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Nike: Out of the golf equipment business

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I have to disagree with those who say Nike makes bad equipment.  A friend has a Nike set and I have played his clubs occasionally and never found them to be worse than my TM clubs.  They invested enough in their clubs, admittedly with a huge chunk going in sponsorships, but they did hire some very talented designers and team.  Plus at that level of the game where people like Nike can spend millions it is not hard to build pretty good clubs.  Maybe not the greatest clubs of all time, but still pretty good.

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3 hours ago, pganapathy said:

I have to disagree with those who say Nike makes bad equipment.  A friend has a Nike set and I have played his clubs occasionally and never found them to be worse than my TM clubs.  They invested enough in their clubs, admittedly with a huge chunk going in sponsorships, but they did hire some very talented designers and team.  Plus at that level of the game where people like Nike can spend millions it is not hard to build pretty good clubs.  Maybe not the greatest clubs of all time, but still pretty good.

I don't think anyone with golf intelligence can say they made "bad" equipement, but I don't think they made anything compelling either. They marketed  the crap out of ...well mediocrity and "me too" designs. Many people state their R and D. hiring designers that didn't bring anything to market.  I never realised anything they brought to the market, that was unique or pushing the envelope of design and function. Their covert driver is a good example, this was supposed to be a revelation, it died on the vine at retail, same with the 2.0, color scheme was awful black and green and the absolute dreadful blue and yellow, even the sound was bad. These were very poor amatuer decisions for Nike. Thier sasquatch was joke and harmful to the ears.

They spent way to much money on athletes, 3rd party testing of the their product was just "ok" or comparable. Nikes best products was the CPR, slingshot and pro-combos, but this was in the mid 90s.

The original blue/grey drivers people tried to give it ago, many were returned for poor performance, weak shafts and cracked faces- that was big turning point in the consumer. We threw hundreds ( yes hundreds)  away in the dumpster. and Nike would ship us new ones no charge.

In a nut shell, they spend gobs of money for players, marketing, advertising over a 20 year span for what amounts to a 2-3% market share...I could have done that 

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3 hours ago, pganapathy said:

I have to disagree with those who say Nike makes bad equipment.  A friend has a Nike set and I have played his clubs occasionally and never found them to be worse than my TM clubs.  They invested enough in their clubs, admittedly with a huge chunk going in sponsorships, but they did hire some very talented designers and team.  Plus at that level of the game where people like Nike can spend millions it is not hard to build pretty good clubs.  Maybe not the greatest clubs of all time, but still pretty good.

Pretty much how I felt about the quality of the clubs. I played a couple Nike drivers and a Hybrid over the years. I never felt like they were in any way a lesser club than the TaylorMade or Ping clubs I've had as well. I've heard good things about some of their putters as well. I think some people just never really gave them much of a chance and honestly the golf club industry really is pretty over saturated.

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On 8/3/2016 at 7:30 PM, jbishop15 said:

Millennials (like myself) would like golf more if it wasn't so expensive. So many fixed costs: balls, clubs, green fees, cart fees. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm still covered under my parents membership, I wouldn't be able to afford to play anywhere. Not consistently, anyway. 

 

Initial costs for clubs can be a burden, but other costs can be managed.

1. Don't drive, walk, usually cuts the cost of a muni round by 20-40%.

2. Find balls and play em, a mint ball is going to be no better than a somewhat old one from the woods unless you are at the highest level of play.

3. No matter where you are, there should be a couple affordable courses. I walk 9 for 10-12 and walk 18 for 22. That's affordable considering I can spend 22 on a meal any given moment.

Actually this makes me kind of root for Tiger to come back and play well, I want to see him win a major or two and then see if Nike comes back into the equip game as a result.

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1 hour ago, mtsalmela80 said:

 

Initial costs for clubs can be a burden, but other costs can be managed.

1. Don't drive, walk, usually cuts the cost of a muni round by 20-40%.

2. Find balls and play em, a mint ball is going to be no better than a somewhat old one from the woods unless you are at the highest level of play.

3. No matter where you are, there should be a couple affordable courses. I walk 9 for 10-12 and walk 18 for 22. That's affordable considering I can spend 22 on a meal any given moment.

Actually this makes me kind of root for Tiger to come back and play well, I want to see him win a major or two and then see if Nike comes back into the equip game as a result.

