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Tiger Woods-backed golf concept plots expansion in region

Response to recently opened PopStroke in Fort Myers, says one executive, has been great.

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  • | 5:39 p.m. October 17, 2020
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The phrase “opening in a pandemic” can be nerve-racking for entrepreneurs. But so far, for the team behind PopStroke — a technology-infused golf concept merging putting courses designed by Tiger Wood’s company with food and beverages — opening in the pandemic hasn’t been too bad.

The first PopStroke actually opened pre-pandemic, in Port St. Lucie. The second one opened in mid-September in Fort Myers, at 5551 Six Mile Commercial Court. The response in the early going, PopStroke founder Greg Bartoli says, has been great, and better than expected given the challenges inherent in running an entertainment business under the cloud of the coronavirus. “We want to become the go-to place in the community,” Bartoli tells Coffee Talk. “We are jumping through hoops to create a safe and sanitized environment.”

While the pandemic is Bartoli’s biggest challenge, he hasn’t lost sight on the opportunity: A brand with the Tiger Woods name designed to get people, groups and families into golf in an engaging and entertaining way — where they make repeat visits. “Tiger Woods has had the most significant impact in growing the game of golf around the world and his investment and partnership in PopStroke will undoubtedly introduce the game to a new and wider audience of participants,” Bartoli said in a statement last year that announced the Woods/PopStroke Entertainment Group partnership.

Courtesy. PopStroke opened in mid-September in Fort Myers, at 5551 Six Mile Commercial Court.
Courtesy. PopStroke opened in mid-September in Fort Myers, at 5551 Six Mile Commercial Court.

In addition to Woods designing courses and having an ownership stake, PopStroke features a technology platform with an iPutt ball enabling guests to receive scores via the custom PopStroke app. Guests can compete against other patrons in a dynamic and social environment, which is displayed on a Jumbotron leaderboard. Food and beverages are also available to order on the app for delivery directly to the courses — a socially distanced twist designed before the pandemic.

Bartoli is also focused on the future. Markets the company targets, he says, are warm-weather, a mix of seasonal residents and year-round families, and, digging deeper, places with spring training. That makes the west coast of Florida a prime spot to grow, and Bartoli says PopStroke locations are planned for Naples, Sarasota and Tampa, probably by 2022. “Florida is a big pipeline for us,” he says.



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