Nike is one of the leading apparel brands in the world. Their success has for a long time been influenced by their involvement with athletes. Nike is a proud sponsor of many athletes and sportsmen across the globe. They sponsor major leagues including baseball, football, soccer, and golf. With the sponsorships, comes the need to manufacture equipment that relates to the game at hand.
Nike has had its fair share of success in golf. As a golf sponsor, Nike has also been involved in the manufacture and distribution of golf clubs, balls, and bags. Whilst their golf equipment has been instrumental in selling the brand to golf players and fans, its duration in the golf business was not as successful as expected. The company has since reduced its ambitions in the golf business.
So, what exactly happened to Nike and its golf equipment? Keep on reading to understand where Nike stands as far as golf is concerned.
Did Nike Stop Making Golf Balls?
In 2016, Nike released a press release explaining that it will no longer be involved in the production of golf equipment. Being one of the major players in the industry, the revelation left many surprised. For a long time, Nike has been known for the production of the best golf balls and shoes. With the company’s choice to exit the market, it was an indication that something is a miss.
The items that Nike stopped producing include:
- The company stopped producing golf clubs following the announcement
- They stopped the production of balls
- They stopped the production of golf bags
Whilst these items were vital in determining Nike’s involvement in the game, they were the only items they produced for golfers. Nike is a diverse business and being a footwear and apparel business, they still continued producing golf products. For instance, Nike has never stopped producing shoes or caps. Some of the top golfers still wear golf caps, gloves, and T-shirts on their own account.
When Did Nike Start Making Golf Equipment?
To understand the reasons behind Nike’s exit from the Golf market, it is necessary to first understand where the business came from. Whilst it is one of the oldest footwear and apparel companies in the world Nike only started being involved in the production of golf apparel in 1984. From 1984 to the mid-1990s, the company struggled to get a foothold in the world of golf.
According to the company’s records, equipment sales remained low and the competition from other established golf companies was stiff. It slowly started gaining acceptance, with their golf ball business taking the lead in placing the company on the map. In short while, golf players started using their products and attracted buyers for their golf products from across the globe.
Their success in the business came from the year 1996 to 2009 when they took the step of sponsoring Tiger Woods. Whilst their decision was a gamble at first, it is one of their most successful sponsorship deals in line with golf equipment. The business made an estimated $91 million additional revenue in 10 years thanks to their deal with Tiger Woods. Things started going south with the Tiger Woods scandal.
Golfers That Made Nike Succesful
It is a fact that Tiger Woods was instrumental in putting Nike golf on the map. When he signed his first contract in 1996, Tiger was a little-known player. He had not won any majors and was not among the influential players of the time. His success in the years to come made it possible for the player to turn around the prospects of the company.
As much as Tiger played a big role in placing Nike on the map, he is not the only player to have made the company successful. The other key player sponsored by Nike in its hay days was Rory McIlroy. Whilst McIlroy was instrumental to retain the brand’s golf equipment business from 2009. His performances became dismal towards 2013, a time when tiger woods was faced with a sex scandal.
Key factors that contributed to the fall of Nike:
- The dismal performances by Tiger following his sex scandal and following health complications.
- The dismal performances of Rory McIlroy and failure to win a major trophy for a long time.
- Heavy investment by the business in sponsoring golf players.
All these factors made the business lose a foothold in the manufacture of the equipment. Even their relationship with Motley Fool could not help restore its prospects. After an analysis, the business sought to leave the golf market. Their announcement might not have been received well by the public, but it was necessary.
When Did Nike Officially Get Out of Golf
The fall out of the market started much earlier than the company made the decision to officially get out. Whilst the sale of the company’s apparel tripled with the success of Tiger in 2004 and 2005, Nike says that it was still making losses. The increase in revenue did not lead to profits as the company had expected.
According to the Co-founder of the company Phil Knight, the golf footwear and apparel produced over the years were not very helpful to the company. In 2016, they officially announced that they will no longer produce Nike clubs, balls, and bags.
The announcement was made on August 3, 2016, but the business continued to sell its products all the way to 2017. With the announcement, most of the players that depended on their sponsorship were left without an official sponsor. Big names such as Rory McIlroy Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods were left hanging. The Nike brand president Trevor Edwards thanked the pro players for their support.
Does Nike Still Make Golf Shoes?
