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Parsons: Nike made the right decision, its exit could benefit the industry

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The way Bob Parsons sees it, Nike’s surprise decision to exit the golf equipment industry could be a good thing — for both his golf equipment company and the industry as a whole.

“This decision for [Nike] is a very right decision, because their clothes and shoes are outstanding, particularly on the high end,” Parsons SAid. “They’re just off the hook.”

The opinion of Parsons, a self-made billionaire, entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded GoDaddy.com, is of the majority. Nike makes excellent golf apparel and shoes, but its golf clubs often left a lot to be desired.

Nike Golf’s revenues reached $792 million in fiscal year 2013 and $789 million in 2014 (a figure that includes apparel and shoes), but then declined to $769 million in 2015 and $706 million in 2016 despite adding several marquee endorsers, including four-time major champion Rory McIlroy and budding PGA Tour star Brooks Koepka. Parsons cited Nike’s inability to meet the golf equipment needs of serious golfers as one of the reasons it was never able to gain significant marketshare.

“Tell me how many people out there are playing Nike.” he said. “Not many.”

In recent years, maybe only Parsons has rivaled the surprise generated by Nike’s decision to exit the golf equipment business. His decision to enter the space with his company Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) in 2014 sent similar shockwaves through the industry. His mission was simple — make the best golf clubs in the world — and PXG’s unique technologies, constructions and high prices have generated interest unseen from a golf equipment start-up in decades.

PXG is best known for its irons, which sell for roughly $300 each — significantly more than most irons in the marketplace. For example, Nike’s most recent iron models sold for between $110 and $140 per club. For that reason, Parsons said he never saw Nike as a competitor, and given its relatively small marketshare, he said he does not see Nike’s exit directly benefitting his sales.

“There’s more of an impact for Callaway, and on and on,” he said.

There’s a different way PXG could benefit from Nike’s decision, though, or even support the apparel giant, Parsons said. The companies could work together, with Nike meeting the clothing needs of its endorsers with Swoosh-logoed apparel, shoes and accessories, and PXG providing those players with their golf clubs.

Parsons envisioned a scenario where Nike was paying a PGA Tour player $7 million to use its clubs and wear its apparel and shoes. With Nike out of the golf equipment business, he said he could pay the player $3-4 million to use PXG clubs, with Nike paying $2-3 million for the player to wear its apparel and shoes.

“It’s the same number,” Parsons said. “And that player can use any [golf] ball he wants, which is not trivial.”

PXG currently boasts a PGA Tour staff of seven players, the highest ranked of which is 2015 Open Champion Zach Johnson, No. 21 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The company also endorses four-time PGA Tour winners Ryan Moore (No. 61) and Chris Kirk (No. 64), in addition to 2014 PGA Tour FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel (No. 73) and two-time PGA Tour winners James Hahn (No. 60) and Charles Howell III (No. 93). Recent signing Charl Schwartzel, who was a former Nike endorser, is 23rd in the OWGR.

After Nike’s announcement, Parsons said he fielded more than 30 phone calls from players affected by Nike’s decision. He’s open to adding 4, 5, 6 or even more endorsees to the PXG roster, he said, but made it clear that the signing process is always initiated by players, not PXG. How much he will have to pay for each player, however, could be less than he anticipated when he started his company.

With fewer companies to bid for big-name golfers, Parsons sees endorsement deals shrinking, but offering greater flexibility in terms of how many of the sponsor’s products golfers must use. He revealed that most of the players he’s signed have actually taken smaller endorsement contracts with PXG, because they wanted to play the clubs. “The real money is in winning anyway,” Parsons said.

At least in terms of golf equipment contracts, he’s right. If a players incurs a loss of $500K or even $1 million by changing equipment sponsors, he could easily cover the cost with an additional win or a few top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour. Parsons also sees PGA Tour players and their agents getting more creative with endorsement deals, relying less on golf equipment businesses for revenue.

“This could be something that ultimately benefits the golf equipment industry,” he said.

Putting it another way, “You could see a lot more hats that say ‘Phil’s Steakhouse,’ or something like that,” he said.

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

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. Thane

    Aug 31, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Every serious golfer knows that it is absolutely essential to be fully decked out in “Swoosh-logoed apparel, shoes and accessories” before teeing it up.

  2. Kerry Braxton

    Aug 28, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Parsons said he likely won t be interested if Woods knocks on his door, but the other two names that Ashford mentioned and a couple he didn t are a different story. As for the golf equipment market, aside from the inconvenience of the current Nike clubs in stores and shops and dealing with returns and refunds, Nike s overall market presence at 3 percent or less in woods and irons does not leave a gaping void in the landscape, especially with the company s continued commitment to footwear and apparel.

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    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:38 pm

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  5. digitalbroccoli

    Aug 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    We really need to get Bob to do a weekly podcast with Barney Adams. Just the two of them talking about golf and golf equipment would be fascinating.

