Hornung's Pro Golf Sales, Inc.: A Wisconsin Legend
By Art McCafferty
Like Michigan, Wisconsin contributes not only great golf courses to the nation's inventory, but also outstanding businesses as well. Hornung's, a golf business that dates back to the mid 30's, is now into its third generation of family ownership and it is steaming along, stronger than ever.
Clarence Hornung began the business in the mid 30's by leasing legalized golf ball slot machines to pro shops and country clubs. The business continued to grow, but the legality of the machines suddenly came into question in Wisconsin during WWII. It was then that the business refocused into recycled golf balls, due to the fact that all rubber was going to the war effort and new golf balls were not being made. That portion of the business continued on into the early 50's, but by that time the company was handling a long list of other golf related products. Clarence would head out from his combination mobile home and sales office and hit golf tournaments and events throughout the country, while his family filled the incoming orders from their home office. This continued until his death in 1959.
Robert Hornung, his son, was able to get the business out of the family home and into a series of buildings in Fond du Lac in 1961, as the organization continued to grow and prosper. After a tremendous growth of the business under his watch, the business was passed on to the present leadership of his son Robert P. Hornung Jr. and his mother, Gretchen.
Hornung's is a major player in golf accessories. It has become so by offering a wide variety of products to its customers along with its legendary service.
In Michigan, the father and son team of Peter Allen Sr. and Jr represent Hornung's. Together they service the Lower Peninsula. They are part of a 25 person national sales force that is the link between the 136 page Hornung's catalogue with its tremendous array of golf products and the distribution and fulfillment team at Fond du Lac.
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