Slazenger was founded in 1881 by the Slazenger brothers, Ralph and Albert. That year, Ralph Slazenger left his native Manchester, and opened a shop on London’s Cannon Street selling rubber sporting goods. Slazenger quickly became a leading manufacturer of sporting equipment for golf and tennis. Their plant in Barnsley, England manufactured tennis balls and exported them around the world until the plant closed in 2002 and production was relocated to the Philippines. This truly British brand has been a pioneer in sports equipment since its inception and is one of the world’s oldest surviving sporting brands.
The war years (1939-1945) saw Slazenger retool and begin manufacturing munitions and other essential items for the war effort. This was commonplace among nonessential manufacturing companies in the UK.
In 1959, Ralph Slazenger sold the company to the Dunlop Rubber Company and in 1996 the company was sold again and became known as Dunlop Slazenger. Another sale in 2004 and the Slazenger Golf brand is born in Europe.
It’s probably safe to say that both changes in technology as well as their complacency within the market played a big part in the downfall of this famous brand. During the days of wooden tennis racquets no one could compete with Slazenger; they were a dominant force in the world. However, the popularity of the metal tennis racquet in the early 1980s and the seemingly overnight transition to composite materials such as fiberglass, graphite, and titanium saw the market become diluted as more brands became available to the consumer.
Slazenger is probably best known for its tennis equipment, in particular, tennis balls. Slazenger’s tennis balls were first requested to be used at Wimbledon by champion tennis players and quickly became the official tennis ball supplier at Wimbledon in 1902. Eighty four years later, yellow Slazenger balls were the first colored tennis ball to be used at this word famous tennis venue, making the Slazenger/Wimbledon relationship the longest, unbroken sports sponsorship in sporting history. This agreement is due to expire in 2015.
Nowadays, Slazenger’s involvement in the golf industry in the US includes golf balls and golf apparel for both men and women. The golf apparel is licensed and handled through another major player in golf sportswear, Antigua.
Slazenger makes some of the most brilliantly colored polo shirts you can find; vivid yellows, pinks and shades of purples quickly add color to an otherwise boring closet. The Slazenger Rise polo in Elan/Hype comes to mind and will wake up the others in your foursome. This polo has a knit ribbed collar and a three button placket and is made of 100% polyester giving it superior moisture-wicking. The Rise polo is available in sizes S – XXL in several colors and retails for around $52.00
The Men’s Theme polo is made of 100% polyester with moisture wicking technology. This interlock knit, polo features an all-over stripe sublimation print with a solid flat knit collar and a 2-color woven label on the cuff. It’s available in seven color combinations in sizes S-XXL and retails for around $52.00
Slazenger golf apparel is available at Golf Galaxy and Dick’s Sporting Goods and can be found online at several golf apparel websites. You can also visit them online at www.antigua.com.