US sportswear giant Nike has followed the lead of its German counterpart Adidas by announcing that it will scale back its investment in golf.
The company will no longer sell equipment such as clubs, balls and bags and will instead focus on developing golf footwear and apparel. Nike also announced plans to expand its portfolio of partnerships with top-ranking players.
The announcement comes with sales at the Nike Golf division dropping by 8.2 per cent to $706m (€634m) during the year ending May 2016. The figure represented a greater drop than any of Nike’s other major sports divisions.
“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” Nike Brand president Trevor Edwards said. “We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profit growth for Nike Golf.”
Nike currently holds endorsement deals with leading players such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy (pictured), Brooks Koepka, Suzann Pettersen and Michelle Wie.
Nike Golf president Daric Ashford added: “Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide. Over the past year the MM Fly Blade Polo, the Flyknit Chukka and Air Zoom 90 have all connected strongly with golfers. We’ll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game.”
In May, Adidas confirmed that it would seek to sell its TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth brands in order to focus on its own Adidas Golf operation and the apparel and footwear market. Adidas lists Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose among its partners.