Their Own Words E-Z-GO Golf Carts

By Casey BiererJuly 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editors note: Founded in Augusta, Ga., in 1954, E-Z-GO is the first name in golf car manufacturing. E-Z-GO golf cars can be found at great courses around the world ' including seven of the top 10 of Americas 100 Greatest as ranked by Golf Digest ' while their popularity as a mode of neighborhood transportation is skyrocketing. Over the years, E-Z-GO has engineered countless innovations like the Precision Drive System, which allows operators to tailor a golf cars performance to suit varied terrain.
 
John L. Garrison brought 20 years of managerial and operations experience to the position of E-Z-GO President in 2002. Under Garrison, the company has strengthened its stance as the golf car industry leader while introducing bold initiatives such as the E-Z-GO Factory Showroom near The Villages, Fla., and Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO, a new customization division. Garrisons knowledge and versatility are evident in his education ' he holds an engineering degree from the United States Military Academy and an MBA from Harvard.

 
A Conversation with John Garrison, President, E-Z-GO
 
Casey / Q:
Quite a history your company has
 
John / A:
We have been serving the golf industry for the better part of 53 years now. We are a significant long term player and we take great pride in having been part of this wonderful industry for such a long time. Our jobs here are geared towards making the very best products we can and providing the very best service we can to make sure we are around for another 50 years.
 
Casey / Q:
The two biggest companies in the golf car industry, E-Z- GO and Club Car, are located not much more than a Bubba Watson drive away from one another. How did you both come to be located in Augusta, Georgia?
 
E-Z-GO
E-Z-GO
John / A:
Maybe a little farther away from one another than one of Bubbas drives, but not too much I guess. Well, the Dolan brothers founded E-Z-GO here in Augusta way back when. They worked for many years and then sold the company to Textron. Ultimately, Bev Dolan retired as the Chairman and CEO of Textron Corp. Billy Dolan and seven executives from E-Z-GO werent particularly thrilled with the direction E-Z-GO was moving after Bev Dolan retired so they acquired Club Car which at the time was a small golf car company in Texas and they moved it here to Augusta, Georgia. So you had the evolution of what can be politely called a very dynamic, competitive environment. Thats how Augusta, Georgia became the worlds golf car city.
 
Casey / Q:
Whats your assessment of the current situation in the golf car segment of the golf industry?
 
John / A:
Were doing well. We have gone with the ebb and flow of the golf industry post 9/11 and so we have had to adjust to the dynamic changes in the industry just as many of the other companies in the golf industry have had to adjust. We are thrilled to continue to call many of the great golf courses in golf our customers and partners. We have seven of the top ten courses of Americas 100 Greatest List. We continue to deal with companies like the Pebble Beach Company. Were on a couple of major champion sites this year in Oakmont and Southern Hills and were excited about that.
 
Casey / Q:
How did business change for you in a post 9/11 business climate?
 
John / A:
We saw an adjustment in some cases in the size of fleets. I think the biggest adjustment we saw was in the reduction of new course openings. If you remember back to last year one of the big headlines in golf had more golf courses in North America closing than opening. This is something that had never happened before. This is a far cry from what we were experiencing in the 90s when 300 to 400 new courses a year were opening. So we had to adjust to this new paradigm of a stable market rather than a growing market. Its still a good market but it is much more of a stable and steady market and thats the adjustment we had to make.
 
Casey / Q:
What is the relationship between E-Z-GO and Textron?
 
John / A:
Well, Textron is our parent company and I am proud to say I think we are the oldest company in Textrons portfolio. Bev and Billy Dolan founded E-Z-GO and then in 1961 sold the company to Textron. Its a great relationship because it provides us the resources we need from a large, multi-national Fortune 500 company. Were able to bring in a lot of top talent from other Textron companies. A lot of our executive team comes from other Textron businesses. We can call on important and varied resources that are available from such a large and premiere Fortune 500 entity. Theyve been in the business a long time and they really understand the business and they like the business.
 
E-Z-GO
E-Z-GO
Casey / Q:
Theres also the finance side of your business, correct?
 
John / A:
Thats right. The E-Z-GO Textron Finance Company is one of the largest lenders in the golf industry. They do most of the leasing for our fleets of golf cars and utility vehicles. They also have a large mortgage business. And then our sister company Jacobson provides a lot of the turf equipment to the golf industry. So Textron is a major player in golf when you consider E-Z-GO, Textron Finance and Jacobson. In reality we are calling on the resources of an $11 billion company and as you can imagine that is a big help.
 
Casey / Q:
What is the passion that drives your business?
 
John / A:
Without a doubt the passion that drives our business is customer service and the drive to improve our products. Its been very exciting over the last couple of years to see the company grow and change as the market place has changed.
 
Casey / Q:
What do you consider E-Z-GOs strength to be?
 
John / A:
We stress the value we provide to our customers and a significant part of that is the value that our product provides. In order for us to be competitive in a global economy we have to produce a world class vehicle at a world class cost. Our customers are looking for a competitively priced vehicle but they understand the value that a golf car provides to them in terms of revenue generation on a golf course. I am happy to tell people it is the highest return capital good in business. We surround the quality product with a tremendous sales organization and a tremendous service organization. Being in the business as long as we have we understand that we are making a product but at the end of the day we are in the service business and we have to make sure we provide the service that our customers have come to expect so that their fleets are up and running properly all the time.
 
