Charlie Blume Inducted into the ICG Hall of Fame

Originally from upstate New York, Charlie found the harsh winters not to his liking and decided to go south. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1964, and served four years, including one tour in Viet Nam in 1966/67 as a squad leader where he was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor devise and three Purple Hearts.

After being honorably discharged from the Marines, he stayed in the southern United States, and discovered his outgoing personality and desire to help people were the perfect aptitude for the sales field. He began his sales career selling life and health insurance. He was subsequently recruited by a photo finishing company in Florida shortly after earning his CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) designation, and was instrumental in leading the company’s growth and expansion into five southeastern states after securing four major drug and apothecary retail store chains. During these three years he earned his Associate Degree in Business Administration. He was the Jacksonville area sales manager when he was recruited by an up and coming photofinishing company based in North Carolina as sales manager for their Atlanta division. The Atlanta division quickly grew, and he was chosen to open a new division in Birmingham Alabama. He continued to produce profitable growth year after year, and his consistent performance earned him a promotion to Regional Marketing Director followed by Sr. Regional Marketing Director. However, corporate turmoil and company politics hastened his decision to retire after 24 years.

He then joined an import/export corporation as Vice President of sales and marketing, and quickly learned the art of importing and exporting goods from Asia to the U.S. He opened factories in Mexico to take advantage of NAFTA regulations, and again dealt with key retail chain store owners throughout the U.S. The company continued to grow but Charlie was traveling much more than he wanted, and he missed his family and favorite pastime…playing golf!

So, after more than 30 years in the corporate world, Charlie’s entrepreneurial spirit and his love for the game of golf led him to research the number of golf courses within a two hour drive of his home office. He found there were 125 golf courses (83 percent daily fee - almost as many as Myrtle Beach, SC). With plenty of advertising prospects and golf courses to profile and play, he launched a monthly regional golf magazine that became both popular and profitable in distributing 10,000 copies a month to golf courses, retailers, restaurants and subscribers. A few years later, he produced a weekly 30 minute TV golf show featuring local golf courses and PGA professionals, but time and personal restraints caused him to discontinue the show after the first season. He and his wife also published a quarterly southern life style publication during this period.

During these years, Charlie met and befriended many PGA and Tour professionals including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods, along with numerous celebrities, golf business owners and corporate executives. He also had the good fortune of having some of the top Clubmakers in the country like Tom Wishon and Bob Dobbs write articles that he published in his regional golf magazine.

It was also during this time that he met Charlie Shin, the original owner of FiberX, which was based in Huntsville, Alabama. FiberX later became SK Fiber, and Charlie purchased the company in 2004.

SK Fiber was one of the first company sponsors of the International Clubmakers Guild. Charlie recognized the importance of an organization dedicated to the education and growth of the clubmaking/fitting segment of the business, and became very involved in helping with the organizational structuring. He served two terms on the Board of Directors as Treasurer, and remains active in the ICG organization by serving on several working committees.

 

Charlie sold SK Fiber to Hireko in December 2012, and is now retired and living with his wife Barbara in Huntsville Alabama. He continues to consult with Hireko on design concepts for the SK Fiber line of golf shafts. He is almost always available to talk about golf or shaft fitting solutions, unless he’s playing golf or spending quality time with his grandson.