In the era of prodigious purses and savvy strategic thinking, pro golfers are making it their business to be in business outside of their sport, while show-biz stalwarts and superstar athletes like Steph Curry, Peyton Manning and Andy Roddick are discovering that the smart money is in golf itself. In our Golf & Business package (which you can also find in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of GOLF Magazine), we’ll go inside their wallets.
Part 1: Why Abraham Ancer and Mark Wahlberg teamed up in the tequila business
Part 2: Bubba Watson the businessman is a lot like Bubba the golfer
Part 3: How ascendant attire brand Johnnie-O made a splash on the golf course
Imagine you’re the GM of a modest liquor store in suburban Indianapolis. The phone rings, with a familiar voice on the line. He wants to talk inventory.
“Hello, this is Peyton Manning.”
It’s the current plot twist in The Little Course That Could. If you’ve heard of Sweetens Cove — a dead flat nine-hole public course in South Pittsburg, Tenn. — you’ve heard of how it got a facelift a few years back from cult-hero architect Rob Collins, gained a loyal following and brightened the game of golf just a little bit along the way.
But you might have missed the latest chapter in which an investment group, headlined by tennis star Andy Roddick, came in to turn passion into financial stability. Oh, and Mr. Manning too. Yes, that’s really him on the horn, hoping you’ll consider stocking Sweetens Cove Bourbon in your store. Esquire recently named it the best “Celebrity Alcohol.”
“Peyton just randomly getting a list of numbers and cold-calling them — that’s been one of my favorite sights,” says Roddick, laughing. Since Sweetens’ inception in 2014, golfers have left shots of bourbon for the groups behind them, paying it forward. Now the course’s bespoke blend is available in 10 states. It’s part of a larger vision. Creative thinking has added to the golf experience, too, which now includes double-pinned greens, a 20,000-square-foot putting course and periodic “Friday Night Lights” after dark outings. It’s clear these investors aren’t looking for a quick payday. They’re keeping the rootsy vision of the place alive — and hungry for little wins along the way.
“Peyton throws a TD and wants to know what to run the next series,” Roddick says. “We’re all competitive as hell and want to make this thing awesome.”