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Nike is getting out of the golf equipment business

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Nike is getting out of the golf equipment business. An announcement posted today on the company’s website said Nike “will accelerate innovation” in its golf footwear and apparel business, while transitioning “out of equipment — including clubs, balls and bags.”

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

The release made no mention of what the company plans to do with its current tour staff, players paid to use Nike golf clubs and wear its footwear/apparel.

Nike’s current PGA Tour staff is headlined by Rory McIlroy (a four-time major champion, and the No. 4-ranked golfer in the world) as well as budding stars Brooks Koepka (No. 17 in the Official World Golf Rankings) and Tony Finau (No. 80 in the OWGR), who were both signed to endorsement deals this year. Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie, Jhonattan Vegas, Russell Henley, Paul Casey, Kevin Chappell, Seung Yul Noh and Patrick Rodgers are also current endorsers of the company.

Before the release, Nike made steep discounts to its line of Vapor Fly metal woods, which launched without fanfare in late 2015. The drivers, which were selling between $349.99 and $499.99, were reduced to $149.99 each. Fairway woods and hybrid prices were also slashed to $99.99 and $89.99, respectively.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Nike’s decision in our forum.

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129 Comments

129 Comments

  1. Lloyd

    Aug 9, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Rory & tiger will return to Titleist no doubt about that one & as there Nike two big names others will probably follow PXG will grab a few – callaway might grab the cheep ones who no one wants or Taylormade as they have a habit of signing every Tom dick & Harry strange as there in the same boat & adidas is struggling to find a buyer

  2. Matt

    Aug 8, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Who cares about nike they will survive as a brand and will flourish like it has always done since 1971. They made a mark in the industry look at all the wins with tiger and every other player who won with there products ; clubs, balls, bags, etc…they made good stuff no better or no worse then any of the other companies that dominate this industry..the sad thing is all the employees loosing their jobs. That’s it period.

  3. KK

    Aug 6, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Bet Rory thinks differently about growing the game when those Nike checks stop coming.

  4. kolfpro

    Aug 6, 2016 at 2:54 am

    You are just lovely!!!

  5. Andrew

    Aug 4, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    My whole life I’ve heard, “fix your swing not your club.” Or, “so its always the arrow and never the indian huh?” Now Nike decides to not make golf clubs and all of the sudden they have terrible products? Play what works best for your game. Forget what anyone else says.

  6. 300 Yard Pro

    Aug 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Tiger’s exit from golf has brought down the entire industry. LOL

  7. jgpl001

    Aug 4, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I never bought a Nike club, but they were not all that bad, especially the recent stuff – TW blades, Engage wedges looked really good

    As a Titleist/Mizuno diehard I couldn’t handle the bright red, luminous green and blue woods, and all that Nike volt nonsense

    Cobra have gone down the nonsense road of tacky clubs, bright orange, yawn, etc.

    Cobra you are next and I doubt either will be missed

  8. BeerandGolf

    Aug 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I love my vapor fly pro irons. I play well with them. I don’t have face tattoos.

    • RedX

      Aug 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      yet

      • kolfpro

        Aug 6, 2016 at 2:47 am

        One more time … Trollin’ … Trollin’ …Trollin’ … kept those comments coming … Rawhide!!!

  9. ShootersTour

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    As a custom Club-Maker and Fitter I have one word,… Yay!!!!!!

  10. James Bond

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:01 am

    No surprise here. They hardly had any inventory to begin with and their truly good clubs sold out quickly or were made available in limited quantities online. When Miura did their forgings and copied Titliest designs, they made good clubs. After that, it was all marketing and flashy colors. Poor Nike 2017 thread will only have this to discuss now instead of all the “orange” hype they were discussing previously. Bunch of children.

    • Undershooter30

      Aug 4, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Someone making fun of others for their equipment choices and bad mouthing a company that just had to lay of tons of people. I think its you who sounds like the child big fella.

