Wilson is most recently synonymous with Padraig Harrington in particular who has stuck with the company through thick and thin over the last 20 years. Wilson has been around for a lot longer though with the company now over 100 years old being founded in 1914.
One of the legends of the game though, Gene Sarazen is the one person who built the brand to where it is today.
Sarazen was inspired by the aerodynamics of an airplane’s wing to help design a wedge that would glide through greenside bunker sand. In the early 1930’s Sarazen was the one who founded the sand wedge and that had the Wilson brand name attached to it.
Wilson Brand Profile
- Founded: 1914
- Founders: Sulzberger & Sons Bank (name inspired by popularity of then President Woodrow Wilson)
- Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Employees: 1020+ (Wilson Sporting Goods Co.)
- Revenue: $125 million (2016)
- Major Professional Endorsements: Padraig Harrington, Kevin Streelman, Paul Lawrie
- Website: www.wilson.com
Recent Wilson Product Reviews
Wilson - Brief History
Wilson is a brand that has gone from industry leader throughout the mid-1980s to financial losses, later settling for manufacturing bargain box sets to meet budgets.
By the early 2000s, Wilson only had about a one percent share of the market in USA for clubs and golf balls which was miniscule.
However, Wilson has been mounting a big turnaround and is certainly on the right track reinvesting into research and development.
They are once again targeting the premium segment of the market rather than cheaper box sets for beginners. One of the tremendously clever ideas they have now is a television show that will be airing on Golf Channel where contestants compete to design a new Wilson driver that will hit shelves late 2018.
Whilst financials are hard to come by, Wilson have been rumoured to have recorded a profit for the last 5 years and revenue in the USA has grown year on year for the last 8 years.
Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke has stated himself that in the race of the golf industry over the years, slow and steady is the way to do it.
Clarke believes the trouble started with Wilson when its former parent company Pepsi Co lacked any managers that had golf backgrounds and subsequently fell behind and at a rapid pace. Wilson missed the boat in the mid 90’s where manufacturers were offering oversized clubheads which appealed to the amateur making the game a touch easier.
The other aspect was Wilson fell into the trap of supplying cheap box sets in Walmart stores across the USA unfortunately having a negative effect on the brand as a whole not being taken seriously anymore.
Wilson also saw the opportunity in 2016 to take advantage of the Nike equipment exit and try win over their hardware customers switching to Wilson.
They’ve now released a limited edition Custom FG Tour V6 Raw set of irons that has huge marketing appeal and look absolutely beautiful. A raw grind finish that rusts over time and strangely looks more impressive the more rusted they are.
The FG Tour line targets the better golfer and there are other iron models termed the C300 and D300 and D350 that are for low handicaps to mid/high handicaps. There are only four wedge options in the stable with the FG Tour PMP still being the leader of the pack.
The most surprising thing though is just how many golf balls they carry in the range. A total of 29 models of golf ball that cater for Tour players to beginner golfers.
This is one niche they realised would be pivotal when planning their resurgence – especially in the USA. The golf ball industry is massive and growing their piece of that pie has resulted in profitable numbers the last 8 years.