Srixon Buys Cleveland Golf

Dude! Where’s my golf company?

Bag DropThe speculation can finally end. For months, golf industry observers have been wondering who was going to snap up Cleveland Golf and the Never Compromise brand of putters from surf duds company Quiksilver. The surprise suitor is the parent company of Srixon, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, a leading Japanese tire company.

Quiksilver has agreed to sell Cleveland Golf to the SRI Sports Limited division for $132.5 million. The deal is expected to close during the fiscal quarter ending Jan. 31.

Aparently, Quiksilver had second thoughts about becoming the “leading outdoor sports company,” and wanted to get closer to their roots – surfing apparel. The company will be keeping Rossignol, however, which they purchased in 2005 in a deal that also brought along Cleveland Golf. In reality, ski-maker Rossignol was probably Quiksilver’s primary target in the first place. Cleveland Golf just came along in the deal. When profits turned south earlier this year, Quiksilver was quick to indicate their willingness to part with Cleveland. It was probably the right move. There would appear to be a lot more synergy between surfing and skiing (and especially snow boarding) than between surfing and golf… beyond Will Mackenzie and Adam Scott, anyway.

SRI is the victor of a bidding war that included, most notably, TaylorMade-Adidas, but also Puma and Bridgestone. Though Quiksilver never formally announced that Cleveland was for sale, the company’s availability has been widely known for months. In June, Quiksilver CEO Robert McKnight Jr. acknowledged that Quiksilver was “looking at every possible alternative concerning the hardgoods” and that “everything is on the table.”

Srixon logoWhat will the new deal mean for the Cleveland and Srixon brands? Srixon is very big in Japan behind only Tourstage/Bridgestone, and though its following is growing in the US, it’s still a little hard to find. Cleveland on the other hand is number four in the huge US market. It seeems like a pretty good fit. Srixon will likely be the players’ club brand (think Titleist), and Cleveland will target its clubs to everyman (ala Cobra). One would also expect that the Srixon ball and the Cleveland wedge brands will continue, pretty much as they are now. The bit players in this opera are Dunlop and XXIO, which are also owned by SRI Sports Limited.

“We are very excited to add the Cleveland brand and business to our operations,” said Ryochi Sawada, Chairman of the Board of SRI Sports Limited. “Cleveland has a clear position of dominance in the important wedge market and a fast-growing presence in drivers and irons. We believe that this business will prove highly complementary to our own. We are looking forward to demonstrating Cleveland’s full potential to the market and believe that the business can benefit greatly from our stewardship.”

As for the official Cleveland line, Greg Hopkins, President of Cleveland Golf, said, “We are excited by the many positive aspects of this deal, including the combination of a great brand in golf with a new organization that is completely and solely devoted to the sport. Significantly, their operating model is set up to anticipate and respond to the seasonality and other specific requirements of the golf market. We believe that this singular focus will benefit the entire Cleveland organization in a number of ways. Each of the three companies involved – Cleveland Golf, Quiksilver, and our new parent SRI Sports – benefit in significant ways as this transaction will positively affect the futures of all three companies.”

Time will tell if this will be a happier fit for Cleveland Golf. But on the face of it, the deal seems like a solid pairing. I suspect we may see Srixon clubs start to show up next spring in the same places we’ve always found their new Cleveland siblings. That could be a win for Srixon, Cleveland, and a lot of golfers as well. Now… what are the chances that Vijay will wind up playing Srixon clubs or that Furyk will switch to Cleveland?

21 thoughts on “Srixon Buys Cleveland Golf”

  1. Bring back the TA 7’s in black, bring back the Cleveland Comp, and forget the gel-backed irons, the HiBore and the rest of the ugly Cleveland stuff. They were on a roll 3-4 years ago. The new stuff is just too darned weird!

  2. Cleveland has been a family brand of mine for years and I think that it was a bad decision that taylormade did not buy out the company, simply because it would be more benefitial to all the golfers in the U.S. because Taylormade is a very common product name. Srixon, however, is not widely known and I have never seen it in any country clubs out of the many country clubs I’ve been to all around the U.S., from east to west coast. Known for it’s great wedges, Cleveland should go to a brand where its wedges are not exactly what its known for, like Taylormade, maybe? This would increase profit for Taylormade tremendously and for Srixon, who knows how long it will take for them to become a known golf company in the U.S. Oh, and by the way, me and my brother (scratch golfers under age 19) own the red gelback irons and they have been positively commented on by my brothers golf coach, Hank Haney himself.

  3. Dear Nick,

    I think this deal works out great for Cleveland. I am shooked that you have never heard of Srixon being a scratch golfer.

    They make some of the best golf balls on the planet and they are on the leading edge of club development.

    I am not a scratch golfer and I do love my cleveland irons and woods. I and have used them for years as well. You must play Pro V’s and your snotty country clubs. I bet your brothers swing coach has heard on Srixon.


    Dear B Miller, Don’t knock’em until you try them. The MOI on the hibore is great for getting the ball in the air fast!

  4. I have never tried a cleveland club. I am the proud owner of a set of PING EYE 2 irons 2-sand wedge. I love them. I think they are the greatest irons ever made!

  5. Dear Nick,
    I agree with Todd D…Srixon Rocks! I ALSO happen to be a BELOW scratch golfer (+2.5), under 19 years old (17), and while I don’t go to Hank Haney or play in the AJGA (not once), I happen to find Srixon products amazing and I am super excited that they bought Cleveland. Srixon’s products are great, even their wedges (just rated the onyl wedge better than the new Cleveland wedge by Hotstix, thank you very much!), but with that execption, their wedges and putters SUCK. Now that they have Never Comprimise and the Cleveland gods of wedges at their disposal, they will most likely become the best golf company in the world in about, oh, 5-10 years or so.

