by Jeff Skinner
Jack Nicklaus may be retired from competitive golf but that doesn’t mean he’s sitting in a rocking chair. Nicklaus is a busy as he has ever been tending to the Nicklaus Companies. Steve Schaefer of Forbes profiles Nicklaus in “retirement” and looks at his latest endeavors.
Jack says he took an unconventional route, “Most people work all their lives so they can eventually stop and go play golf. I played golf my whole life and when I stopped I went to work.”
Nicklaus Design, created almost 45 years ago, has designed more than 380 courses in 36 different countries. Courses built, designed or consulted on by Nicklaus host regular PGA Tour stops like the Memorial Tournament (at Ohio’s Muirfield Village) and the RBC Heritage (South Carolina’s Harbour Town Golf Links). In 2014 the Ryder Cup will be hosted by Nicklaus’ PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Scotland, and the 2015 President’s Cup will be played on a Nicklaus course in Incheon, South Korea.
The course design is just one business under the umbrella of the Nicklaus Companies though, an umbrella that is constantly evolving to cover new ventures, most recently a new line of golf balls and a lemonade deal with Arizona Beverage Company.
It’s not just course design for Jack lately he has been branching out. “The course design business is a passion for Nicklaus, but he also speaks with pride of the company’s other endeavors, particularly the new golf balls, which are color-coded to the white, blue and black tees golfers play.
The color-coding makes for easier purchasing decisions than the traditional way golf balls are sold, based on clubhead speed, which most duffers don’t understand. There is also a charitable element; the balls sell for $30 per dozen online (versus $50 at Nicklaus course pro-shops), with buyers encouraged to make a donation to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.
“The charitable part is nice,” Nicklaus says, but the bottom line matters too. “You either make a profit or you’re not in business.”