  6. Jim

    Aug 7, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    …..you’d have to be not too bright to purchase anything new ‘premium’ today, be it Ping, TM, Titleist – whatever – without going through a real good fitting. Shaft technology has exploded in just the last 10 years. Manufacturers also learned to work with Titanium better (not easy) and mix metals & composites. We used to have to use silly lofts like 6.5 or 7 to keep the ball from ballooning because even XX offerings from the top companies at the time (Harrison/
    Penley/Brunswick were all heavy & pretty much mid-kick
    point launches

    With better control of COG and lighter faster more precise
    shafts we can maximize loft on the driver face for
    forgiveness & the shaft will keep the spin & trajectory
    down

    Steel iron shafts are blowin’ up too! Ever since KBS broke into Dynamic Gold & Rifle’s market and got the big guys
    scrambling AND innovating again.

    Don’t buy any new release without exploring and comparing the new generation of shaft offerings often available at little
    or no extra charge.

  7. Mad-Mex

    Aug 6, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Can someone tell Bob that he can have the top 10 players in the world using his clubs, but, if the average golfer doesn’t buy his golf clubs,,, he will run out of money to pay those pro’s,,,

  8. Tom Duckworth

    Aug 5, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    How did this self serving article make it into this site? Bob is full of BS his clubs are OK but not worth $300.00 each They are nothing more than a status symbol for rich guys. Sorry but that’s the simple truth. It’s an age old marketing ploy, charge a super high price and fools will think you have something special.
    Nike getting out of the equipment business is sad news it just shows how much
    of a decline golf is in. Big box store like Golfsmith struggling is also bad news. Bob could care less about the average guy he only cares about the country club golfer with deep pockets and an ego that needs to carry around the most expensive clubs. When the average person hears about products like PXG it drives them away from the game.

    • Jim

      Aug 5, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      You know nothing about what you speak. I’d bet you a weeks pay – (we’re about 20 min north of NYC) we could fit you with PXG, EPON OR HONMA (last two both more expensive than the first) and crush whatever’s in your bag now.

      Personally I don’t care for PXG and the ‘gen-x’ look st all, , but the forgivness feel & distance are real. One club longer
      than most “high end” OEM stuff, with significantly less
      dispersion. EPON’s are consistantly the longest hitting
      irons I’ve ever seen such a wide variety of golfers
      hit. I’ve been building and testing golf clubs for 42 years
      starting @ hanging around at the Pedersen factory when I
      was 13 and I’m telling you flat out you have NO clue what
      you’re missing.

      VALUE / WORTH are whatever someone will pay. 1500
      ladies shoes – 3000 purses – 25K Diamond Rolexes And NO,I wouldn’t pay 3000 for a watch even if I won megaball
      tomorrow – not my thang…

      Golfsmith – too greedy, too big, too fast. Did we REALLY
      NEED super market sized golf stores with crappy fitting
      technology, VERY FEW truly qualified fitters….and jeez… how many flavors of crappy low end, poorly cast mid
      range or even semi-decent clubs does anyone actually need
      to see? They also blew it buying up names like Lynx,
      Armour, Snake Eyes, MacGregor – etc – then casting ALL of
      these house brands at the same cheepo Mongolian foundry
      with whatever shards of scrap metal they found to throw in the smelter that day.

      It’s about caring about quality and superior workmanship.
      Japanese steel crafting is art. They consider the hosel to be
      THE most important part as it’s where the shaft and head
      unite. No mass produced major OEM’s have their exacting
      specs…even Mizuno has to ‘dimple’ the shafts to take up space and improve the glue bond…try ‘dry fitting’ a Miura or
      Epon head to a shaft and you’ll get about half way down.
      You hardly need any epoxy – pretty much just enough to
      help lubricate the shaft as you pound the head down into
      place..

      I agree golf shouldn’t be only for the rich – if it were I’d never
      have been given the great gift of a game for a lifetime, and Ihave a toddler too, so, if I didn’t get my gear free (full bag
      Callaway – Apex Irons, Alpha Driver, BB fway/hybrid,
      MacDaddy wedges, Tank putter – all with custom shafts –
      cause we DO sell more ”normal’ high end stuff rather than only custom builds) I’d still be making my own forged Walter Hagen’s (oh DAMN!….they’re gone now too! Another once great name bought by DICK’s).

      anyway, the dare is still good. Weeks pay vs you paying for the fitting session and writing a retraction.

      • Mad-Mex

        Aug 6, 2016 at 11:55 pm

        You have just described why golf is loosing players and not making new ones, the “elitist” attitude of many players, who frown when they see someone with less than “Tour Specs” clubs. 99% of the people who enjoy golf (notice I said ENJOY and not play) don’t give a rats behind about “steel crafting” since they PAY for their equipment and to enjoy the game and are not PAID to use the equipment. And about your “fitting” , there is plenty of quality fitters out there to get you into OEMS, and yes, I play OEM, Callaway Fairway wood, PING G-25 irons, Cleveland wedges and 3-4 hybrids, Byron Putter and no, I could care less about lowering my driver rpms by 200 and decreasing my shot dispersion by 1.004 yards and my handicap to single digits, don’t have the time, I have a job and enjoy golf too much to get worked up about trivial stuff.
        But, I could be wrong about all this,,,,, not yet tho,,,,,,,,

        • Jim

          Aug 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm

          Only a rich kook (Mr. P?) would keep spending money on something that minimally improved distance or accuracy. Read all the words… I did say “MOST” highend Larger OEM offerings. While PXG many not be longer than Apex or even a well struck Burner 2.0 they are longer and more forgiving than MOST. We’d be trashed by our customers (and deservedly so) if we attempted to justify even our wealthiest visitor would benefit from 3% less dispersion or 3yds more distance.

