Anyone compiling a top-five list of the greatest golfers of the last 50 years would place Greg Norman near Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. The Australian has amassed a huge fortune over the years. Norman shares his fortune with his family. In fact, one of his investments comes directly from his son’s company.
Norman’s own organization is also renowned because of how it’s ethically executed. His blueprint on how to sustain a top-tier golfing career and company is one all athletes should follow.
Greg Norman’s golfing career
Prior to the ’80s, nobody other than Australians had heard of Norman. In 1976, he officially became a professional after only six years at the amateur level. Not until 1980 did he start to win international tournaments, finally catching the eye of golfers worldwide.
Norman’s first appearance at The Masters in 1981 put him at fourth place, details Sports Illustrated. This was was quite the rise for a newbie there. While he never won The Masters, he came close several times. His biggest victories came on the PGA Tour (20 wins), plus many more international tournaments.
During the best years of his career between 1984-97, he built a reputation as one of the greatest drivers in golf. His skills were formidable, and he still shows up for senior tours at the age of 65. Like many contemporaries, he also built a brand for himself thanks to his natural business acumen.
The Greg Norman Company
By 1993, Norman was successful enough to start his own company. Initially, he called it Great White Shark Enterprises with a line of golf equipment and clothing. Over the years, the organization managed to acquire other companies and diversify into myriad business categories.
As Norman told Morning Read in late 2019: “What I do have is belief in myself, my brand and its reach, and the people who work for me.” He says he linked up with the right people and utilized his street smarts. Notably, Norman never went to college.
Norman told Sports Business Daily: “I was never educated or knew how to do this, I just believed in myself. When I made this big decision to go out and start up my own company, I had to do my own payroll, I had to find headquarters, I had to build a staff, do all of it”.
Greg Norman’s company delved into the world of technology
After success with golfing equipment and apparel, the company shifted gears by the ’90s into other arenas, first going into winemaking. Then they went into real estate, started an opportunity fund, founded a production company, created eyewear, plus opened restaurants as just a partial list.
Norman’s son, Greg Norman, Jr., started a joint venture with his dad in wakeboarding. They both invested in a park called Shark Wake Park, based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, plus West Palm Beach, Florida. Various wakeboarding complexes are on each property, all of which remain highly successful.
Yes, a sports family truly can work together on building an empire without internal conflict. To date, Norman, Sr. is worth $400 million thanks to his further investment in golf technology (The Shark Experience). This alone continues to change how professionals play the game using connectivity features.