Callaway Golf Company is a publicly traded, US-based company headquartered in Carlsbad, California. 1700 employees develop and produce golf equipment such as golf clubs, golf balls and other accessories.
With annual sales of $870 million, Callaway is one of the three largest and best-known golf equipment manufacturers in the world, along with TaylorMade and the Acushnet Company.
The company was founded in 1982 by the then 63-year-old Ely Callaway. For 400,000 US dollars he acquired half of the company Hickory Stick Ltd.
This produced clubs in a niche whose shaft was made of hickory wood reinforced with steel. After a short time, he took over the company completely and renamed it Callaway Hickory Stick USA.
The company grew rapidly. In the beginning, the founder personally delivered the goods in his own Cadillac. Between 1988 ($5 million) and 1998 ($800 million), sales grew enormously.
By 1996, Callaway was already considered the world's largest manufacturer of golf equipment. Callaway has been listed on the stock exchange since 1992.
In addition to clubs, the American company also produces golf balls and other golf articles. The breakthrough came with the wood series "Big Bertha".
The Callaway Group includes the putter manufacturer Odyssey and the club manufacturer Ben Hogan, as well as, since January 2019, the German manufacturer of outdoor functional clothing Jack Wolfskin, for the complete acquisition of which the Callaway Golf Company spent 418 million euros.
Closely associated with the rise of Callaway is the driver Big Bertha, which was launched in the early 1990s. It was named after the German howitzer gun Dicke Bertha, which was used in Germany during World War I and was feared as a weapon.
Founder Callaway found this name fitting for his new type of driver. While common models at the time were made of Persimmon wood, the Big Bertha was made of steel. At 190 cc, it was also unusually large by the standards of the time.
In its very first year, Callaway achieved sales of $21.5 million.
This success was built upon over the years with further developments of the Driver. Great Big Bertha and the Biggest Big Bertha were launched.
Titanium was used as the material. Since 1994, iron clubs have also been produced under this label with the Big Bertha Irons.
A large number of well-known professional golfers are equipped by Callaway. Among them are Annika Sörenstam, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Rich Beem and Thomas Bjørn.