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.
Walkinshaw Group was established in 1987 when founder and racing car driver Tom Walkinshaw 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 this 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 turn key sales and distribution infrastructure.
Significantly, in late 2017, Walkinshaw Sports became the golf distributor for global powerhouse Under Armour. Harrap describes securing Under Armour as a “game changer for the company.” Under Armour is fast becoming one of the largest global sports brand in the world and specifically to the golf sector it is growing very quickly. It is now one of, if not the most popular, golf brands in Australia with the brand available at over 330 golf clubs and at all major golf retailers.
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 MyGolfSpy.
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 therefore have an office and distribution centre in Auckland. The Australian office is based in Clayton at Walkinshaw Park, an impressive 28,500 square state of the art property where GMSV (HSV), along with RAM also convert vehicles onsite.
It is has definitely been a time of growth for Walkinshaw Sports, which Harrap credits to the Walkinshaw Group’s growth mindset and vision, and by his team living by the company’s ‘four pillars’: make great products, deliver what we say, build a great team and provide great service.
“By delivering on our four pillars, we have established strong and trusted relationships with suppliers and retail partners, which is key to having a successful and sustainable business,” said Harrap.
Congratulations to the team at Walkinshaw Sports for what they have achieved over their first 10 years in business. It will be exciting to watch the company continue to grow and service the golf industry as a true one-stop shop.