Roger Dunn, who revolutionalized the retail golf market and taught golf in Studio City, has died at age 81, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The former golf pro is the namesake for a chain of retail golf stores throughout California and Hawaii, .
The Times reports Dunn died Aug. 28 at Kindred Hospital in West Covina after being in and out of heart conditions since May. A celebration of his life is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at Weddington Golf and Tennis, 4141 Whitsett Ave. in Studio City, where he taught both early and then late in life.
After playing golf for John Muir High School in Pasadena—where he went two years before losing a match, according to a February 2011 Southland Golf Magazine article— and for USC, he went on to have a stint in the PGA in the early 1960s.
During his short professional career, he remembered "beating Jack Nicklaus by two shots the first time Jack played in the L.A. Open," he told Southland Golf. But, he indicated to the magazine, he left the tour at age 24 for the security of a teaching paycheck. By then, he had "three young mouths to feed," he said to Southland Golf.
That's when he began work in Studio City at what now is Weddington Golf and Tennis, reports Southland Golf Magazine, which went on to say that after a few years, he assumed ownership of a nearby pro shop in North Hollywood, where, he told the Times, he had to mark up products by at least 40 percent, per a PGA mandate.
"I thought that was too much. So at the end of the model year, I would buy up merchandise at a deep discount, and even with a 40-percent markup, it was still cheaper than anywhere else," the Times reports him as saying.
The discount golf business took off and Dunn's son Steve opened the first Roger Dunn Golf Shop in Santa Ana in 1978. By 1986, there were 16 stores across the state. And, currently, there are 18 in California and Hawaii—.
After leaving the retail industry, having sold his part in the company to his son, Dunn went on to focus on other things and, in 1988, went back to teaching golf in Studio City, the Times said.
"Recently, I've discovered things I believe will revolutionize teaching and I pray I live long enough to get it out of my head and on to paper because golf is a great game when you play it well," he told Southland Golf last year.
The Times reports Dunn is survived by his children, Cheryl Alderson, Steve, Tim and Tracy; his brother, Ray; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.