Parent Company Files for Bankruptcy Protection
The Polara Golf bankruptcy will shutter one of the most controversial golf ball producers in the industry.
The bankruptcy comes as its parent company, Aero-X Golf Inc., files for Chapter 11 protection, listing less than $1.0 million in assets and nearly $3.0 million in liabilities.
Polara’s claim to fame revolves around its specialized golf balls, which claimed to aid a golfer’s game. The ball was designed to reduce a golfer’s slice by as much as half (a slice being when the ball strays to the side, rather than fly straight following contact). The product was branded as the “ultimate straight” ball, with an arrow showing how best to line up the ball for the maximum chance of a straight drive. Purists decried the ball as cheating, but many welcomed the perceived boost.
The controversial ball first appeared in 1974, and the company began selling it in 1977. The U.S. Golf Association (USGA) wouldn’t approve of the ball for use in tournaments, leading to a lawsuit by Polara. After seven years, the USGA finally settled the case, paying Polara $1.4 million to remove the ball from the market.
The company disappeared for a time, only to be revived in 2005 when a new company purchased the rights to the ball design and began making it again. Then, in 2009, Aero-X bought the rights to the specialized ball.
Sales were strong at the beginning, as many golfers flocked to the opportunity to better their game. But all was not well at Polara.
A $1.3-million legal claim owed to David Felker, a former chief executive of the company, led to the Polara Golf bankruptcy. An order related to that case also shut down Polara’s e-commerce site, putting sales on hold while draining the company of cash.
The culminating effect was that the company found itself deep in debt, with few opportunities to remedy the situation. Between that claim and other lawsuits, the Polara Golf bankruptcy may be out of mulligans.
“Maker of golf’s ‘banned ball’ files for Chapter 11,” Washington Business Journal, December 19, 2017.