Honma Golf hires former TaylorMade chief

Former TaylorMade president and CEO Mark King has joined Honma Golf, a high-end Japanese clubmaker, as a consultant.

King, 58, who ran Adidas-owned TaylorMade from 1999 to 2014, is expected to direct Honma’s efforts to raise its brand profile in the U.S. Though officially listed as an adviser to Honma Golf Chairman Liu Jianguo, a Chinese businessman who purchased the company out of bankruptcy in 2005, a company employee told Golf Digest that King will be in charge of the firm.

After leaving TaylorMade, King became president of Adidas Group North America, but stepped down from that role earlier this year. 

“Honestly, I had no intention of doing anything like this,” King told Golf Digest. “But when I met Chairman Liu I was so impressed with his thinking and his dreams for the company."

King’s challenge will be to raise Honma’s profile in a market niche that’s already dominated by luxury brands PXG and XXIO. He hinted to the magazine that his efforts likely will include new product announcements in January and a presence on the PGA Tour.

Best-known for transforming TaylorMade into the top-selling equipment manufacturer through innovations such as metalwoods and short product cycles, King more recently had become an advocate for nontraditional elements of the game such as 15-inch cups and alternative forms of golf. 

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