From The Vault: Miller Golf Of London

Miller Golf of London, by Jeffrey Reed

As Published By Business London Magazine

If you’re a golfer, chances are you have a silent playing partner who is visible on golf courses across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

There’s a good chance Miller Golf of London, a Hyde Park-based manufacturer and supplier of customized golf accessories and awards, made your club’s bag tag. Established in 1958, Miller Golf enjoys a near monopoly in the bag tag game, supplying an estimated 90 per cent of Canadian golf courses with their plastic identification tags, according to company vice president Jamie Windsor.

Miller Golf distributes from a 25,000-sq.-ft. Woodcock Street plant to destinations across North America, and to clients in Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland. Recognized throughout the golf industry as Canada’s leading manufacturer and designer of ball markers, divot tools and tags, Miller Golf also features a complete range of pro shop, golf course and tournament items custom designed with the logos of clubs and tournaments.

“We get strange requests,” says Windsor. “A dentist in the U.S. has us design a set of teeth on some bag tags used for promotional purposes.”

Miller Golf’s ace in the hole is business from golf club pro shops. Focusing on the “green grass industry,” according to Windsor, the London-based company targets the tens of thousands of golf clubs in Canada and the U.S. Everything from tees, club head covers, pencils and towels, and even glass and crystal plaques and trophies recognizing a hole-in-one help make Miller Golf the Tiger Woods of golf accessories.

No surprise, Miller Golf was born on the golf course – and in the basement of company founder and CEO, Jim Windsor, head professional at London’s Sunningdale Golf & Country Club from 1952 to 1989. The retired club pro decided that the grey fibre board bag tags with ink stamping common in the early 1950s weren’t making the cut. He began to manufacture round plastic tags from his London home, and invested in machinery to decorate the tags in coloured foils.

Current digs have housed Miller Golf operations for two decades. Tom Windsor is vice president of marketing. Says Jamie Windsor, “My dad, and my brother, Tom, both golf. Tom has also worked at golf courses. We have Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association pros on staff, too. Our success is heavily based on our knowledge of the industry.”

It’s a rapidly changing industry, too. New golf equipment, especially since Jamie Windsor joined the Miller Golf team 10 years ago, has transformed the game of golf into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Four-layer, performance-dimpled balls costing $60 a dozen, and $600 titanium-faced drivers with huge heads and graphite shafts have revolutionized the game. Concurrently, there are more players in the game of golf accessories, all hoping to cash in on the golf boom.

“It’s a very competitive field,” says Jamie Windsor. “We face competition now with almost every product.” One such competitor based in Massachusetts is named, oddly enough, Miller Golf. Hence, Miller Golf of London has named their U.S. operation, James Windsor Golf, which operates out of the London headquarters.

The biggest industry change Jamie Windsor sees originates from the pro shops, where a growing number of operations are now in the hands of the golf course owners. In the past, most pro shops were operated by the club professionals. Today, a growing number of pros simply handle purchasing for club management, rather than run the shops as independent businesspeople.

Jamie Windsor says, two additional changes within the golf industry have see Miller Golf swing its operations in a different direction.

“The club head covers we made seven or eight years ago won’t even fit on a club now. And the tees which were as short as 2 inches are now as long as 4 inches, just to accommodate the heads.”

MILLER GOLF OF LONDON INSTANT INFO

BUSINESS Manufacturer, supplier of customized golf accessories and awards, including bag tags, ball markers, tees, towels, club head covers and trophies.

ESTABLISHED 1958

EMPLOYEES 35

MARKET Canada, U.S., Europe

519-473-2876

www.millergolf.ca

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.

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