    • Realist

      Aug 4, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Yes, lets make fun of people who can’t afford “nice” golf clubs. Nike did one thing, and one thing well; made affordable quality clubs for beginners, intermediates, and Tiger Woods. You must be a real hoot to hang out with (sarcasm)

  11. JThunder

    Aug 4, 2016 at 7:10 am

    The problem with Nike in the golf club business is echoed by all the “MBA” remarks on this thread and every other Nike thread on Golfwrx. They are an enormous corporation whose “business model” knows and accepts nothing but enormous profit ($1 shirt made by a kid selling for $55), and “constant growth” (double profits for shareholders, lower cost and higher profits, layoff employees while increasing sales, bigger yacht each year for the execs). These are the fallacies of modern business fueled by the takeover of the professional MBA, and the total collapse of any conscience in corporate business.

    I could care less about anything that happens to Nike as a company. I am truly sorry for all those who are losing their jobs because of poor business practices, and hope they find work asap. Of course, Nike won’t be adding to “golf participation” while they’re increasing unemployment, will they? Likewise, all these companies and the corporate world in general needn’t wonder why most people aren’t spending any money. They don’t have it, and what they have, they are terrified to spend, because modern business practice means no one is safe (unless you already have millions and it ISN’T in the stock market!)

    Meanwhile, people delude themselves that people are moving away from golf because rounds take 5 hours instead of 4. Get a grip.

    Oh, and Tiger is done, full stop. You want to get Millennials excited, start making a bigger deal about the crop of excellent players we’re now enjoying.

    • Milo

      Aug 4, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Well said my friend, couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • RosePalmer

      Aug 4, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Having been in the corporate world for 35+ years, your comments are exact. Well said!

    • Joseph

      Aug 6, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Sadly, you hit it spot on. As a lawyer of 40 years for big companies, our idea of capitalism is Wall Street and CEO’s doing anything to goose quarterly profits to enhance share price and workers and customers be damned. The bean counters rule and any division of a conglomerate like Adidas, Nike or you name it are quick to point out that clubs and balls are not profitable, compared to shoes and rags. Too much capital invested, too many employees, too much inventory and not enough ROI. Dump it they yell and so it is dumped.

  12. Realist

    Aug 4, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Nike has made a few clubs extremely well. I am a die hard Ping guy, but the Engage wedges and the Method Mod series putter are some of the best in the industry for the price. I just sold my scotty cameron and picked up a Method Mod for $60. A perfect combination of milled face with a touch of insert feel. Sorry to see these guys go as they were pivotal in getting younger poorer golfers a d*mn fine set of clubs for cheap.. But its a tough industry when the country has been in a recession since 2008.

    • Brian

      Aug 4, 2016 at 8:51 am

      The country hasn’t been in a recession since 2008. A recession is a period of 2 quarters of negative GDP growth.

  13. Gig

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I love free agent time…. this is awsome

  14. SB

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Tiger -> PXG
    Rory -> Titleist
    Koepka -> Titleist
    Casey -> Callaway
    Finau -> Callaway
    Henley -> Titleist
    Duval -> …
    Wattel -> Callaway
    Vegas -> Callaway
    Fleetwood -> Srixon
    Rodgers -> Callaway
    Wie -> Titleist
    Molinari -> Callaway
    Oleson -> Srixon

    • Brian

      Aug 4, 2016 at 10:46 am

      What, nobody will go to Ping or Mizuno?

    • a4

      Aug 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      They’re all going to use Taylormade, and you know it

      • 300 Yard Pro

        Aug 4, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Taylormade is cutting back too. They will be next to die. It will be Callaway, PING, Titleist.

    • Cornfused...

      Aug 4, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      I don’t see how any of these players aren’t going to switch to Taylormade. Especially the likes of Brooks Koepka and Rory who left Titleist. I don’t see many from Nike going to Titleist.

