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Bad weather and industry stagnancy blamed for golf shops failing

Golf enthusiasts in Wisconsin may be interested to here that on Nov. 4, the private equity firm that is the owner of the Edwin Watts Golf Shops, Sun Capital Partners, submitted a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to a news release, the Edwin Watts president stated that a year of bad weather and a stagnant golf industry as a whole were at fault for the failure of the company, which was founded in 1968.

The company had been engaged in discussions with potential buyers prior to filing, and they are remaining hopeful that they still might complete a sales agreement prior to the end of 2013. The co-founder of the company, Edwin Watts himself, along with a group of outside investors may be the potential buyers. The company was sold in 2003 to Wellspring Capital Management LLC and then again in 2007 to Sun Capital Partners. During those periods, Edwin Watts' involvement in the golf shops decreased exponentially. He told the Northwestern Florida Daily News that the bankruptcy was a bit of a shock since the company once was extremely profitable.

The company's assets and liabilities have been valued between $100 million and $500 million, according to the bankruptcy filing. They currently sell brand name golf equipment in 90 stores over 15 states, as well as online and via catalog. The majority of their stores are located in the southeastern United States, and some of those stores will more than likely be closed if the company is sold.

Filing for bankruptcy protection, whether personally or for a business, is not an easy decision, but could possibly be the only viable solution for those who are struggling with debt. A commercial bankruptcy filing could help provide debt relief when any business in the Milwaukee area faces financial instability and its owners see no other possible resolution for the foreseeable future.

Source: Golf Digest, "Seeking sale, Edwin Watts Golf Shops files for bankruptcy", Brendan Mohler, November 05, 2013

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