The game of golf evolved in 1452 in Scotland and it was initially played by both Royalty and Commoners. Later, this sport was spread to other parts of the world. The Great Britain was the second region that embraced golf in the 18th century. In the US, the sport of Golf was introduced in the 1700s. During its earlier years in the US, the sport of golf was affiliated with the wealthy. In the 1950s, Golf gained popularity in the US owing to rampant coverage in the mass media.
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By 1998, several golf stars had arisen. Stars such as Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player came into the limelight. Two years later, Tiger Woods rose to fame and he has revolutionized the sport of golf in the United States. Upon gaining popularity, golf governing bodies emerged in the United States. At the moment, there are three key governing bodies. They include Royal and Ancient Club and the United States Golf Association.
When it comes to golf equipment, Scotland is also the first country to manufacture them; this started way back in the 1700s. The manufacturing of golf equipment has undergone numerous changes but the design and type of clubs seem to have been maintained. Initially, golf clubs were made from wood.
Later, manufacturers shifted from wood to steel. In addition, more durable and consistent golf balls have been manufactured in the recent past. Novel innovations became popular in the 1990s with heightened competition between manufacturers. The main brands include Ping and Callaway and to a lesser extent Taylor made and Fortune brands. Innovations revolved around game enhancing features.
For example, Callaway manufactured Larger Driver heads. Other manufacturers manufactured more forgiving oversized irons. Deeper grooves in irons and woods were manufactured with the aim of promoting spin. Some manufacturers manufactured putters with larger sweet spots and face inserts. Furthermore, multi piece golf balls were invented which allow for both distance of tee and feel around greens. Manufacturers registered huge profits owing to their superb inventions.
In a bid to protect the integrity of golf in the US, the governing bodies implemented several measures. Here are some of the regulations implemented. Drivers: 0.83 COR; 5X5 Inches, not to exceed 460 CC. The aforementioned regulations were implemented in 1998 and 2004 respectively. In 2006, another regulation governing drivers was launched; 5,900 g-cm MOI. Iron wedges: U grooves were abolished in 2010: Golf balls: restrictions on distance were introduced but discussions are still underway.
The external environment of the golf industry is also changing. The political, economic, social, and technological environments are undergoing numerous changes and they have a significant on the golf industry. An overview, of the golf industry reflects various elements that are interrelated. By 2007, it was estimated that the US had 22.7 million golfers. On the other hand, Europe and Asia had 2 and 17 million golfers respectively.
The sale of golf equipment is extremely high in the US market. In fact, 91 per cent of rounds of play take place in the US and close to 87 per cent of equipment sales occurs in the US. Research has indicated that drivers, irons and wedges are the most sold golf equipment followed by shoes, golf balls, golf bags, putters, and apparel respectively. In addition, several barriers have been identified. First, older players have health concerns. Secondly, the game is said to be costly and it seems to be a reserve for the wealthy.
The dynamics in golf equipment industry can be explained in terms of Porters’ five forces. The first force is that of the threat of new entrants. The trends have shown that it takes a lot of time and financial investments to build golf equipment. In addition, the manufacture of such brands is driven by technology and it is extremely hard to eliminate or overshadow the current brands.
Thus, among the five forces the threat of new entrants ranks last. The second force is that of power of supplies. It is clear that relationships have been established and raw materials are readily available. In addition, other manufacturing sources are abundant. The other force that is evident is that of threat of substitutes.
It is evident that customers have a wide array of leisure and sports to spend their time and money on. They can also buy used items or participate in auctions. The other force that is evident is that of power of buyers. Statistics indicate that the power of recreational players is falling. In addition, buyers are opting for new buying strategies. On top of that, buyers are very extremely price sensitive. Lastly, competitive rivalry is also evident.
There is extremely stiff competition between the top brands. Furthermore, established brands have a rough time venturing into new markets where golf equipment supplies are present. There is a significant reduction in the number of golfers with some opting to join tennis, fitness clubs, and athletics. Competition in this industry has become the order of the day and major suppliers have devised survival tactics.