      • Joseph

        Aug 6, 2016 at 9:59 am

        Because Adidas owns TaylorMade and they are going to dump their club business like Nike did. It makes peanuts compared to their rags. Whoever buys it is not going to spend $$ on marketing, R&D and surely not on sponsoring lots of tour pros who likely do not move their needle. In short, Tiger created the market for Pro’s to make lots of money with club sponsorships. The era has ended with a thud because there isn’t enough money in the club business at this point in time.

        • nm

          Aug 6, 2016 at 11:16 am

          How are they not moving the needle when they have had the #1 driver for 16 years straight??? Nike should buy TM and called it NikeMade

  15. Bigboy

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:16 am

    About time.
    Never did well outside of the USA.

  16. BigBoy

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:10 am

    About time.

  17. Adam

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:01 am

    The bad part is, they’re not even the leader in shoes and apparel. Their shirts are way too expensive and of horrible quality and their shoes aren’t much better.

    Do I like the style of most of their apparel? Yes, but am done buying it until they step up their game.

    • Cornfused...

      Aug 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Their shoes are the best in the industry BY FAR. Footjoys are stiff and take time to set in, and they are the best outside of Nike. UA is terrible, Adidas is great if you have a narrow foot, Ecco has no comfort. I put on Nike shoes and they are comfortable from the get go. I also have tried many of the clothing companies and have to say that the apparel is industry leading too. I’ve never had a problem with anything Nike has done, soft goods, for golf. The problem has always been the clubs.

      • andy c

        Aug 4, 2016 at 6:36 pm

        nike’s are super narrow, idk about you but fj actually makes a 15 wide that fits. If it were nike id have to buy 17 triple wide.

      • Adam

        Aug 5, 2016 at 1:31 am

        Kind of agree on the shoes but it’s preference in terms of fit. In my experience, it’s not the comfort that sets them back but the fact their stuff is so cheaply made and doesn’t last.

        Their polos wear down after only a few washes. Unless I’m doing it wrong, their collars flatten out VERY quickly and look terrible after not a very long time

        • GetRichorTyTryon

          Aug 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm

          Completely agree with you! Bought their FI Impact 2 shoes for $120 bucks. In less than 1 month the sole is coming off. When I finish my swing the sole folds underneath. Great if I want to be an inch taller on my finish. Style and comfort aren’t the issues. Durability is. Same thing happened with Lunar Control 2 in a short period of time. You truly are not getting what you pay for.

      • GetRichorTyTryon

        Aug 9, 2016 at 2:36 pm

        With all the quality issues I’ve had with Nike shoes…Can you elaborate on what makes UA terrible in your experience? Aesthetically their shoes are on point in my eyes but come with a pretty steep price tag.

  18. Milo

    Aug 4, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Maybe Rory will make some cuts now but I doubt it.

  19. Mad-Mex

    Aug 4, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Any bets how log before PXG follows Tour Edge, Scratch, Ben Hogan, Wilson, MacGregor, Cleveland, Powerbuilt and Adams into obscurity or the discount bin? Cobra is hanging on by a thread,,,,

  20. golfraven

    Aug 4, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Actually I am not surprised and kind of expected it since they should have not started with clubs in the first place. Never liked their clubs, performance and look wise. Would be interested to see where Rory, Tiger and Co will end up playing – Titleist again?

  21. Matto

    Aug 4, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Wo wo wo. Back up a minute……Nike made golf clubs?

  22. steve

    Aug 3, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Nike equipment was middle of the road performance wise. Then golf is contracting, then in a contracting market they make clubs for 30yo and under. Their colors were very like it or hate it and it was hate it. They tried to make golf cool and golf isnt cool. It is reserved. There marketing was very weird, to take a small market and make it smaller

  23. Ryan Barath

    Aug 3, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Its a sad day because people talented people lost their jobs. The golf equipment business is a tough one and when your the new kid its always tough. PXG has done well by focusing on a niche but NIKE just never found its way.

    Its never good too have this kind of thing happen in any industry. I will say that the 2014 PC’s were some of the best irons i ever worked on from a pure quality perspective.

