In the course of the last few days MacGregor Golf has completed the buy back from Suntory Ltd of its partnership interests in their MacGregor-Japan joint venture and acquired Bobby Grace Putters, best known for “The Fat Lady Swings” mallet putter and “The Amazing Grace MOI” trapezoidal, bi-metal putter.
Bobby Grace Putters will now be marketed under the MacGregor brand. Grace joins Dave Wood and Jim Bode on the MacGregor research and design team and will lead the development of a complete line of MacGregor premium milled putters.
“When I met with Bobby earlier this year in Orlando, after one conversation I knew he was a good fit for our company. His research and design around MOI parallels our V-FOIL technology of more directed mass low and deep behind the hitting area,” commented Barry Schneider, owner and CEO of MacGregor Golf. “Bobby’s focus on innovative elite equipment, his passion for the game, and his success on the PGA Tour make him a natural for MacGregor.”
“I‘m thrilled to be part of the new MacGregor,” said Bobby Grace. “As a golfer, I‘ve long admired MacGregor’s uncompromising craftsmanship, and as a designer I‘ve been influenced by the company’s innovation and engineering achievements. In fact, when designing the MOI putter I had to work around some of MacGregor’s patents to achieve the feel, roll and functional benefits that I wanted my putters to deliver. MacGregor is executing some cutting edge designs, and I look forward to doing the same in the putter segment.”
The results of the combined fit between the companies have had an immediate impact. Bobby Grace’s high moment of inertia (MOI) prototype, mallet putter captured a first and second place finish on the PGA Tour at last week’s John Deere Classic, and this week added another PGA win at 84 Lumber Classic in Pennsylvania.
“We are very excited about the prototype MOI putter winning on the PGA Tour in successive weeks. Two wins and a second place finish in two weeks is a powerful endorsement,” commented Barry Schneider.
MacGregor plans to move production of Bobby Grace Putters to its facility in Albany, Georgia, except for tour operations, which will remain based in Florida. A redesigned tri-metal MOI putter line will be available in early November of this year, and a complete line of MacGregor putters designed by Bobby Grace will be available to golfers in early February ‘04 at green grass pro shops and leading off-course golf retailers nationwide.
MacGregor Golf’s historic transaction with Suntory Ltd reverses the effect of a 1984 decision by MacGregor, then owned by Jack Nicklaus, to sell a perpetual license to Suntory for the markets of Japan and Korea. The buy back of Suntory’s interests was motivated by a desire to consolidate MacGregor operations globally and leverage the talent, technology, and leadership resident in both companies.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together two groups of highly talented and dedicated leaders with the vision, passion and technical expertise to make a significant contribution to the golf industry,” said Barry Schneider. “MacGregor-Japan provides us access to important and growing markets in Japan and Korea, as well as substantial scale benefits. And it also strengthens and enhances our research and development resources.”
MacGregor-Japan designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf products and equipment, including Japan’s hottest selling driver, MacTec IX 400.
“We are delighted to join forces with MacGregor,” said Makoto Tanaka, president of MacGregor-Japan. “Our combined design and technical expertise will contribute to the development of world-class products for avid golfers of all skill levels.”
MacGregor plans to retain the current executive team in Japan. Tanaka will be responsible for Japan and all MacGregor operations in Asia. Masaru Hirayama, chief financial officer, and Yasuhiro Iizuka, the talented chief designer and architect of the enormously popular MacTec line of golf equipment complete MacGregor-Japan’s management team.
MacGregor Golf, based in Albany, Georgia, is the second oldest golf company in the United States. It has a 106-year history filled with innovation and PGA Tour success, including a record 59 Majors. The company designs and manufactures a complete line of innovative, forgiving golf equipment that enhances golf performance for avid players of all skill levels. V-FOIL drivers, fairway woods, irons, wedges and putters are marketed under the MacGregor brand. A full line of high performance outerwear, featuring lightweight, soft, and quiet jackets and pants with 100% waterproof protection are marketed globally under the Tourney brand.
MacGregor Golf www.macgregorgolf.com