Nike to leave golf equipment business

After 12 years, Nike Golf is leaving the golf equipment business and leaving more than $700 million in sales on the table. The industry giant will cease selling its clubs, golf balls and bags, and focus on apparel.

The surprising announcement should represent a seismic shift for the industry. Nike Golf had recorded $792 million in sales in 2013, but had dropped to $706 million in 2015.

By comparison, Callaway Golf recorded $844 million in sales in 2015, as it continues to grow.

Nike is not the only equipment maker to be struggling, however. TaylorMade has seen revenue drop from a high of $1.7 billion in 2012 to less than $1 billion. Its owner, adidas, even talked about selling the equipment side of the company. Acushnet, the industry’s largest equipment manufacturer, recorded $1.5 billion in sales in 2015, but lost $966,000. It recently filed for an IPO.

Nike had used Tiger Woods and, more recently, Rory McIlroy, as ambassadors to push its equipment lines. Neither golfer has performed well as of late, but will continue to wear Nike apparel. Golf equipment represents only 3 percent of Nike’s total revenue. 

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