  24. Scott

    Aug 3, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Now Rory will start winning again once he re signs with Titleist.

  25. Awesome

    Aug 3, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Awesome!
    Now we get to see McIlroy and Eldrick get to use Taylormade! Yeehaw! Haha

  26. Rick

    Aug 3, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    What bugs me although I love to play the game is these golf club makers keep releasing new irons every 6-9 months. I was looking into buying my first set when I had saved enough the new & improved irons came out. Same with drivers, Once I made my purchase 6 months later a new set from same maker with new motto saying more distance. It made me second guess my new clubs. I believe that is what’s killing the sport & why TM is being dropped by Addidas. Don’t get me started on how much it cost to take the lessons & the rest of the equipment needed to start playing. Oh and the green fees w/cart for a round of golf.

    • Car

      Aug 3, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Do you second guess your car purchase? Because they come out with new cars every year. Your new Honda Civic still ain’t gonna help you pick up chicks

      • Someone

        Aug 4, 2016 at 8:34 am

        Cars aren’t typically ‘new’ every year. they keep the original foundation and change small things each year. On average it was every 4 years before a major body overhaul, however things change.

        • tzed

          Aug 4, 2016 at 9:27 am

          Right. Kinda like golf clubs. Incremental changes that over 4-5 years look substantial. Innovation. Ping clubs change every 2 years, but if you look over a 6-8 year period, the change is performance is pretty big.

    • Prime21

      Aug 4, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Waaaaaaaaa! Either man up or walk away, but don’t cry about it on a public forum.

    • MaxClubheadSpeed

      Aug 4, 2016 at 1:28 am

      You don’t need to play the latest model clubs. The pros don’t upgrade all the time and they get them for free.

    • Someone

      Aug 4, 2016 at 8:33 am

      They were flooding the market to make their prospectus for the quarter higher. Which helped them keep their profits and company value high, but totally ruins the game for players like you and I. As I’ve posted in other threads, the big companies really should focus on putting lessons/learning centers with their equipment and stop flooding the market. When you walk into stores, the ‘used clubs’ are taking up about the same space as the latest new clubs and it’s ridiculous to think that a store will keep up it’s profit margin with that kind of ratio. It’s the same with electronics. There’s no real disposition system for the old clubs so there’s no value of the company to take them back/recycle them give you a huge discount on a new set of irons. If their focus was responsibility and not profit, it would be a different story. The golf club wastelands just grow each year. You really want to make money? take all these old/used clubs, break them and take the tungsten weights out of them. That will be of more value than anything else. But anyhow, that’s the reason they flood the market and that’s why Adidas dropped TM because it’s hurting their marketshare/value.

      • pvisser

        Aug 5, 2016 at 7:53 am

        as long as people keep buying the supposedly “latest and greatest” they will keep making them. If that ruins it for you, it is because you believe the advertising hype.

      • mark

        Aug 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        How does a company making and put clubs on the market to make money (how terrible) ruin the game?

    • pvisser

      Aug 5, 2016 at 7:27 am

      New clubs come out often and all those gullible consumers who believe the hype that they have to have the latest every time keep buying them. And because they keep paying, the prices stay high and get higher every time so new players (who of course want the latest as well) can’t afford it and have to settle with “cheap” clubs, which won’t give them instant birdies and 300+ yard drives…and give up. Golf is difficult for most of us – work on it.

      Buy 3 – 5 year old clubs – you save heaps of money and still have very good clubs. The only thing I think may be a recent worth wile innovation are these speed slots, but then I am not sure how many more yards you really get from them. The rest is same old, same old: moved weight to sides allowing thinner face and more turf stability blah blah blah. Sounds like my 10 year old Titleist 755s with the “vibration dampening chip to improve sound and feel”. Well, on one of my most used clubs (7i) I noticed one day that the chip had disappeared. Didn’t notice a thing. Unless new clubs give 25 or more yards on average I would not bother. Too often I read yardage gains are bugger all.

