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By : BGA Proshop
If you have watched the PGA tour recently you might have heard of the name Peter Uihlein but who is Wally. Wally is Peter’s father but why does that matter and even make the news. Stay with me here because it will all make sense.
If mention the company Acushnet most of you would be still scratching you head but if I told you that Acushnet was the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy is it starting to click.
So who is Wally now? Well Wally was the CEO and President of Acushnet and was behind one of the most successful golf companies in golf today. He recently retired after 40 years of service at Acushnet and has taken the company through some significant changes which kept the company as the number 1 most used golf ball on the tour with Titleist and the number 1 most used glove and shoe used on tour with FootJoy.
Behind every good leader there is an excellent team but to dominate these 3 categories for as long as they have takes some doing. Wally started with Acushnet in 1976 as a regional sale representative and started working his way up until he was named CEO and President in May 2000. It was in the year 2000 when we saw one of the most significant shifts in the golf equipment market. The impact this had on golf was ground-breaking and some might say sent Titleist into the stratosphere. In October 2000 Titleist released a golf ball called the Pro V1 and 17 years on two out of every three golfers across the major worldwide professional tours play the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, more than five times the nearest competitor.
To explain how significant this was for the golf industry and for all the younger golfers out there you are going to have to search the internet for more background into this because I cannot do it justice in a small piece like this. Think about the Pro V1 ball like when titanium was introduced to drivers. The driver went from the size of a tennis ball to what it is today making it larger, lighter and more forgiving. That is the same impact the Pro V1 had on the game and who was at the helm when this was taking place, Wally Uihlein. Wally was also instrumental in signing both Scotty Cameron who designs high end putters and Bob Vokey who was a master wedge craftsman for the Titleist brand.
In his time as CEO and President, Wally oversaw ownership change hands as well. In 2011 Fortune Brands who was Acushnet’s parent company sold the company to Fila Korea Ltd and Mirae Asset Private Equity for $1.225 billion which was the largest sale of a golf equipment company. Then in 2016 guided by Wally, Acushnet was floated on the New York Stock exchange under the stock code “GOLF” for $17 a share. Today it is worth $18.29 a share.
Wally Uihlein will leave a strong lasting legacy at a golf company he helped shaped and build.