NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Joseph Zeller, President / CEO
Joe Henderson, President / COO
Brian Sudbrink, CFO
John Hohman, VP of Marketing
PrideSports is known in the industry as “the manufacturer of golf’s essentials,” providing some of the most ubiquitous and widely-used components in the sport. While the average golfer may not be familiar with the parent company’s name, they would probably be familiar with its primary subsidiaries: Softspikes, Champ and Pride Golf Tee.
The company was formed in 2003 when Pride Manufacturing purchased Softspikes. At that time, Pride Golf Tee and Softspikes were the world’s leading golf tee and golf cleat lines, respectively. Today, PrideSports is the world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of wooden golf tees, plastic cleats and cleat insert systems for the golf industry. It acquired MacNeil Engineering (maker of Champ spikes) in 2013.
The Brentwood, Tennessee-based company has offices across America, Europe and Asia. Champ and Softspikes are the leading plastic spikes in golf, while Pride Sports is the largest producer and distributor of golf tees in the world, with brands including Pride Golf Tee, Pride Professional Tee System (PTS) and Zarma Fly Tee.
Champ’s PiviX, Zarma and Stinger cleats, as well as Softspikes’ Pulsar, Silver Tornado and Stealth models, stand among the company’s most popular designs. Both brands have won top awards from Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine and key media outlets.
Some of the company’s recent marketing initiatives sought to combat the rise of “spikeless” golf shoes, highlighting the superior traction of spiked golf shoes. Prominently highlighted was the fact that 45 of 46 winners of individual events during the 2016-17 PGA Tour season wore golf shoes with replaceable cleat technology.
Beyond golf, the state-of-the-art premium cleats and fastening systems from CHAMP and Softspikes are used by athletes – both professional and amateur – around the world and are regularly used in high-profile events like the Olympics, World Series, Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup. Products are designed for sports such as golf, soccer, baseball football and track & field, while technologies and applications also extend into cycling, fishing, ice sports and industrial segments.
PrideSports has been able to control the marketplace by working with shoe manufacturers throughout the design process. In these instances, the inclusion of one of the company’s proprietary locking technologies assures that only Champ or Softspikes spikes will be worn throughout the life of the shoe.
When a metal spike “ban” campaign was adopted by several major golf associations in 1993, it gave rise to the creation of plastic golf cleats, which offered not only excellent traction but more comfort and improved playing surfaces. This replaceable cleat technology, employed by both Softspikes and Champ, has revolutionized the golf industry and is of the most widely-used golf inventions of the 20th century.