The news that Nike was exiting the golf market was heartbreaking to many golf fans, who love and enjoy wearing official Nike products. The good news was that the company would continue with the production of golf apparel. This meant that they would continue the production of golf shoes, gloves, caps, and T-shirts among other items.
Since they have not sponsored major golfers since 2017 after parting ways with Tiger, the company has been investing more into the manufacture of shoes. During the 2020 Masters, Nike introduced two of their best shoes in the name of Nike Air Zoom Infinity and Air Mac 90G. These two products are available to all golf players, with many pro players already using them.
With the business already producing shoes and other apparel for golfers, they still stand as major players in golf. Although they have narrowed their golf equipment production, they are not completely out of the golf footwear and apparel market.
Did Nike Drop Tiger Woods?
The year 2009 was a bad year for Tiger and his family but also a dirty one for his sponsors. At the time, he was among the best golfers, having won several majors. In December 2009, the golfer got involved in a road accident, that opened a can of worms. It was this time that several women came out alleging to have sexual relations with the pro golfer a situation that furnished his reputation.
Once the news broke, most of his sponsors sought to distance themselves from the golfer. The then icon turned into a monster that no business wanted to associate with. His golf participation reduced following the accident. As a result, Tiger seemed more of a liability than an asset to any sponsor.
Interestingly, Nike who was his main sponsor chose to stick with the man who had made their sales skyrocket in the past decade. This might have been good considering that the once golf world number one player managed to balance the equation by winning several majors after his recovery. Nonetheless, Nike started losing its strength among equipment companies.
What Companies Dropped Tiger Woods?
Several brands thought it was time to drop Tiger when the scandal broke. As is the case with most deals, they depend on what the player can offer the company. In the case of Tiger, a sex scandal combined with a long-term injury meant that he was not relevant to many brands. As a result, four of his major sponsors pulled out.
Companies that parted ways with Tiger after the sex scandal:
- Gatorade and American-themed sports foods and drinks company was among the first to distance themselves from the golfer.
- AT&T a telecommunication multinational company that was a major sponsor at the time also pulled out.
- Accenture PLC, an Irish business that offers consultancy services worldwide also pulled away from the golfer despite their huge sponsorship deal with the golfer.
- Gillette, an American company dealing with shaving accessorials also decided to part ways with the struggling player.
To the surprise of many, two key brands, Nike and EA-Sports chose to stay with Woods during this difficult time. In 2013, EA Sports decided to discontinue their support for Tiger in the PGA Tour Pros.
What Nike Irons Did Tiger Use?
Tiger has always been loyal to TaylorMade clubs. His relationship with Nike led to the golfer changing his approach to the game. In 2013, he shifted his clubs to Nike’s clubs, balls, and other accessories. The main clubs that he used post-2013 are VRS Covert Tour Driver and the VRS Fairway Woods.
His choice for irons remained the same from 2009 to 2017 when he parted ways with Nike. Thanks to his close relationship with the company, Tiger continued to support their golf footwear and apparel. Although the golf company no longer produces clubs or balls, it is a fact that Tiger contributed immensely to the golf company.
What Golf Shoes Does Tiger Woods Wear in 2020?
The Trevor Edwards-led brand has been Tiger’s supplies for shoes and other apparel for a very long time. Since 1996 when they signed the first deal, the golf icon remained loyal to the lines shoes and other products. Over the years, the relationship with the company has ended but Tiger still wears Nike shoes.
The shoes that Tiger wears today are not entirely about Nike in design. Through his agent, Woods requested to have his shoe custom made by Nike for the 2019 to 2020 season. The shoes he used for the season are also the same that he will be using for the 2021 season according to recent news reports.
The TW71 shoes are a unique design made specifically for Woods and have not undergone any sales apart from the pair sold to Tiger. Due to their limited access, his shoes are among the most valuable athlete footwear in the globe.
What Nike Golf Shoes is Rory McIlroy Wearing?
Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie are the other players that have been instrumental to the success of Nike. These two players were equally at a loss when the business decided to go out of business. They used the club balls and the company’s golf footwear for a long time. Unfortunately, they had to part ways and choose another option.
For the 2021 season, Rory will be wearing custom-made Nike shoes designed for him. He is still among the most loyal players to Nike despite having left the golf equipment industry for several years now. His Tour Victory II shoes will be used by the brand ambassador to promote the footwear.
