Golf equipment industry ready to put on its best funny face

The annual PGA Merchandise is now one week away, meaning it’s time for golf equipment companies to put on their best faces and pretend that all is well in the industry. If that were the case, major companies such as Nike Golf and Mizuno would have booths inside Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, which neither of them will. It’s been a bad few years more many of golf top equipment companies, and there’s really no reason to believe 2016 will be any different.

The golf equipment industry faces some big challenges in 2016

The golf equipment industry faces some big challenges in 2016

But before we hear next week from the PGA of America and Reed Exhibitions that the show was a success and the industry is on the upswing- that press release probably already has been written and approved – here’s some food for thought from a 25-year show veteran.

– Bankruptcy appears looming for sporting goods retailer Sports Authority, which can’t be good news for the golf equipment industry. The company’s 450 stores aren’t as heavily invested into golf as say, rival Dick’s Sporting Goods, but with most golf equipment companies struggling to sell product, any closings and/or change of business plans by SA will hurt.

– Another problem that equipment companies are facing in 2016 is the weakness of foreign currencies versus the US Dollar, particularly in the UK and European markets. Weaker currency basically means that UK and Euro retailers have to spend more money for the same amount of product they bought when their currency was strong vs. the US Dollar. It’s likely, therefore, that most retailers will spend less and charge their customers more in order to try to make up the difference. Good luck with that.

– Golf Datatech, which tracks sell-through numbers at green grass shops and retail stores, reported metsl woods  sales (units) were down 24 percent year over year this past December and dollar sales were down 18 percent during the same period. Doesn’t bode well for those new drivers hitting the market in the next few weeks.

But other than those things – along with close closings and stagnant participation numbers – all is well!

I miss Ely Callaway.



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