The future site of Golf Etc., a local franchise of a Texas-based company that specializes in fitting clubs to individual golfers, located at 3501 E. Main
The future site of Golf Etc., a local franchise of a Texas-based company that specializes in fitting clubs to individual golfers, located at 3501 E. Main St., Suite I in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — Lee Cothern bets he can save golfers a few strokes, and he's starting a new business that aims to do just that.

Cothern is preparing to open Golf Etc., a local franchise of a Texas-based company that specializes in fitting clubs to individual golfers.

In a time when consumers can buy from an online retailer and avoid paying sales tax, retail shops are placing more emphasis on personalized service. Club fitters are part of that trend.

Cothern said he can give golfers "more accuracy and more distance by making your clubs fit."

The shop in Middle Fork Square at 3501 E. Main St., Suite I, near Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, is undergoing an interior remodel. Cothern plans to open in a few weeks.

"If everything works out right, we'll be open in 30, 45 days," he said.

Golf Etc. will employ a launch monitor. Golfers can hit balls into a screen and the monitor will extrapolate the hit's path and distance.

Much of club fitting focuses on the stiffness, or flex, of a club shaft. Cothern claims the stiffness of off-the-shelf clubs varies widely even among identical models.

"We can fit em to you," Cothern said. He went to Granberry, Texas, for two weeks' training in club fitting at Golf Etc.'s headquarters.

A fitting of a full range of golf clubs takes about 2 1/2 hours for each customer, he said.

Cothern also plans to have sections for women and youths.

"I'd love to see more of those younger kids come in here and get fitted," he said, mentioning San Juan County's active First Tee program for junior golfers.

Farmington has only a few other golf retailers. Golf USA, 3000 E. 20th St., is the only other stand-alone, golf-only shop.

"We've been locally owned and operated for 20 years in the same location," said owner Tom Watkins. He noted Golf USA carries all of the major equipment manufacturers.
From left, Golf Etc., owners, Cheryl and her husband Lee Cothem stand next to store manager, Marc Weigel at Pi on Hills Golf Course on Friday.
From left, Golf Etc., owners, Cheryl and her husband Lee Cothem stand next to store manager, Marc Weigel at Pi on Hills Golf Course on Friday. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)


Watkins said he hopes Farmington is a large enough market for two golf shops.

"We'll see, won't we?" he said.

Aside from Golf USA, the pro shops at Pinon Hills, Riverview and Hidden Valley golf courses sell golf equipment, as does Big 5 Sporting Goods.

Golf is a popular pastime in San Juan County. Golfers played more than 77,000 rounds at the three public courses in 2012. That doesn't include San Juan Country Club and Civitan, a par-3 municipal course.

Warm, dry weather in off-peak months contributed to strong increases in usage at each course last year.

Cothern said he wants to help golfers have more fun by playing better.

"That's why we're here — to make sure you enjoy the game," he said.

Chuck Slothower can be reached at cslothower@daily-times.com; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck.