Retailer Golfsmith International has shifted its creative business to Doner after a review.
Annual media spending on the assignment, which encompasses the Golfsmith brand in the U.S. and Golf Town in Canada, is estimated at more than $35 million.
Sources identified the other finalists as TM Advertising in Dallas and Fitzgerald + Co. in Atlanta. The review, which began in August, was managed by Hasan + Co., a search consultancy in Raleigh, N.C. Doner, which is based in Southfield, Mich., succeeds GCF in Austin, Texas, on the account.
The advertising will take the form of TV, digital, print and radio ads. The new agency's first work is expected early next year.
In making the hire, Golfsmith chief marketing officer Lisa Zoellner cited Doner's retail experience and "deep understanding of our core consumer." Other accounts at the MDC Partners shop include JCPenney, Sherwin-Williams, Serta and Chrysler.
Zoellner, a former marketing chief at Gold's Gym, joined the Austin-based Golfsmith early last year. The company describes itself as the largest specialty golf retailer in the world, with more than 150 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Competitors include the PGA Tour Superstore and general sports chains like Dick's Sporting Goods.
Media responsibilities were not part of the review and remain at Camelot in Dallas.