  6. I have to say that I think very highly of the Cleveland brand, great company great products. I have to omit I just recentily switched to the Srixon i701 irons and love them. One of the best irons I have ever hit. Now I’m thinking about their driver, the ball comes of like a rocket. Cleveland is the only wedge in my bag. You have to give the Srixon line a shot and see what your missing. This is going to be a great partnership.

  7. I am a midlower-handicap player and over the 7 years I’ve played golf, I have gone from Callaway to Nike to Tailor-made and in the past 3 years, I have been using Cleveland (sets/shirts/caps/GM2 putter/bags/etc).

    Cleveland is my brand and around 20 of my golfing partners have since changed to Cleveland. Best driver (Launcher Comp/CG 4 irons/54 deg Black Pearl). I have just recently upgraded to the Cleveland Gold Irons/Hibore XL Driver and I have dropped another 3…now playing on 5

    Srixon makes excellent balls and I have no problems using them.

    Good luck to SRI in this deal and I hope they don’t ever take the CLEVELAND BRAND out of their equation…otherwise I’m moving to Mizuno.

  8. I have been involved in the golf retail business for over 12 years and carry a singlr digit handicap. After trying all of the different models of balls and irons available in the market, I settled on Cleveland irons, wedges and fairway wood and I play a Srixon ball. I only hope that other golfers will give each brand a fair trial. J

  9. 🙂 Bring back the 900 series wedges-best wedges with the most choices of loft and bounce. Been playing them(RTG) since they came out…can’t beat a Cleveland wedge. I have been doing research online to find a ball with more spin, and the Srixon AD333 is in the lead for my new ball this season, when I can start to play(winter in Chicago). I had been playing Dunlop(SRI company also) Loco, but need more control on the greens. Good luck to Cleveland in its new home!!!

  10. The merger sounds like some the best are coming together. I currently have nothing but Cleveland, Ping and Srixon in my bag.

    I love my HiBore XL and my HiBore 3 and 4 hybrids are amazing. Get over your “issues with the shape” and realize that performance is what matters (rather than whether your bag is identical to Adam Scott’s). 🙄

    Granted, my 5-SW and my putter stay Ping always, but my 58 and 64 degree wedges are CG14 and they are beautiful! (Before you raise a ruckus, I know there is no 64 CG14s on the market. I purchased it from a nationwide tour pro who lives in my area. Cheap sucker wouldn’t just give it up). 🙂

    Lastly, my ball choice for rec-play is last years Srixon Z-UR (cheap at Golf Galaxy). When it matters though, it’s tough to beat the Srixon Z-URC for control with the wedges while still avoiding ballooning the driver.

    Personally, I think it would be great to see the Cleveland guys playing the Srixon Z Series instead of the “Titleist (I steal intellectual property and infringe on patents) Pro V series.

    Just my .02

  11. I have played the Cleveland Hi-Bore Drivers and Irons and the Srixon Z-UR balls. Was not impressed with eather and am now totaly Titleist. D2 Driver, 775CB irons, Vockey Wedges, Scotty Cameron putter, and yes the Pro-V1X ball. Unfortunately I did not get them custom fit. I am fixing to switch to either a custom fit set of AP1’s or Ping i10’s. I am glad to see that Srixon bought Cleveland for those of you who like there products. I would have hated to Taylor-Made screw up Cleveland.

  12. It is a good move for Srixon. I played with Ping for 20 years (blades before that) until switching to Srixon clubs in 2005. They are the best irons I’ve ever played, really remarkable. Oddly enough I don’t care for the Srixon ball – still play Titleist Pro V 1. No matter what your index is, you’ve simply got to try the clubs. If you have a low index you will be surprised. My index is 6 and the clubs were a big help in getting me to a 6 from a 7.5.

  13. i am a true fan of srixon. i have srixxon iad 403 and they are some of the best mid-low handicap irons out there. srixon has masde huge advances in ball technology with the z-urcs and z-urc which are equally as good as pro v1 and pro v1x. the clubs are a must have, but switching balls may not be a good i dea if you found a perfect fit.
    srixon will soon be up there with nike,taylormade-adidas, and titleist-cobra

  14. After playing golf for 50 years, I always wanted a set of irons I could hit with as much confidence as the woods. Well, I found them in the Cleveland Hi bore line. I absolutely love them. I hope Srixon can introduce these clubs to more amateurs like myself and keep the line going. I plan on buying a second set for my second home. Also would like to see a hybrid two iron, offset like the three iron. Golf is fun again. Straight, high, and long.

  15. I use a srixon driver and just purchased a 52 degree wedge. I have a 2.5 hdcp and these two clubs alone have helped my game. I have gained at least ten yards on my drive and use the 52 degree around the greens quite often. It has a great feel. Highly recommend the srixon equipment

  16. 🙂 Well what a coincidense I’ve been playing Cleveland products for the last 5 years three days a go I just got a new set of Irons Srixon (I-701 Tour) my old clubs CG1.I love this clubs after play two rounds with them(I-701 TOUR).I think this two companys will be a good deal for Cleveland fans.

  17. i think sirxon/cleveland will do great together.i have them both and they wrk well. having fun.,also switched to sirxon to a play better ball..

  18. Cleveland irons & drivers are all great clubs. I have an XLS 9.5 and also have used Srixon Soft Feel balls but did not like them, I bought a box of Titalists I’m gonna try soon, and might try a different Srixon ball after that. The merger sounds like a promising union, the products are definately all going in the right direction.

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