NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Philip Knight, Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus
Mark Parker, President and CEO, Nike Inc.
Trevor Edwards, President, Nike Brand
Daric Ashford, President, Nike Golf
Ignacio Giraldo, General Manager, Nike Golf Tennis
Nike, with its signature swoosh, remains one of the top golf apparel companies in the United States. The company’s clothing side of the golf business was largely unaffected by a decision to halt production of clubs and balls.
By pulling out of the equipment market in 2017, Nike said it was focusing instead on its strengths, reaffirming a commitment to be the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel.
Golf is among the smallest categories at Nike – the world’s largest supplier and manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel – yet the division still produces hundreds of million of dollars in revenue. It also has partnerships with many of the sport’s top professionals, including Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and Michelle Wie.
In addition to the re-focusing, Nike, in some respects, underwent a re-branding several years ago and moved in a more casual direction. It introduced golf shoes inspired, in part, by basketball shoes along with polo shirts with very low-profile “blade” collars, and flat-brimmed hats.
“You realize this isn’t going away; this is only going to get stronger and better,” said Koepka, who has won four major championships. “You see it in the style, which has broadened a bit. They stuck with what they know best, and they are the best at it in the world.”
Several years back, there was a mistaken impression in some circles that Nike had gotten out of the golf business entirely because it stopped making clubs and balls after more than 16 years in the equipment category. Others wondered whether eliminating production of the equipment Woods used for more than a decade was the first step in Nike’s exit from the sport.
The reality is that Nike remains as committed to golf as ever, instead accelerating its apparel business after pulling out of hard goods. The long-term deals that McIlroy and Day signed in recent years were both reported to be worth more than $100 million.