          Parsons started as a golf nut who could afford every new release – as he himself said “buying several drivers etc every season”.
          He probably needed better lessons and more practice rather than hoping to buy a magic club as we know, they don’t exist.

          BETTER clubs do. Better fitting does. Shaft profiling – where we ‘freq’d’ all our demo shafts in 8″ sections and entered them into a database so we can ‘better’ fit the ‘loading’ of the shaft and ‘better’ match the flexpoint of the shaft for the player’s lag and hand action as they release the clubhead. We can almost EXACTLY match the club we build you to the one you were fit on. Try getting THAT being fit @ Dick’s and then ordering online to save $29.

          Do you buy a new iphone everytime one comes out? Certainly you’re aware of the nuts that camp out for 2days to get it at FULL price?

          No body goes thru a comprehensive fitting to buy stuff almost no one’s ever heard of to have a status symbol – what’d be the point of that when they could just sport a fancy watch or diamond pinky ring on the first tee.

          You’re definitely not wrong about the status thing – but in a different way. Over the years I’ve had many clients want a specific brand name – because their friends had it, and even though several women hit the old Wilson Fat Shaft ladies irons BETTER than the offerings from Callaway or TM at the time (’99?) They REFUSED to buy the Wilsons because either their friends had Callaway OR they HATED THE FAT SHAFT Name! (No joke!). Many of these golf-boon era ‘neuveau riche’ objected to Wilson because “I never HEARD of.Wilson”.

          people are strange 🙂

      • Mad-Mex

        Aug 7, 2016 at 4:39 am

        Jim- Your comment shows why golf continues to decline, it is the “elitist” attitude you display which turns people off. Very few casual players know about Miura or Epon, remember them? you know? Those who enjoy the game? Notice I said ENJOY the game? Ironic that and I quote “been building and “testing” clubs for 42 years” and you started at age 13, that makes you 55, but you play OEM, with “custom” shafts,,, wait, were those shafts MADE JUST for you? If anyone can buy them, then they are not “custom”,, guess my PING G-25’s also have “custom” shafts since I was fitted for them,,,,, but with all due respect, your troll, I mean post, is very elaborate, too bad it reeks of holes and well, BS.

        • Jim

          Aug 7, 2016 at 2:50 pm

          My ‘custom’ shafts mean ‘other than stock offerings’ and they are custom tipped and stepped for me, so, that’s what we refer to as custom.
          Our customers who choose Miura, Epon or PXG have usually never heard of them either. They find us from word of mouth &
          internet chatter.

          Look up a feature story on us & Miura on
          Bloomberg financial – search Miura on their website. That was probably 7 or 8 years ago before the rebuild of the range and
          construction of the fitting center, which
          when we opened was the ONLY one of it’s
          kind in mortheast. We had all kinds of people – club pros too from Philly to Boston coming in to get fit on Trackman (still new then).

          The guy who rolls up in a $60K car and talks
          a bunch of crap about price sayin “285 a
          club? No problem – I’ll tell my wife to kiss my
          ass” doesn’t come back… the guy who never
          heard of the clubs until he got paired up with
          someone on the county course that comes
          to demo a couple and asks “HOW much are
          these really?” When given various shaft
          options and prices says “I’m gonna ask my
          wife” – THAT’S THE GUY that comes back
          and buys.

          I can’t afford 2500 for a set of irons. I’m a
          workin/teachin PGA Pro in a still shitty
          economy with a busy 4yr old – hence my
          Callaway Staff deal, which I have earned and am also extremely grateful for.

          No one buys anything new BECAUSE it’s 1.004 less dispersed or 2 yds longer. The differences are significant or they’re just crazy rich folks hoping buying a new magic club will finally fix a shitty swing (Mr.P?)

          lastly, I’m much happier at a place where I can tell someone to kiss my butt (in that extreme case – where it’s warranted) rather than one of the ‘elite’ snobatoriums I’ve been on staff at. The majority of our customers aren’t loaded. That’s why how good we are matters.
          As far as any elitist comments anyone may have read into my statements, we are absolutely one the most elite fitting/teaching/proshop & custom centers in America with dozens of awards.
          I’m just the Head Professional there now and teaching full time. I don’t do the ‘official’ fittings anymore. I give my students their iron fitting specs & a recommended shaft weight & flex, as well as driver loft weight & flex recommendations to help narrow the options they should try out before getting fit

          http://www.novogolf.com

          In full disclosure: Bill the owner & chief ‘mad scientist’ is one of my best friends. I started working at The Tappan Golf Center in 2006 after being on staff in L.I. at one of the ‘Top 10 New Courses in America’ and together we transformed a small driving range shop into a Top 25, Top 50 & Top 100 (depending on whose list it is – we’re on ALL of them) shop and facility, and myself onto Top 50 Golf Instructors in America…

          And, if all that dedication and ‘attention to detail’ doesn’t matter to you intetnet scratch golfers – fine… I really don’t care

        • Jim

          Aug 7, 2016 at 3:08 pm

          ps….we sell plenty of off the rack clubs to ‘casual players’…we do NOT however let them leave without free lie angle adjustments or grip resisizing if needed.

