Big clubmakers will get bigger in future

TaylorMade RocketbBallz fairway wood
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The popularity of TaylorMade's RocketBallz club line has help expand the company's market share.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 | 12:36 a.m.

Golf’s largest equipment makers likely will get even larger and more smaller companies will be bought up or disappear over the next several years. That’s the take of Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade, which has grown into golf’s biggest equipment company in recent years.

“It’s a very challenging industry to find success,” said King in an interview with Bloomberg News. “In some parts of the industry, like retail, we’ve seen not only consolidation, but shrinking. We’ve seen the reduction of some of the golf courses. We’ve seen plants disappear. So there’ll still probably be some consolidation.”

Sales of golf equipment in the United States dropped by 17 percent to $2.41 billion between 2007 to 2011, according to Golf Datatech. Nevertheless, TaylorMade grew its sales by 27 percent over that period and parent company Adidas recently bought Adams Golf.

TaylorMade has gotten a huge boost this year by what the company calls “fast-growing” sales of its RocketBallz line of clubs, and King told Bloomberg he hopes to boost TaylorMade's global market share for irons to 30 percent from its current 25 percent. To help get there, the company is building a series of performance labs nationwide that allow players to get their swings analyzed and their clubs custom-fit.

TaylorMade plans to try to capitalize on golf’s return as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. King also sees China as offering a huge growth opportunity over the next decade or two.