The Owensboro, Ky. club, which is transitioning from private to semi-private, had not had its own on-site pro shop for 30 years. It is now the site of “Popcorn’s Golf Shop,” operated by a popular local “wheeler and dealer” who developed the business as a second career. “The members are tickled to death that I’m here,” Howe says, who got special Board approval to bring along his dog Abby as part of the deal.
At the age of 19, while working at Swedish Match, a tobacco products manufacturer, Whitesville, Ky. native Denny Joe Howe was given the name “Popcorn” by a co-worker, The Owensboro (Ky.) Times reported. The nickname referred to the boundless amount of energy that Howe displayed, and his inability to stay in one place for very long.
True to that notion, The Times reported, Howe’s Popcorn’s Golf and Stuff, now called Popcorn’s Golf Shop, recently popped up in a new location at Windridge Country Club in Owensboro
After working for Swedish Match for 39 years, The Times reported, Howe retired and began working in the pro shop at Ben Hawes Golf Course, which is operated by the Owensboro Parks and Recreation Department. And at night, Howe began regripping golf clubs on the side out of a little shop in his garage. A self-professed “wheeler and dealer,” Howe found that not only did he enjoy changing out the grips on clubs, he enjoyed the resale aspect as well.
“I’ve always sold stuff,” he told The Times. “I’ve even sold clubs right out of my bag on the golf course.”
That soon led to Howe opening up his own shop, Popcorn’s Golf and Stuff, at Ben Hawes GC, in addition to the pro shop, The Times reported. There, he not only replaced grips, but bought and sold clubs and other merchandise.
But after two years, The Times reported, Howe found that while he enjoyed the Ben Hawes location, his business provided an indirect conflict with the other pro shop at that course.
So, on March 1, The Times reported, Howe relocated his business to Windridge CC, a club that is transitioning from private to semi-private and that previously did not have an operating pro shop.
“Windridge hasn’t had a pro shop in about 30 years,” Howe said. “So the members are tickled to death I’m here — they’re supportive. They enjoy buying stuff from me.”
At his new location, which is open Tuesday through Saturday, Howe now buys, sells and trades clubs, as well as offering regripping and minor repairs. While his is one of the few golf shops that still regrips clubs in the Owensboro area, The Times reported, for those in need of loftier repairs, he is happy to make referrals.
And while Howe is enjoying his new location, The Times reported, the transition did have to come about with one catch that required approval by the Windridge CC Board.
“Part of the deal was I was able to bring my dog Abby with me,” Howe said. “The board approved it—she just cannot go into the bar or the restaurant.”
Aside from Abby keeping him company, because he runs a “one-man operation,” Howe said he enjoys the social aspect of having the shop and its visitors at a club location, The Times reported. And, while he hopes to bring his previous clientele with him to Windridge, he has enjoyed meeting new golfers as well.
“[Windridge] used to be private,” Howe said. “They still have members and dues, but now the public can play as well. Out here, I hope I can help people to play golf and provide a service to the golf course.”
As part of its transition to semi-private, The Times reported, Windridge is currently offering a special for non-members that includes four players for $100 on weekdays, and $120 on weekends.