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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF

Lamkin

Category

Corporate Headquarters

San Diego, California

Website

Key Employees

Bob Lamkin, CEO

Mike Peters, COO

Kerri Kauffman, VP of Marketing

Jason Bustamante, Director of Worldwide Sales

 

Profile

Lamkin is a family-owned business that delivers one of the industry’s widest assortments of performance-enhancing golf grips, offerings that have earned a loyal worldwide customer base.

Like many great businesses, Lamkin Grips began in a garage. The company was started in 1925 when Elver Lamkin started crafting leather grips in the garage of his home in Chicago.

Robert E. Lamkin, Elver’s son, diversified into rubber and synthetic grips in the 1960s in order to provide golfers with a more affordable and consistent grip. Bob Lamkin has continued his family’s trend of innovation as the company continues to expand and diversify. Lamkin remains a privately held, family business.

Vaulted by its innovations in material development and functional surface texturing, Lamkin continues to occupy a prominent position in the grip sphere, selling to premium club manufacturers, professionals, and millions of golfers around the world.

Lamkin has been a primary grip supplier to premium OEMs for more than 90 years and players using the company’s grips have won more than 100 PGA Tour events and collected more than $300 million in Tour earnings.

Lamkin’s interactive putting grip fitting system. (Photo courtesy: Lamkin)

One of Lamkin’s most significant relationships was a 60-year affiliation with Arnold Palmer, who played the company’s leather grips and helped build the brand’s popularity.

The company has demonstrated its commitment to innovation in the grip space by introducing its “yip proof” Flat Cat Solution putter grip as well as its interactive Putter Grip Fitting System at retail partners worldwide.

The first-of-its-kind solution allows golfers to quickly and easily demo a variety of putter grips to help find the model that best complements their unique preferences and putting styles. A variety of options help golfers consider factors such as hand-size, stroke mechanics, general pattern of misses, hand placement on the grip and more.

“The putter is used more than any club in the bag and finding the right grip is a critical element to building confidence and sinking more putts,” says CEO Bob Lamkin, who worked with Golf Galaxy to test the program. “We have the most technologically advanced putter grips in the industry and we needed a system that let consumers experience what makes our products superior, as well as provide our retail partners a unique and fun program to bring more customers through their doors.”

NGF Takeaways

Lamkin emerged from a period of mid-1980s soul-searching with an infrastructure that set the company up for success in a globalized economy.

A relatively small company that did all its manufacturing in Chicago, Lamkin looked as though it wouldn’t be able to compete with large foreign companies with lower manufacturing costs. Robert E. Lamkin successfully transitioned to a global manufacturing business model and eventually moved to their current San Diego headquarters. Robert J. Lamkin, the company’s current CEO, further expanded production capabilities with multiple worldwide manufacturing facilities.

It proved to be the right choice, as Lamkin today remains well positioned as one of the largest grip producers in golf.

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