Curious to hear some opinions on the current state of the industry as well as where it may be headed.
It's not a secret that the industry right now is tough....to say the least. Wondering if companies will try to find ways to adapt? And if so, how?
I think there are a lot more milennials interested in golf than people realize. I just believe this sport has some high barriers of entry for people to really get hooked. If someone wants to grab grandpas old clubs and hit the local muni for 9 holes, that can be done relatively affordably. However, once someone catches the bug and it shifts from a liesurly activity to a mild form of obsession, I think that's where a lot of people tend to not make that big jump.
With new drivers now coming out @ $500, and the price of hybrids nearing what drivers used to retail for, is this just an elasticity issue the industry is overlooking? Obviously the tech keeps improving and with that R&D costs rise as well as the cost of materials so it's only natural for the retails of the most popular clubs to also increase. But, I would have to imagine there is a sweet spot in the middle being somewhat overlooked for the average weekend warrior.
I currently work for one of America's biggest retail chains and when looking across the industry in retail, it is kind of a scary resemblance to the golf industry. However, with all of the data we receive from analytics firms, they are showing that people are not afraid to spend money on experiences and I believe that golf should qualify as that for most people.
Also, right now in the retail industry, the only ones that seem to be posting very strong sales numbers are off-price, discount retailers (TJX, Marshal's etc..). Is there any opportunity for golf manufacturers to take any learnings away from this? I obviously know that the cost of premier clubs is high therefore the retails are going to be high, but maybe an opportunity for apparel? I know I personally would have a closet full of adidas polos if I felt like I could get them for a resonable price new. But it seems that every year I wait until golf galaxy is running a year end sale and pick them up as cheap as I can. Kind of wondering if you would rather sell 1 $100 polo, or 10 $10 polos as an example. It seems as if the trend as of late is that manufacturers know they are going to sell less clubs/apparel, so they increase tickets as a way to drive revenue. Unfortunately as that ticket increases the number of items being sold naturally goes down.
Just curious to hear other people's opinions on the state of the industry and where it's headed.
It's a really interesting market because the affluent demographic keeps things skewed. As with everything, the market will control where the game goes. I do think we're in a pivotal time and manufacturers and definitely trying different things to see what sticks.
From an employees perspective, I think a lot of it is being blown out of proportion. Last year our M lineup completely turned our business around. Things move very quickly in the industry. With the access to trackman and flightscope, you can't market your way to the top, you gotta have the products to perform. It's cut throat, but its fun and I think we have a good stable of young golfers that will help grow the game over the next decade.
I think the demise of golf by the media is premature. The largest growing golf market is for juniors. At the Golf Club my son works at, participation in junior programs, such as PGA Junior League, fill up fast. Spring and summer camps fill up. The instructions sometimes decline new students due to the lack of availble time or lack of instructors. TMAG needs to follow Cobra/Puma and begin to market and sell products to the kids. They are, after all, the future of golf.
Other markets for growth in golf are in Asia and India. There will soon be a lot of women playing golf too. About half of the kids that participate in the PGA Junior League are girls.
At every course I've played, I've asked the Pro how rounds were going, etc....most replied "way down", and most says $$ is the reason. This sport,or hobby to many, depend upon disposable income in most families. That income is dwindling rapidly, which means most cant affors new clubs, which can set them back just $300...and that 300 bucks is just the start. How many here can afford to lay out even MORE for 1 club, and not feel the pinch? How many manufacturers are donating sets to Jr golf/ high schools for the advancement of the game? I don't know, but would guess not many. Golf is a business to those people, and the bottom line is the bottom line, not the advancement of the game that feeds their households.