Golf Pride Announces Passing of its Founder and Industry Pioneer Bill Junker
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. … Eaton has announced that the golf industry lost one of its most respected and impactful equipment pioneers, William H. “Bill” Junker. Since the inception of Golf Pride, Bill was the driving force behind the development and the rise of the #1 Grip Worldwide. On November 19, 2017, he passed away in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 93.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Junker, and his late business partners, Thomas Fawick and Jim Karns, revolutionized the golf grip category by demonstrating that molded rubber provides the most playable and highest-performing grip surface available. Under Junker’s leadership, Golf Pride revolutionized the installation of grips with the introduction of the slip-on rubber grip. Prior to then, grips were molded directly on to the shaft making it virtually impossible to change grips. The innovation opened the door for both efficient equipment assembly and a full-fledged pro shop grip replacement business.
After Golf Pride’s parent company was acquired by Eaton Corporation in 1968, Junker retired and moved to Arizona where he enjoyed a successful second-career in commercial real estate. Although he took an early exit from the golf world, Junker maintained keen interest in the game and business, sustaining friendships with many Tour players, industry leaders, and golf writers throughout his life.
Like other innovators who challenged golf traditions, Junker was met with resistance to change, so he fought persistently for his product and vision, and by doing so helped usher golf equipment into the modern era. In 1989, he documented the challenges, adventures, and colorful anecdotes related to launching what at the time was a radical new golf product in his book The History of the Golf Pride Grip. Today, we enjoy Junker’s legacy as the Golf Pride brand continues to be the #1 Grip Worldwide for both amateur and Tour players alike with 80% of Tour Players choosing to play the grip despite no paid endorsement fees.
“Bill Junker might not have stayed in the golf industry long enough to become a household name, but he was a true icon of the game and his mark on it is everlasting,” said James Ledford, President of Golf Pride. “We are honored to have the job of carrying on his legacy of innovation and performance in today’s Golf Pride grips.”
Junker is survived by his wife of 73 years, by 7 of their 8 children, and by 15 grandchildren.
Gifts in Bill’s memory may be made to Faith4life Church, Dallas, 2104 Hutton Dr. Ste. 112, Carrollton TX 75006; The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Phoenix; or Sage Hospice, Scottsdale.
For more information on Golf Pride’s history, and the legacy of Bill Junker, visit https://www.golfpride.com/abou
Eaton’s Golf Pride Grips Division is the world’s largest manufacturer of golf grips, with manufacturing, sales and distribution facilities on six continents. The division’s Golf Pride brand is recognized globally as the number one choice in grips among TOUR and recreational players, competitive amateur golfers, club manufacturers and club repairmen. For more information, visit www.golfpride.com.
Eaton is a power management company with 2016 sales of $19.7 billion. We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 96,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit Eaton.com.