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Good signs in golf equipment sales in latest Golf Datatech report

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Consider this brass tacks analysis of the golf equipment industry from World Golf Foundation CEO, Steve Mona: “As long as we keep that committed number of stable golfers at around 20 million, the spending will follow.”

Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura got a peek at Golf Datatech’s May sales report…and it seems with respect to the month of May at least, “spending is following.” Stachura reports good signs in equipment sales relative to last year and a 12 percent increase in golf ball sales (in both units and dollars).

Irons sales were up 17 percent in terms of dollars and nine percent with respect to units sold. Woods were up three percent in dollars but down three percent in units. Wedges were up almost 12 percent in units and 10 percent in dollars, and putters were relatively flat.

Stachura points out,

“While unit sales across all categories aren’t anywhere near record levels, what is changing and improving the health of the golf equipment business is the increase in average selling price.”

Shoe sales ticked upwards more than 20 percent, and glove and bag sales were both up more than 10 percent.

While all of this is well off from industry record levels, positive momentum and further evidence of the “new normal” of the golf equipment industry after it dusted itself off from the ramifications of the 2008 financial crisis.

Callaway CEO Chip Brewer conveyed that sentiment earlier this year

“From a business perspective, the industry is getting a lot healthier. It’s a lot more rational, healthy environment for equipment companies and our customers now relative than it was a few years ago – longer life cycles and improved innovation, etc…The innovations that have been coming have been continuous; the new golf balls we make nowadays, the new technologies, the new approaches to adding distance to drivers, it’s an exciting time.”

What say you to this news, GolfWRX members? Reason for optimism? Too small a sample for far-reaching analysis? Let us know what you’re seeing on the ground!

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. calc

    Jun 29, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Drink GOLFERAID …. there’s a swing in every can …. 😮

  2. aupga

    Jun 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Slow rise in percentage and higher rise in price tells me that it is about the increased prices we are seeing with drivers. That won’t last, especially if the longevity of the clubs are longer as they say. If they think it is a green light to keep raising prices to $700 or $800 drivers, it will bite them. It is a slippery slope.

  3. Jim

    Jun 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I’m actually not at all concerned about equipment sales numbers and growing the manufacturing industry. I’m more concerned with the quality of what’s being made and the costs related. Manufacturers have been getting filthy rich for the last 3 decades since they stopped using wood for “woods” and started getting products made in China rather than the U.S. so they could cut costs.

  4. ChipNRun

    Jun 27, 2018 at 11:55 am

    General question: Do these sales figures include just new equipment sales?

  5. Jim

    Jun 27, 2018 at 8:28 am

    I am a lefty and have never seen a picture like that with that many left handed clubs…ever…in my life.

  6. Lance

    Jun 26, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Must be picking up if you can have a golf shop with all lefty!

  7. Mizzle Fizzle

    Jun 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    They won’t get a penny from me. My bag is set, beeeeaaaaachez.

  8. JHammer

    Jun 26, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I have never seen so many left handed clubs in one picture in my life.

  9. gif

    Jun 26, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Golfers are stocking up on golf clubs because most are made in China and could be hit with a big tariff soon and boosting prices. It’s a good investment strategy!!!

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19th Hole

That’s one way to grow the game: First Nude Golf Day held in Australia

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Ready your shaft and balls jokes, golf fans, it’s time for the tale of the the first Wandering Bears Nude Golf Day at (you can’t make this stuff up) Humpty Doo Golf Club in Australia.

According to a Northern Territory News report, Bruce Jensen and Julie Jarvie of Brujul Nude Retreat organized the event. They agreed to steer clear of the seventh and eight holes because those are next to the clubhouse and, presumably, the membership loaned the course out to the nudists for the day but they didn’t particularly want to see a flesh parade while chowing down in the grill room.

The event attracted about 30 swingers of the golf club. Jensen promises there will be more golfers sans clothes at next year’s event.

And here are a couple of quotes from participants in the event, presented without comment because, well, what can you really say?

“There’s plenty of sun block. And the sausage sizzle got people going a bit.”

“Everything is swinging when you play golf nude.”

It’s unclear whether “sausage sizzle” was a literal or figurative term…

So, while some of us are bellyaching about the state of the game, Jensen, Jarvie, the Wandering Bears, and the Humpty Doo Golf Club are doing something about it…albeit something that 99.9 percent of golfers would never consider.

But seriously. Good on you, participants in/organizers of Nude Golf Day. We always talk about playing golf the way that suits you — nine holes, teeing it forward, on a simulator, etc. — and these folks are truly doing it.

What say you, GolfWRX members, anyone plan to wander fairways in the buff with the Wandering Bears next year?

(image c/o Clive Hyde)

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Rickie Fowler sings the praises of slow greens. What do you think?

