisher. “Whether it’s club fitting, lessons or the simulator space, it’s unbelievable what’s happened in the last 24 months in the retail/entertainment golf space.”

Image: Modern Golf

“I think there is a shift in how golfers view their time,” continued Fisher. 

“It’s huge in the US obviously right now but Canada is just on fire. No let down in golf retail, that’s for sure.

“The greatest opportunity that’s come out of the pandemic has been that golf can be played in an hour instead of five. The length of time golf took to play was a huge impediment to the growth of the game. You basically had to give up your entire day to play. Now, with a place like Modern Golf, in just one hour you can play with your friends, potentially eat and drink, and have a complete social experience – it’s changed things for sure.”

Image: Modern Golf
Image: Modern Golf

“The exciting thing for us, from a retail perspective, is that whether it takes an hour or five to play, golfers still need golf clubs. There are a lot of people that are playing indoor golf, or even began playing golf indoors during the pandemic, and that’s what they think golf is. Best of all, it’s working for them and their modern lifestyles. They still play outdoors, but they may not play as frequently. It’s a generational opportunity.”

Fisher said a significant percentage of Modern Golf’s new business is a younger demographic and people who just took up the sport during COVID. More women as well.

“It’s certainly been different. And it’s great because golf is an amazing game. It’s the only sport you can play for a lifetime competitively, recreationally, or socially with friends,” he said. “I think it’s great that more people are realizing that you can have a lot of fun playing golf no matter your reasons for playing.”

Modern golf is committed to providing a great experience no matter the reason you play golf. 

“We want you to walk in with a smile and walk out with an even bigger smile. I would say that can be through two ways that you’re either having more fun through golf or that you’re getting better.

Image: Modern Golf

“We’ve started to get into the golf entertainment space by launching leagues and having time open to the public for those exact reasons. We look at these opportunities as great ways to create experiences and develop positive energy. When I visit one of our locations and the parking lot is jammed, and people are laughing and having a good time, that’s what I really want to see.”

Fisher said part of the strategic focus when it looks at new locations is what can be considered ‘entertainment nodes’.

“I’m a huge believer that the mall is part of the entertainment fabric of Canada. We don’t have urban downtowns so much as the US. Obviously, places like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, they have very distinct urban downtown cores, but even some of the larger cities in Canada – Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton for example – they’re driven quite heavily by their suburbs,” he said.

“I loved going to the mall when I was a kid; that was entertainment for me. And I’ve realized many people feel the same way. So, when we talk about growing further within our entertainment model, we focus on being part of these critical entertainment areas in cities across the nation.

“We’re clustering in and around mall areas and it’s really working. Mic Mac in Halifax is the first Modern Golf location that will actually move into a mall. It might be the first time anybody’s done this in Canada and we can’t wait to see it happen.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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