          ‘Casual players’ as you refer to them are not who I write about in this thread.

          I WROTE because you ALL seem to assume
          that ELITE (meaning RICH) golfers buy this
          stuff, and I swear on my reputation – which is
          pretty much all I own of value these days is
          not the case.

          IF i were to call our customers elite, I would mean they do play 100+ rnds a year – mostly
          at muni’s and want to have really good gear.
          They’re the 1% who TAKE lessons and truly want to improve all aspects of their game. Whether it’s to win their flight in the club championship or on the mini Pro & Amature circuits

        • Jim

          Aug 7, 2016 at 3:36 pm

          I don’t know why my more polite and appropriate reply never posted.

          idiot – “custom” in our industry means other than what comes standard & often requires additional cost. My ‘custom’ shafts Callaway was gracious enough to accommodate me with ALL warranted an ‘up charge’, and YES, they were ‘custom’ tipped and stepped for ME, so, yea, that’s ‘custom’.

          You all refer to “elite or elitist” as in RICH – which neither I or 90% of my clients are.

          My interpretation of elite golfers – other than TOURING professionals are thise who do play 100 or so rounds a year. Take lessons, go on a couple golf weekend Myrtle Beach trips in the wintern want to win their flight in the club championship, maybe play college golf – or compete in regional mini tours open
          to both pro’s and amateurs.

          It’s not a ‘rich thing’. It’s about priorities and choices

          • Jam

            Aug 8, 2016 at 7:23 pm

            Jim, you have too much time on your hand. Stop talking crap and play some golf. Yours truly, Jam.

        • Jim

          Aug 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

          MOST of our “elite” buyers over the past 8yrs had never heard of Miura or Epon. They happened to get paired up with a customer of ours – or maybe it was a friend who’d purchased something from us. They try the clubs and then decide if it’s an expendature they’re willing to make.

          The big mouth in the 60K car who says “I’ll
          tell my wife to kiss my ass” regarding a 3K
          club purchase doesn’t come back. The guy
          who’s demo’d the clubs two or three times
          who keeps coming back and finally says “I’m
          gonna ask my wife” IS the guy who comes
          back books a fitting and makes the purchase.

          Look up a feature on Miura and us on
          Bloomberg Financial TV website – type in
          Miura Golf there and you’ll find a report by
          Connel McShane some 8 or so years ago
          before the new range & indoor/outdoor
          fitting center were built – and years before
          PXG was conceived.

          We survived the economy, ecommerce, PGA Super Stores, Golfsmith, Dick’s or whoever’s cut-throat pricing by providing exceptional customer service, attention to detail and
          services after purchase…

          yea, 13+42=55. That’s me. And yup, I do
          have a wonderful & busy 4yr old. As a PGA
          Professional the last several years HAVE SUCKED economically, so I am grateful for
          my now 10yr relationship with Callaway and
          the support I’ve earned from them. We don’t steer anyone into our high end clubs that
          isn’t already interested in them, and
          Trackman doesn’t care what you hit best or ultimately buy.
          In the ten years I’ve been at at The Tappan Golf Center and been fortunate to work with Bill, novogolf owner & Head Mad Scientist
          (Full disclosure, he is one of my best friends)
          NO ONE has bought Epon, Miura, Wishon,
          Scratch or any custom built for a status
          symbol (what good is a status symbol no
          one’s heard of in the first place?) and I don’t think PXG’s earned that level of status at all yet…

          You scratch internet trolls bitch all you want. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. You go poo-poo my experience, don’t believe me – no sweat.
          ….but….I will still be very happy to show you in person what exactly we do
          google ‘novogolf’

          • Mad-Mex

            Aug 8, 2016 at 2:53 am

            Jim, I noticed your response is easily 5 times the length of my post, which I can only surmise is an attempt at justifying your current situation. I am blessed to be able to afford those PXG’s, Epon and Miura’s, no, I do not make 7 figures a year or even the middle 6 figures, I have been breaking the 6 figures for the past 6 years thanks 20+ years of military service, education and some wise investments, like not buying $3,000 sets of irons to go out and ENJOY a round of golf or two a month with friends and/or family at my local municipal golf courses instead of paying $800-$3000 a year plus monthly fees for a “club membership”. I am currently playing my 3rd set of irons since 2000 and just bought my 3rd driver, a used PING G30 SF Tec, I was fitted for all my clubs at a small Roger Dunn store and currently play in the low 80’s with an occasional 78-79 thrown in. At age 55 , I would bet you two of my pay checks to your one, that the very best fitting where your employed and any of those 3 brands can provide me with any more joy than what my custom fitted clubs currently give me. Best wishes to you and your family.

            • Jim

              Aug 8, 2016 at 11:27 am

              Good answer 🙂 They wouldn’t make you any happier (honestly, at this point in my golf-life, me neither.).
              It’s about choices. These bloody comments I was writing kept disappearing. My device said ‘server time out’ or such and it would reload the page. I thought it ‘ate them’
              so I wrote again (bored, son had a nasty summer cold last couple days, so was just hanging out with him.
              Sorry for the excessive responses.
              They all suddenly appeared at same time.

