Nike is getting out of the golf club business. And the golf ball business as well as the golf bag business. In a surprise announcement, the company said on Wednesday it would focus solely on clothing and shoes, while “transitioning out of equipment.”
The announcement of a change in direction was made in a release by Trevor Edwards, President, Nike Brand. “We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel. We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”
The company has been in the golf business since 1984, starting with shoes and eventually growing to offer a full slate of gear. It has a number of top players using its clubs including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie. Those arrangements will apparently continue although on what level remains to be seen. There were also new signings this off-season with 14 players joining the staff including Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka. And there have also been rumours of the company making strong pitches to sign a number of top players for next year. Clearly, it intends to remains in the golf space.
Just a few weeks ago, longtime Nike staffer Charl Schwartzel switched to new club company PXG. Mid-season changes such as that are rare as most deals end with the calendar year, but it was reportedly done at the agreement of both sides.
Despite deals with a number of the world’s best and most notable players, the company has had difficulty in getting a foothold in the equipment business at a grassroots level. While clothing and shoes sold well, especially in Canada, club and ball sales didn’t grow to the levels expected.
Over the years, the company came out with many innovative and unusual-looking products such as the Slingshot irons and the square-headed Sumo driver. Its clubs were all designed in Fort Worth, Tex., at a facility known as The Oven. Its most recent line were the Vapor irons and woods. They were launched two years ago with a glitzy unveiling in New York City with Woods, McIlroy and Jimmy Fallon on an outdoor stage.
Many notable Nike golf staff have departed in recent months and it was reported that more layoffs were announced on Wednesday.
Courtesy : tsn.ca