Harry Arnett is the first one to admit that he embarked on his career in sales and marketing quite by accident. “I had no idea what marketing even meant when I first started my professional life. But I always worked for companies that were making really cool, innovative products or creating awesome consumer experiences,” said Arnett, who today is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Carlsbad-based Callaway Golf. “It became clear very early that being able to make a unique, great product was really only part of what made something successful. Being able to position it just as uniquely and effectively and execute it through distribution channels was equally as important. So I became fascinated with that part of it.”
We spoke with the man who “steers the wheel of the content marketing pirate ship” for Callaway Golf to learn about his love of the game, his new Live show, and what makes Callaway special.
How did you first get involved in the game of golf?
I grew up in a golf family. Two of my uncles were PGA club professionals and both grandfathers were avid golfers. My immediate family didn’t play the game at all, but a friend of mine who was a very good player took me out to play when I was in my early 20s and I’ve been completely hooked ever since.
What do you love about the game?
I love the common values that unite us all in the game. The game gives us the opportunity to bring together people from completely different demographics and socio economic statuses in a way that is totally egalitarian. At the end of the day, the ball doesn’t know or care who’s hitting it. Second, I am enamored with golf courses. I love the architecture and the history of places, and that no two courses and no two holes are the same.
How did you first get involved with Callaway Golf?
I came to Callaway in the middle of 2012. I had previously worked for another golf company and I was eager to be a part of the team that was going to again make Callaway the leader in premium performance. When Chip Brewer, our CEO, asked me to come aboard, I was particularly excited about helping create a different kind of company than people might have been used to.
What is your mission as the leader of branding and marketing at Callaway?
My job is to help create excitement and interest in our products. We want to make sure the golfer knows they are right in the middle of everything we do. Every action or interaction we have with a golfer is meant to be a celebration of the superior performance we believe our products deliver.
What was the inspiration and motivation behind your new Live show?
As we started to dive in and be a major part of the digital golf community via our leadership in social media and content marketing, we realized there was an opportunity for us to invite the golfer even more into our world in a unique and fun way. One of the most fun parts about working at Callaway is we are exposed to all different types of golfers from so many different avenues. But those interactions are usually not accessible to the outside world. So we thought we could create a fun, energetic show that showcases interesting conversation intermixed with other lighthearted elements.
Your best interview ever?
I have literally enjoyed every one of them, and I don’t think it’s any secret that everyone on the show has been someone I either already had met and admired or really wanted to meet. Ones that stick out were Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford and Boeing, and Buddy Marrucci, the amateur golf legend. Mulally because he’s someone I’ve admired for a long time and had the chance to meet and have gotten to know a little bit, and Marrucci because he’s someone I have admired from afar but never thought I’d ever get the chance to meet. He is a great connection to the most authentic parts of the game, which I love.
What Callaway products are you most excited about right now?
Great Big Bertha is easily the best driver we’ve ever made. We’ve been making multi-material, advanced-adjustable drivers for many years, of course, but we think we kind of cracked the code with this one with its combination of low spin and incredibly high MOI. Also, our XR irons have been the best-selling iron in the world all year because of face cup technology; and our new Chrome Soft ball has the first Soft Fast core technology for unrivaled Tour ball performance.
What makes those products special?
We have had a guiding light for two decades — DSPD. It’s Demonstrably Superior and Pleasingly Different. That phrase describes those products perfectly.
Here is a Special Edition of “Callaway Talks Live” with AL Morris, President of Worldwide Golf Shops.
Looking ahead, what’s the most exciting thing going on within the company?
More of the same. We are always thinking of new ideas and products we think will help golfers play better than they thought was possible. We take our performance leadership seriously and know that there are other good companies out there trying to make products that can out-perform ours. So we are always trying to stay ahead of the curve.
What’s the best thing about working at Callaway?
Being around a bunch of people who are so passionate about making innovative, outstanding golf products and who care so much about the game and the golfer. It’s such a fun environment to go to everyday. We also used to have a really good soft serve machine in our cafeteria too, but that got re- moved, for some reason nobody can adequately explain to me.
What’s one thing about your job that most people don’t know?
It’s 24/7 these days. I probably interact with more consumers in a day than most people would think I could interact with in a month.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I probably own 100 sweaters. That doesn’t make a lot of sense when you live in Southern California, I realize. Oh, and I probably go through more putters than is generally socially acceptable.
Favorite Callaway club of all time?
I’m going with the new Great Big Bertha. If you have a driver you love, everything else in the game seems easy.
How’s your golf game these days and how often do you get out?
My game is decent right now. I don’t get to play a lot since I have two young daughters, but I love to practice and work on my game whenever I can. Lately, I’ve been trying to hit 30 balls twice a week. It may not sound like a lot, but you’d be surprised how much that makes you focus.
Including yourself, who would make up your ultimate foursome?
I’m going with [comedians] Louis CK and Marc Maron, and Lorne Michaels. That’d be my innovation- in-comedy themed foursome. I don’t even know if any of those guys play golf, but can you imagine how awesome and fun that’d be?