As always, read over the post and sound off at the bottom—Ryan’s a great guy to have on your side:
LPG: True Temper has been around for a long time, can you take us through some of the history?
Ryan Harrington: Of course; True Temper began in the late 1800’s under the name American Fork and Hoe. If you’ve seen True Temper tools at Home Depot/Lowe’s … now you know where they came from. Through their first 40 years in business, American Fork and Hoe had revolutionized the way you form and treat metal – bringing a new standard of quality and reliability.
In 1930, the company formed a separate brand, True Temper, to begin making the recently legalized steel golf shaft. Our name derives from the unique heat treatment processes that our predecessor’s invented and carried into the golf industry. From this time till now, we’ve been the industry leader.
True Temper has been owned by several companies, including Wilkinson Sword and Black and Decker, but we became a standalone entity in 1998 and have been operating as such ever since.
LPG: I know you guys are absolutely entrenched in the golf market…can you tell me a little about our market position there?
RH: Well, I can tell you that our market share in the golf shaft market is 85%. We are the number one golf shaft manufacturer in the world, and our shafts are played by more PGA tour professionals than all of the other shaft companies combined. Keep in mind, we don’t pay professionals to use our shafts—they do so by choice. I think that really speaks volumes about the quality of our products, especially when considering how much money there is in golf equipment endorsements.
LPG: That’s incredible. As an avid golfer, I’m pretty familiar with the True Temper name. What were the main factors that influenced your tremendous growth?
RH: “Innovation drives opportunity” is one of the driving principles at True Temper Sports. We have always and will continue to invest in design, materials and the manufacturing processes to bring great technology to the marketplace. Our money goes towards research, development and production, NOT to marketing. At the end of the day, we’re not the flashiest company but we have the best product out there…and our loyal customers appreciate that.
LPG: OK, so enough about golf, this is a lax website—what are the parallels you see to the lacrosse industry?
RH: As a product, they’re extremely similar. They are both a component to the most important part of each game: club or stick. Our engineer’s design golf shafts with the following end goals: Durability; Proven Performance; and with every level of player in mind. Sound familiar? Just as the case was in golf with the club head, the lacrosse industry has overlooked the incredible performance improvements that can be engineered into a player’s handle. Yes, strength and weight are vital to our game. But we’re not going to let that and graphics determine a quality or high performing handle.
LPG: What is True Temper’s value proposition to the consumer?
RH: True Temper Lacrosse is solely dedicated to developing & manufacturing the highest quality lacrosse handles. To make our case more compelling, we are not a sales/marketing/distribution company. I get questions all the time on why don’t we take our handles straight to the market, and it’s always an easy answer…we’ve always been an OEM, and that’s what we will continue to be. We want to be the best at a few things, as opposed to mediocre at a lot of things. The consumer is getting a company that reaches out to them on a daily basis to understand what they like/dislike/want/imagine without worrying about us pitching them. We’ll take the feedback to our team of engineers and they’ll work every day to develop, prototype, test, qualify and manufacture what the consumers want. What you see is what you get, no games.
LPG: What are TTL’s plans for lacrosse? Where do you see yourselves in five years?
RH: Hopefully we do a great job at following the great example our golf division has set. They were able to buck many trends and pioneered the golf club into a new realm of performance. When a golfer looks for new golf club or a set of custom shafts, they almost always demand TT because of the quality, reliability, and performance that we bring. Truthfully, I think we’re well on our way here at TTL.
LPG: What are the three most important things to True Temper Lacrosse?
RH: Most importantly, our goal is to definitively know and understand what every lacrosse player wants out of his or her lacrosse handle. No matter if they’re 9 y/o in Dallas, TX or 20 y/o from New York playing in the next NCAA Final Four. We will develop and produce a handle that fits everyone’s needs.
Second, we want to usher in a new era of performance driven lacrosse handles, but most importantly we will prove the performance that our partners or we claim
Lastly, we will pioneer a definitive test program for qualifying handles, putting the right handle in each player’s hands, and finally offering a resource for the players to ask and understand how their product performs.
LPG: Thank you very much for your time, Ryan. We look forward to more exclusive looks at True Temper Lacrosse in the future.
RH: Always. We’ve got some cool stuff in the way of prototypes headed your way, so make sure you and your readers are on the look out.