American readers likely are entirely unfamiliar with Argos stores (My UK and Irish readers will please forgive me for this little exposition). The chain is the largest general goods retailer in the UK and Ireland, with more than 800 locations. In concept, they are a bit like the now long defunct US catalog stores such as Best Products and Service Merchandise (I date myself in having shopped at those stores). Customers select their items from a catalog, which then are held for them at the brick-and-mortar locations. Alternately, the goods can be delivered to their doorstep.
I actually like the catalog showroom concept better than the current US trend of mail order only shopping. I like to be able to hold a product in my hands before buying it—poke the buttons and heft the clubs. From a business perspective, what killed Service and Best was that they were tied to their catalogs. Where other retailers could clear out slow moving merchandise for hotter items, the catalog stores were less flexible.
Argos has weathered that storm, though. Online catalogs allow them to be as flexible as the next guy.
Argos sells a wide variety of products, including consumer electronics, furniture, garden and DIY goods, jewelry and—or most interest to my readers—golf clubs and accessories. Brands offered include Dunlop and Wilson in full sets that include driver, woods, irons, club covers and a bag. They’re the sort of pre-sorted sets that in the States you’d find at Target, Costco, Walmart and Meijer. Absolutely nothing wrong with these, and usually perfect for beginners.
Wilson’s likely a higher profile brand in the UK and Ireland than here in the States, thanks to their headline pro, Padraig Harrington and Scotsman Paul Lawrie (who recently finished second at the Dubai World Championship). That said, I know plenty of local players who sport Wilson Staff irons.
Dunlop’s headquarters is in Surrey, England, and like Wilson enjoys much higher profile on the European Tour, with Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and David Howell on their staff.
Argos also carries a selection of Dunlop, Callaway and Nike balls, as well as training aids, trolleys and other accessories. You can find a link to Argos’ golf pages above.