Glitz, glam, and golf reigned at the April 14th grand opening party for PXG’s lucky 13th store in the U.S., right in the heart of Troy. Bob and Renee Parsons — the global entrepreneurs and philanthropists behind PXG, aka “Parsons Xtreme Golf,” a company with headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, that designs golf apparel and equipment — hosted a private celebration for the shop, which opened last fall.
Sports celebrities, models, entrepreneurs, executives, clients, and Troy Mayor Ethan Baker — who presented a city proclamation to the Parsons after extolling Michigan as the eighth largest golf market in the country — were among those in attendance. Notable guests included Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader, University of Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh, Detroit Lions star and NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions’ Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, and Dane Muller, who runs premium golf apparel company Greyson in downtown Detroit.
As DJ Lucy Wrubel cranked up Motown hits “Dancing in the Street,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” models strutted to the stage sporting PXG Apparel’s newest collection of fresh and edgy designs, polar opposites of traditional golf wear. Performance fabrics, cashmeres, and knits in basic colors and the current season’s “Arizona sunset” palette wowed guests. With a nod to Bob Parsons’ military service — “once-a Marine-always-a-Marine” — camo prints and combat boots with utility socks also snuck in an appearance.
Immediately following the show, Renee Parsons received a congratulatory hug from world-renowned fashion show organizer and entrepreneur Ken Downing, a former senior vice president and creative director of Neiman Marcus, and current chief brand officer of Hearst Luxury Collection. Downing, of Detroit Institute of Arts’ FashBash fame, splits his time between New York and Detroit, where he’s refurbishing an older mansion near Midtown.
“Detroit is happening…it’s now the SoHo of the ’60s and ’70s,” said Downing, who brings sentimentality and eclectic, healthy remnants of the past to everything he does, but is a major fan of what the PXG brand offers for the future of sports apparel.
Bob Parsons’ favorite band, Atlanta, Georgia-based Big Swing and the Ballroom Blaster, entertained the 200-plus attendees as Forte Belanger staff offered retro refreshments of craft cocktails, soda glasses full of creamsicle shakes, and root beer floats along with comfort foods including sliders, fries, fruit-laden cobblers, and chocolate truffles.
Filling the almost 8,000 square feet of sleek and modernistic retail space, golf enthusiasts checked out simulator bays complete with TrackMan technology to ensure proper fitting of the newest PXG 0311 GEN5 line of clubs and putters, and a customer lounge for enjoying refreshments while watching televised golf.
The brainchild of self-proclaimed renegade and golf nut Bob Parsons, PXG has become successful in a short period of time for its high-end, high-tech custom clubs comparable to equipment touring professionals might use but normal golf retailers don’t carry.
However, with PXG Apparel, or any other aspect of the couple’s many companies, holdings, and charitable endeavors, Bob Parsons knows he’s outgunned. “Even bosses have bosses,” he said, beaming at wife, who is executive creative director of PXG Apparel and president and co-founder of charitable organization The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation. “I would pick her to head any company or anything I could ever do.”
Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Renee Parsons worked every job at Pixie Restaurant, which her grandfather opened in 1945, and she graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Hospitality and Business. She went on to work at various hotels and resorts across the country, and met Bob Parsons, when he was then-CEO of GoDaddy, in 2007.
Renee Parsons isn’t afraid to take on projects for which she has no knowledge — such as clothing manufacturing, though she was inspired by fashion as a young girl. “I’ve tackled things I know nothing about; but we find the best people, quality, and resources for everything. When you persevere, it makes success sweeter.”
Success in the retail industry demands extensive marketing and PXG does it extremely well. Ever met an “influencer” up close or wonder how they got that job? PXG Brand Ambassador and Spokesperson Blair Wheeler explained: “I posted my golf struggles on social media. Someone from PXG liked it and reached out to me. I began to use their products and went through their club fitting process. It helped…my handicap quickly dropped from 13 to 9!”
Wheeler travels the country, attending store openings and events. Unaware of Michigan’s stellar golf reputation, he plans to visit area courses — certainly superb promotion for PXG’s newest location.
PXG’s new store is located at 2830 W. Maple Road in Troy. For more information, visit pxg.com.