Monday, December 11, 2017
Golf Pride Announces Passing of its Founder and Industry Pioneer Bill Junker
During the 1950s and 1960s, Junker, and his late business partners, Thomas Fawick and Jim Karns, revolutionized the golf grip category by demonstrating that molded rubber provides the most playable and highest-performing grip surface available. Under Junker’s leadership, Golf Pride revolutionized the installation of grips with the introduction of the slip-on rubber grip. Prior to then, grips were molded directly on to the shaft making it virtually impossible to change grips. The innovation opened the door for both efficient equipment assembly and a full-fledged pro shop grip replacement business.
After Golf Pride’s parent company was acquired by Eaton Corporation in 1968, Junker retired and moved to Arizona where he enjoyed a successful second-career in commercial real estate. Although he took an early exit from the golf world, Junker maintained keen interest in the game and business, sustaining friendships with many Tour players, industry leaders, and golf writers throughout his life.
Like other innovators who challenged golf traditions, Junker was met with resistance to change, so he fought persistently for his product and vision, and by doing so helped usher golf equipment into the modern era. In 1989, he documented the challenges, adventures, and colorful anecdotes related to launching what at the time was a radical new golf product in his book The History of the Golf Pride Grip. Today, we enjoy Junker’s legacy as the Golf Pride brand continues to be the #1 Grip Worldwide for both amateur and Tour players alike with 80% of Tour Players choosing to play the grip despite no paid endorsement fees.
“Bill Junker might not have stayed in the golf industry long enough to become a household name, but he was a true icon of the game and his mark on it is everlasting,” said James Ledford, President of Golf Pride. “We are honored to have the job of carrying on his legacy of innovation and performance in today’s Golf Pride grips.”
Junker is survived by his wife of 73 years, by 7 of their 8 children, and by 15 grandchildren.
Gifts in Bill’s memory may be made to Faith4life Church, Dallas, 2104 Hutton Dr. Ste. 112, Carrollton TX 75006; The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Phoenix; or Sage Hospice, Scottsdale.
For more information on Golf Pride’s history, and the legacy of Bill Junker, visit https://www.golfpride.com/about/our-history/.