      Sorry to see Nike stop making clubs – I quite like the look of them, they tend to get good reviews and they are sharply priced. Might see if I can get my hands on a set before it is too late to replace my 10 year old clubs, or get a wood or hybrid or so.

      • John

        Aug 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm

        +1 My 20 year old Hogan irons work great.
        New driver every now and then, and fresh wedges vey now and then pretty my hakes care of it, if you are a serious player. Recreational folks don’t even need to do that. The guy I take lessons from (a former fringe tour player) says equipment is about 10% of the equation, and he feels most guys are focusing 90% per cent of their off course time on the 10%. That would include most people in this forum. Take lessons, practice and golf will a lot less work. Hard to convince people of that. Nike, TM et al are all about the opposite. We have the magic bullet! Buy our stuff, longer,!straighter! etc. People are finally calling bs and in some respects that may be positive for golf.

  27. Sam H

    Aug 3, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    If the clubs/courses can make golf affordable for the melancholy youth, maybe golf courses and young golfers can grow together. I’m in favor of shortening the courses as well. The muni courses in NJ can play as long as 7,000 yards. Really?

    • Joshuaplaysgolf

      Aug 4, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Play the right tees. Problem. Solved. I play from the tips at courses that measure 7100-7500 yards (Legacy, Heritage at Westmoor (which can stretch out to 7650), Broadlands, Riverdale, etc.), and if I don’t, I’m hitting driver, wedge. Driver, wedge. All day and it’s boring. That’s why they make different tee boxes, because a very low number of people can play courses that long effectively, and they make it so a wide variety of people and skill levels can play the same course. Put your ego away and move up.

  28. Dave

    Aug 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Sorry to see this a lot of people going to be looking for work. Need to worry about them not the pros playing their equipment .

  29. matt h

    Aug 3, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    If the prices of clubs were cheaper it would help you could get a set at goodwill and there good forever

  30. Mo

    Aug 3, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I remember Phil got into trouble for saying how well Tiger played considering the crappy equipment he had to use.

    • A Boy & His Golf

      Aug 4, 2016 at 7:33 am

      Phil was talking about Tiger using a steel shaft in his driver and a small head but I think it may have been a bit of a dig at Nike as well.

  31. 3PuttTerritory

    Aug 3, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    My slingshot OS are now collector’s items. I remember the first time I hit them. It sounded like someone threw a toaster down a flight of steps. Is it getting a little dusty in here?

    • COGolfer

      Aug 3, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      There has never been a club that sounds worse than the square SQ.

  32. KoreanSlumLord

    Aug 3, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I only see Nike sticks in the US. Never in Japan or Korea- that is big no no. When I visit California, the fellas in jorts and drive Honda Civic with fart can mufflers play Nikes.

  33. gwillis7

    Aug 3, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    you know the club market is a tough biz to break into/make work when companies like nike (and adidas, atleast rumors) are jumping ship. And I am a nike fan, thought their equipment was fantastic…but will always struggle with purists and the titans of golf that have been there forever.
    I will say though that nike golf shoes are the best and love that they are doing retro shoes (air force 1’s, zoom 90’s) and jordan’s now…fantastic idea, and that is what they are best at, shoes and athletic apparel.

    • Scott

      Aug 4, 2016 at 9:11 am

      I am glad that they worked for you. Their shoes are too narrow for me. I thought that I was accurate with their clubs but they were not distance models. I hit the Fly driver 30 yards shorter than my Taylor Made R1. Now the R1 was fit to me and the Nike was my friend’s but I put a good swing on the Nike and it went nowhere. This was 3 years ago and I have not tried Nike since. If they have some nice irons that I can pick up on the cheep, I may give them a try.

      • Scott

        Aug 4, 2016 at 9:13 am

        Correction for the WRX purists: Maybe it was the V driver, not the Fly. I can not remember. It was red.

