NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
James Ledford, President
Brandon Sowell, Director of Sales and Marketing
Steve Davis, Chief Technology Officer
Adam Rowen, Director of Global Operations
Gary Diaz, Director of Global Finance and Accounting
Eaton’s Golf Pride is the world’s largest manufacturer of golf grips, with sales and distribution facilities on six continents. Golf Pride is consistently identified as the number one choice of golf grips among recreational, tour players and club manufacturers alike. Callaway, PING, TaylorMade and Titleist all opt to use Golf Pride in their standard offerings.
For nearly seven decades, Golf Pride has been a global leader in golf grip evolution and technology, from the invention of the slip-on grip to groundbreaking advancements in cord grips (Brushed Cotton Technology), and the introduction of the hybrid category of grips.
A division of power management company Eaton, Golf Pride has had a renewed focus on continuing to innovate in the grip category. In fact, the company has introduced more new product innovations in the last four years than it did in the preceding 20 years combined. Approximately 50% of the company’s overall sales are coming from products introduced since 2014, speaking to innovation as a catalyst for Golf Pride’s recent growth.
The company, which recently announced it is moving its corporate headquarters to Pinehurst, North Carolina, lays claim to more major wins than any other grip in history. The new facility being constructed at Pinehurst will have a unique space to accelerate product development and manage the global fulfillment of product around the world, featuring an R&D lab with rapid prototyping capabilities as well as a new consumer grip fitting studio. Golf Pride President James Ledford said the new purpose-built facility will help the company streamline and accelerate innovation efforts even more.
“We want to make innovation easier and faster,” Ledford says. We are thrilled about this opportunity to create an ideal site right next to Pinehurst No. 8. As golfers, we genuinely appreciate the Pinehurst Resort experience and we respect the work they have done recently to innovate their own world-class facilities. We have big expectations for our new home and we see it as a once in a generation move to set us up for future success.”
Golf Pride was founded by William “Bill” Junker, who in the 1950s and 1960s revolutionized the golf grip category by showing how molded rubber provides the most playable and highest-performing grip surface available.
More than 80 percent of Tour professionals choose to play the company’s grips without being paid to do so – that in itself is a strong endorsement in an age of multi-million dollar sponsorship deals.
A brand with a rich history in golf dating back 70 years, Golf Pride was an innovator with its slip-on rubber grip. Before that, grips were molded directly on to the shaft, making it almost impossible to swap them out. The innovation opened the door for efficient equipment assembly as well as a full-fledged grip replacement business in pro shops.