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Sometime this year, Cobra Golf will turn 40 years old. Also along the way COBRA PUMA GOLF will celebrate its third birthday. Three years ago, Cobra was acquired by Puma and its parent company (more on that in a moment) from Fortune Brands, which was beginning the divestiture of its golf business. Several golf companies have attempted multi-brand management, but few have succeeded. On the surface it seems as if cohabitation should be symbiotic, yet history has shown it hasn’t been the case. A competitive overlap in various product categories (driver, irons, wedges, putters or balls) can make the new union one of potential cannibalization versus incremental sales growth.

While turning 40 and 3 all in the same year represents an interesting dynamic that could easily be dysfunctional given the track record for some entities joined together. Cobra Golf had a rich history, personified by Greg Norman. The Great White Shark parlayed a $2 million stake into $40 million when the company was taken out and acquired by American Brands, which later changed its name to Fortune Brands. However, 1996 is a long time ago and the world still works in mysterious ways, even if it is a different place than it was before.

Under its previous owner, Cobra enjoyed a strong infrastructure, which it borrowed from Titleist. However, once Kering, a $12 billion business that owns Puma, acquired it the golf business had only 24 employees. In its three years as COBRA PUMA, it has grown to 140+ employees and activity does business in over 40 countries. The economy, in general, hasn’t seen much in the way of new hire in the past three years, but COBRA PUMA was able rebuild itself. “The challenges in the marketplace have helped,” said Bob Philion, President of COBRA PUMA GOLF. “Our position has been helped since the brand is about enjoying golf. It’s become a rally cry within the industry in recent years and it’s helped us.” Philion pointed to COBRA PUMA’s custom business, which now boasts two-day turnarounds and the majority happens in one day, he said. “Our custom business was up over 50% in the first quarter,” Philion revealed.

“We have focused on revitalizing Cobra with products like our AMP CELL line up,” he said. “We’ve expanded in categories and added Tour players such as Rickie Fowler, Jonas Blixt, Jespar Parnevik and Lexi Thompson, who was out first 360-degree athlete,” he continued. “After several years of declining sales, we grew in 2012.”

Philion said the company has used limited edition products to create desirability. Last year it partnered with Ferrari SpA to create the Ferrari Golf Collection, which Philion said was designed to generate a halo effect back on the brand. It has also incorporated color into its product offerings, which indirectly infuses energy through its appearance. “The acquisition happened for a reason and that was because Cobra was a top brand in the past,” said Philion.

Meanwhile, Puma never competed with Cobra in terms of product offerings or directly in specific categories. With Cobra coming on board it allowed Puma some room to grow, Philion explained. “In the beginning accounts tested Puma products but its now gotten much deeper. Puma had a great business back in 2006, but we’ve increased the range and depth by more than 20%,” he said. Invariably the one item that stands out more than anything else and in a way personifies COBRA PUMA GOLF is the infamous orange hat popularized by Rickie Fowler. “We’ve sold more than one million hats,” said Philion. “It’s been a global monster for us. It’s generated brand visibility and is one of the best selling items in golf. We capitalized on distribution to bleed down the body to our other product offerings.” He said footwear was up more than 80% in 2012 and with the help of a new product coming this summer, he is confident there is still more room for even more upside in the category.

“We believe color is the music of the golf industry,” he explained. “Everyone wants to be younger, it’s a marketing message. But it isn’t an age thing. We think everyone who plays golf has a youthful mind, so it isn’t just for juniors. We fish where the fish are,” he explained. “At times it can get edgy. We don’t always play from the fairway and we don’t want to go out of bounds so we sometimes play from the rough.”

Rickie Fowler is the poster boy for the company, which Philion said has generated nothing but positives. “His background, his a southern Cal boy who’s into motor sports, a quarter Japanese and known for his style. He’s a perfect fit for us. But we have other pros too. We’ve expanded our Tour staff and it ranges from 17 to 48 (in age) and that’s a nice demographic spread. The reality is an introduction to Cobra’s new generation. Puma has helped. We are not trying to alienate the core base of consumers,” he said. “ A lot of success is rooted in innovation in the game as well as enjoyment. Cobra created the Baffler, which is the first hybrid in golf. Its help a lot of players enjoy the game over the years.”

The revitalized COBRA PUMA GOLF saw sales improve by more than 20% in the first quarter, Philion said. In the three years since it acquired the brand, business has doubled, he added. Philion wouldn’t divulge actual sales citing company policy but added that future open orders are trending up more than 40%, provided warmer weather invades North America and Europe.

The last three years haven’t been the friendliest for many businesses. Golf enjoyed a better than expected year in 2012, thanks to Mother Nature. While its been somewhat of a slow start in 2013, Philion and company appear to be more than on track with their own plans and progress despite the ups and downs of the golf industry.