Nike Exits Golf As Golf Exits The Middle Class
Golf was a middle class game for 40 years, when Arnold Palmer was between 30 and 70 years old. Before Arnie, who was the son of a greens keeper, took golf by storm it was a rich man’s game. Arnie brought golf into the middle class. Sadly, it’s been returning to its wealthy roots in recent years. It was a fun run. Thank you, Arnie.
Nike recently sent shockwaves through the golf world by announcing it is transitioning out of the golf club, golf ball, and golf bag business. I wondered what took so long. It’s a mystery to me where golf revenue originates in the amounts required to justify current ad budgets. It’s not a mystery to Nike anymore.
Once upon a time I was the quintessential golf consumer. Millions of golfers with my same profile supported the golf industry. I traveled on four-day golf trips, made regular new equipment purchases, paid high green fees, played in pro-am tournaments, attended professional tournaments, watched or recorded every televised tournament, and subscribed to golf publications. Now I don’t do any of that.
My zeal for golf declined because of slow play and insults from golf pros. I’ve stopped golfing altogether due to even slower play and milk toast professional personalities.
I quit watching golf as a result of corporate-friendly players who look down their noses at amateurs like me. Curtis Strange was the first player I heard make insulting jokes about the golfing public. A few years later Jim Furyk followed it up. If Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar were hitting golf balls in my backyard, I wouldn’t get off my couch to watch them. Why would I want to watch a millionaire hit a golf ball?
Today I could not associate a single golfer with the brand of golf equipment he or she uses. When Under Armour or Titleist pays a PGA Golfer millions of dollars to represent their brand, how do they recover that money? It’s not from me any longer.
If golf has lost me, they’ve lost a lot of people.