              Anyway, had to defend what I know to be real (justify – OK..)

              Big difference between ‘the clubs wouldn’t make me enjoy the game more’ and the thread’s theme that this was all BS and only for rich idiots…
              Same to you & yours. Peace

  9. To old to matter

    Aug 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I am going to bring up something the majority of you were to young to have ever known about or maybe not even born. At one time there were 2 golf balls made, or that were used by the pro’s. They were Titlist and Maxfli, and most people were either, or, they did not switch when there was a sale on the other. But all of this was when everything golf was Green Grass facilities. I guess there were not many more brands of clubs, McGregor, Power Built that was made by Hillerich & Bradsby, they make the number one baseball bat used in the world. Louisville Slugger is that name. Wilson Staff and X-31, then there were a few local companies like North Western, please don’t swear at me, I don’t remember all of them. The Eye – O Matic was what Nicklaus used, as well as Weiskopf, Watson, Arnie had his own deal after he found out there was more money in everything but playing golf. And now you have players making more in a good season than the majority made in a career. There are many names and brands that I failed to put in but that does not make them less important or value. But there were not that many brands of cars or tv’s. I am just saying, things change and I can only hope to see what the future will bring in this mess called Golf now.

    • TigerWoodIfHeCould

      Aug 5, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      I would love to reach in your pocket for candy

  10. will

    Aug 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    This is in NO WAY good for golf! Nike is a high end company that has deep pockets. They were innovative. They hired great guys into their golf development division. They were easily one of the top 5 clubs produced in the past 5 years. Some golfers always viewed them as an outsider company and not a true golf brand. If you’ve actually hit a few hundred balls with their last 3-4 iron sets then you know that Nike was on par with the other major companies. I think their 4 piece balls are 2nd best on the market. The prices were better than the other big companies. They offered many personal options directly from their own site. The complaints i’ve see/heard only revolve around their ‘look’. Some ppl think their club design were spot on and others feel their were always too bright/vivid/distracting/etc. It’s all personal opinion with aesthetics.

  11. Paul Evans

    Aug 5, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I find it difficult to imagine that club golfers will pay $300 for one golf club. I can nearly buy a whole set of MR or Benross irons, perfectly good for even very low handicap golfers, for nearly the same price. Manufacturers need to get real. Without the public buying their clubs in quantity their future will be economically bankrupt.
    TaylorMade suffered because they brought out new drivers every three months, this gave their outlets a nightmare so pro shop’s in the UK stopped stocking them. We have new innovations on the market, see Stirling Golf and possibly Cobra but they will need to keep retail costs in reach of all.

  12. Dead Fish

    Aug 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    HAHA this made me laugh. Nike’s fraction of the market share in golf equipment is so going to make a huge impact that the entire industry is going to suddenly flourish…HAHA yeah right…

    That’s like saying since the last VCR maker in the world finally stopped producing VCRs, the Blu Ray market is going to benefit.

    The only outcome is golf equipment will continue on its course, and OEMs will still be struggling to figure out why their equipment is too expensive, I mean not selling.

    • yd

      Aug 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Exactly. And seeing as there are so many more Japanese market ones that are doing well over there that could easily go worldwide, this Nike decision seems silly and Parsons should know very well what those higher end Japanese ones do already, so he’s just patting himself on the back, as usual

  13. Brian

    Aug 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Good article. I think Nike’s Pro Combo irons that they first came out with when they launched was their best effort. Also, Tiger and Rory played “special” clubs made for them that the general public couldn’t buy so they lose synergy with the public. Also, someone made a good point on another site that Tiger never really said how great his irons were and how it helped him to victory. It makes me think of when Phil said that Tiger was playing with substandard equipment and it was hurting his game. I do think Titleist and Ping have been the best at releasing products and helping the retailers in helping to move inventory. Longer release cycles also might make people buy the products at retail if they really want them where a six month cycle people would wait that short period and then pick up a basically new club at a cheap price. This ultimately could be good for the green grass accounts that were hurt by the big box retailers as getting fit is really important. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple years.

    • Jim

      Aug 5, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Tigers irons WEREN’T ‘Nikes’ (they weren’t Titleist irons before the move either) They came from the best forging house in Japan and had Nike logos.

      His ‘substandard’ Drivers were – which is probably why he never really hit them as good as his Cobra Deep Face or his Titleist driver..

    • will

      Aug 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      the touring pros are playing the exact same clubs as any of us can go buy off the shelf! Perhaps when Nike 1st started there was something different the tour guys were using but not now. It costs a TON TON TON of money to design a club, make a cast and produce a handful of items. The pros may do a lot of tweaking to each club but they are playing the exact same heads and shafts that any person can buy!

      • Jim

        Aug 5, 2016 at 2:35 pm

        Absolutely NOT same graphite shafts “we can buy” – or even custom order from them.

      • Lee

        Aug 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        If you believe this you’re delusional.

  14. Gary

    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Bob Parsons thinks that everything that comes out of his mouth is pure gold. Actually, what he has to say is a different shade of gold color.

