At the PGA Merchandise Show’s Demo Day, Golfweek’s Gene Yasuda caught up with Nike Golf president Cindy Davis, who shared her thoughts on some of the industry’s hot topics, ranging from Tiger Woods’ comeback to adjustable clubs to the health of the industry.
• What are your plans to feature Tiger Woods again in Nike Golf marketing – and how concerned are you about a residual backlash from his personal problems?
Davis: Tiger has always been an integral part of Nike Golf. He’s part of our story this year. He’s in our advertising already. We’ve featured him already in print ads, and he was it. He’s in our television campaigns. People are going to see him, and what he’s going to do is what he does best, which is share insight on products and why it works for you, the golfer. (Regarding his personal issues), honestly, I think it’s old news. I think everybody wants to watch this guy play the kind of golf that he can play. People are waiting for him to thrill us like he thrilled us in the past.
• What has been the impact of adjustable clubs, and will it continue to be a major factor?
Davis: I think it’s here to stay, and the reason I say that is, there’s a bigger long-term opportunity with adjustability that may lead to helping products get sold. There may be a day when a consumer walks in to a store, and they’re able to look at a shaft and a clubhead and start to buy these things separately. Retail could change with adjustability. We believe that golfers are becoming more and more savvy, they’re educated (about product options) and more and more people want to get fitted. I think adjustability is much like the way people buy cars today. They’re customizing and picking exactly what they want. This is a longer-term play; it’s not just about creating products, it’s about working with retail. We’re certainly studying (this new business model).
• How worried are you about the health of the game and the economy’s impact on it?
The economy is an issue, sure, but that will cycle through. But we’ve got to get more people playing golf. I’m not convinced it’s going to be solved within the industry. I believe it may be solved by some entrepreneurial effort that happens outside the industry, something that’s strong enough to create a golf 2.0 experience of some sort that attracts a whole new demographic and a new enthusiasm to the sport.