is not afraid to break the rules. When she took the helm of PXG Apparel as President and Executive Creative Director in late 2018, the boundary-pushing leader started a style movement in the golf industry. We sat down with Parsons to talk golf, fashion, and philanthropy—three passions that power her progressive work, on and off the course.
Parsons’ path to fashion was anything but predictable. Growing up in small-town Michigan, she loved flipping through the pages of her mother’s fashion magazines, but it was hospitality that called to her. As it turns out, understanding how to put people first would become one of her greatest strengths as both a business leader and a designer. Parsons’ years in the hotel business led her to Scottsdale, Arizona, where she met her husband, Bob Parsons. The year 2013 brought a pivotal moment for the couple with the purchase of Scottsdale National Golf Club, a property on the edge of the Sonoran Desert. There, she found the perfect opportunity to combine her enthusiasm for golf with her expertise in hospitality—a perfect marriage that culminated in the luxurious renovation of a fashionably unconventional golf club, as well as the birth of the PXG brand.
“It was a dream come true to get involved in the golf business directly,” Parsons recalls. “Over the years, we cultivated a community of accomplished but easy-going people who love to golf and provided them with a place they can go to relax, unplug, and have beautiful bespoke experiences. But our claim to fame is that we only have one rule: No member shall ever impinge on another member’s enjoyment of the club.”
Before Renee and Bob Parsons, a golf club without rules was like a beach without sand. Historically, rules were an integral part of golf and club membership, yet Scottsdale National flourished by flouting the conventions that make other clubs feel stuffy and exclusive. The five-star property now offers a full-service spa, salon, overnight villas to accommodate members from out of town, and its very own fashion brand.
“PXG was literally born at Scottsdale National,” says Parsons. “We began as a start-up, which designed, developed, and eventually sold high-end equipment out of a trailer on the property. Once we established ourselves as a brand, we decided to expand our offerings to include both men’s and women’s apparel.” As a female golfer, Parsons recognized a dearth in stylish and flattering women’s athletic apparel and set about filling it. Together with PXG’s business partners overseas, she delved into the world of athleisurewear with the goal of bringing PXG apparel to the worldwide market.
“Golf attire has always been a bit stuffy and boring,” Parsons explains. “I’ve followed fashion my whole life, attended fashion weeks around the world, and watched trends as they evolved. Studying designers and understanding their inspiration allows me to take all of those principles and apply it to our collections at PXG.” The result is a booming direct-to-consumer business with six brick and mortar stores and a growing fan-base comprised of professional athletes, fans, and everyone in between. PXG’s upcoming FW20 Collection continues to push the envelope with lifestyle pieces that transcend the golf course, offering elevated essentials like a perfectly constructed polo dress (with pockets!), a luxe bomber jacket with a removeable wool collar, and sustainably sourced cashmere logo sweaters. “As a brand, we’re a bit bold, a bit unconventional—certainly for golfers, but for non-golfers as well,” says Parsons. “It’s only been a year since we launched our first two collections, and it’s clearly resonating. We’re seeing an impressive amount of growth.”
PXG adapted quickly at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ramping up their player support team and transitioning the business to accommodate online fittings for golf clubs. After gradually reopening their doors in accordance with local and national safety protocols, all six of their retail and fitting studios are open with limited capacity. Parsons is proud of her team’s commitment to providing personalized experiences in the face of unprecedented challenges. “Our clients know that we’ll make anything right that needs to be tweaked or handled,” she explains. “Now that our studios and retailers are open, we’re following up with our customers to schedule in-person fittings and ensure that their needs are met.”
It’s no surprise that Parsons’ dedication to helping others goes beyond PXG’s customer service. In 2012, she and her husband started The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation with the goal of supporting organizations that are making a difference on a local and national scale. “We’re focused on serving marginalized communities that are not afforded the same opportunities as affluent areas,” says Parsons. The foundation started by funding grassroots Arizona organizations that address issues like homelessness, abuse, education, and childcare, primarily among immigrant populations. “Whether [immigrants] are legal or not is irrelevant to us. No matter how they came to the country, they’re here, and we want to set them up for success.”
Whether she’s renovating a golf club, designing stylish athleticwear, or giving back to the community, it may seem like Parsons lives by her own rules—but a closer look reveals that her unconventional approach is all about breaking down boundaries and building something new.Shop the complete collection of PXG Apparel here.