Very interesting article on the state of golf club retailing.

Very interesting article on the state of golf club retailing.

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    www.mygolfspy.com/dicks-sporting-goods-fires-500-PGA-Pros

    I quit buying "Chevron" clubs 6 years ago because they kept releasing a new set of clubs what seemed like "every" couple of months. I had buyers remorse everytime a new set appeared making my set older and more obsolete.

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    Excellent article! Like many industries where product differentiation is scant, pricing discipline erodes when market share gains are extracted through pricing alone. When product innovation comes too fast, even the most hungry new product buyers understand that there are limitations on technology and, as MarkWDallas understands, it about marketing to sell,not  design improvement that will improve your game. Titleist, and all of the Acushnet companies for that matter, along with, as the author notes, Ping and Nike, hew to a different model of holding their customers close through constant attention to the post sale experience - service and consumer touches like this site keep folks in the fold loyal, aware, and appreciative of new designs that emerge on a schedule that isn't an obvious pander and goad to buy the latest ALL THE TIME.

    As for the pros at Dicks, I suppose the paychecks were good while they lasted. But the metric of measurement is sales and profitable sales at that. If sales are falling and profits are non-existent, those pros all know the consequence of that model...

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    Thanks for sharing.  It's a good article. My heart goes out to anyone who loses their job this way.  While things are definitely "correcting" in the US, I hope some of them can find there way to the international growth markets where there are very few PGA professionals and golf is rapidly growing.

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    online.wsj.com/.../a-game-of-golf-not-for-many-millennials-1406159228

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    Yeah I read these and it's a tough pill to swallow. The issue comes down to companies making new clubs for the pros and some people want the highest end gear, to play what the pros play, well that is a small sample of the population. Most players have clubs that are many years old, don't want to get a lesson, and just play the game for fun. Golf is expensive but it seems their is so much saturation of the market when it comes to equipment. At any time a store may have dozens of different types of brand new drives, from different years and companies, what are they supposed to do? It's a shame but it seems like the world we are living in.  

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    Anyone involved in retail understands this cycle. Its not unique to the golf industry. When Richards bought Golf Galaxy and tried to force feed that business model into a mass styled store I knew this day would come. Inevitable.

    Hope the PGA Professionals rebound.

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    My store had too many clubs and a hitting bay that was almost never in use. The writing was on the wall. My Pga pro was a super nice guy who showed my son how to  install grips. His name was Randy and I feel bad that he lost his job.

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    I wonder if I could buy a hitting bay and equipment from Dicks? I bet they have about 500 gently used units. Thats the best idea I have had today.

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    Look at Taylor made , they come out with a new driver every year . I live in a city in CT where the median income is 94 k/y. not great not low income either and  I know maybe two people who buy a new driver every year.

    Golf course fee's have hopefully peaked and I cant see equipment  getting more expensive. Its like anything else I guess supply and demand may force the clubmakers hand.

    I am a Titleist guy and they seem to introduce new stuff every other  year maybe thats they direction they all may head.

    Eventually golf fans may benefit financially. it's definitely a slippery slope.

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    Golfers have been the beneficiaries of the overload of models and equipment as retailers blow out inventory. The article states and I  think quite correctly, that this unprofitable piece to the sales cycle is coming to an end and with it, likely huge inventory blow outs. Supply and demand rules apply here as in most any industry...

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    The consolidation began several years ago when Taylormade bought Adams, Acushnet figured Titleist didn't fit in their business modlel and sold it to Fila, Cobra was bought out. Callway consumed Ben Hogan, kept some of the key names, then sold it off to someone else. Every other year or more is fine on equipment. The average "Joe" golfer, IMO, does not benefit from the extra yardage, which by the way is getting shorter with each new model introduction. The average golfer can't afford to fork out thousands of dollars every year for new equipment, and still get in a good number of rounds each year. I don't shop the big box stores because I couldn't find the same sales person twice to ask questions about equipment. I'll stick to the golf shops that specialize in golf only. Hopefully, they'll still be around.

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    We have one store in Charleston and they are planning on opening another in Mt Pleasant where I live.  I wonder how this will affect their floor planning.  I do feel for the 478 pros, because being a PGA pro you just cannot run out an apply for a job at a golf course.  To get a job at a golf course they have to go through the PGA network or something that is different from you or I applying for a job.  I had a pro explain it to me once.   I know Rick is more knowledgable on this subject.  

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    Whaql1
    Yeah I read these and it's a tough pill to swallow. The issue comes down to companies making new clubs for the pros and some people want the highest end gear, to play what the pros play, well that is a small sample of the population. Most players have clubs that are many years old, don't want to get a lesson, and just play the game for fun. Golf is expensive but it seems their is so much saturation of the market when it comes to equipment. At any time a store may have dozens of different types of brand new drives, from different years and companies, what are they supposed to do? It's a shame but it seems like the world we are living in.

    Good point Mike, the common golfer is looking for the driver that is on sale or on closeout so its not a great margin for the retailer.  I worked in the business in 2006 when the economy was still booming and the large retailers were putting stores like mine out which was a Pro Golf.  Our owner saw the writing on the wall and retired before he was forced to.  Maybe if the people in Washington would get their stuff together and try to actually do something for our economy then it would help every industry including the golf industry.  But i'm not going to open that can of worms.....  ha

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    ChuckZ
    We have one store in Charleston and they are planning on opening another in Mt Pleasant where I live.  I wonder how this will affect their floor planning.  I do feel for the 478 pros, because being a PGA pro you just cannot run out an apply for a job at a golf course.  To get a job at a golf course they have to go through the PGA network or something that is different from you or I applying for a job.  I had a pro explain it to me once.   I know Rick is more knowledgable on this subject.

    Ya its sad Chuck, you are right there aren't a lot of courses that are missing pros for these people to just fill in for.  Courses are closing in the rural areas as well so the job opportunities overall are shrinking as well.  

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    I've kind of waited to reply about the loss of PGA professionals in the Dick's Sporting Goods.  As many of you know - I spend time in a golf department of that retail establishment.  The golf pro there, knew I was getting ready to retire and he needed some day time help in my particular store.  I've been in that store for 5 years as a Club Tech, (I'm very knowledgeable concerning repair, fitting, and many of the other aspects - might be the strongest FJ/shoe guy employed in the chain).

    I understand the retail world - and the decision did hit close to home; however, what it took me sometime to reason was why the chain didn't look at each store and make some type of effort to keep the above goal performing (golf departments) staffed with the PGA professional.

    My local store is a small footprint store (tier 3 out of 5).  We have been a top 5% store for the last 6 years - the major problem we have been facing in the past couple of months is actually getting inventory to sell.  I'm sure there are other stores having the same problem.

    I guess that's enough venting for now.