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PowaKaddy celebrates 40 years as pioneer of the electric golf trolley industry

PowaKaddy, pioneer of the electric golf trolley industry, is proud to be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1983, PowaKaddy has enjoyed four decades of success in the golf industry, and continues to drive forward golf trolley technology to this day.

PowaKaddy’s story started in the late 1970’s, when Joe Catford, a Kent-based watchmaker and keen golfer, used his watchmaking experience to design his own electric trolley incorporating a helical reduction gearbox, replacing inefficient chain and belt-drives. Around the turn of the new decade, Joe had honed his design to the point where he began using it whilst playing his regular rounds of golf around the Sittingbourne area – and his trolley quickly began to turn heads.

Around this time, Joe opened an automotive repair shop in Sittingbourne, which would eventually become PowaKaddy’s first headquarters. Meanwhile, Joe’s trolley continued to make waves around the local area, and he soon had a handful of friends asking for their own – he duly obliged, and, over the next few years would continue to hone his trolley design.

In 1983, Joe, along with business partner, and local entrepreneur John Martin, and son David, went to The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale with a selection of prototypes of the PowaKaddy Classic. This visit to The Open would kickstart the PowaKaddy brand into formal existence, as the team returned from the North-West with over 500 orders. These very first official orders began shipping to golf professionals and retail outlets in late 1983.

Over the next few years, the business grew steadily. Later in that decade, in 1988, PowaKaddy launched the Rio, which initially was released as a power-assisted pull trolley – the brand accompanied the release with a targeted ad campaign that resulted in a transformative 10,000 orders for the new trolley model.

The very same year, Joe and John sold the business to Sunleigh PLC, and Joe Catford and John Martin would subsequently exit the business in 1989 and 1990, respectively. In 1991, Sunleigh installed John deGraft-Johnson as Managing Director, whilst Joe’s son, David, would remain at the business as the brand’s leading technical and operational head.

The next decade saw the growth of the wider golf trolley industry, which included the inception of Joe Catford’s newest venture; Hill Billy – Hill Billy would serve as a close competitor to PowaKaddy through the late 1990’s, in no small part due to Joe’s influence. 1999 brought the release of the first iteration of PowaKaddy’s ultra-popular Freeway range, which quickly became the number 1 trolley range in the UK.

In 2000, PowaKaddy was purchased by a team led by John deGraft-Johnson, and simultaneously purchased the Hill Billy brand from David and his brother Chris, bringing the two companies together under one roof. The brand would win a number of industry awards during this time period, and in November 2001, the company introduced the pioneering RoboKaddy – the brand’s first remote-controlled golf trolley.

In 2005, shortly after John deGraft-Johnson had moved on from PowaKaddy, the PowaKaddy Group is formed, under Private equity firm Graphite Capital.

Following a turbulent and inconsistent six-year period, in 2012, David Catford and now business partner John deGraft-Johnson bought the PowaKaddy brand – in turn sparking PowaKaddy’s return to the forefront of the electric trolley industry.

Under new leadership, PowaKaddy launched the Freeway Family range of electric trolleys in 2013 - incorporating the unique PowaFrame® chassis into every new model, and later introduced the revolutionary Plug 'n' Play™ battery connection technology in early 2014.

The next decade would see a seismic shift in the management structure of PowaKaddy, as Catford and deGraft-Johnson looked to future-proof the company – rewarding loyalty to those integral to the initial success of the business primarily, and more recently investing in a number of senior management and engineering staff that have been brought on to take the business to the next level over the coming years.

PowaKaddy would continue to break new ground in product innovation in the late 2010s with the launch of the ultra-compact C2 trolley in April 2017 – the brand’s smallest folding trolley ever – and the FW7s GPS, the world’s first electric trolley with integrated GPS, in July 2017 – this new GPS integration allowed users to incorporate the entire GPS experience into the trolley handle, removing the need for secondary GPS devices or mobile phone apps for the first time.

This decade, PowaKaddy has further cemented its position as the world’s leading trolley brand. The brand launched the FX and CT ranges in March 2020, followed more recently by the release of the flagship CT8 GPS in March 2022, and the ground-breaking RX1 GPS, the world's first touchscreen remote-controlled GPS trolley, in February 2023.

David Catford, CEO of PowaKaddy, expressed his pride and gratitude on this momentous occasion: "Everyone at PowaKaddy is delighted to be celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2023. To still be at the forefront of the golf trolley industry after four decades is a tremendous achievement, and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic staff over the years.

“Additionally, we could not have achieved the successes of the last 40 years without the unwavering support of our partners, customers, and of course every single consumer that has bought a PowaKaddy trolley.” He added.

Eddie Reid, TGI Golf Partnership Managing Director said: “The PowaKaddy and TGI Golf brands have a great synergy and we have enjoyed continued growth as constant companions over the last past few decades.

“PowaKaddy is a great team to work alongside, offering quality support to both retailers and consumers. Congratulations on 40 years, and all the best for the next 40.”

David Clifford, Head Professional at Wellingborough Golf Club, commented on PowaKaddy’s achievement: “I joined Wellingborough as head professional just a couple of months after PowaKaddy’s inception in 1983, and I’m delighted to have been working with the brand for almost the entirety of its existence. PowaKaddy have been a pleasure to work

with over the last 39 years, and it has been brilliant to see how the company has evolved – well done to the whole team on reaching 40 years as pioneer of the golf trolley industry!”

Terry Sims, Managing Director at Euroselect Golf, added: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years in the life of PowaKaddy. I’m sadly old enough now to remember hauling Classic PowaKaddy’s out of the Caddymasters shed for the members at Wentworth in the late 80’s. Many would have never foreseen the advancements to CT8 GPS EBS or RX1 with Lithium batteries 40 years later. Congratulations.”

Nick Tempest, General Manager at Euroselect Golf commented “Congratulations to PowaKaddy on their 40th anniversary. The PK brand continuously innovates their product line every year to meet the expectations of our customers and they never disappoint, producing high quality, technology driven products.”

Andy Martin, Managing Director at Foremost, said: “We would like to extend a massive congratulations to PowaKaddy for their continual evolution over the last 40 years and the impact they have made for both golfers and retailers in the UK.

Foremost was formed just one year later in 1984 and Foremost members have worked closely with the brand and enjoyed the fruits of this partnership over the last four decades.”

Lawrence Bailey commented “Complete Golfer has been proud to sell PowaKaddy trolleys since we opened in March 1990. I remember the trolley at the time was the PowaKaddy Classic that came in 3 pieces with a very heavy lead-acid battery.

It was ahead of its time then and I am delighted that PowaKaddy remains ahead of its time now as they celebrate 40 years of business. The current PowaKaddy trolleys are fantastic as is the Management and staff. I will continue to cheer PowaKaddy upwards and onwards!”

Today, PowaKaddy stands tall as a pioneer of innovation, reliability, and quality in the golf trolley industry, with over 1,000,000 trolleys sold to-date.


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