It’s too early to say the golf equipment industry is completely healthy again, but here’s proof its alive and kicking. Golf Datatech, which tracks equipment sell-through numbers, reported that golf equipment sales at On Course shops nationwide are “trending at an all-time high,” with every key equipment category enjoying positive growth over 2011 levels.
Given the state of the equipment business the past few years, the bar for the first six months of 2012 was too high, but nevertheless it is good news.
Golf Datatech said the findings are backed by consistent favorable weather conditions throughout the country, which has led to increased rounds played and resulted in the record setting equipment sales. Golf Datatech, which began tracking retail golf equipment sales in January of 1997, said the 2012 findings mark the first time that the dollar amount of equipment sales at On Course golf shops has been higher than in the first six months of the previous year. In fact, according to Golf Datatech, through the end of June, total On Course equipment sales totaled $493.3 million, a 15.7 percent increase over the June 2011 total.
The “On Course” is what should be noted here, mainly because most golf equipment the past 20 years has been sold at off-course retail stores. The increase in sales at on-course shops could mean that consumers are returning the more personal golf shop buying experience rather than the big-box “get it and get out the door” approach; or that on course shops are adjusting their prices to meet the volume prices of the big box stores. It also could mean that equipment companies are doing a better job at catering to their on course accounts.
Here’s the breakdown (increase in dollars versus the first six months of 2011) according to Golf Datatech: Golf balls up 10.3 percent: metal woods up 12.4 percent; irons up 7.7 percent; wedges up 14.8 percent; putters up 14.4 percent: shoes up 13.2 percent; gloves up 5 percent; bags up 8.8 percent.