During GNN’s first year of operation, we’ve had the opportunity to sit down with presidents and chief executive officers of some of the most well-known golf equipment manufacturers in the world.
Many have discussed the economy. Some have talked about being relatively new among more established companies, while others have reflected back to the beginning of their brand names 50 years ago.
Here are some of the more memorable comments made in our first year as GNN heads towards its first anniversary on Sept. 15:
Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim recalling childhood memories of working with his dad, World Golf Hall of Fame member Karsten Solheim, during the companies 50th anniversary year in 2009.
“My room was on the other side of the garage. The house was built by some people who raised dogs and this was the dog-grooming room. I had windows in between the garage and my room. My dad would watch the news and then, he’d go to work. I’d be working on my homework and gone to bed and I’d get this rap on the window and it was time to come work in the garage.”
Solheim on a company milestone in those early years of Ping.
“One of the big things was we got a large order of 200 putters from one company to give away as gifts. We’d never built that many putters all at once, so we laid them all back and I got up on the fence and took a picture with my box camera.”
George Fellows, president and CEO of Callaway Golf, on why the company went with a non-traditional name such as Justin Timberlake to endorse its products.
“I think there has been too much sameness in the golf industry for a long time.”
Fellows when asked if his company had ever considered acquiring Ashworth, which handled the Callaway line until being acquired by TaylorMade-adidas.
“We design golf clubs. We don’t design shirts.”
Mark King, president and CEO of TaylorMade-adidas, on why his company did acquire Ashworth.
“I think we’ve got big potential. We want to be the biggest golf company because when you’re the biggest, you’ve got more market clout and you’re able to do more things. We constantly look at everybody and everything.”
Nike Golf president Cindy Davis on the importance of the Canadian market to that company.
“We think Nike Golf will be No. 1 first in the Canadian market. We’ve had tremendous success there, tremendous acceptance. Obviously, we’ve got a very strong team (in Canada).”
Davis on Nike being a relatively new company in golf, but establishing a foundation for the future.
“We do resonate well with that younger golfer, no doubt about it, and younger could be 35, so the good news is that they’re growing up and Nike Golf is part of their consideration, so it’s part of the fabric of golf whereas – and I don’t want to date myself – it wasn’t when I was growing up.”