To be serious about golf, it pays to be clued up on your golf brands. Investing in premium gear from the best golf brands can make all the difference to your game.
We take a look at some of the best golf brands on the market today—from how they first started to how they built their trust and status in the golf game.
How many of these feature in your golf bag?
The best golf brands
Phillip E. Young founded Titleist in 1932 when he missed a short putt, X-rayed the ball and found that the centre was off. The first Titleist ball came out in 1935, and the brand won its first ball count at the 1949 US Open—the rest, as they say, is history.
The logo was the creation of office secretary Helen Robinson, who was known for her ornate handwriting.
The Pro V1 made its debut on the PGA Tour in October 2020 when Billy Andrade won the tournament using the ball. There are over 90 quality checks that go into the Pro V1 and more than 120 for the Pro V1x. Bob Vokey started working with Titleist in 1996 and now specialises in creating its wedges, while Scotty Cameron creates the equally exquisite putters.
TaylorMade was founded in 1979 when salesman Gary Adams took out a $24,000 loan to form the company. One of its most ground-breaking technologies was released in 2004—the R7 Quad driver—which involved the Moveable Weight Technology.
TaylorMade was one of the first companies to offer custom-fitting with its clubs. Five years later, in 2009, its R9 driver allowed golfers to play around with the loft, lie and face angle. These days, its leading lights include Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Nelly Korda and Tiger Woods—the latter joining in 2017 before winning The Masters in 2019.
Callaway Golf was founded in 1982, and its most famous club is the Big Bertha Driver, named after the German Big Bertha Howitzer. At the time, its design was considered highly modern and a huge leap away from persimmon heads. It had a head volume of 190cm³ which was ground-breakingly large—but the legal limit is 460cm³ nowadays.
Roger Cleveland joined Callaway in the 1990s and has been designing its wedges ever since. Other brands, such as TopTracer, Odyssey, Toulon Design, Ogio, TravisMathew and Jack Wolfskin, also come under the Callaway umbrella. Jon Rahm is its star turn.
The Ping story goes back to 1959 when Karsten Solheim, a Norwegian engineer, sketched the design on the dust jacket of a 78 record of what he believed to be the perfect putter. The brand’s iconic Anser putter, the name of which came from his wife, Louise, was released in 1966. Today, Ping has a gold putter vault to commemorate a player’s win using one of its putters.
Ping covers all areas of the game and is renowned for its fantastic club-making. In fact, it was the first brand to bring out high-quality cast clubs. Ping’s ‘Major hope’ (in the men’s game, at least) would be Viktor Hovland.
Bridgestone is generally known for its tyres, but it has also produced golf balls since 1935. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that Bridgestone also began manufacturing clubs.
Today, its tour team includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Lexi Thompson, Fred Couples and Matt Kuchar. Needless to say, the most interest in the brand follows Woods, who uses the TOUR B XS ball.
Bryson DeChambeau previously played with a Bridgestone ball, but that relationship ended following his move to LIV Golf.
Bridgestone affixed its name to one of the WGC events on the PGA Tour from 2006-18, a tournament that Tiger won four times.
A great stat about Wilson Golf is that the brand has won a Major in every decade since the 1920s, thanks to Gary Woodland’s US Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2019.
Even more impressive is that it has even more Major successes (62) using its other equipment. This was helped massively by Gene Sarazen playing with Wilson in seven of his first eight Major wins. He was on Wilson’s books for 75 years, which, unsurprisingly, is the longest-running sports contract in history.
Wilson Staff is its premium golf brand, aimed at tour pros and elite players, such as Padraig Harrington—a long-time Wilson devotee.
Japan-based Mizuno started selling baseball equipment before moving into the golf business in 1933. It opened its first US factory in 1961 before setting up factories in Germany, France, Scotland and Hong Kong.
Mizuno soon forged a reputation for quality club-making with its now famous irons, using two moulds rather than one.
Brooks Koepka won his first four Majors using Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons, while Tiger Woods also collected his first Major with a set of Mizuno irons in the bag. Luke Donald, a long-standing staffer, reached World No.1 in 2011 with a bag full of Mizunos.
Cobra Golf has proved to be an innovative brand, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. Two years after launching, it brought out the first utility wood with the Baffler, and it has incorporated this technology into its newer utility woods.
In more recent years, Cobra has brought out a 46-inch driver and one-length irons, helped by an association with Bryson DeChambeau (which ended in 2023).
The American’s now boss, Greg Norman, helped rocket Cobra into people’s thinking in the 90s, as he was once a part-owner and global brand ambassador. Cobra Golf and Puma began a golf partnership in 2010.
PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf) burst onto the golfing scene in 2014 when American entrepreneur Bob Parsons launched his own golf company. He claims he spent $350,000 a year on unsuccessful golf gear, so he wanted to build better clubs.
Former PGA Tour player Mike Nicolette was involved in the designs, and by 2015, Ryan Moore was using a set of PXG prototype irons and wedges on tour.
Parsons served in the Vietnam War, and PXG’s club naming is inspired by the military occupational code as a tribute to the Marine Corps. The brand now offers a full line of equipment, including drivers, woods, hybrids, wedges, irons and putters.
No list of golf brands would be complete without including FootJoy—the market leader in golf shoes and gloves, in particular.
The American team wore FootJoy golf shoes at the first Ryder Cup in 1927, and the brand won its first shoe count on the PGA Tour in 1945.
Acushnet, which owns Titleist, acquired FootJoy in 1985 and sold its 50 millionth glove in the mid-nineties.
FootJoy was the first brand to use Cabretta leather in its gloves in 1980. Another notable date in FootJoy’s march was in 2003 when it introduced the MyJoys range, through which golfers could customise their shoes. Tiger Woods stunned the golf shoe world when he played the 2022 Masters in a pair of FootJoy Premiere Series Packard shoes rather than his usual Nike ones.