Casey / Q:
You guys produce a wide range of vehicles. Talk about some of the vehicles you offer other than golf carts.
 
John / A:
Well, youre right Casey. We are far more than a golf cart company. Weve got a very broad product offeringactually over 50 different types of vehicles that we produce. We produce a complete line of utility vehicles, a line that we call our MPT line. These vehicles are geared towards golf turf utility uses. We also have a complete line of ST or sport truck product line. These are utility vehicles that are used in all sorts of business applications from nurseries to schools to campus activities. And off of this line we have a consumer line of ST Sport and ST Sport 2+2 and our ST Custom line that are vehicles purchased by individual consumers and these are used as run-a-bouts in gated communities. And to round things off we offer a complete line of shuttle vehicles ' four and six passenger shuttle vehicles ' and Im sure youve seen these vehicles used everywhere: churches, airports, shopping malls, amusement parks, etc.
 
Casey / Q:
Does E-Z-GO still own the Cushman brand?
 
John / A:
We sure do. We produce a complete line of heavy industrial utility vehicles under the Cushman brand. Youll see E-Z-GO and Cushman throughout the industry. And one other brand of car that we are doing extremely well with is our Freedom golf car. This is a tremendous growth opportunity for us. These are golf cars that are sold to people for the most part in gated communities and theyre used as both on-course golf cars as well as general transportation around the community.
 
Casey / Q:
What about the technology you build in to golf cars that we cant necessarily see; like the Precision Drive System?
 
John / A:
We pioneered the PDS (Precision Drive System), a regenerative braking system, and that advancement and technology at the time led to improved control of a golf car while generating energy that goes back in to the cars batteries while the car is out on the course. We try to make our golf cars appealing to look at but the real beauty is under the skin ' under the hood so to speak ' and thats the technology that makes sure the golf car will operate beyond the users expectations and provide a wonderful experience to the golfer.
 
Casey / Q:
I see more and more customized private golf cars than ever before. Tell us about this market.
 
John / A:
Well, Casey, this custom golf car, custom parts and accessories aspect of the business ' the bling of golf cars if you will ' is huge and getting bigger and bigger by the day. Individual consumers, when they purchase a golf car, they dont want it to look like a fleet golf car. As a result, weve done a lot in our accessories and options business to be able to offer customized versions of our golf cars because that is what the individual consumer is looking for. They want to differentiate themselves from their clubs fleet cars and from their neighbors. So weve been thrilled to see that part of our business grow so rapidly.
 
Casey / Q:
So what kinds of custom accessories and options do you offer?
 

John / A:
Oh my, just about anything you can think of. Some of the more popular options might be a stereo, CD player, chrome wheels, spinner wheels, chrome step-ups, seat designs and materials, air-conditioners, TVs, paint schemes, coolers to keep beverages coldall kinds of fun things. And the interesting thing is this customization program is spilling over to our dealerships and our dealerships are starting to have much more of a car dealership feel to them. For example, we have a factory showroom down in the Villages in Florida not far from where the Golf Channel is located. And it is a heck of an inviting place to go buy a golf car. It really feels like you are going in to a car dealership showroom.
 
Casey / Q:
You have a couple of the heavy weights of all heavy weights as customers of E-Z-GO, dont you?
 
John / A:
If youre referring to the two gentlemen I think you are referring to you are absolutely right. Mr. Palmer has been a long time supporter of E-Z-GO and we are proud to say he runs all of our products on all his golf properties. And the same can be said for Jack Nicklaus. Weve had a long standing relationship with both these great men of the game and it is something we are very proud of. Weve also recently signed Vaughn Taylor to represent us on the PGA TOUR. Vaughn is an Augusta, Georgia native and his mom worked for many years at E-Z-GO. So thats pretty neat. Signing someone like Vaughn helps us in reaching out to individual golfers as customers which is a growing part of our business in addition to the regular fleet golf car part of our business. And Vaughn is just a great young man and a heck of a player so we are delighted to have him associated with our brand.
 
Casey / Q:
What makes a golf car a good golf car?
 
John / A:
Weve done our job when a golf car is transparent to the golf experience. A lot of engineering and manufacturing capability and competency goes in to building a golf car so that it is comfortable, easy to use, safe, and provides a reliable 18-hole round of golf for the golfer. All these things are often overlooked by the golfer and thats just fine with us because it means we were relatively unobtrusive to the golf experience itself. So when a golfer isnt really thinking about the golf car, theyre just using the golf car, thats when we know weve done a good job.
 
Casey / Q:
What do want the golfer to know ' our GOLF CHANNEL readers ' to know about E-Z-GO?
 
John / A:
Id like your great Golf Channel audience to know that
E-Z-GO is a company that for 53 years has had an absolute passion for customer satisfaction. We have the most dedicated work force all the way through our organization from the folks who actually manufacture our golf cars to the designers and engineers, the sales people, the folks that service the golf cars, our administrators and executives. On every level we have a passionate, dedicated team that is focused on providing a wonderful customer experience. And that is on the fleet golf car side of the business as well as the individual customer side of the business. Every customer is important to us and thats what Id really like people to know.
 
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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.