  15. matt_bear

    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

    I think this proves that Titleist has the best business model. Upgrading in 2 year cycles, and moderate amount of choices.

    • esmuistupido

      Aug 5, 2016 at 11:38 am

      That model is only working because Titty sells enough balls to keep them afloat. So you’re completely wrong.

      • Dead Fish

        Aug 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        Would love to have the raw production data…Could easily use quantitative methods to figure out an optimal production cycle and price point. I’m willing to bet that OEMs could stretch a 4 year cycle, producing the same amount of units they currently do, and drop the price point. Doing so would stimulate sales if the price point is more desirable.

      • Lee

        Aug 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Don’t forget the shoes and gloves the rest is losing a ton of money.

    • Needafourth

      Aug 5, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Titliest is up for sale too…actually Ping has the best business model

  16. Steve

    Aug 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

    He’s offering Nike a way to stay relevant in the golf industry with a very logical partnership. Sounds interesting.

  17. bogeypro

    Aug 5, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Parsons is a snake oil salesman. No way is he selling anything that is worth twice the price of other premium clubs.

    • Jim

      Aug 5, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      While I don’t care for the product personally, I would suggest you go for a real fitting with Trackman (or such) and outdoor ball flight. Use your own stix as a baseline and try PXG, Miura, Epon or Honma and find out what’s up.

      in comprehensive fittings the client almost always crushes one or two drivers longer with some product – other than the one they buy – even when price is not a factor. I wouldn’t spend 1200 for a driver that only went 3-4 yards further than the one I already own, but if one consistently went 12-
      18 yrds longet and was 40 or more percent more accurate,
      if I could afford it I would.

      Consider how many people popped for a new release R1 (or whatever) and it didn’t really perform as expected, so they try their buddy’s driver and happen to hit it good (that swing) and buy another one – on line or @Dick’s for 199, etc…(some buy 3-4 drivers in 2-3 seasons)…They’ve spent close to the cost of one exceptionally well fit superior quality product.

      I remember when the first Callaway Big Bertha metal woods came out….despite all the grumbling, by the start of that next season most folks had several! BUT when he released the first BB PUTTER @ 199 people absolutely freaked! $200 for a putter? Are you kidding?! – even though it was the only club you’d actually use on EVERY hole & may actually drop your scores – now, $300 Ping Clones from Scotty C are not even second guessed…

      People are strange…..If we weren’t, we wouldn’t do golf

      • Jim

        Aug 7, 2016 at 10:37 pm

        …..you’d have to be not too bright to purchase anything new ‘premium’ today, be it Ping, TM, Titleist – whatever – without going through a real good fitting. Shaft technology has exploded in just the last 10 years. Manufacturers also learned to work with Titanium better (not easy) and mix metals & composites. We used to have to use silly lofts like 6.5 or 7 to keep the ball from ballooning because even XX offerings from the top companies at the time (Harrison/Penley/Brunswick were all heavy & pretty much mid-kick point.

        With better control of COG and lighter faster more precise shafts we can maximize loft on the driver face for forgiveness & the shaft will keep thw spin & trajectory down.

        Steel iron shafts are blowin’ up too! KBS broke into the Dynamic Gold or Rifle market and got the big guys scrambling AND innovating again.

        Don’t buy any new release without exploring and comparing the new generation of steel offerings often available at little or no extra charge

  18. Andy

    Aug 4, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    LOL – “The real money is in winning anyway” – Jesus Christ. No. Because Math.

    • Mike

      Aug 5, 2016 at 8:20 am

      True that. If endorsement contracts are around $7 million/yr as Parsons says, only 2 players on the 2015 money list made more than that.

  19. Curtis Roberts

    Aug 4, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    How many ppl are playing Nike’s? Not a lot? Well there are way less PXG sticks in anyone’s bags not on the PGA tour.

  20. Matto.

    Aug 4, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    “Their clubs often left a lot to be desired” yet you guys 5star the crap out of them in every review.

    • john

      Aug 5, 2016 at 1:27 am

      that’s because nike made good products, the limit has been reached in golf, COR hasn’t changed – even wilson staff make products up to the USGA/R&A limits.

  21. Andrew

    Aug 4, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    To claim that Nike isn’t competition is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There’s only so many big-name manufacturers, only so much floor space at retailers and pro shops… and you’ve just removed the biggest name of them all from the mix. Sure, most real golfers know Nike clubs suck, but you’ve taken their significant portion of full-price market share and put it back in the pool for everyone to go after. Jiust because your clubs are more expensive doesn’t mean people who aren’t currently playing them aren’t potential customers. (Plenty of rich people like Nike, trust me.) This is clearly a passion project for a self-absorbed billionaire and will never amount to a profitable company. What demo is he going after with the word “Xtreme” in his branding, anyway? Mountain Dew already owns the 13 year old action sports connoisseurs. Stop giving this idiot free publicity… its clearly all he wants.

    • Joseph

      Aug 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      I play NIKE blades and Vapor Pro woods and the putter and platinum ball. Think they look great and play very well. Next set will be ? But it won’t be his. I personally do not like the look and as has been said, who is doing well playing his product?
      He is a self promoter as GoDaddy shows. Good for him. Doubt NIKE wants to partner with this guy or anyone in the club business. Their players will be all over the lot with clubs going forward I suspect.

