The year was 1931 and it was a pretty remarkable period in American history. It saw the adoption of the Star Spangled Banner as the country’s official national anthem; it marked the opening of the Empire State Building and heralded the launch of the first rocket-powered plane.
The year of 1931 also saw the creation of a small engineering company in Waltham, Massachusetts that was to have a major impact on the way golf is played today. Sadly, MacNeill Engineering, as the Company is still called today, didn’t get around to inventing arguably its most famous and most influential product, the soft golf spike, until 1988.
After developing its metal components business MacNeill Engineering branched out into the golf industry in 1947, with the invention of the world’s first locking golf spike, Sure-Lok. Up until that point, all golf shoes came with integral spikes, like the running shoes of the period, but the Sure-Lok system allowed spikes to be replaced when they became worn – a massive breakthrough in golf shoe technology.
Two years later, in 1949, MacNeill created the CHAMP® brand to encompass all of its spike technology, a name that has become synonymous with performance footwear across the world, with its sphere of influence spreading across American Football, baseball, football, cricket, track and field and many other sports and outdoor activities where traction is important.
Over the subsequent 60-plus years, MacNeill and the CHAMP brand has grown to be The World Leader in Sport Cleat Technology®, with revolutionary offerings that include the threadless Q-LOK System®, the TRI-LOK System®, as well as the most complete line of innovative spikes in the world, including the new CHAMP ZARMA®, the ScorpionSTINGER™ spikes and ScorpionSpikes®.
Such has been their success, CHAMP cleats and MacNeill components are to be found in footwear of many of world’s leading sports brands, including Adidas, Ecco, Fila, FootJoy, Hi-Tec, New Balance, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Under Armour and many other leading shoe manufacturers around the world – a testament to the Company’s long history of exceptional service and quality.
CHAMP is also the preferred choice of the game’s best players, with CHAMP being the #1 Brand on the world tours, with a majority of the top 100 golfers in the mens’ world rankings wearing their spikes and a strong presence of players on the LPGA Tour CHAMP continues to be the dominant choice of some of the World’s best athletes.
The Company has remained under the stewardship of three generations of the MacNeill family during all that time, a rarity in corporate America, ensuring that the commitment to quality, customer care and personal service remains at the forefront of everything that MacNeill Engineering does.
The Company’s President and CEO, Harris MacNeill, has been with CHAMP for over 30 years, and in that time has seen the company that was founded by his father and grandfather eight decades ago, and carried on by his own father, Harold, develop from a small-town metal components firm into a truly global sports brand.
“It has been an amazing journey for our company, which has grown from being a purely domestic manufacturer to The World Leader in Sport Cleat Technology, selling products in over 100 countries,” said Harris. “We have always been known for our quality products and commitment to our customer, a mission created by my father and grandfather 80 years ago. I feel privileged to be able to help the CHAMP brand to be the #1 Brand on Tour and to be able to do what I love. I look forward to continuing that mission for years to come.”
Also putting CHAMP on a firm footing for continued growth is the Company’s most recent launch, the ZARMA spike, which received wide acclaim at the recent PGA Merchandise show in Florida, including being named ‘Product of the Week’ in Golfing Magazine. Featuring a tri-material design that sees a soft cushion layer sandwiched between a traction layer and a rigid attachment layer, the ZARMA is without question the most comfortable spike in the marketplace today. It also includes CHAMP’s ground-breaking ‘C’ Visible Wear Indicator, which turns solid when worn out.
Advancements in polymer molding techniques, and the combination of innovative materials and clever design continues to keep CHAMP at the forefront of cleat technology, which is a source of satisfaction to Harris MacNeill, as he bids to continue to build the brand across the world.
“At CHAMP we pride ourselves in providing engineered solutions to enhance a golfer’s game,” he says. “And we are excited to be offering golfers this new and innovative ZARMA spike. Our main focus with this spike is to combine exceptional traction with shock-absorbing technology for unparalleled comfort. We expect that the ZARMA will be just as popular as the ScorpionSTINGER has become. All our testing has shown that it has the same high levels of traction our spikes are known for, as well as providing superior comfort for golfers of all levels of play. It’s a spike that offers no compromise – which also sums up what MacNeill Engineering has been about for the last 80 years.”
Harris’ father, Harold MacNeill, who sadly passed away in 2007 at the age of almost 100, would be proud to know that his son, and his company, is continuing to innovate and push the technological boundaries of what, to the untrained eye, looks like nothing more than something you find on the bottom of your shoe.
MacNeill Engineering http://champspikes.com
In each month and year listed below every article that has ever appeared in golfbusinessnews is reproduced in reverse date order.