In a marriage of two golf industry success stories, the Maine-based Pride Manufacturing, LLC, the world’s leading producer of golf tees for more than 50 years, has announced the acquisition of the Maryland-based Softspikes, Inc., the world’s leading producer of golf cleats and creator of the plastic golf cleat category. The announcement, which establishes the world’s premier golf accessories company, was made at the 2003 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
As part of the acquisition, Pride assumes ownership of Sport Holdings, Inc., which includes Softspikes, Inc., as well as Trisport, Ltd. of England, the leading manufacturer of cleats and receptacles for the worldwide golf market.
The new company, which will employ nearly 600 people at seven facilities throughout the United States and England, will go by the name of Pride/Softspikes. It will include a Pride Golf Products Division, which will encompass all sales and marketing operations for the Pride and Softspikes brands, including the revolutionary Black Widow golf cleat – the world’s top-selling cleat. TriSport, Ltd. will also operate under the Pride/Softspikes umbrella.
Randy Ellis, current president and CEO of Pride, will become president and CEO of Pride/Softspikes. Bob Burr, a veteran Pride executive, will assume the position of senior vice president of Pride/Softspikes and will direct all sales, marketing and associated operations. Rick Oleksyk, current Softspikes’ president, will become the president of the Pride Golf Products Division, while Softspikes’ Brian Golden will continue his responsibilities as vice president of OEM sales for Pride/Softspikes. Jon Hyman, current CEO of Sport Holdings, Inc. will continue with the company as an advisor representing the OEM market.
“It’s rare in the golf industry to see two #1 product lines come together under one company,” said Randy Ellis. “This partnership makes perfect sense as tees and cleats continue to be ‘in-demand’ consumable golf products used by nearly every golfer in the world.”
In establishing the new Pride/Softspikes entity, the company will also introduce a new sales structure, highlighted by a newly created Pride Distribution Partner (PDP) program. The company will sell its products through twenty-two (22) designated PDPs, as well as through other sales sources, supported by a well-established, in-house team of Pride/Softspikes territory managers. Softspikes’ 40 independent sales representatives will be integrated into the PDP program, thus enabling Pride/Softspikes to increase its product sales and distribution.
“This PDP program, backed by our successful inside sales and customer service departments, provides Pride/Softspikes with extensive sales coverage,” said Rick Oleksyk, president, Pride Golf Products Division. “This will enable golf accounts to access our tees, cleats and other accessory products in the easiest, most efficient manner possible.”
In addition to its flagship tee and cleat products, Pride/Softspikes will continue to market and sell a full line of golf accessories, including ball markers, divot repair tools, pencils, golf cleat accessories and a host of other products.
Backed by the manufacturing expertise of Trisport, Ltd., Pride/Softspikes will complement its aftermarket business with an OEM operation that currently services Foot Joy, as well as 18 of the 22 golf shoe companies in the industry.
“The operations of Pride, Softspikes and Trisport, together under one umbrella, establish unmatched capabilities in R&D, manufacturing, product development, sales & marketing, and distribution, added Ellis. “This is the reason these companies have been, and will continue to be world leaders who deliver the most innovative and best performing accessory products in golf.”
Pride/Softspikes’ corporate headquarters will be based in Guilford, Maine, with an office in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The company will also maintain manufacturing operations in Guilford, Maine; Burnham, Maine; Florence, Wisconsin and Tampa, Florida; and a distribution and R&D facility in Boise, Idaho. Tri-Sport’s manufacturing operation will remain in Tamworth, England.