Top Flite is one of the most recognizable names in the golfing industry even though they do are no longer regarded as a premium brand like Callaway and TaylorMade. Although more renowned for their golf balls, Top Flite produces golf clubs under their brand aimed at golfers at every level. So, who makes Top Flite golf clubs now?
The Growth of Top Flite
Initially, Top Flite operated under the Spalding banner and announced the first Top flite golf balls in 1971. Top Flite produced excellent golf balls before major upheaval resulted in numerous ownership changes and amalgamations before they entered into the realm of golf club design and manufacturing.
In 1996 a private investment firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, purchased Top Flite in a deal that required financing from other sources.
Early 2000s Nike and Callaway decided to enter the golf ball market as the market demand for golf balls was declining. At the same time, the leveraged buyout by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts came under pressure to repay the loans.
This prompted Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in April 2003 to split and sell Spalding and its whole line of balls to athletic wear maker Russell Corp and rename the company Top Flite. However, the sale of Spalding and renaming the company could not save the company and it had to file for Chapter 11 protection in 2003.
Callaway came to the company’s saving grace when they decided to purchase Top Flite for access to the intellectual property built up by the company in the manufacturing of golf balls. Included into the purchase were the Top Flite, Strata, and Ben Hogan brands
The Ben Hogan brand was sold to Perry Ellis in 2012.
For nearly a decade after the purchase, Callaway used the intellectual property to gain every possible advantage in the manufacturing of quality golf balls before selling Top Flite to Dick’s Sporting Goods in 2012. The sale did not include the golf ball manufacturing facility in Chicopee, Mass.
Who Makes Top Flite Golf Clubs, Where They Are Made now, and How Did We Get There?
Ownership of Top Flite golf clubs pushed Dick’s Sporting Goods to revive the brand and the clubs are now designed, manufactured, and assembled at the Top-Flite Golf Club Company’s state-of-the-art and environment-friendly facility in Costa Mesa, California.
The revival of the brand continues through the distribution within the network of approximately 850 Dick’s Sporting Goods outlets and other resellers.
Now that we understand the troubled history of the brand, let’s look at some of the best-known golfers that represented the brand in its glory days.
Top Flite’s primary goal has always been to produce innovative and quality golf balls. This did not deter the company from entering the golf club market as they understood what a club requires to get maximum results from golf clubs.
The innovations in the company allowed Top Flite to introduce the first 2-piece and multi-layered golf balls in the history of golf.
Although renowned for its history in the golf ball market, Top Flite produces quality clubs aimed at a variety of golfing skills.
Its storied past ended up in a welcome and stable environment when Dick’s Sporting Goods purchased the company in 2012. They distribute and sell the packaged sets allowing golfers to have wide coverage at a minimal outlay.
Your impressions of Top Flite golf clubs and golf balls will be welcomed in the comments section below.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.