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Golfsmith founder and innovator Carl Paul, 83, has died


Carl Paul, a pioneer in the golf club component industry that led to the golf retail chain Golfsmith, died last week in Austin Texas, home since 1973. He was 83.

Paul, who graduated from what now is known as Texas A&M, was an engineer by trade. In 1967, he played golf for the first time, piquing his interest in the game generally and its equipment specifically. He began wondering whether he could build clubs that would better suit his golf game, so he began tinkering with equipment

It led to his starting his own golf company from one bedroom in the two-bedroom apartment in which he and wife Barbara and their daughters Beth and Kelly were living at the time, according to Paul’s obituary.

“In 1970, Carl and Barbara sent out their first mailer offering the parts necessary to make golf clubs,” his obituary read. “This was the first ‘catalog’ of its kind, which began the ‘golf club components industry’ as it is known today.”

This was the foundation of what eventually became Golfsmith International, Inc. It eventually had 1,200 employees, 35 retail stores and a catalogue. In 2002, Golfsmith was sold to First Atlantic Capital. In 2016, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and later that year Dick’s Sporting Goods purchased it.

Paul is survived by his wife Barbara and daughter Beth and husband Barry Rinke, daughter Kelly and husband Scott Redding and daughter Marnie as well as seven grandchildren.