That's all true and good stuff . .if you're already hooked on the game.  Somebody considering getting into golf or not won't think about finding used balls and playing them . .they'll think all this stuff costs time and money. 

Golf will never go away, though . . it may rise and fall in popularity.  I say we SandTrappers keep our eyes on Craigslist and go-in on Augusta or maybe one of the TPC courses when they hit the market cheap.  We can take turns mowing and then when golf inevitably comes back we'll be sitting pretty. 

I never saw the urgency to grow the game (I'm not against it), anyway.  The people that want to play golf should play golf.  There will always be people that want to play golf and there will be enough courses and businesses to support that number of people.  That's pretty much how it works, right?  However many bowling alleys there are in Boise,Id . . it's the right amount to support the number of bowlers.  If there were lines out the door to go bowling, they'd open more bowling alleys.  Why do bowlers care if there are 20 or 100 bowling alleys . .as long as there are bowling alleys?

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Rainmaker said:

 I never saw the urgency to grow the game (I'm not against it), anyway.  The people that want to play golf should play golf.  There will always be people that want to play golf and there will be enough courses and businesses to support that number of people.  That's pretty much how it works, right?  However many bowling alleys there are in Boise,Id . . it's the right amount to support the number of bowlers.  If there were lines out the door to go bowling, they'd open more bowling alleys.  Why do bowlers care if there are 20 or 100 bowling alleys . .as long as there are bowling alleys?

The difference is that bowling alleys are all the same, while golf courses can be really different. I know I would be sad if some courses near me closed down, even though I would still be able to golf.

I'm not overly surprised by Nike's decision here. Even though they made good clubs, I saw very few people playing them. Personally, I'm not sure I ever tried one of their clubs. Their apparel is all over the place, but not their equipment. For whatever reason, they never broken into that market very much. Probably because they had a reputation, at first, of bad clubs. I don't think that's true anymore, but the reputation has stuck.

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On 8/3/2016 at 8:12 PM, Hardspoon said:

Huh. I hadn't heard about this.

Rumors of golf's decline are greatly exaggerated. It is just no longer profitable for what is basically an apparel company. 

Above is true.  My day gig has me supporting Nike projects all the time.  99% of what I work on involves Nike apparel and shoes moving globally.

If I recall, both Tiger Woods and Rory took the money and really had a rough transition to Nike clubs.  Wonder how long it'll take both of them to retool their bags.  Hope Nike doesn't take their money back!  It's bad enough Rory has to wear those ugly collarless shirts.  :-D

dave

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3 hours ago, dave s said:

  It's bad enough Rory has to wear those ugly collarless shirts.  :-D

dave

You got that right, damn those shirts are fugly.  At least though, they do make an attempt to add a collar, even calling it a blade.  

Adam Scott said fk it, I'm just going with the straight up Henley.  I think he's sponsored by Cabela's.

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7 hours ago, nevets88 said:

I am going to miss Nike golf commercials. No golf in this recent one.

 

The end of that strikes me as a bit of an invitation to register with the Darwin Awards.

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14 hours ago, pganapathy said:

I have to disagree with those who say Nike makes bad equipment.

Seconded.

10 hours ago, Spitfisher said:

I don't think anyone with golf intelligence can say they made "bad" equipement, but I don't think they made anything compelling either.

This could easily be said of every other club maker. TM and Callaway, especially.

 

I play an older Nike Sumo driver. It's as good as anything else I've hit. I could have bought an almost new Ping G25 for $100 recently, but I didn't see a real difference. I probably should replace my Nike soon, but it still works well.

I've actually been on the hunt for a Covert 3w (red crown) in the bargin bins recently after hitting a friends. Great club. Might go by Dick's and pick up a blue one since they're only $99 now.

I will say that these Vapor irons are hideous. I thought that as soon as they came out. Their "Victory Red" series were very good looking. I never hit them, but I thought the aesthetics were great. Can't help but wonder why they went away from that look.

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On 8/4/2016 at 5:53 AM, boogielicious said:

I'm sure they made back their money on Tiger. Rory on the other hand...I wonder if they have to honor they whole contract? They gave him something like $200MM, correct?

They do make excellent clothing.

To be fair, a lot of the people i know that are under 18 grew up with Rory, and with Nike being a multi-sport company they tend to prefer nike stuff. I mean most of the younger players i know have nike sets, nike shoes, shirts, etc. Rory helped just as much, if not more with this younger generation. Look at all the Rory Driver Headcovers that kids have. 