      • Jack

        Aug 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm

        I don’t think he really means partner even though he said it that way. It’s more like there is a synergy since he is only clubs and Nike now is only apparel and shoes. Unlike TM/Adidas who do both. Callaway for example though doesn’t always do both. Stenson’s Boss logo is all over his shirt. Ping does. Bubba is all Ping from clubs to hat to polo. So in his mind there is a synergy there, but doesn’t really affect anything. I think most of the Nike customers who liked the aggressive techno designs might shift to either TM or Puma who have the most techy designs. Nike clubs had a look that only some people liked.

        • Prime21

          Aug 5, 2016 at 1:23 am

          Every brand has a look that only some people like. In case you didn’t notice, Bubba wears Oakley. Not sure what points you’re trying to prove, but you’re still 0 for. Maybe you should give another post a try!

    • Marcel

      Aug 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      If you say that Nike golf clubs suck then you have probably never hit any of the recent models. For example the VR pro blade irons are one of the best I’ve ever hit and have previously played mizuno and titleist flagship models too wich weren’t as good imho. I am a low handicapper. The first generations of nike clubs were awful but they improved a lot during the years. What comes to woods I think as long as you have the shaft you like it doesn’t really matter if it’s a cobra/mizuno/callaway or nike head in it, the differences in heads aren’t that big.

      • Jim

        Aug 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

        Nike clubs have always had sloppy tolerances. We’ve taken them apart to pure the shafts or reshaft, MOI fit – whatever – and when weighing the heads, measiring insert depths and how loose the hosel bores – or even how straight – left a lot to be desired. Nike irons died here with our low hcp / better players 4 years ago.

        Doesn’t mean you didn’t get a decent set you love.

        work a high volume place with small storage area and eventually you get tired of returns for leaky shoes, seams that come apart (3 times more than FJ) and TOO MANY flavors of mid priced or even lower high end product from OEMS, so you drop a line or two. We don’t carry Cobra irons for men, stopped Cleveland – except of course wedges….

        I wonder how WILSON feels….one of the oldest and best club makers around is still popular abroad, but you can rarely find their ‘pro’ stuff anywhere – just the box o’ crap sets @ Sports Authority or Dick’s

  22. steve

    Aug 4, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    It’s funny that he thinks he will make money in this market. Lets find a niche market where growth is stalled and contracting, then lets enter that market and only target 2% of it. Yeah that sounds like a sensible investment plan. PXG is a joke, will be gone in 5 years and will only last that long because Parsonsn will be stubborn and wont accept that it isnt working

    • desmond

      Aug 5, 2016 at 7:12 am

      Doing better than expected

      • Steve

        Aug 5, 2016 at 5:13 pm

        How do you know, private company you will never know the numbers

  23. cody

    Aug 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    all this means is that golf is going to price out a lot of people.

  24. Bert

    Aug 4, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Bottom line is supply and demand. Too much supply, not good, too much demand, a good thing, but the price point may reduce demand, especially if the product isn’t superior to justify the price point.

  25. ooffa

    Aug 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Nice add for Parsons. Great reporting!

  26. Dj

    Aug 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Makes some good points, but I will never even touch a pxg club. The problem with golf clubs is pricing, and he more than doubled the already expensive costs. No thanks

  27. Harry

    Aug 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I don’t get it ! The public can’t afford pxg clubs taylormade has madeway too many clubs toreally confused the everyday golfer. Ping titleist and very few others don’t flood the market.with new must have every three weeks.

  28. Justin

    Aug 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    I have a few clients that have gone all PXG with their clubs and have never looked back. I’ve hit their 0311T irons (albeit in stiff flex when I use X) and can say they’re on eof the best feeling irons I’ve ever hit. Not only that, but I really enjoy the look of the clubs. My assumption is that PXG clubs will not get cheaper and very few X stiff sets will be available on the resale market.

    The one thing Nike’s exit will hopefully do (along with the sale or dissolution of Taylormade) is cause a major shift in the clubmaking industry. Longer release cycles, less options that are too similar… both of which should lead to lower costs for both manufacturer and consumer. A prime example of this would have been to never release the M2 Driver and simply make the M1 cheaper. No competition between clubs of the same brand and they only have to manufacture and market 1 club.

    Golf got out of hand with R&D as more players entered the equipment game and now I hope it will go back to true R&D (like Ping) where they don’t release new clubs until they are sure they are better than the previous generation. You could easily argue the Jetspeed family of woods was the biggest disappointment the golf industry has ever seen. They followed up with the Aeroburner, which wasn’t really any better. The M1 is leaps and bounds better than any club they have ever released, but they even managed to mess that up with the M2 (which is still a great club, just not needed).

    I’m not exactly sure how golf is going to “fix” things, but it sure does remind me of the housing bubble of the mid 2000s and I really hope we are headed for the same correction in pricing. My daughter is 1 and by the time she is 5 I don’t want my set of irons to cost $1,500 off the rack.

