2 equipment categories won big in golf’s latest retail sales bonanza

Wedge purchases surged during a big third quarter for the equipment industry.

Andrew Tursky

If you hadn’t heard by now, golf is enjoying a massive resurgence in the midst of a global pandemic. Rounds are up in a big way, and equipment is flying off the shelves. It’s gotten to the point that most equipment manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the rabid demand.

According to Golf Datatech’s latest numbers for the third quarter, manufacturers won’t have the chance to catch their breath as the year winds down. The appetite for clubs, golf bags, balls, and shoes was once again strong in Q3, with U.S. retail golf equipment sales up an astounding 42 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

The increase for July, August and September exceeded the $1 billion mark for the first time ever in the third quarter — the only other time Q3 sales exceeded $850 million was in 1997 — and fell just short of breaking the all-time record, which was set in the second quarter of 2008 ($1.013 billion).

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“The story keeps getting better as golf continues to surge coming out of the shutdown, and Q3 equipment sales suggests that 2020 will likely end up positive for the entire year,” said John Krzynowek, a partner at Golf Datatech, LLC. “Year-to-date sales for total equipment are now up 0.2% compared to 2019, and considering the size of the hole created by the shutdown in April and May this recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. While the US economy will not enjoy a ‘V Shaped Recovery’ in 2020, if golf continues on this trajectory we will be there soon.”

While everyone came out a winner in Q3, two categories surged more than others during the record quarter. Golf bags (plus-19 percent) and wedges (plus-18 percent) led the way, fueled by the influx of new golfers who recently took up the game. Wedges also remain one of the most affordable club purchases in the industry.

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The golf club category as a whole was up slightly (plus-0.9 percent) for the quarter, even as balls and gloves took a modest dip (minus-2.7 percent).

“These month-over-month sales records are unlike anything we’ve ever seen since Golf Datatech started tracking performance data in 1997,” said Krzynowek. “Our Rounds Played data also shows similar record-breaking growth over the past several months, which is a strong indication that avid golfers and newcomers alike are driving the sport to new levels right now.”

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Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.