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Nike to exit golf equipment, up its game on related footwear, apparel innovation

In golfing terms, this is failing to make the tournament cut. Nike, the world’s biggest athletic sportswear maker, is to stop selling golf equipment, including clubs, balls and bags. A timeline for the planned exit is not given.

Why? Sales in the Nike brand’s golf business fell 8% to $706m in the latest year ended May 31, the third straight year of decline, contributing just 3% to total revenue.

Why? Waning sales in a sport that has been in continuing decline since 2000. Since its success sponsoring Tiger Woods in his hayday, a Nike-sponsored golfer hasn’t won a major golf tournament in the prior eight championships. A move that follows adidas who in May said it would sell the bulk of its loss-making golf business, hurt by the same golfing downturn, especially in the US.

But Nike certainly isn’t quitting the circuit. Instead, it will accelerate innovation in its golf footwear and apparel business while partnering with more golfers, adding to its current roster, which includes Woods, Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie.

“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” Nike Brand president Trevor Edwards said Wednesday.

“We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”

Daric Ashford, president of Nike Golf, added: “Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide.

“Over the past year the [golf clubs] MM Fly Blade Polo, the Flyknit Chukka and Air Zoom 90 have all connected strongly with golfers. We’ll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game.”


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