It's just the cost. Who can honestly say it's fun paying 20$ for 12 balls, on top of 50$ rounds, and buckets of range balls that are 10$ just to work on your swing. Not to mention the clothes are 50$+ for shirts, pants are expensive. It's just not reasonable to play.

Maybe, if we could make golf more affordable for everyone, the amount of people playing it would go up.

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1 hour ago, freshmanUTA said:

It's just the cost. Who can honestly say it's fun paying 20$ for 12 balls, on top of 50$ rounds, and buckets of range balls that are 10$ just to work on your swing. Not to mention the clothes are 50$+ for shirts, pants are expensive. It's just not reasonable to play.

Maybe, if we could make golf more affordable for everyone, the amount of people playing it would go up.

Or, we need to get people to understand that golf doesn't need to be that way; you can choose to play golf in that manner, if you wish, but it is far from mandatory.

There's nothing wrong with playing muni golf, you can buy a dozen Noodles for half the price of the balls you mentioned, and as long as you are actually wearing a shirt, pants, and shoes on the muni course, no-one's going to give a damn about the logos or the fit. Oh, and this lunchtime I hit a bottomless bucket of balls for $8 at a driving range that's perfectly fine. It didn't have TrackMan and all that, but you can hit balls until the cows come home for $8. If it rains, they have covered booths. What more do you need?

Back on topic: Actually, I am sorry to see Nike leave the equipment market; I never bought their stuff, but I saw it cheap in Dick's. A blending of high-profile players and affordable equipment might have put clubs in the hands of teenagers; the likes of PXG only put clubs in the hands of corporate lawyers and investment bankers.

Edited by ScouseJohnny

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On 8/3/2016 at 4:30 PM, jbishop15 said:

Millennials (like myself) would like golf more if it wasn't so expensive. So many fixed costs: balls, clubs, green fees, cart fees. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm still covered under my parents membership, I wouldn't be able to afford to play anywhere. Not consistently, anyway. 

Well now is your time. 

The bad business climate is excellent for bargain hunters. Anyone who has a "membership" is probably at a very expensive course. But I bet you can find sub $20 rounds in central Ohio.

 

 

Edited by gregsandiego

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38 minutes ago, gregsandiego said:

Anyone who has a "membership" is probably at a very expensive course.

Depends on what you mean by "very expensive."

http://whisperingwoodsgc.com/membership

Family memberships are as low as $3k. Under 30 and you can join for $1200.

Again, prices and conditions and expectations and whatever can be very, very different in different parts of the country.

(Here's another set of dues at a local very, very good golf course/private club): http://lakeviewcc.com/membership/dues.php .

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Other than seeing a Nike driver here and there I've never encountered a golfer with Nike irons. It's just a biz decision more money going out than coming in. The golf equipment industry created it's own problem with overproduction IMO. You don't need a new iron set or driver every year but they started marketing and manufacturing like golf gear was a car.

Couple that with you can't buy your way to a better game, my numbers don't change much hitting $300 irons or $1300 irons of similar design if the shafts are the same. I've spent more money on grips and wedge heads than anything in the last 3 years. Every time I set foot in a Golf Galaxy and see the tire kickers looking at the shiny new offerings I wonder how many of them actually buy. The serious golfers I know consider clubs tools to score not bling and they get by with what works until it's too banged up to do better than something in better condition. I bought my irons in 2013 and unless there are massive technology leaps they're good for several years. Without major advances I'd likely source a used set of the same irons with less use on eBay before buying new.

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

Depends on what you mean by "very expensive."

http://whisperingwoodsgc.com/membership

Family memberships are as low as $3k. Under 30 and you can join for $1200.

Again, prices and conditions and expectations and whatever can be very, very different in different parts of the country.

(Here's another set of dues at a local very, very good golf course/private club): http://lakeviewcc.com/membership/dues.php .

Is that your local club @iacas ?

On 8/4/2016 at 8:29 AM, nevets88 said:

I will sorely miss its commercials. Nike had a predilection for making the funniest, most memorable commercials, think Woods and Yo-Yo Ma, juggling, and I'll use my persimmons till the day I die!

 

Great commercial yes! I never saw it on TV so thanks for posting.

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