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Following his opening-round 64 at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open yesterday, Rickie Fowler had some interesting remarks about his enjoyment of slower greens.

Writing for Golfweek, Geoff Shackelford mentioned Guillane “is playing firm and fast tee-to-fringe, the greens themselves are kept much slower than the typical European Tour course due to the possibility of high winds.”

Rickie Fowler, a past winner of the tournament, suggested slower greens may actually show who the better putters are.

“I think it’s kind of nice because (you) actually get to hit the putt, you’re not just trying to hit it to a spot and letting it work to the hole unless you have a downhill, downwind putt,” he said. ‘“You have to use your imagination as far as creativity and trying to judge how much the wind will affect it. At the end of the day, you just have to hit solid putts.”’

“Slower greens may accentuate a mis-hit putt more. Whereas if you have a downhill putt in the States you kind of just have to hit it to get it going. Here, you mis-hit it a little bit uphill, into the wind and it can be a pretty big difference.”

While Shackelford, advocate for rolling back the ball and against “firm and fast” that he is, saw great important in Fowler’s remarks, he’s not at all wrong to highlight them

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Is it worth reading anything into Fowler’s remarks? Clearly, with current ball distances, pros would be shooting fish in a barrel with their approach shots on greens that stimp at nine or 10, right?

Let us know what you think!

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19th Hole

It’s a boom time for Phil Mickelson stories

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A few tasty morsels are being served for fans of the game’s greatest left-hander today.

Coming on the heels of Alan Shipnuck’s superb ride along with Phil (as in, riding in Mickelson’s souped-up golf cart) the other day, Lefty had plenty of note to say at the Scottish Open (per John Huggan). 

Question: Do you think the backlash has been over the top?

“You have to be accountable for yourself,” said Mickelson. “I do a lot of dumb stuff. I had that rules deal at Greenbrier last week. And last year at Greenbrier I picked up my ball in the middle of the fairway, marked it and cleaned it. I have these like just moments where I’m in a ‘cloud.’ I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I’m just going through the motions and not really aware of the moment. I’ve done that a bunch in my career. I keep doing stuff like that. That’s the way my mind works.”

Next question: “One of the confusing things for people is that you said after the round at the U.S. Open on Saturday that you thought about doing it a lot of times before, and that indicated that maybe it was premeditated what you did?”

“Not only was I not great on the course, I was not great after the round, either…So it was just not a great day, and it was my birthday. I tend to do dumb stuff on my birthday. The way I show anger is not the traditionally accepted way, throwing clubs and berating the fans and marshals. I tend to be a little more passive aggressive in my actions, and that was kind of what I was doing.”

And if that weren’t good enough, Golf.com filed a roundup of some great Mickelson stories, courtesy of his fellow Tour pros and others.

Keegan Bradley

“I have a Phil story from Muirfield Village, at the 2013 Presidents Cup. We were doing really well, playing alternate shot, and we were dormie, 6 up with whatever left to play. And I had about a 5-foot putt on 13 to win the match — and it 360ed the hole. Lipped out. I got up on the next hole, it’s my tee and just a 3-iron, but I was rattled — I hit this 3-iron 100 yards right. So they win that hole. And then we get to the next hole, a par 5, and we get up there and I’ve got 5 feet for birdie; Graham DeLaet has about 25 feet for his birdie.”

“So all Graham has to do is miss his putt and we win the match. And Phil looks over at Graham and goes, ‘Pick it up, it’s good.’ And I looked over at Phil and I’m like, Are you kidding me? Now, if I miss the putt, we lose the hole. So I was pissed. But then, sure enough, I made the putt, we won the match. Now it’s funny — but if I’d missed the putt it wouldn’t have been funny. Now he says he knew I was rattled and he wanted me to make that putt to win the match. So, typical Phil, trying to teach lessons. But it was wild. I mean, a 25-footer!”

Xander Schauffele

“This year, I played all four rounds at the Waste Management with Phil, and it was incredible. I feel like I got the full Phil experience. But the coolest moment I’ve had with him was when I was on the Web.com Tour. I played a pickup round with Phil and Charley Hoffman at The Grand, my home course in San Diego, and [laughs] there’s so much banter between those guys. This was sort of my introduction into what the top dogs do. So we’re on the second hole, and I think Charley was already up on him. You know, they always gamble a certain amount of money.

“Phil’s about to tee off, and he’s pretending to struggle. He was like, ‘Oh, gosh, it’s so hard to swing.’ I was like, what’s going on? And Phil goes, ‘Here Charley, you mind holding onto this?’ And he pulls this wad of cash out of his back pocket! The whole day, I was sitting in the cart, just lookin’ around, like, ‘I’m not gonna say anything here; I’m just gonna let these guys battle it out.’ And it was so much fun. Phil showed how competitive and fun he can make golf.”

Check out the rest of the anecdotes here.

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