Layoffs At TaylorMade May Signal Future Of Golf Business

imageThe economic slowdown continues to hit the golfing industry. On Friday, TaylorMade-Adidas golf announced 70 layoffs. TaylorMade-Adidas Golf President and CEO Mark king said that the reductions were a direct result of the economy.

“We have to align our resources appropriately to meet the unique challenges ahead,” said King. “That means taking a variety of critical actions to make our organization leaner and more cost-efficient.

“We regret that one of those actions is to reduce our workforce, however difficult times require difficult decisions. We’re confident that the steps we’re taking now will allow our company to remain strong during these turbulent times.”

TaylorMade-Adidas had already announced 170 staff reductions in December as a result of their acquisition of the Ashworth brand.

Ironically, this announcement comes on the heels of another press release telling everyone how well the company was doing:

From Sergio Garcia’s victory at THE PLAYERS Championship and ascension to No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings to Kenny Perry’s Ryder Cup victories in his native state of Kentucky, to Paula Creamer’s continued dominance on the LPGA Tour to the acquisition of Ashworth Golf, TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company continued to strengthen its leadership position in 2008.

“Once again, it’s been a banner year for TaylorMade-adidas Golf with all that we accomplished on tour and in the retail marketplace,” said Mark King, president and CEO of TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company. “By engineering breakthrough products validated by the game’s greatest players, we’ve been able to grow our marketshares to their highest levels ever in several categories, including metalwoods, putters and golf balls.”

A bit of hyperbole there, don’t you think?

What interests me here is not so much the fortunes of TaylorMade, but what the announcement signals for the rest of the golf industry. TaylorMade has had a reputation of being the strongest of the major players. Are layoffs from Callaway, Adams, et. al in the offing? Are there any name companies on the brink of extinction?

And what about the PGA Tour? The LPGA recently announced a “restructuring” that will result in a 5% reduction in staff. Will the men’s circuit follow suit?

The PGA Tour has claimed that everything is in place for this year. But they have lost two Tour sponsors and one Nationwide event. And more than a couple of events are up for renegotiation for 2010.

This all bears watching in the next couple of months.

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