Bridgestone Golf, which has made a name for itself golf ball fitting the past few years, says it is approaching its one hundred thousandth personalized ball fitting. Perhaps not coincidentally, the company says its ball market share is increasing.
Citing Golf Datatech, which tracks sell-through numbers are pro shops and retail stores, Bridgestone has experienced an increase of more than 50 percent in combined on-course and off-course sales since it introduced custom ball fitting in 2008. According to Bridgestone, that represents a greater overall category share growth than any other ball manufacturer during that period.
Impressive to be sure, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind: One, because of its tremendous market share leadership, Titleist has a lower ceiling in regards to growth; and two, no other ball company, such as Nike, Callaway, TaylorMade or Srixon, has made any significant market share inroads.
According to Golf Datatech, Bridgestone currently boasts an 11.5 percent combined market share in the on/off category. Much of the share gains can be attributed to an increase in distribution, particularly at green-grass retailers. Since 2008, Bridgestone says it has experienced a 25 percent increase in the number of on-course retailers carrying its golf ball line. The increased distribution, powered largely by on-course ball-fittings according to the company, has led Bridgestone golf ball sales to increases of 2.25 percent in unit share and 1.84 percent in dollar share among on-course retailers since 2009.
“Ball-Fitting has been the single largest factor in our growth as it has opened many doors for us where we were previously shut out,” said Dan Murphy, Vice President of Marketing – Bridgestone Golf, Inc. “It’s tremendously appealing for a golf professional because, almost without exception, after a ball-fitting the retailer sees a significant uptick in ball sales.’’
In 2011, Bridgestone says it will have 25 teams of ball-fitting experts actively fitting golfers for the ideal ball for their swing characteristics around the country.