In 2005, John Letters of Scotland, which has been trading since 1918, was purchased by John Andrew, PGA professional and MD of the successful multi-channel retailer Direct Golf UK Limited.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary, John Letters kick started the season by exhibiting at the lucrative Scottish Golf Show held at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, on 4th, 5th and 6th April 2008. Boasting two driving ranges, John Letters attracted an abundance of activity coinciding with the show’s promise of complete visitor interaction.
On account of having an array of John Letters’ equipment on demonstration such as the T-9 Irons, T2 Square Driver, the Swingmaster Junior Package, the Leading Lady Package and Golden Goose Wedges, eager golfers with varying abilities from all age groups were able to try out the latest John Letters’ clubs.
Owing to the fact that in the company’s heyday golf professionals and top entertainers around the world opted to play with John Letters’ clubs due to its reputation for quality and innovation, it was no surprise to hear from many of the hundreds of visitors to the stand that they too had started in golf with a set of John Letters’ clubs and still had them fifty years or longer later.
The incredible loyalty of golfers for the brand which was evident at the show, highlighted the reason why John Andrew, has passionately invested in the Scottish brand’s marketing and development with such initiatives as increasing its visibility on the European PGA Tour by securing the signature of one of Britain’s most exciting prospects, Phillip Archer.
Managing the popular driving ranges at the Scottish Golf Show 2008 was John Letters’ product and business development director Gordon Rennie who has been an integral member of the company since the 1970s.
Starting with John Letters as an apprentice golf club maker when the company was owned by Dunlop / Slazenger Group, Gordon then transferred to Dunlop / Slazenger Canada in 1981 to manage the research and development there. Following this in 1986, Gordon moved to the Toney Penna Company in Palm Beach, Florida, to become the head of research and development, where he was fortunate enough to work with the legendary Toney Penna who at this particular time was perhaps the finest Golf Club Designer in the World.
After carrying out several projects for the Pro-Gear Golf Company based in Houston, Texas subsequent to him starting up his own design and consultancy business in 1990, Gordon was then approached to work full time for them as the head of the golf division. Here he was involved in creating the first ever inserted metal wood, the first driver to exceed 300cc.
Working for John Letters in 1997 as the managing director, after a chance meeting with Tim Morrison the then owner of John Letters during a visit to the European Golf Show in Birmingham, Gordon was once again involved in creating some firsts for the Golfing industry. John Letters was the first company to incorporate three metals, Stainless Steel, Titanium and Brass into the one iron head to produce the ‘Tri-Logic Iron’ which came about after the much acclaimed Trilogy Series product range.
Following the part investment of Gordon into the company after the subsequent retirement of Tim Morrison in 2000, John Letters managed to break into Wal-Mart USA, the largest retailer in the World. Despite being such a major accomplishment for a small company like John Letters, together with the industry being in severe decline, the company did not have the man power to manage such a global giant and had to enter into voluntary liquidation.
During the next two years, Gordon worked for Benross Golf as the head of product development, but regularly kept in touch with John Andrew. After realising the passion and desire that John Andrew had developed for the John Letters’ brand, which he “never thought possible of someone else other than a few people over the years that had been directly associated with John Letters”, for Gordon it was a welcomed surprise to be asked to be Product and Business Development Director for John Letters.
Gordon Rennie said, “No one else had ever taken the time to painstakingly sift through mountains of archive photographs and media articles that had accumulated from the beginning of the company’s history and actually document and collate for future usage. This to me was the deciding factor that I simply had to re-join the John Letters’ quest.”
John Letters www.johnletters.com