The Golf Business Totally Stinks These Days

Golf sales still stink.

Back in May, Dick’s Sporting Goods highlighted its struggles with golf sales during the first quarter.

Today, Adidas joined the “party.”

In a statement, the company said it expects to report that second quarter sales in its TaylorMade-adidas Golf segment declined 18%. And this negative news for Adidas golf came amid a 10% sales jump during the quarter.

Adidas said the challenges in its golf segment are related to, “poor retail sentiment and the slow liquidation of old inventory in the golf category across the globe.” The company also said it would restructure its TaylorMade-adidas Golf segment, “to align the organisation’s overhead to match lower expectations for the golf industry’s development.”

Earlier this month, Calloway Golf reported second quarter sales that fell 7%, below the company’s prior outlook for sales to fall 5% or less. Calloway also cited “high retail inventory” and “anticipated promotional activity” as drags on sales.

Back in May, we highlighted this chart from Golf 20/20, which included golf through February, that gave a discouraging picture of how much people are playing golf.

Updated through April, rounds played are still down this year.

And aside from falling sales and declining participation, golf faces a less tangible problem. As BI’s Jay Yarow, who is also a huge golf fan, wrote following Rory McIlroy’s victory at the British Open earlier this month, the Tiger Woods era is officially over.

McIlroy is just 25 years old and may well be the sport’s next big star, but this doesn’t seem to be helping golf’s popularity.

Tiger’s popularity swelled from the late 90s through the early 2000s, and did the sport’s popularity. Tiger’s ignoble fall from grace not only damaged his image but struck a blow to golf as a whole.

A post on the blog Sports Media Watch said that TV ratings for each of professional golf’s three major tournaments this year declined double-digits from last year.

Citing data from the National Golf Foundation, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that approximately 400,000 left the sport in the past year. And earlier this month, Dick’s gave the golf world more bad news, laying off 400 PGA professionals at its stores.

No matter the cause, something is wrong with golf in America.

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