Nike to exit golf equipment business — surprises industry

Picture of Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods was one of Nike's biggest paid endorsers. — Photo courtesy Nike

Were you surprised to hear that Nike was getting out of the golf equipment business? Last week Nike announced it was getting out of the golf club business, choosing instead to pursue sales of golf footwear and apparel.

Nike said in a news release that it no longer will make clubs, balls or golf bags. There was no mention of current inventory at retail.

“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand, said in the statement released on Nike’s website. “We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”

According to GolfWeek, Nike began making golf shoes in the 1980s and signaled its move to hardgoods when it signed Woods in 1996. Nike Golf was established as a business unit in 1998, and Woods’ first foray into using the company’s equipment was with the Tour Accuracy TW ball in 2000. Nike’s first clubs reached the market in 2002.

Despite having top athletes representing the brand, Nike never claimed substantial market share or obtained market leads in any hardgoods category. In its 10-K annual report released May 31, Nike announced an 8-percent drop in its golf revenues from fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2016, from $769 million to $706 million. Revenue for the golf unit was $792 million in 2013.

GolfWeek also quoted, Daric Ashford, a specialist in softgoods and shoes, took over the Nike Golf division in 2014 after serving as general manager of the company’s Jordan brand for North America. He replaced Cindy Davis, who had been president of the golf division since 2008.

“Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide,” Mr. Ashford said in the company’s release. “Over the past year the MM Fly Blade Polo, the Flyknit Chukka and Air Zoom 90 have all connected strongly with golfers. We’ll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game.”


Latest comments

GolfWest QuickLinks