As we reported on June 23, Dick’s Sporting Goods let go of its entire staff of PGA professionals, leaving an estimated 500 pros out of a job.
The decision came amidst regular news of the decline in golf participation, flat equipment sales, and pervasive doom-and-gloom scenarios such as “3 reasons golf is in the rough” on CNNMoney.com and “How the business of golf got stuck in the rough” on the Financial Post.
It’s in this environment that golf instruction company, GolfTEC plans to add more than 100 PGA professionals to its existing roster of 600 pros. As the company’s CEO and co-founder, Joe Assell, recently wrote in an editorial, “Some would blame [Dick’s] decision on a declining interest in golf, but I don’t see it that way.”
Further, Assell wrote:
“PGA Pros have propelled a 100 percent increase in our company’s revenues over the last five years. During that time, we gave millions of lessons to hundreds of thousands of golfers who visited a GolfTEC Coach at one of our 190 locations. In fact, outstanding work by PGA Professionals at our improvement centers has GolfTEC poised for an exceptional 2014. This will include record highs in our revenues, number of lessons given and the number of GolfTEC locations.”
The CEO doesn’t feel that he is alone in his optimism. As he wrote:
“There are a number of people who appear to share my view that it is a good time to invest in golf. Donald Trump’s entry into golf course and resort ownership, Newcastle Investments’ recapitalization of American Golf, and the investments of Kohlberg & Co. and Great White Shark Enterprises in Troon Golf all point to an upside for our industry.”
Reached by phone last week, Assell said that declines in the golf industry have much to do with golfers’ limited time, lack of skill, and reduced discretionary income. He said that major innovations in golf technology have plateaued and that golf equipment can only ever do so much to improve a golfer.
Legitimate and lasting improvements can only come from taking lessons, Assell said. Thus, he feels GolfTEC is uniquely positioned to meet industry challenges head on, thanks to its convenient locations, online scheduling and lesson portal, roster of PGA pros, defined methods and costs commensurate with the market rate of lessons in each center’s area.
Assell pointed to data from the National Golf Foundation, which correlates spending, participation, and enjoyment to handicap. The lower a golfer’s handicap, the more he/she spends, plays, and enjoys the game. Thus, one way to counter a decline in participation is to help those who do play to get better, as well as helping new golfers to understand the golf swing and consistently improve.
Such is the work of GolfTEC. And in the face of industry contraction and frequent bad news, the company seems unfazed.
+For more about GolfTEC, check out the company website.
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WOTW: Viktor Hovland’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Khaki Green
Viktor Hovland successfully defended his Hero World Challenge title this weekend. Hovland fired a final round 69, giving him a 2 stroke win over Scottie Scheffler. After the round, Victor received his trophy from Tiger Woods and on his wrist was a green Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver.
Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Date: 2021 – Present
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Khaki Green “Méga Tapisserie”
Movement: Calibre 4308, 32 Jewels
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 300 Meters
Bracelet: Khaki Green Rubber Strap
Price: $29,000 (~$35,000)
Audemars Piguet has been making the Royal Oak Offshore line of watches since 1992 as the larger and more capable version of the iconic Royal Oak. The larger cases, bezels, and straps give the Offshore a stronger look and stand out more on the wrist. The Offshore Diver line was introduced in 2010 and was the first Audemars Piguet watch to be ISO certified.
The case on the Offshore Diver is 42mm and made from a solid block of stainless steel but it does sit tall on the wrist at around 14mm thick. The caseback on the new Offshore Diver features a large display window, made from sapphire crystal, that allows you to view the mechanical movement inside. The caseback is held in place by 8 screws and is sealed to give the Diver a 300 meter water resistance rating. On the right side of the case is the tradition screw-down crown, finished in black ceramic and ping gold, that is used to set the time and day on the watch. The second crown sits at 10 o’clock and it is used to to set the inner rotating bezel. This bezel is around the dial and can be used for timing during dives. On top of the case is the legendary octagon Royal Oak bezel that sits on a large rubber gasket and is held in place by 8 hex screws. Under the sapphire crystal is a Khaki Green dial the the Royal Oak Offshore’s Méga Tapisserie texture. Méga Tapisserie is a sequence of raised squares with a matte finish. The hour markers and hands are made from pink gold and filled with larger amounts of luminescent material for easy reading underwater. A date is located at 3 o’clock and has a magnifying cyclops lens integrated into the glass.
Inside the stainless steel armor is a self-winding mechanical movement that was designed and built in-house by Audemars Piguet in 2021. The Calibre 4308 is an upgraded movement with a date that moves to the next day instantly a new setting mechanism for added durability. The 4308 contains 234 individual parts, offers the wearer 60 hours of power reserve and features an oscillating rotor made from solid 22k pink gold. That rotor is then given a dark grey finish and perfectly hand polished.
Holding this dive watch on Viktor’s wrist is a Khaki Green rubber strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. You are able to quickly change out the strap with quick release buttons on the lugs and pin buckle. Each strap then has steel latches built into them to snap into the lugs and pin buckle. Audemars Piguet makes plenty of $600+ rubber and leather options to dress up, or down, your Offshore Diver.
These Royal Oak Offshore Divers are gaining popularity and at one time pretty easy to get your hands on. This isn’t the case currently and if you can get one at your local Audemars Piguet dealer for the $29,000 retail price, consider yourself lucky. On the secondary market you can expect to add around a $6,000 premium to that retail price.
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