Callaway Golf is currently one of the world’s leading manufacturers of golf equipment as well as golf lifestyle apparel. It is known for its expertise in combining both traditional and new technologies. But what is the story behind this popular golf brand that has gained acclaim for its oversized club heads?
Callaway Golf started in the early 1980s (in 1982 to be exact). Sixty year-old Ely Callaway Jr. was at the time the president of Burlington Industries, a popular textile company and founder of a world-class winery in Southern California. Callaway was fond of playing golf and his favorite brand of golf clubs was Hickory Sticks.When the business of Hickory Sticks started going down, they approached him and asked him to invest in their brand.Callaway bought half of the company and it was renamed Callaway Hickory Stick.
After a few years he bought the rest of the company shares and it was renamed Callaway Golf. But this purchase was just the start of the rise of Callaway Golf as one of the world’s leading brands of golf equipment.
Ely started reinventing and innovating the golf club, changing the look, feel and performance of sporting equipment that had been the same for the past 250 years.
In 1986, the company started using computer-controlled manufacturing machines to make golfing equipment. This innovation gave birth to the popular Big Bertha drivers, the first of which came out in 1991. These large-headed clubs (up to 190 cubic centimeters) were designed by Richard Helmstetter who was at the time the top designer of the company. The original Big Bertha was a hit and was the predecessor of a whole line of golf clubs with exotic materials and oversized heads. These golf clubs rose to become the most popular golf clubs as golfers found that they liked their performance out on the green.
In 1997, Callaway acquired Odyssey Sports and made it a subsidiary. This led to a line of putters that came out in 2000.In 2002, equipment designer Roger Cleveland came up with the Callaway Golf Forced Wedges. That same year, designer Chuck Yash came up with a new golf ball. Aerodynamic computer programs were used to design the Rule 35, a ball that boasted of complete performance in an attempt to combine the features of balls made for distance or height and so on. In 2003, the company came up with its own line of footwear and eventually other golf lifestyle products.
The management and leadership of the company have changed a couple of times in the past few years but Ely Callaway Jr.’s love for golf and the company was indeed a constant guide up until his death in 2001. His philosophy still lives on, though, made evident by the company’s resounding success in the market.
Today, the American company continues to design, manufacture, market, and sell its golf equipment. The golf company has various ways of selling the equipment—through wholesale, retail, and even online. There are also trade-in options and secondhand or pre-owned stores specifically for their products. There is even a website solely for secondhand Callaway products. Currently, Callaway sells its products in more than 110 countries.
The company has also acquired more subsidiaries. Currently, it is the umbrella group of Odyssey putters, Top-Flite, Strata and Ben Hogan. Callaway has also been a part of a number of endorsement deals with the world’s top golfers as well as partnerships with a number of companies like Nintendo.
The product line of Callaway now includes various golf clubs (drivers, irons, fairway woods, wedges, hybrids), balls, golfing apparel, footwear and accessories.