Jack Nicklaus has decided to step away from the day-to-day commitments of the Nicklaus Companies and re-prioritize his time and focus.
Just over ten years ago the Nicklaus and Golden Bear brands were converged in a business format that would allow long-term succession as the Nicklaus Companies. Taking on Howard Milstein as a partner, Nicklaus knew he would have the backing of a man well-versed in the business and golf community. Howard Milstein is Chairman of New York Private Bank & Trust, the largest family owned and operated bank in the United States.
The payoff comes now as the all-time major winner in golf is able to step away from a daily role in the business as he nears his 80th year.
“I have spent my life building the Nicklaus Companies, and there has come a time in my life when I need to reduce my level of involvement and pursue many other things I am very interested in, such as charity work—specifically efforts focused on children’s healthcare—supporting the industry’s initiatives to grow this great game, and being involved in many other things outside of my involvement in the Nicklaus Companies,” Jack Nicklaus said.
“I am 78 years old, and while my health is excellent, and I have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm, it became apparent by last fall that it was time for me to spend more time on these other activities. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, and there is no reason for me to do so, because I will continue to support the Nicklaus Companies and I want the company to be successful. However, my life has changed and I wish to support my wife, as well as other family members, in any endeavor they are involved. I have said many times that Barbara spent much of her life supporting me and my career, and for the last few years, I have tried to dedicate my time and energies to supporting her and what she is involved in. I am enjoying that aspect and want to continue to devote my time to her and these other life-changing efforts, and to enjoy our lives together. I would like to thank Howard. He has enabled me to monetize what I have built-in this company, take care of my family, and allowed me the time to focus on these other priorities in my life.”
In 2004 the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation (nchcf.org) was founded and to date it has raised some $83 million (USD) for paediatric care programs. In 2015, world-renowned Miami Children’s Hospital was renamed Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. In November 2017, the entire Miami Children’s Health System was rebranded to Nicklaus Children’s, including 14 outpatient facilities up the Southeast Florida coast and west to Naples.
Brands Continue To Build
A five decade climb from its roots has allowed the Nicklaus brand to grow immensely, touching on areas like golf-course design, development of golf and real estate communities, and the marketing and licensing of golf products and services.
Nicklaus-branded products have been marketed worldwide since 1962. The Jack Nicklaus and Golden Bear-branded lifestyle collection of products includes: golf academies; ice cream; restaurants; beverages; beverageware; wine; home appliances; apparel; footwear; and golf equipment. Many of these were introduced since Milstein came on as a partner in 2007 with a renewed focus on building the brand.
On the golf course design side of the ledger Nicklaus says he will continue to support the projects under development. His design legacy has included involvement in some 415 project around the world.
Family Stays Involved
Jack Nicklaus will remain as Co-Chairman of the Nicklaus Companies, while Milstein will assume the role of Executive Chairman. The Nicklaus Family will continue to be the majority owner of the Company, with Emigrant/Milstein being a significant investor, and Jack Nicklaus II and Gary Nicklaus continue to serve as members of the Board. In addition, Jack Nicklaus II, who has active golf course design projects all over the world, including Malaysia and Vietnam, remains President of Nicklaus Design.
“Jack Nicklaus has basically spent a lifetime building a successful company and brand that is viewed as the strongest in golf, and we embrace the opportunity and responsibility to make certain this great brand—one that represents excellence—continues to grow in global prominence,” Milstein said. “Jack has also built a company with experienced, talented, innovative and hard-working people, and those colleagues are as much a part of his legacy as the company itself. From CEO John Reese to the management team and the entire staff at the Nicklaus Companies, we have enormous confidence in their ability and are positioned so that the next generation of the Nicklaus Companies will build on the strength Jack and his family created, and that Jack will remain very proud of the legacy he has established. Jack will ensure that the company and the people behind it continue the success enjoyed to date, and he will be a part of it for many years to come.”
Milstein, whose passion for the game of golf has led him to acquire in recent years a number of golf-related businesses—such as True Spec, GolfLogix, Miura, and, just this week, GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com—applauded Jack Nicklaus’ commitment to the game and to his many efforts aimed at giving back to the game.
“Everywhere you turn, Jack Nicklaus has left his imprint on the game of golf,” Milstein added. “About 50 years ago, he was instrumental in creating the enormously successful PGA TOUR we know and enjoy today. In 1976, he created the Memorial Tournament—his gift to Central Ohio that has become one of golf’s most prestigious events. He has been a national co-chair and Trustee of The First Tee, and he and the company have become a Trustee of the PGA of America’s charitable arm, PGA REACH. Jack has certainly given far more back to the game than it has given him, and I know he will continue to impact the game and charity on a daily basis. I am proud to call him a partner.”