ORLANDO — Bruce Carroll says he comes not to bury Callaway Golf Canada, but to raise it in stature among its customers, contrary to popular belief in the industry gathered for the PGA Merchandise Show last week.
The rumour that Callaway business in Canada would be run out of the company’s head office in Carlsbad, Calif., started when former managing director Scott Reid was let go and continued with a few recent developments.
The company has also ended its support, at least for this year, of Golf Canada’s Golf In Schools program for expense reasons, but to be fair, Carroll, the new regional director, didn’t play a part in that decision. He joined the company in mid-January.
“One of the things our customers in Canada need to know right off the bat is that Chip Brewer, the CEO of Callaway, hired me and I was hired to go and turn Canada around. Canada is a priority for Chip and is very important to the success of Callaway Golf,” said Carroll.
Carroll, from Savannah, Ga., worked at Wilson from 1993-97 and then helped launch Hippo Golf, before buying Founders Club in 2002, which he held until recently. He admits moving the Canadian operation to the U.S. was an option, but it was never considered.
“On one hand, it could have been a really easy decision, but on the other hand, when you actually start looking at the business, we have a really healthy business in Canada and we have a really strong customer base in Canada,” he said.
“That’s just a really silly thing for Callaway to have done and that’s not even close to what was going to happen, That never entered the equation,” he said of moving the Canadian operation stateside.
“I have been told that if I need anything for my business and can’t get it, to phone them. I’ve known Chip a long time. Chip recruited me for this job and I’m excited about it,” said Carroll.
That’s not to say there won’t be challenges for a company that last summer had to reduce its global workforce by 12 per cent, which you can read about here.
However, that move, along with new sales and marketing strategies and belief in the 2013 product line are designed to turn the situation around. For more on that, click here.
For his part, Carroll says there are positives to focus on in Canada.
“There’s not a lot to dislike. I honestly think that I’ve inherited a really good team. I’m thrilled on that end. The things that we need to work on are more internal operations and things like that and we’re going to get better,” said Carroll.
“The main thing that I talked to Chip and (company vice president) Glenn Hickey is that I’m not going to be a desk jockey, I really believe in getting out. I’m going to do that,” he added.
“When I sit down with customers at the show and they tell me they haven’t had anybody come see them, customers who do some nice volume and they haven’t had anybody in my position come see them, I just shake my head and think how is that possible.” he said.
“I’m going to be out there promoting our company and promoting our brand,” said Carroll, whose words seem more intent on getting Callaway Canada back to speed instead of burying it.
“The first e-mail I sent to my team was all about having fun because if you’re doing what you love, it’s not work,” he said.