The core of the corporate culture at Volvik crackles with color. This is a company all about looking on the bright side, first as a pioneer in multi-colored golf balls and, more recently, with the easy-to-follow matte finish. And when Volvik started expanding into the U.S. market, the LPGA seemed like a perfect fit, most recently attaching its name to the Founders Cup.
The ball manufacturer based in South Korea started in business in 1980 but didn’t make a big push into the American market until well into this century, first with the Volvik LPGA Championship in Michigan from 2016 through 2018 and then with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in 2017.
Now Volvik includes among its endorsement partners LPGA members Chella Choi, Mi Hyang Lee and Pornanong Phatlum and supports the Volvik Race for the Card on the Symetra Tour, the annual chase for the 10 automatic spots for the next LPGA season available to the top Symetra Tour players.
Now there is its partnership with the Founders Cup, the Phoenix stop that honors the 13 women who created the LPGA 70 years ago as well as all those pioneers who help build the tour into the oldest, continuous professional sports league for women. The first edition of that partnership has been pushed back by the Coronavirus but remains a prime thought for Volvik.
“‘The LPGA has always been in our mind,” Don Shin, President of Volvik USA said by phone from Los Angeles on a week when he planned to be in Phoenix.
“Ever since we came into the U.S. market, we’ve been involved with the LPGA,” Shin says. “When the chance came along for the Founders Cup, that was a great opportunity to be involved in an event that highlights the history of the LPGA as well as an event in the golf-passionate Phoenix market.”
Like the LPGA, Volvik is about breaking down barriers and expanding borders, both globally in terms of markets and demographically when it comes to players. Volvik’s wide array of colors are popular with younger golfers who like the non-conventional look as well as older players who find the bright balls easier to follow in flight and find on the fairway – or off it.
“We wanted to change the game for all aspects of golfers – juniors, women, seniors – by making it more fun and easier to enjoy while providing players with high-performing golf balls,” Shin says.
The Volvik Founders Cup was going to be the first showcase of new products rolled out at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando this January. Featured in the new line are the 2020 XT Soft, the 2020 XT AMT and the 2020 VIVID.
“They represent the latest in research and technology, and we know they will be very well received by golfers across the entire playing-ability spectrum,” Shin says.
While disappointed that the Volvik exposure on the stage provided by the Founders Cup has been delayed, Shin is excited about what the future offers.
“We believe the Founders Cup is a great opportunity for the LPGA to highlight its history and the tremendous growth it has had over the years,” Shin says. “It is a joy to be part of the Founders Cup and the LPGA did everything it could to make it happen this year. But there are things more important than golf.”
Shin says the way in which the delay was handled is another example of the value of working with the LPGA. The players, the tournaments and the Tour are easy to work with, he says.
“Postponing was a difficult decision but it was the right decision and hopefully we can play the tournament in the fall or later,” Shin says. “I really respect Commissioner Mike Whan. He always tries to do the right thing. We support this decision 200 percent. He has been a pleasure to work with.”
The Founders Cup is a logical fit for Volvik. The tournament honors women who boldly blazed a new trail and Volvik sees itself in the same light.
“In 2017, we came out with the first matte finish golf balls and we had people scratching their heads; they said they couldn’t see the dimples,” Shin says. “Now everyone is making it. Our innovations are bringing new players to the game and bringing players back to the game who had left it.”
The way in which the LPGA has responded to a global health emergency only highlights the strength of the Tour and the growing value of golf, Shin says.
“Hey, these are difficult times, but people are still playing golf,” Shin says. “It’s an outdoor sport. It’s a healthy activity. And soon it will return as tournament golf.”
Like his golf balls, Don Shin sees the future brightly ahead. Like the LPGA Founders, Volvik is about blazing new trails, this one strewn with brightly colored landmarks.