  34. gwillis7

    Aug 3, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    you know the club market is a tough biz to break into when companies like nike (and adidas, atleast rumors) are jumping ship. And I am a nike fan, thought their equipment was fantastic…but will always struggle with purists and the titans of golf that have been there forever.

  35. DaveyD

    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Could be some pretty good golf ball deals coming up, if you don’t mind hitting Nikes. I tend to use almost any ball I can get before I drown.

    • prime21

      Aug 3, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you for your post, it was quite meaningful. The next time you feel like sharing……….do us all a favor and don’t say a word.

      • DaveyD

        Aug 3, 2016 at 7:51 pm

        I didn’t say anything. I typed, though. I’m glad you found it meaningful, however.

      • kolfpro

        Aug 6, 2016 at 2:39 am

        Trollin … Trollin …Trollin … kept those comments coming … Rawhide!!!

    • cwt

      Aug 3, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      True! Although for my part, I’ve been giving away any Nike balls I find, since I found it bothersome that Nike would try to force it’s way into the golf market by shear strength of size and the use of Tiger and Rory.

      That said, now that they are out, and all is right with the world again, I can see myself using their balls for a season, since each hit will make me very happy to see that Goliath was down by a tiny round object again. 🙂

      • Jacob

        Aug 3, 2016 at 10:50 pm

        Nike 20XIs from a few years ago are dead already. I dropped a 20XI and a TM TPX on my garage pavement and the TPX bounced a good deal higher.

  36. farmer

    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    So, you sign a couple of guys to zillion dollar contracts, gather some role players, and your equipment doesn’t fly off the shelves? Who knew?

  37. KK

    Aug 3, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Tiger and Rory have had career declines after switching to Nike, especially the putters. Good riddance.

    • David Labbe

      Aug 3, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Tiger has never won a major with a Nike putter…just saying.

      • adam

        Aug 3, 2016 at 8:42 pm

        sorry, but to say rory has had a career decline since switching to nike is a blatant lie, and entirely invalidates anything else you say, though nothing else you say is likely to be all that intelligent.

      • Kevin

        Aug 3, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        Small Sample Size. He has won 9 tournaments with NIKE putter in a span of 4 years of limited play. Thats pretty good. 2015 season doesn’t count because he shouldn’t have been out there playing.

  38. Steve P

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    What do you want to bet that Nike has its eyes on buying Callaway now?
    Phase out the Nike branded equipment that was never taken seriously by hardcore golfers…
    Then use their Nike billions of dollars to acquire the current #1 company in sales of equipment, and the #2 company in golf ball sales. Build the Callaway brand in equipment, balls, bags, and accessories and leave Nike for shoes and apparel. Bet it happens.

    • Matt M

      Aug 3, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Wrong company right line of thinking. They will buy Taylor Made out, slap a swoosh on the equipment and make a mint since TM is doing so well equipment wise that is.

      • Cesar

        Aug 3, 2016 at 7:07 pm

        Or why not just but a crapload of Acushnet stock and own Titleist?

      • Cesar

        Aug 3, 2016 at 7:10 pm

        What about Acushnet? They could just but a lot of stock there and do exactly what you said but to Titleist.

      • Kerim

        Aug 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm

        Tailor-made are owned by Adidas no?

  39. John

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    What happens to the Oven???!!

    • Mike

      Aug 3, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      What about all the folks that will be jobless?

  40. killerbgolfer

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Nike made golf equipment?

  41. John-Michael Fawley

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Guess I better hold on to my old method putter tight then. Where were the drivers, woods, and hybrids on sale at?

  42. Brandon

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    The Tiger bubble has burst. If Rors were smart he would go back to Titleist ASAP and start winning again.

    • Kevin

      Aug 3, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Its not the clubs. He has won just as many majors with NIKE as Titleist. He needs to practice more and find some motivation

      • RedX

        Aug 3, 2016 at 10:32 pm

        You’re right Kevin. he doesn’t do well when he’s “loved up” – needs a break up to get his golfing mojo back – opposite of Sergio

  43. Ryan

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Rory can go to Titleist/Callaway/maybe TM, but the only ego in the equip biz big enough to handle Tiger is PXG!

