Europe’s largest and award winning multi channel retailer Direct Golf UK has purchased the Glasgow based golf equipment brand John Letters of Scotland, and in so doing has secured the future of arguably one of the greatest names in golf. The out right purchase, for an undisclosed sum, gives Direct Golf UK the full sales and marketing rights for the brand in all global markets.
John Letters was recently reported as going into receivership after experiencing trading difficulties in a highly competitive marketplace. http://www.golfbusinessnews.com/news/news.asp?storyid=2414
John Letters began in a small works in 1918 on the north bank of the River Clyde in Glasgow. Originally called Letters, Logan & Company, by 1923 the company had become known as John Letters.
John Letters made steady progress through the ‘20s and ‘30s and, from earliest times, its proprietor, John Letters, proved himself to be a shrewd businessman, always ready to try new ideas and techniques. The company was one of the first to experiment with steel shafts while the rest of the British industry lost ground to the USA by insisting on remaining faithful to hickory. The readiness to innovate was to prove John Letters’ greatest strength. By 1939, the John Letters company had become established as a club maker of note, but real breakthroughs came in the post war era.
In 1946, John Letters introduced the Golden Goose putter and in 1947 launched the Masters Model clubs used by Fred Daly to win The Open Championship in the same year. In 1948 no less that 8 players of the 10 man Ryder Cup Team player John Letters clubs.
It is always a matter of dispute which came first – The Golden Goose or the Bullseye – but, whichever way round, they were destined to dominate the game on their respective sides of the Atlantic for the next twenty years. During the ‘40s and ‘50s in Europe, it was very difficult to find any player of note who did not carry a Golden Goose and, today, great exponents of the putting game continue to use the putter.
There followed a decade of unparalleled success for the John Letters company. Throughout Europe, nearly every professional and leading amateur was playing John Letters clubs through choice rather than under contract for hard cash. Forty years ago, players were more likely to select the clubs they wanted to play with and then negotiate a modest ‘retainer’. More selected John Letters than all the other brands put together. Fred Daly, Dai Rees, Lee Trevino, Cathy Panton, Bernard Gallacher and Paul Lawrie are among the great names in golf who played and won with John Letters.
Plans for the brand’s future direction are well advanced and include major new developments for the 2006 season whilst in the immediate term offering customers outstanding value on existing inventory. The future is without question full of opportunity to re establish this great name as a major competitive force. Commenting on the purchase Direct Golf UK’s managing director John Andrew said, “It was a tragedy to hear that such a great British company had fallen into receivership. I felt compelled to acquire the business and in so doing so protect its future security within the golf industry.”
Further detailed announcements will follow relating to the future strategic plans for the brand. For further information on Direct Golf UK www.direct-golf.co.uk, for John Letters www.johnletters.com