Golf retail giant Carl F. Rose passes away at 91

March 09, 2020

Carl F. Rose, an icon in golf retail, passed away in his sleep on March 6. He was 91.

Rose took a small driving range in Pontiac, Michigan and built it into one of the largest golf retail companies in America with Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and later, a second store in Plymouth, Mich. Rose opened Carl’s in 1958 and turned it into one of the most successful golf retail and range operations in the country. The store was the only off-course retailer to earn Golf World Business’ 100 Best Golf Shop award every year of the contest’s existence and in 1993 Rose was named Michigan PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for public golf facilities. Today, his son, Carl E. Rose, continues to run the two stores, as well as its online presence.

The elder Rose learned the game by caddieing at Pontiac Country Club where he was on the bag for some great local amateurs, using caddie privileges to play the course on Monday mornings, sometimes running between shots to fit in 54 holes.

At an early age, he owned the Newberry Market grocery store with his wife, Donna, and friend Rudy Mazza when he had a chance to buy a driving range on the outskirts of Pontiac. After a short stint in Pontiac, Carl moved his business to its current location in Bloomfield Hills.

A PGA Life member, who was very active in his church and community, Rose was an early adopter of having customers “try before they buy” by having demo clubs available to hit on the driving range. He also created demo day promotions that brought manufacturer reps into the store to meet with customers and the “First club for kids” program that provided youngsters with their first golf club for free.

"It's not rocket science," the elder Rose told Callaway Live in 2018. " If you're nice to people and got good products, they'll come back."

Pete Line, Carl’s Golfland’s general manager told Fox News in Detroit, “He was a golfer, I caddied for him when I was 13 and he asked me to come work for him when I turn 14. I lost a mentor, I lost my work father and most importantly, I think all of the associates would agree we lost a great friend as well.”