Roger Dunn, a onetime professional golfer who introduced the concept of discount name-brand equipment into his sport by founding a chain of golf stores that bear his name in California and Hawaii, has died. He was 81.
Dunn, who spent his later years teaching golf in Studio City, died Aug. 28
at Kindred Hospital in West Covina, said his daughter, Cheryl
He had been in and out of hospitals with a heart condition since May.
"He certainly changed golf retail,"
said John Kopacz, vice president of store operations for Worldwide Golf Enterprises Inc., which purchased Roger Dunn Golf Shops in 1993. "The way golfers could buy golf equipment at discounted prices wasn't available until he came along.
"We're proud to have his name on our stores. He was a great ambassador for golf."
Born Aug. 1, 1931, in Marshalltown, Iowa, Dunn moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1940s.
Dunn had started playing golf while working as a caddie at a country club in Marshalltown. As a 15-year-old caddie at Annandale Golf Club in Pasadena in 1946, he was sponsored by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby as the Southern California representative at the inaugural National Caddie Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
A top junior golfer in the late '40s, Dunn competed in tournaments against future Hall of Fame golfers Gene Littler and Billy Casper.
As a student at John Muir Junior College, now John Muir High School, in Pasadena, Dunn was the Western State Conference champion — individual and team — in 1950. At USC, he was the Pacific Coast Conference Champion, again as individual and team, in 1951.
After a stint on the PGA Tour in the early '60s, Dunn began teaching golf at Studio City Golf Course in 1962. Three years later, he began operating a driving range in North Hollywood and turned the front area into a pro shop.
"The PGA mandated you had to mark up products at least 40%," Dunn told Southland Golf magazine. "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% markup it was still cheaper than anywhere else."
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