In what represents the company’s first national sponsorship in at least ten years, Ace Hardware Corp. has inked a multiyear partnership with the PGA Tour.

The deal makes Ace the official hardware store of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

The hardware cooperative is using the PGA Tour as the cornerstone of a golf-centric marketing campaign launched earlier this year. The campaign includes an endorsement deal with PGA Tour pro Hunter Mahan and ad buys during PGA Tour telecasts.

The sponsorship represents the first national sponsorship for Ace since the company dropped Little League Baseball a decade ago.

The affiliation with golf was a natural fit, said Jeff Gooding, Ace Hardware’s senior director of consumer marketing and advertising. Professional sports over-index with hardware store customers, and golf is the number-one sport among Ace customers.

“The NFL usually wins out when you index sports. For us, it was number three. Golf is by far the most popular activity among our customers.”

Baseball is the second most popular sport among Ace customers, an audience the company reaches through media buys during MLB game broadcasts. Ace cooperatives sponsor the Colorado Rockies and a handful of other teams.

While the retailer has been involved in baseball for several years, golf represents the company’s most integrated sports marketing push, said Gooding.

“This is not a short-term strategy. We’re looking to build this over time.”

Ace is activating the PGA Tour to demonstrate its authenticity in the golf space. The company will provide the PGA Tour’s 60-plus U.S. tournaments a one-stop shop for products and services needed to run a pro golf tournament.  

“Ace helps neighbors take care of their homes, and we’re doing the same with the PGA Tour by helping them take care oftheir homes—golf courses.”

Word of the relationship has traveled fast. Tournaments have already asked the PGA Tour about the sales agreement, said Brian Oliver, PGA Tour senior vice president of corporate partnerships.

“Since we announced the partnership, there has been a great deal of interest among our tournaments to understand the scope of the relationship and how they can get involved. That to me is emblematic of the fact that they have a need and how the partnership can help them operate more efficiently and affordably.”  

The partnership culminates on-and-off conversations over the past two-to-three years, said Gooding, noting that the retailer was not ready for an official sponsorship until it could execute the sales component.

“We wouldn’t have signed the partnership just for the sponsorship. Without the sales  program we’re just a sponsor like everyone else.”

The company also will leverage the tie to generate business from small businesses by showcasing what it can do for PGA Tour tournaments.

“If we can help the PGA Tour and their events, we can help small businesses.”