Rosenthal tries to out-club the competition

Jesse Ortiz and Malibu resident Walter Rosenthal at the Bobby Jones Boutique in Beverly Hills. Photo by LeaAnne Roddan

Walter Rosenthal, a Malibu resident and CEO of the Bobby Jones Golf Company, promoted his company’s new line of golf clubs at an event in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. The event also celebrated the 75th anniversary of Bobby Jones’ legendary Grand Slam of golf.

By Kevin Connelly/Special to The Malibu Times

Golf, golf, golf … and more golf.

That was the theme at a party last week promoting the Bobby Jones Player Series golf clubs for men and women at the Bobby Jones Boutique in Beverly Hills. Malibu resident and CEO of the Bobby Jones Golf Company Walter J. Rosenthal and COO Jesse Ortiz hosted the event Feb. 16.

The clubs are designed by Ortiz, who began making golf clubs in 1968.

“I am extremely happy with the response these clubs are receiving,” Ortiz said. “I needed a brand name for my clubs and there is no finer name in all of golf than Bobby Jones. I am very humbled and honored. There is a lot of pressure in trying not to tarnish the mystique of Bobby Jones.

“We will carry his legacy in the finest country clubs and golf shops in the country,” he continued. “I tried to create the best possible product without worrying about price. Everything is first class.”

Ortiz has previously served as chief designer at Orlimar Golf Company. While at Orlimar, Ortiz designed and developed many products introduced by the company, including the TriMetal fairway metal line. According to the Bobby Jones Golf Company, this product was consistently ranked among the top fairway drivers by PGA Tour and senior PGA Tour players in the Darrell Surveys.

In 1999, Ortiz received the International Network of Golf Business Achievement Award and was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. He received his bachelor’s in business administration from the University of San Francisco.

“Jesse Ortiz is the creative thrust behind the project,” Rosenthal said at the event. “We are targeting the Fairway Woods and hybrid market as only a Jesse Ortiz line of clubs can.”

Rosenthal founded the Bobby Jones Golf Company after reaching an agreement with the family of Bobby Jones (a group known as the Jonesheirs Inc.). Rosenthal has secured an exclusive license from the Jonesheirs. He identified Fairway Woods, an expanding golf club category, as an opportunity to align with Ortiz, recruiting him as the company’s chief designer and his partner.

“My grandfather would have been so proud to play with these clubs,” said Bob Jones IV, grandson of Bobby Jones and official representative of Jonesheirs Inc. “In addition to his other accomplishments, he was an engineer who loved technological improvement. He was also the first person to put his name on a golf club. Jesse’s designs represent a logical extension of my grandfather’s approach to the game.”

Rosenthal has previously served as the CEO of Budget Group Inc. from 1980 to 1998. He was the CEO of De Cartier’s Eternit N.V., North American Company from 1976 to 1980. Rosenthal is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and he received his MBA from San Diego State University. He is husband to active Malibu education activist Laura Rosenthal.

According to the Bobby Jones Golf Company, country clubs, resorts and select specialty shops will begin receiving shipments of the Bobby Jones Players Series in early March.

The event was also a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Bobby Jones’ legendary Grand Slam of golf in 1930 in which he won the open and the amateur championships in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Bobby Jones is the only golfer to win the acknowledged four majors in the same season.

Jones was 28 years old when he achieved the feat. He retired from golf shortly after winning the Grand Slam, still an amateur, and went on to found the storied Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.

The Masters and the PGA Championship have replaced the amateur crowns in constituting the current definition of the modern grand slam events, or majors.