New book explores Kohler’s history and dedication to golf
Many resorts have tried to capture the spirit of golf the way Kohler has, but what many may not know is that golf was never part of the master plan. Kohler golf simply grew out of the age-old practice of listening to what customers want. Back in the early 1980s, when guests of The American Club started saying they wanted more opportunities locally to play golf, Herbert V. Kohler Jr. heard them loud and clear. Blackwolf Run was built in 1988 and was an immediate hit, named “Best New Public Course” by Golf Digest.
Twenty-plus years and five courses later, Kohler has cemented its name in the golf industry.
Now fans of both the
sport of golf and Kohler’s
golf courses can read all
about it in “Golf Kohler: In
the New and Old Worlds”
– a lavish coffee table
compendium of six
books loaded with
stories and photos about
the remarkable marriage between this
historic game and one of America’s oldest
Written by 2010 PGA Championship
Program contributor John Steinbreder, the
author of 10 books – six on golf – and a
former writer and reporter for magazines
such as Golf Digest and Sports Illustrated,
“Golf Kohler” uses vintage maps,
photos, and hours of research and
interviews to capture the true flavor of the
game, the courses and the company. The
collection covers everything from the
unusually symbiotic working relationship
between Herb Kohler and legendary golf
course architect Pete Dye to the distinct
personalities of individual courses, each
with its singular pleasures and white-
knuckle challenges. For anyone who
admires the sport and Kohler’s steadfast
commitment to it, “Golf Kohler” is a must-
Built in 1918 to house single male Kohler Co. employees, by the 1970s The American Club had outlived its original purpose and was transformed into a luxury resort hotel. In 1978, the building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places, ensuring it can never be torn down.
industry, and that fire and ambition fueled unprecedented growth and change. Kohler plumbing products have become synonymous with high design and daring inventiveness.
Over the years, Kohler Co. established a solid plumbing beachhead in Europe by bringing such companies as Jacob Delafon, Mira and Sanijura into its family of businesses. These market leaders not only provide an effective base from which to distribute throughout Europe and the Middle East, they also bring excellent product technology and a significant position in growing product categories.
In a relatively short span of time, Kohler has also emerged as the dominant plumbing brand in China. The company has a large
manufacturing footprint in Asia, with numerous plants throughout China, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and India. In addition, Kohler has operations and businesses in Russia, Morocco, Mexico and other far-flung locales that are worlds away from its headquarters in Wisconsin.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Kohler expanded its influence on interior design to foster the merging of the bedroom and bath – a concept it had already pioneered – by entering the furniture and accessories business. Baker and McGuire – two of the finest brand names in the home furnishings industry – brought new markets, technologies and design resources to Kohler that complemented the company’s dedication to excellence.
The company further expanded its presence and influence in the kitchen and bath by bringing mirrored cabinetry and tile manufacturers into the fold with the respected brand names of Robern and Ann Sacks.
Kohler’s Global Power Group grew exponentially as well, and combined its resources and reputation in generators, plumbing and hospitality to spin off Kohler Rental, a business that addresses the temporary power requirements of customers in the mega-billion dollar industrial, construction, corporate, sports and entertainment industries.
The hospitality industry became a focus for the business as well, and the once-sleepy Village of Kohler was transformed into a renowned tourist destination, a charming small town, and home to one of the world’s leading businesses. It offers residents and guests alike the opportunity to take advantage of the area’s extensive amenities,
PHOTO COURTESY OF KOHLER CO.
84 THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP