NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Tim Clarke – President
Doug Thiel – Global Golf Marketing Director
Doug Wright – EMEA Director
Chris Rusin – National Sales Director
Jean-Pierre Degembe – Global Product Director (Hard Good Accessories)
Terry Larsen – Global Product Director (Recreational Golf Clubs)
Jon Pergande – Manager, Golf Club Innovation
Lindsey Lasater – Golf Public Relations Manager
Renowned as one of the world’s most iconic sporting brands, Wilson Golf designs, manufactures, and distributes premium and recreational golf equipment throughout the world. In fact, since 1914, Wilson Staff irons have won 62 major championships, more than any other iron manufacturer in history.
In 1936, Wilson was actually one of the six founding members of the National Golf Foundation. It continues to have a major presence in golf as an equipment manufacturer, as it now has (nearly 85 years later) staff and offices in more than 100 countries around the globe.
During the past century, the company has experienced its share of changes, yet it maintains its strong brand recognition with apparel and equipment created for more than a dozen sports.
As a company in the portfolio of Amer Sports, Wilson remains the world’s largest manufacturer of ball sports equipment and employs 1,600 people globally. Beyond its recognition from the 2000 film “Cast Away”, Wilson’s official branded balls are used by the NFL, NCAA, and a host of other professional and collegiate sports and teams.
The company’s storied history extends to its Wilson Staff golf brand, as it long led the field with classic forged irons used by major championship winners and brand ambassador heavyweights like Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, and Billy Casper. Even Chevy Chase’s character in “Caddyshack” used Wilson clubs.
Today’s stable is more modest, including 2019 U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, and PGA TOUR winners Brendan Steele and Kevin Streelman. The company relies on insights from these players and other pros to help produce innovative products.
In recent years, the brand has undertaken new public initiatives, most visibly creating and airing two seasons of the popular “Driver vs. Driver” reality series on Golf Channel, in which participants compete to build the best Wilson driver from inception, to prototype, to completed product. According to Tim Clarke, Wilson Golf’s President, the program resulted in a significant increase in Wilson’s brand awareness, as the company increased its reach with a younger generation.
Most recently, Wilson Golf perfected power hole technology in its latest line of D7 irons. The implementation of the D7 Challenge has garnered over 6,000 golfers to show positive yardage gains, on average, of 16+ yards with D7, versus their current gamer.
This year, the company will continue to build upon the challenge with the addition of the all-new D7 forged Players Distance iron. Since 2011 – when Wilson Golf created the low compression category with the launch of Duo golf balls – it has been perfecting this technology and will now be launching new “Soft is Long” Challenges, thereby showcasing the power of the company’s Duo Soft balls.
Wilson has slowly and steadily built its market share in the years since Clarke took over the reins in 2006, as the company, once owned and operated by PepsiCo management, has distanced itself from boxed sets and entry-level products and successfully signed high-ranking PGA professionals.