Lexi Thompson Signs with Maxfli
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LPGA star Lexi Thompson didn’t have to wait long for a new golf ball deal.
DICK’S Sporting GoodsToday, announced that it had signed Thompson to a golf ball endorsement contract. Thompson will be the Maxfli Tour series ballThe season will run through 2024 and possibly beyond.
Thompson will also be a Maxfli spokesperson and brand ambassador. She’ll also be involved in the development of the next generation of Maxfli Tour golf balls, due out in 2025.
This is a big deal on so many levels. But first, let’s unpack the details.
From Bridgestone To Maxfli
MyGolfSpy reported the first time this past weekend that Thompson and Bridgestone have officially split up after their six-year contract concluded at the end 2023. The 28-yearold Thompson has 13 years of experience on the LPGA Tour. She has 11 victories, including two majors.
“I’ve been testing the Maxfli Tour Series for a few months now, and the Maxfli Tour ball exceeded my expectations,” Thompson says in a prepared statement. “The ball fits my game extremely well, increasing my ball speed without sacrificing control.”
Thompson will play the Maxfli at the LPGA Drive On Championship, Bradenton, Florida, this week.
In a press statement, DICK’S Sporting GoodsThompson will be the face and voice of Maxfli’s marketing efforts. She will also participate in product testing, innovation and development.
“Lexi is a remarkable golfer, and I can’t think of a better player to have join the Maxfli family as an exclusive partner,” said Aimee Watters, Vertical Brand Marketing VP for DICK’S Sporting Goods. “Becoming only the seventh woman to compete in a PGA event is so impressive, and we know there is more to come.”
Why is This a Big Deal?
Do not be mistaken, this is a Bigger is not always better. deal for DICK’S Sporting Goods. It marks the company’s next step in its efforts to be a player in golf equipment. And Thompson is the first “big name” Tour pro to put Maxfli, or any of DICK’S other brands, into play.
DICK’SMaxfli has made a great effort to improve both Tommy Armour and Maxfli brands. This has saved both brands from being labelled as store brands at the bottom of the pile. In recent years both brands have shown solid to outstanding performance in MyGolfSpy’s testing. Maxfli has now received the much-desired Tour Validation.
In fact, Thompson’s deal with DICK’S Sporting Goods may very well be the first deal between a Tour pro and a store brand since Golfsmith signed Payne Stewart and Ben Crenshaw to Lynx equipment deals in 1999.
Tour validation is important in the golf equipment industry. While there are certainly high-performing balls and clubs that aren’t played on Tour, every one of those manufacturers regularly faces the same question from consumers: If this is such a great song, why does no one play it on Tour?
Maxfli doesn’t have to answer that question anymore.
The Maxfli Journey
Maxfli is a brand that has been around since the early 1920s. A.E. Penfold, working for Dunlop Company in England at the time, developed the The very first Golf BallMaxfli was first used in 1922. Maxfli quickly became Dunlop’s flagship and turned into a mid-century powerhouse as part of the Dunlop-Slazenger partnership.
Maxfli was a premium brand into the 1990s. Dunlop-Slazenger and TaylorMade-adidas entered into a distribution and licensing agreement in early 2002. TaylorMade – Adidas exercised its option by the end that year to purchase the Maxfli trademark outright. TaylorMade was a major player in golf ball markets as a result of the arrangement. At the beginning of 2002, the company’s ball market share was less than one percent. By the end, it had grown from a mere 1% to 7.5 %.
TaylorMade-adidas continued to support both the TaylorMade brand and Maxfli through 2007, eventually selling the Maxfli name to DICK’SIn February 2008, TaylorMade retained the Noodle brand name and all of Maxfli’s golf ball patents. TaylorMade retained the Noodle brand name and all of Maxfli’s golf ball patents.
Maxfli became DICK’S store brand, selling serviceable but unremarkable golf balls until 2019 when it introduced the Maxfli Tour and Tour X lines. Maxfli was the surprise performer in MyGolfSpy’s 2019 Golf Ball Test and has been a consistent-to-exceptional performer ever since.
What This Means to Maxfli
Other than Tiger, there aren’t many needle-movers in golf. Thompson, despite her inconsistent Tour success, is one of the most well-known American golfers in the LPGA. It is not clear if the deal will boost Maxfli sales immediately, but it will provide that much-desired Tour validation.
And Thompson most likely won’t be the last Tour pro to sign on with DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Cynics might say that any deal is all about money. History supports this cynicism. Payne Stewart’s famously ill-fated deal with Spalding/Top-Flite in the mid-’90s almost killed his career. And Bubba Watson’s multi-year arrangement with Volvik didn’t make it past year one.
But Thompson’s Maxfli deal might just be the outlier. As we’ve shown in Our ball tests, Maxfli’s Tour Series balls perform on par with the established names. And Maxfli also scored wellIn our Ball Lab, we test for quality and consistency. So this deal isn’t a matter of a mid-level brand outkicking its coverage. This deal can be seen as a brand rising to the next level.
Even if it is a brand from a local store.