What Nike Golf Balls Are The Best?
Although the Nike Equipment Division went out of business it does not mean that the company cannot produce quality products. As a matter of fact, they brought one of the most powerful performance innovations into the world of golf. Their focus was on developing high accuracy and stable clubs and balls that propelled Tiger to his success in the industry.
Several years after the band decided to call it to quit, word has it that the pro players still use their balls, clubs, and bags. The decline in golf participation rates for pros such as Tiger may have dealt a blow to the franchise but it still continues to rule in the world of golf ball business.
Golf balls still used by many pro golfers today:
- RZN Black minimizes spin on long drives thanks to its speed lock features.
- The RZN Platinum is still used by many thanks to its spin control features.
- The RZN white ball is loved by many modern players for its long-distance delivery with every shot made.
Since Nike might have left the market due to a reduction in sales following Woods reduced golf participation, it is still among the top brands in terms of the quality products they produce. The footwear and apparel company has produced the best balls in the golf equipment business only having been there for short time. Their clubs, balls, and bags are still used and will continue being used.
What Clubs Did Tiger Use Before Nike?
There are many clubs, balls, and other golf equipment that Tiger used before becoming the official brand ambassador for Nike. Since the was still little known at the time, he was already playing the game well and the decision by Nike to support his game was informed by his performances in the game.
As late as 2002 when he had already signed a deal with the Nike golf division, Woods still had Titleist Clubs in the Buick bag. This does not in any way mean that Titleist clubs are much better than Nike. People may argue that once he shifted to Nike golf clubs that is when the magic started happening.
He also started wearing his TW-logo caps when he decided to go all the way with Nike golf. On some occasions, he still wears his TW cap. Probably, he will have a shot at the golf equipment business at some point later in his life.
Are Golf Shoes Worth it?
Golf shoes and other apparel have played a major role in the growth of brands such as Nike, especially in the golfing industry. Most professional golfers believe that it is mandatory to wear go shoes for success on the golf course. As a result, Nike shoes have been among the hottest selling golf equipment from the franchise according to the co-founder.
As to whether the shoes are necessary or not is an arguable point. Those in the golf equipment business seem to think that the right shoes are needed. But consultancy brands such as Motley Fool have hinted to their customers that the shoes are just accessories.
In the real essence, shoes are not an actual necessity. All types of sports shoes can be worn and will have little effect on the player. With that said, there are some tough courses that need special shoes. Shoes are that grip the surface are particularly recommended. Bob Parsons, the billionaire behind Goddady and a golfer says that the shoes do not really matter for him.
What Shoes Does Brooks Koepka Wear?
Brooks Koepka’s agent has been very vocal on the need to wear the right shoes for a player. In a sidebar interview, he mentioned that even equipment sponsors must consider the player’s need for quality products. It is sometimes difficult for pro players to balance the equation between deals and quality equipment. Jordan Spieth once left a lucrative deal on such grounds.
While Brooks Koepka has not been very active in championing specific shoe brands, he seems to be getting into a partnership with Nike. In 2020, insider reports show that Brooks was spotted wearing the Tour Premier Shoe. The US company has been trying to push their shoes for more revenue even after pulling out of the golf equipment business.
The Nike Tour shoes used by Brooks utilize the FASTFIT lacing approach, which makes things much easier for the player when wearing them.
What Shoes Does Dustin Johnson Wear?
During the 2020 PGA tour edition, there were several shoe introductions. The Brooks Koepka golf footwear from Nike stole the show. But for a long time, players have preferred different types of shoes. The one company that has been a competitor to Nike for the longest time is Addidas.
Whilst Nike’s golf footwear and apparel line has been successful in the golf business, close competitors such as Addidas have also claimed a large share of the market. Koepka has been a loyal user of Addidas shoes for his entire career in golf. Dustin Johnson has previously been ranked the number one player in the world, and his sidebar comments are taken seriously by many golf followers.
Are Spiked Shoes Better Than Spikeless?
When it comes to shoes, the player has the freedom of choosing the type and design. It is only in a few cases where golfers are tied down to a specific brand owing to sponsorship deals. The leading golf apparel and footwear brands provide players with plenty of options when it comes to choosing shoes. With that said, there are two main types of shoes used by golf players.
