NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Kasper Rorsted, CEO
Jeff Lienhart – President, adidas Golf
adidas sells sports shoes, apparel, and equipment – more than 850 product units annually, all bearing its iconic three-stripe logo — in 160 countries around the world.
The No. 2 sporting goods manufacturer focuses on football, soccer, basketball, running, and training gear and apparel as well as lifestyle goods. In golf, adidas is prominent on both the apparel and footwear side and has sponsorship deals with marquee players including major champions Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose.
adidas Golf for years was aligned with equipment manufacturer TaylorMade. “We were riding pretty high when we were drafting off the success that TaylorMade was having as the behemoth in the golf industry,” said adidas Golf President Jeff Lienhart.
adidas in 2017 completed the sale of its TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth brands, with the intention to put more focus on its core business – and perceived higher-growth opportunities – in shoes and apparel. That’s put adidas Golf back under the umbrella of the bigger brand at adidas rather than connected to the TaylorMade brand.
“Our opportunity is to really latch on to all the success that the greater brand is having all around the world and find our synergies and points of leverage within the brand to really accelerate the growth,” Lienhart said. “The important thing for us is that internally we live out this mantra that we’re ‘born of sport, rooted in golf.’ This keeps one foot firmly planted in the fact that we’re part of the world’s greatest sport company. But our other foot is firmly in the game of golf and no one around this building or working on the business of golf can forget that’s who we are and the consumer we’re working for.”
adidas Golf has continually shifted to meet trends in the industry and has a segmented product line to address different fashion needs of consumers. At its core, adidas has its performance line that features Climachill, Climawarm, Climaheat and its other more technical fabrics. The company has also created a more classic, sophisticated line called adiPure as well as its new adicross sub-brand, which has more urban inspiration. The latter two lines were introduced to be easily worn both on and off the course.
“There’s a tremendous amount of apparel opportunity around the game, but also away from the game as well,” Lienhart said. “Because as we all know, those passionate about the game itself, it’s a lifestyle. You carry that lifestyle with you whether you’re on or off the course.”
adidas for years was almost synonymous with TaylorMade in the golf world, but is now very much meshing its strategic business plan with the adidas parent company for a focused, clear vision of its future approach. The wealth of resources, such as consumer insight, that the adidas brand offers are significant and adidas Golf will benefit from that.
By disconnecting from TaylorMade, adidas can also now partner with a multitude of different athletes regardless of which equipment company they’re aligned with.