A round with Bob Parsons

We’re drinking Louis XIII Cognac, neat. It’s very nice!

I had occasion to drink this for the first time about two months ago, and I’ve grown affectionate of it.

We’re here at your club, Scottsdale National. What’s it like to have your own course?

I get to come over here every day. And the membership is very small, so it’s wide open and pristine. Our rule book says: “There are no rules.”

Seen any egregious behavior?

No. Our members like being able to pick up their phone and make a call. They like to once in a while wear denim, or maybe play music when they play golf. And normally we get such little play that it doesn’t matter. It’s not as profound as you might think.

You’re a Marine. What did the military teach you that you couldn’t have learned elsewhere?

Everything I ever accomplished and will ever accomplish I owe to the Marine Corps. They taught me discipline. Responsibility. Pride. And they taught me to believe in myself.

How did you get into golf?

I really got into it when I was in my 30s and I had become successful with my first business, Parsons Technology. I had a couple of executives that worked for me, and we all took the game up together, and it just was a wonderful thing. We all got addicted.

You famously developed an affinity for equipment, too.

I got to the point where the year before I started PXG, I figured I’d spent $250,000 on clubs—and that was just a hunch. Well, I went ahead and pulled receipts and started going through things. And I quit counting at $350,000. [Laughs]

That seems impossible!

I can tell if a club is good by hitting it two or three times, which I still do with our equipment. My engineers bring me a club and say, “Bob, we got a breakthrough.” I hit it a couple of times and say, “No, you don’t,” and send them back.

Where do you see yourself and the company in the next ten years?

I see us continuing to work on fulfilling the promise that we made to our customers: We won’t release anything unless it’s noticeably better than what they have. And I can tell you with our irons right now and with our driver, we got our work cut out to ever do anything better than that.

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