  44. Bram

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    And…… Buying Taylormade?

  45. desmond

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Tiger, at least, moved the needle.

    Get Tiger Woods, Irons, Wedges…

  46. Howard

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    My uneducated opinion guesses that Rory jumps ship back to Titliest and Tiger starts his own brand of equipment.

    • Tom Wishon

      Aug 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      No disrespect intended at all, but Tiger or any other pro would be looney tunes nuts to want to get involved in owning or starting an equipment company these days. If they want a great way to lose money, that would certainly do it. The equipment industry is about at its worst business time in a very long time now because of so many key negative markers – fewer golfers, fewer participation, lack of interest to learn to play among the Millenials, and some OEMs are down significant double digits in club sales this year.

      And then there is the big one – all significant new clubhead design technology is used up, already been offered, or locked down by a USGA rule. There will never be any more new head technologies that can offer immediate improvement for all golfers. What companies are faced with is just repackaging old technologies to make them look new, or to create cosmetic buzz hype to make the club hos want it for image sake. The club business is not coming back to pre recession days unless something turns the whole economy around in a big way to bring about more people with money to spend on recreation. But even with that it is doubtful for golf because as long as a very high percentage of the 20-35 yr olds avoid golf as they are, that’s not a good sign for the long term future of the equipment business.

      • Nolanski

        Aug 3, 2016 at 6:45 pm

        Great insight Tom. Loved your book “The New search for the perfect golf club”.

      • Prut

        Aug 3, 2016 at 7:11 pm

        The industry jumped the shark when TM advertised they added distance to their M2 irons by saving weight in the hosel.

      • KK

        Aug 3, 2016 at 7:17 pm

        Golf will continue to shrink until we do something to make the game faster and more fun. Replacing the 2-player golf cart with some kind of powered lightweight solo trike or cart is the key IMO.

        • COGolfer

          Aug 3, 2016 at 8:30 pm

          The golf cart does much more damage to pace of play than anyone would like to admit.

        • Kevin

          Aug 3, 2016 at 8:48 pm

          Golf Boards speed up rounds tremendously.

          • Ranchobob

            Aug 3, 2016 at 10:19 pm

            Maybe so, but I’d rather quit the game than ride one. Or a cart.

            It’s a walking game.

            • Uh huh

              Aug 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

              I’d rather have lots of places to play and a healthy sport. If riding a device is what it takes, so be it.

            • SNBD

              Aug 3, 2016 at 11:53 pm

              Let me guess Ranchobob, you’re over 50 years old?? The “get off my lawn” attitude that your post screams is the exact reason why golf is a tough industry right now. I manage a golf course and young people (millennials) do not want to play golf. I’m not talking about the kids that get dropped off for “free day care” by their parents, I’m talking 21-35 year olds who have their own disposable income. You might think golf is walking only game, slim fitting/bright colored clothes, and 460 CC drivers are ruining golf, but one day the old farts will be dead and middle aged people would rather do anything else than play golf. That’s when this industry will really be hurting. I’m all for anything that makes golf more attractive for younger people!

            • Tim

              Aug 4, 2016 at 2:48 am

              Most public tracks in my area allow so many 5 somes that if you have 2 carts and a walker it is 5 hours plus guaranteed,and God Forbid you get behind 4 walkers because those are the ones who think because they carry their clubs and walk then they must play from the tips. And now every course is allowing carts right up to the greens and even on par 3’s….and what does management at the course say “Need every paid tee time or we will not be here long…

        • Morty

          Aug 4, 2016 at 12:20 am

          That was a remarkably stupid comment. Since college now teaches women it’s more fun to hate men than to ball e’m, there’s no car that’ll help you “pick up chicks.” Well, maybe a ’69 MG.

