The best-known name in Canadian-made golf equipment has been acquired by Toronto-based Goliath Golf in an assets-only deal for Winnipeg-based Jazz Golf.
Mike James, chief executive officer of Goliath, said his company’s emphasis would be on selling inventory, with future plans for Jazz to be announced later this year.
“We have a strategy. We’re hoping to make an announcement around June 1 on that,” said James. “The golf retail landscape is changing monthly, if not weekly. We want to see what the landscape is going to look like exactly once we’re through the spring and soundly into the golf season,” he added.
According to James, the deal to acquire Jazz began last fall when the Ensis Growth Fund, which owned Jazz, merged with the GrowthWorks Canadian Fund and the struggling golf company didn’t appear to be a fit anymore. He added one of the first priorities is establishing a solid distribution network.
“This is not a criticism, it’s an observation,” said James, who says he began talking to Jazz CEO Mark Breslauer shortly afterwards.
“The trade never knew where Jazz sat. At one point, they were green grass only and then, all of a sudden, they were wide open. There was no secret that Golf Town was a great partner over the years,” said James, adding that many independent retailers thought Jazz was a Golf Town-only product.
Over the years, Jazz earned a reputation for quality product. In recent years, it was renowned for a line of women’s clubs bearing the name of former LPGA Tour player Sandra Post of Oakville, Ont. Jazz also had a working relationship with Winnipeg’s Dan Halldorson, a former PGA Tour player.
At this point, Post is not involved with Goliath, but James said he wouldn’t close the door completely on the possibility of having the winner of the 1968 LPGA Championship having a future role.
Goliath distributes a number of products in Canada including Nicklaus Golf, Golden Bear Enterprises, Clicgear Carts, Club Globe and Rife putters.
As it is with other products, James says the company will offer lifetime warranties with Jazz products and that the strengths of the two companies make the deal a good marriage.
“The main reason I was interested in it was that, to the consumer, Jazz was a better-known brand than Goliath was, but to the vendors in Canada, Goliath was better known,” he said.