Sportswear manufacturer Nike announced last week that it would cease production of golfing equipment.
In a statement, the company said that it would “transition” away from golfing equipment in order to focus on selling apparel and shoes.
“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” said Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand.
“We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”
Nike first entered the golfing equipment business little more than 10 years ago, introducing a number of different products, including clubs, balls and golfing bags.
In order to promote this line of products, Nike worked with several high-profile golfing celebrities including Tiger Woods.
These celebrity endorsements and sponsorships however failed to help the company realise significant market share, which, after 10 years in the business, still hovered below 10%.
As well, Nike Golf was the company’s worst performing category in 2015, with sales totalling a mere $706 million. Moreover these sales had dropped around 8% from the year before, continuing a three year decline for the division.
While these lacklustre sales likely precipitated Nike’s decision to halt golfing equipment production, the declining stature and popularity of the game itself also could be to blame.
The total number of people playing gold in the US has dropped 24% from its peak in 2002, to about 23 million in 2013, with high costs and perceived elitism being reported as barriers to entry.
Reduced sales combined with slowing golf popularity, especially amongst younger generations would seem to have caused Nike to see its Nike Golf division as more trouble than it was worth.
Indeed a similar move was undertaken earlier this year by German sportswear manufacturer Adidas, a primary rival of Nike.
It made the decision to sell of the majority of its golfing assets citing plummeting sales despite being in the business for more than 20 years.
Currently it is unclear how rapidly Nike will shut down its golfing equipment production, or how many jobs will be lost in this process.