        • Square

          Aug 4, 2016 at 4:24 am

          This comment is spot on………Golf will continue to shrink until we do something to make the game faster and more fun. For this reason, I only play in FL from May until October when it’s hot as hell and I can play I in 2-3 hours.

        • kolfpro

          Aug 6, 2016 at 12:27 pm

          Still kind of pricey but maybe they will have them a course to rent: http://www.thegolfbike.com/

      • cgasucks

        Aug 3, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        You have a better chance of starting and running a company making typewriters than starting a golf equipment company…

      • RedX

        Aug 3, 2016 at 10:35 pm

        Love the work Tom. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • Rod C

        Aug 4, 2016 at 2:13 am

        I started playing golf in 1988 and Wilson, McGregor & Spalding were the heavy weights with Hogan, Titleist and Mizuno tacked on the edges. I remember at the time one of my friends had some weird looking clubs called Ping. Then the revolution began. Firstly with metal woods and cavity backed irons followed by the entry of marketing dollars. Companies like Callaway, Adidas/TMG and Acushnet took off and the biggest sports marketing daddy of them all Nike had to have a piece of the pie. It seems it hasn’t quite worked for them.
        I’m pleased they are existing equipment and I hope Adidas do the same. To me, the golf equipment industry is just maturing, getting rid of the hype. Look at the sport of tennis, Nike & Adidas stick to shoes and clothing and leave rackets to specialists. I think the golf industry is about to do the same.
        I think it will be exciting times. McIlroy, Casey & co will still be decked out in Nike gear but they’ll use maybe a combination of Mizuno, Titleist, Wilson, Miura etc. Hopefully these companies flourish and continue to produce good quality clubs that are lovely to play with and do not need to be replaced every six months by a later model with different coloured paint. Watch this space.

      • Greg V

        Aug 4, 2016 at 8:50 am

        Tom, excellent comment.

        Do you think that non-conforming equipment could,
        1. Make the game easier/more fun for beginners?,
        2. Provide a spark to the equipment industry?

        Personally, I am all for bifurcation.

      • tzed

        Aug 4, 2016 at 9:34 am

        True. Both Palmer and Nicklaus fell out of the golf club business. Remember PHD and Golden Bear irons? If they can’t do it then no pro can.

    • prime21

      Aug 3, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      You’re right, quite uneducated. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

  47. Jeff

    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I don’t know who would buy these turds anyways. Stick to golf shoes. Best in the business.

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Equipment

What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing both boutique brands and major OEMs and why the former “trail the OEMs in drivers and woods”. WRXer ‘gr8 flopshot’, who plays a bag full of boutique clubs bar woods, poses the question and it’s got our members talking in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • DaRiz: “Irons, wedges, and putters don’t change much, and for all the technology OEMs try to pack in there, it’s more about how they look and feel. So boutique can fit in nicely here. Drivers/FW, on the other hand, definitely benefit from the millions of dollars in R&D, and it is probably really hard to compete. You can argue that COR is maxed out, but the tiny changes in launch conditions, spin rates, and forgiveness add up.”
  • MattM97: “One reason why I and most other lefties don’t go boutique is options. At least with OEM’s for drivers and most woods we get the most of what is released, some versions and loft we don’t get but better than nothing. I’m not against boutique; I love my putters, I love the look of a lot of wedges, I would absolutely love a set of Japanese forged CB irons one day. Just woods I’ll stick to OEM options.”
  • sniper: “The Wishon 560’s I had built years ago were as good (or better) as anything I’ve had. My current set of MP-18SC’s and Wishon’s are the best feeling irons I’ve played. Both came from a club builder and not built by the OEM. Obviously on the Wishon’s.”
  • RogerInNewZealand: “Genuinely good point. It’s like why we buy JDM, Yonex Ezone 420…and the famed J33 Bridgestone driver from long ago! T.E.E is another one..always a surprise there. With your wood/driver if your sorted that’s fine! You don’t have to bag an exotic club to hit fairways.”

Entire Thread: “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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