Golfing Is Lost In The Shuffle As Millennials Follow Different Course

Benzinga

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A worldwide slump in the popularity of golf has lead to tough going for publicly traded companies that depend on the sport.

Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY) shares are down 10 percent year to date. Adidas (OTC: ADDYY), maker of TaylorMade golfing equipment, recently fired 15 percent of the golf division's global workforce after it disclosed that golfing sales fell 27 percent in the first half of 2014.

Dicks Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) last month fired more than 500 PGA golf pros from its stores.

"It suggests they're desperately trying to arrest profit declines," Canaccord analyst Camilo Lyon said. "We have doubts about golf and its seemingly structural decline."

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"It's awful scary watching it go down," Mark King, until recently the head of TaylorMade, told NBC news last month.

"Young people entering the game after high school, 18- to 30-year-olds are down 35 percent in the last 10 years," said King, recently named president of Adidas North America. "So I don't like where the game looks like it's going."

While a soft economy along with a retail golf inventory glut and declining performance of Tiger Woods has undoubtedly hurt sales, some see a secular and permanent change as young people fail to cultivate interest in the sport.

Half the 400,000 people who abandoned the sport in 2012 were under the age of 35, according to the National Golf Foundation.

"The values of golf do not match up with the values of millennials," wrote Forbes columnist Matt Powell.

"The game is too time consuming, exclusive, complicated and expensive to appeal to young people," Powell wrote. "Golf has lost the millennials."

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