Unofficial Top 5 Most Impactful Golf Brands
In its creation, golf was a high-class game reserved for people with status and wealth but over the past hundred years, it’s rapidly evolved to a game played by anyone and everyone. Golf has seen an explosion in popularity and an increased interest with younger audiences which has the game thriving now more than ever.
There are a handful of notable moments throughout the growth of the game that can be attributed to brands that have stepped away from the normal and brought something entirely new. These decisions resulted in trends that modernized golf and change the way we play the game. Below are my top 5 most impactful golf brands that greatly impacted the game.
In 2009, one year before Puma would acquire Cobra, they made one of the best decisions a golf company in their position could make in terms of signing a player to represent their brand on the PGA Tour. This decision was of course signing the up-and-coming star from Oklahoma State University, Rickie Fowler. Rickie would go on to lead the younger generation of golfers in new trends like bright colors, athletic style shoes, and flat-brimmed hats, all in combination with his cool So-Cal looks.
Everywhere you looked for years from PGA Tour tournaments to your local golf course, you would find a kid wearing all orange swinging away. Myself included during my childhood years. The trends that were popularized by Puma during this time exploded with the youth and still continue in a more modern form today with the majority of major golf brands releasing bright colors and athletic fitting shirts.
In 1991, Callaway started a revolution that would change the appearance and performance of the driver with the introduction of the first-ever ‘oversized’ stainless steel driver, the original Big Bertha. Named after a German cannon from WWI, the Big Bertha was considerably larger than drivers of the time with a head size comparable to a modern 3-wood. This may seem small but it towered the competition of the time which was about the size of a modern hybrid.
Although metal drivers had been around since the late 1970s, many golfers had yet to make the switch from persimmon woods. The large head of the Big Bertha driver created a larger sweet spot and longer, straighter drives. Next time you look down at your driver, thank Elly Callaway Jr. for leading the way.
Before the Big Bertha could change the game, you have to give credit to Taylormade, the company that popularized the metal driver altogether. In 1979, Taylormade created the ‘Pittsburgh Persimmon’ made of stainless steel and made waves in the game. Just a few years before, a company called Pin Seeker golf had created a metal driver but it never got enough traction.
Being much more effective than the old persimmon wood, the metal driver from Taylormade took over the golf world, and metal woods were being used by the majority of the PGA Tour within a few years. To this day, Taylormade is a leader in the progression of driver technology.
- Nike Golf
Of all golf brands to have an individual player elevate their status, Nike Golf has to be the most popular of all time thanks to one person, Tiger Woods. For several decades, Tiger has dominated the game while being covered head to toe with the Nike swoosh. The classic black Nike pants and red Nike shirt on Sunday is a look that will be presented in golf’s biggest moments for decades to come.
Nike Golf has not only made a statement with their apparel, but their clubs also stood out from the rest. Whether it’s the unique sound and shape of the Nike Sumo and Sasquatch series or the bright colors that were introduced with the Vapors, Nike clubs were always must-haves when they dropped. We need a Nike golf club comeback in the near future!
Of all items in golf, few are held to a higher standard than the golf ball and nobody has made more of a name for themselves in this space than Titleist. In 1932, Phil Young missed a putt that he attributed to an off-center core of the ball he was using which was later determined to be true by him and his partner who was the leader of the x-ray department of a hospital by using the x-ray machine itself.
This set Phil, who owned a rubber company, on a determined path of creating a golf ball that has a consistent core inside of each and every one. Within three years of partnering with Fred Boomer and creating the Acushnet Golf Division, they were successful. Titleist has been the leader in golf balls for amateurs and on professional tours for over 70 years, including some of the biggest names in golf. To this day, each and every Titleist golf ball is x-rayed for a perfect core.