    • Jack

      Aug 4, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      Aeroburners weren’t any better? Some tour pros play them even though they are not M1 or M2. I play them and like them. I have friends who have either a 3W or hybrid or driver. They are great easy to hit clubs which many liked better than R15. Many also like the M2 better than the M1.

    • john

      Aug 5, 2016 at 1:23 am

      ping dropped the G30 like a lead balloon as soon as they realized about the hosel breaking issue, tm dropped the jetspeed as soon as they realized their “Jetsteel” faces rust – companies don’t just drop a product because it isn’t selling, they give it a chance first. Golf is unlike any other industry on earth, people in golf are irrational and often stupid. Nike couldn’t get any traction because a rumour about who made tigers nike irons STILL persists to today even though the man who made the irons (Tom Stites, of NIKE NOT MUIRA) clearly stated they were designed and made by nike.

    • Jim

      Aug 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Agree w/you, bro! Especially with the 1 year old – congrats!

      TM’s business model & practices are crap – They started this awful trend of over producing new crap every 6 months or lesd back with the SuperQuad era and people have been
      getting more and more pissed with each new release since. Did they NOT have a clue about the state of the economy from 2007-2011? (which btw STILL SUCKS for middle class golfers)
      Almost every Quarter – before your last one’s even begun to show a good strike pattern on the face – they’re bombing
      new ads about “COMING SOON – THE GREATEST DRIVER EVER MADE!” (no, seriously! This time we really really mean it)….
      Now the part that really sucks for retailers. We have to drop our price on all THE LAST ‘Greatest driver ever made’we’re now stuck with BECAUSE THEY’RE ADVERTIZING the friggin new one, so who’d buy the current one at 399!?
      They’ve turned golf equipment into what is now perceived
      as ‘made for discount’ stuff.

      Now, here’s the problem for pro shops. If you want the big
      fitting cart, you have to buy more product, so before you’ve
      sold half your stock it’s pretty much done as far as any sales at min.ad pricing. They don’t give us a retro discount, or adjust any bill we may have, so to ‘ease the pain’ they
      send you a MORE drivers to ‘net down’ your overall cost so
      you can go ahead and knock $100 off the stuff you’re
      staring at. THEY DON’T HOWEVER give you the NEXT
      greatest driver ever made, they send you more of the crap
      you have now.
      if you have a great sales rep, and enough clout, they can help rid you of SOME pieces, but either way, you know in another 3 months that crap will be 199 @ Dick’s

      R1 was a dog – no human needs 48 adjustments, then the MILLIONS THEY DUMPED on SLDR ads (everything they
      said about the club was bs – or why they send hundreds of
      thousands of 9.5’s to retail and then need an ad campaign to “loft up” if they knew humans couldn’t replicate the launch specs the robot did without 11 or more degrees of loft…10.5’s follwed (of course) but those two releases began the skepticism from consumers of pre-ordering any product from TM, and that nearly killed them this year.

      Buyets are getting smarter – especially those of us with little ones, and they are willing to spend top dollar IF the new stuff is ‘for real’. Less rounds played – better enjoy them more, so for us super service oriented custom & retail ’boutique’ and fitting centers our survival is through actual customer satisfaction, which is why despite down sales trends our higher-end, well fit gear sales are steady

      • Forsbrand

        Aug 6, 2016 at 10:12 am

        The most sense and true perspective I’ve read in ages.nthanks for putting your neck on the block with your experienced and honest comments. Some folks just won’t see the wood for the trees but if you can convert some then that’s great!

        Get custom fit and pay that little extra after all what price is enjoyment folks. Golf equipment is only expensive when you buy the wrong stuff

  29. Nate

    Aug 4, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Great article, but why list 6 of the 7 PXG Tour players? Ryan Moore was the first to use PXG.

  30. DD

    Aug 4, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    It’s great that he is so candid about all that. Sounds like a cool and forward thinking guy.

  31. mitch

    Aug 4, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    he has a good point I think.

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Tour News

It’s the Ardmore! Woods begins Quicken Loans National with TaylorMade putter in the bag

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If you had a bet going with your buddies that there was no way Tiger Woods would depart from his beloved 13 major-winning Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS this week, you lose.

Woods started the first round of the Quicken Loans National with the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he has been practicing all week with at TPC Potomac.

Adam Schupak spotted Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on the way to the first tee for Woods’ 1:20 ET start time with the camo TaylorMade putter cover in the bag (not surprisingly, the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 was beneath the cover).

Woods has struggled with the putter this season, as we’re all well aware, particularly since the Memorial. No. 89 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, the 14-time major champion knew he had to do something.

“I’m trying to find something that I can feel again, like the swing of the putter, getting my body in the right positions and seeing the lines again,” Woods said. “You know, it’s just one of those things, once I start to get the ball rolling on my lines, then I’ll be back to putting like I was. I just have not been rolling it on my lines. And then on top of that, when they don’t roll on lines, then I have a hard time seeing my lines and it’s a vicious cycle. And I’m just trying to get out of that cycle.”

Woods reportedly tried a number of TaylorMade putters in the Bahamas last week, arriving (as far as we know) at the Quicken Loans National with just the Ardmore and his Newport to choose between.

He has made his choice for the first round. We’ll see how it pans out and whether Woods remains a mallet man all week.

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5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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