Types of shoes used by golf players:
- Spiked shoes are the most popular and are distinguished by their sharp spikes on the sole. These shoes are loved by many pro-players and are used mostly in tough terrain.
- Spikeless shoes are lighter and often cheaper than spiked ones. They are popular among some golfers including Jordan Spieth.
Whichever choice of shoes picked, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Spiked shoes are the most popular since most players think they have more advantages than none-spiked ones. But with all their benefits, the shoes also have their disadvantages.
Benefits of Spiked Shoes vs Spikeless
Spiked shoes have various advantages that outweigh the spikeless ones. They are commonly used by pros who have to spend a lot of time in mountainous regions playing the game.
Advantages of Spiked shoes include:
- They provide stability to the player since they have a good grip on the ground.
- New technology used in some spiked shoes helps keep the player active.
- Spiked shoes help golfers turn much faster.
Because they have so many advantages, they also have their own disadvantages as compared to the spikeless option.
Disadvantages of spiked shoes:
- They are usually heavier as compared to the spikeless ones
- They are also much expensive in most cases than the spikeless ones.
The advantages and disadvantages of all shoe balance. The good news is that players have the option of choosing whichever option they want. With access to diverse products with improved performance innovation, players can plan for the shoe based on the golf courses where they play.
Does Nike Own TaylorMade
Nike has done some good business in the previous years according to Motley Fool. They had previously predicted Nike’s stocks to grow and become a giant in the golf business. But as fortune would have it, even Motley Fool can get some things wrong. Their prediction went oddly wrong when the co-founder of Nike golf announced their exit from the market in 2016.
The golf business has been a profitable one but also a risky one in the past decade. At first, it was Adidas that bought TaylorMade at a time when most people thought that it would be like to buy the business when it went on offer. Contrary to expectation, Adidas acquired the franchise in 1997 pitting them in direct competition to their golf footwear and apparel competitor.
Almost a decade down the line, both Adidas and Nike exited the golf equipment market, a move that was not predicted even by Motley fool. Adidas sold the top golf equipment franchise to KPS Capital Partners in 2017 and as Motley foot would predict, the company started making profits.
Is Nike a Good Golf Brand?
Nike is one of the most reliable brands globally. Nike golf might have failed to succeed in the golf equipment industry, their success in the apparel content is not arguable. Their plan to quit the golf club business and focus on footwear and apparel was a good one. Motley fool published a news article indicating that Nike will be growing in the shares in the future.
On the other hand, their golf clubs and balls were also among the best. Their plan to focus on other accessories has hurt many players who enjoyed their high wind-resistant balls. In the 2021 edition of the PGA tour, some pros including Woods plan on using their Nike balls.
In the past few years, Nike has only found real competition from established golf brands such as Mizuno and Callaway. Mizuno has been growing its following in the US whilst Callaway shares have grown tremendously since 2016. The decline in business players gave international brands such as Mizuno the right to operate in the US and even control the market.
Is Nike Going to Return to Golf?
An article published by a leading golf magazine has hinted at the return of Nike in the future. Since the article does not say when or how it states that the US market is right for the company if things are done in the right way. Initially, the decline in their products across the US and other parts of the globe was due to the situation with Woods. If they can find another player, things may turn out for the best.
Nike itself has already hinted at a risk to the US market with their release of 3 all-new golf bags for the 2020 PGA tour edition. Their new bags include the Nike Air Hybrid, Nike Air Sport, and the Nike Sport Lite golf bag. All these bags were released in 2020, several years after the company announced that it will no longer be producing clubs, balls, or bags.
Nike Future Moves
To sum it all up, Nike has had its fair share of ups and downs in the business. The decline of their market in the US and other parts of the world was caused by a conglomeration of issues that could not be avoided. Even so, they still retain the rights to their golf brand and can still use it to conquer the market once more.
From the time Nike released a press release announcing the news that they were leaving the market in 2016, there have been many speculations that Nike may make it back. All the fake news keeps people’s hopes up but the final decision on the matter entirely lies with the company. Sidebar discussions may have hinted that Nike will be back but no one can truly rely on sidebar comments.
Besides the sidebar comments, the future of Nike golf depends on the success of the products they keep sending to the market. Products such as their shoes and golf bags can do more in bringing the brand back to the market than sidebar discussions.