Yonex began as the Yoneyama Co., a manufacturer of wooden floats for fishing nets. The company succeeded for a time, but as plastics became the more durable, lower-cost choice in the business, Yoneyama transitioned into making other wooden items such as badminton and tennis rackets. It wasn't until 1989 that golf appeared on the company's radar. Their first clubs were wooden until technology took over again and composite graphite became the company's niche for golf drivers and fairway woods.
The Yoneyama Company Ltd. was founded in 1946, but it wasn't until it's transition away from fishing equipment to a new focus on raquet sports several years later that the company became known as Yonex. With it's focus on world-class and eventually Olympic-level badminton, then tennis, Yonex became a true force in sporting goods through the 1980s. When it launched its technologically advanced first line of golf clubs in 1989, it became one of the first Japanese clubmakers to make inroads on the American PGA Tour. With a devotion to technology, Yonex became a leader in all three sports throughout the 1990s, eventually becoming a publicly traded company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1994.
In the mid-1990s, Yonex started exploring the composite materials market with graphite and steel hybrid clubs emphasizing light weight to maximize swing speed. It wasn't until 1996 that Yonex released its first metal driver, the Super A.D.X. Titanium. Since then, Yonex has developed a full line of golf equipment including irons, wedges and hybrid clubs for all player levels.
Yonex has a long list of professional tennis and badminton players on its roster, and the company is expanding its reach into the European and U.S. markets with pro golfers such as 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomery and PGA Tour rookie Ryo Ishikawa. The second-ranked player in the world, Phil Mickelson, was a Yonex player until he switched to Titleist in 2000, then later to Callaway.
Yonex has always been known in the specialty golf competitions. Ever since it set the standard of 412 yards in 1989, long driving has been a tradition with the club maker. In 1991, Yonex first introduced its Long Drive Team, an elite roster of golfers competing for and winning long drive competitions around the country and around the world.
Although still a leader in tennis and badminton, Yonex is continuing to expand its reach into the golf world. A longtime presence on the Asian and Australasian professional tours, the full line of Yonex equipment from drivers to irons to hybrids to wedges and even putters is making headway in the American golf landscape.