How does an upstart clubmaker gain credibility? Sign 8 new tour pros, including the British Open champ
Although the PGA Tour is a few months into its 2015-’16 schedule, the start of the new year remains the time when equipment companies typically add new players to their tour staffs. Making the biggest splash as the calendar turned was start-up Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG), which announced Monday the signings of British Open champion Zach Johnson and former FedEx Cup champ Billy Horschel, as well as James Hahn, Chris Kirk, Charles Howell III on the PGA Tour and LPGA players Cristie Kerr, Gerina Piller and Alison Lee.
The signings, terms of which were not disclosed, brings Parsons’ tour staff to an even dozen players who have combined for 55 tour wins, including three major titles. “The decision to put PXG clubs in play was not one I took lightly,” said Johnson, in a statement released by the company. “My entire team, from caddie to coach, was part of the discernment process. We all agree that PXG is undeniably the best equipment to help me achieve my goals.”
Parsons clubs debuted at last year’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions when Ryan Moore put the company’s irons in play. Shortly after Moore used a PXG 0811 driver—all of the newly recruited tour staffers will use that driver—and eventually signed with the company.
PXG rounded out its offerings by adding fairway woods, hybrids, wedges and putters and started to build its tour staff by bringing on Champions Tour player Rocco Mediate and the LPGA’s Sadena Parks and Beatriz Recari to join Moore. Design-wise the company already has 90 patents either issued or pending.
During the past season, word on PGA Tour ranges was that Parsons would be a major player in the endorsement game. That talked gained further credence when the company hired respected PGA Tour rep Matt Rollins from Ping. Still, one had to wonder just how active PXG would be given that its business strategy does not appear to be predicated on appealing to the masses. Its drivers sell for $700, its fairway woods for $500, hybrids for $400 and irons at $300 each—not exactly the kind of target audience heavily influenced by what tour players use.
Or is it? The one thing such an accomplished tour staff brings Parsons is credibility. Company founder Bob Parsons says the signings signal a significant achievement for a equipment maker that debuted clubs just a year ago. “We like players who like us,” said Parsons, the former founder of GoDaddy. “Having some of the best golfers in the world want to play our clubs in competition is absolute validation that we’ve done something incredibly special.”
Getting all those players to sign on the dotted line to play them wasn’t too bad, either.