At the age of 19, while working at Swedish Match, Whitesville native Denny Joe Howe was given the name “Popcorn” by a co-worker in reference to the boundless amount of energy he displayed and his inability to stay in one place for very long. True to that notion, Popcorn’s Golf and Stuff, now Popcorn’s Golf Shop, has recently popped up in a new location at Windridge
After working for Swedish Match for 39 years, Howe retired and began working in the pro shop at Ben Hawes Golf Course. At night, he began regripping clubs on the side out of a little shop in his garage. But, Howe, who is a self-professed “wheeler and dealer,” found that not only did he enjoy changing out the grips on clubs, he enjoyed the resale aspect as well.
“I’ve always sold stuff,” Howe said. “I’ve even sold clubs right out of my bag on the golf course.”
This soon led to Howe opening up his own shop at Ben Hawes, in addition to the pro shop. At Popcorn’s Golf and Stuff, Howe not only replaced grips, but bought and sold clubs and other merchandise. After two years, Howe found that, while he enjoyed the Ben Hawes location, his business provided an indirect conflict with the other pro shop.
So, on March 1, Howe relocated to a golf course that did not have an operating pro shop. Leaving the west side, Howe transitioned to Windridge Country Club at 5044 Millers Mill Rd off of Highway 54.
“Windridge hasn’t had a pro shop out here in about 30 years,” Howe said. “So the members are tickled to death I’m here — they’re supportive. They enjoy buying stuff from me.”
Howe now buys, sells and trades clubs, as well as offering regripping and minor repairs. While he is one of the few golf shops that still regrips clubs in the Owensboro area, for those in need of loftier repairs, he is happy to make referrals.
Although Howe is enjoying his new location, this transition did come with one catch that required board approval.
“Part of the deal was I was able to bring my dog Abby with me,” Howe said. “The board approved it, she just cannot go into the bar or the restaurant.”
Aside from Abby keeping him company, because he runs a “one-man operation,” Howe said he enjoys the social aspect of the shop and its visitors. And, while he hopes to bring his previous clientele with him, with Windridge transitioning from a private to a semi-private course, he has enjoyed meeting new golfers as well.
“It used to be private,” Howe said. “They still have members and dues, but now the public can play as well. Out here, I hope I can help people to play golf and provide a service to the golf course.”
Popcorn’s Golf Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Windridge Country Club is currently offering a special for non-members that includes four players for $100 on weekdays, and $120 on weekends.