IG184 February 21

February 2021 www.insidegolf.com.au 30 BUSINESS OF THE MONTH Walkinshaw Sports: “House of Brands” BUSINESS OF THE MONTH > The Walkinshaw name has long been associated with automotive, but it is now also a household name in golf through Walkinshaw Sports, one of Australia’s largest golf product distributors. The 28,500 square-metre state-of-the-art Walkinshaw Park facility. Walkinshaw Sports GM Dan Harrap. Walkinshaw products on display at a recent PGA Expo. W alkinshaw Group was established in 1987 when founder and racing car driver TomWalkinshaw established Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), which is now Australia’s largest car manufacturer. Walkinshaw Group have close to 500 staff and a group of companies who all operate independently. The Walkinshaw Group of companies include GMSV (formerly HSV), Walkinshaw Andretti Racing, Fusion Automotive, RAM, New Age Caravans and Walkinshaw Sports. Walkinshaw Sports was established in October 2010 and is now celebrating 10 years in operation. Whilst the company was successful in establishing a strong footprint across the golf industry through its first five years, there has been a significant shift in the business, after the recruitment of its current General Manager, Dan Harrap, in 2016. At that time, The Walkinshaw Group board commissioned a project to capture information and data, to support a business plan that would develop and transform its golf/sports business into a company that would be best described as a ‘house of brands’ for the Golf Sector. Under Harrap’s leadership, Walkinshaw Sports has now established one of the most impressive brand portfolios in golf, by targeting specific brands for growth in this region, utilising their scale and position of strength in the marketplace and through their turnkey sales and distribution infrastructure. Significantly, in late 2017 Walkinshaw Sports became the golf distributor for global powerhouse Under Armour. Under Armour is fast becoming one of the largest global sports brands in the world and, specifically to the golf sector, it is growing very quickly. It is now one of the most popular golf brands in Australia with the brand available at over 330 golf clubs and at all major golf retailers. Harrap describes securing Under Armour as a game changer for the company. “Winning the Under Armour contract gave our business validation that we had reached a point in the business journey where we had built the right team and expertise to secure a global golf brand and introduce it to the Australian market with scale,” Harrap says. “The UK and USA teams at Under Armour watched our go to market execution closely and it was recognised back in Baltimore head office as “best in class” so from there we knew there was no limit to our capability to push forward.” In 2018, Walkinshaw Sports also secured the distribution rights for leading buggy brands Clicgear and Motocaddy. Clicgear is the number-one-selling push buggy at golf courses across Australia and Motocaddy was awarded the Most Wanted Electric Cart for 2020 by the global website My GolfSpy. In addition to Under Armour, Clicgear and Motocaddy, Walkinshaw Sports also hosts an impressive portfolio which includes AFL & NRL Golf, Rovic, Cross Sportswear, Jofit, Nancy Lopez, Ray Cook and Daphne’s Headcovers. A cornerstone to the success of the business is also their vertically-owned golf brands under the Optima, PGF and Walkinshaw names where they hold a strong presence in the mass market sector in Australia and New Zealand with the likes of Rebel Sport and Big W. In early 2019, the company also acquired a golf distribution company in New Zealand and thus have an office and distribution centre in Auckland. The Australian office is based in Clayton at Walkinshaw Park, an impressive 28,500 square-metre state-of-the- art property where GMSV (HSV), along with RAM also convert vehicles onsite. Recently, Walkinshaw have partnered with Marc Leishman to promote his beer brand Leishman Lager to golf courses across Australia. “Partnering with Marc and receiving his trust and endorsement was great recognition for our company,” Harrap said. “Our team has had fun working with Marc and his team to help get his beer in the hands of the industry and golfers at golf clubs nationally”