The venerable Ben Hogan line of golf clubs will return in 2015, according to a press release from the trademark’s new owner, Perry Ellis (you can read the full press release below). Perry Ellis has licensed the name to Eidolon Brands.
What I find most interesting about the announcement is that it continues a trend over the last few years of companies that are known for apparel getting into the golf club manufacturing business. Consider:
TaylorMade and Adams Golf are owned by Adidas.
Titleist’s parent is Fila.
Cobra Golf is owned by Puma.
and Nike the golf club manufacturer would not exist without Nike the apparel and shoe giant.
If you want to extend the thought a bit further, I’ll suggest that Mizuno’s apparel and shoes probably outsell their golf equipment. The latest sales figures I could find suggest that their running shoes are the company’s primary driver.
Wilson and Cleveland are in the same boat: major golf manufacturers that are a part of much larger general sporting goods and apparel companies. Wilson makes apparel and equipment for every sport you can think of. Cleveland is owned by Dunlop, which is primarily a tennis and other sports manufacturer.
That leaves just Ping and Callaway as major independent players in the golf manufacturing business (I realize that there are other, smaller manufacturers, but I discount those).
And that also leaves a clothing superpower—UnderArmour—without a golf club business.
My prediction is that UnderArmour will purchase a major golf manufacturer in the relatively near future. In my mind, Callaway would be the natural choice. Ping is just too quirky.
Callaway actually also has a tenuous connection to apparel: founder Eli Callaway was a former Burlington Industries textile president.
The Perry Ellis – Ben Hogan announcement is below: