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PGA Tour CONFIDENTIAL
MIKE CLINTON
February 07, 2011
What's the state of the industry? How do golfers shop? Why are courses vanishing? How can the game grow? And what will happen to the Acushnet Company?
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February 07, 2011

Pga Tour Confidential

What's the state of the industry? How do golfers shop? Why are courses vanishing? How can the game grow? And what will happen to the Acushnet Company?

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Last: The industry also miscalculated over the last 25 years. The baby boomers were reaching those peak years when people traditionally play a lot of golf, and everyone assumed those trends would continue. Except the value structure of these people was different from those who came before. I have new data that show a sizable minority of country club members expressing strong concerns about the financial viability of their clubs.

Clinton: Private clubs have to reshape themselves, no doubt.

Last: If you focus on the values of the fortysomethings—I call them the sandwich generation because they're not quite boomers and not quite Gen-Xers. They have a well-documented child-centricity. In the past you made a decision to join a private club. Now it's a choice between that or maybe investing in something for your child's future.

Garbedian: It comes down to the need and the want. What do you need versus what do you want? Everyone wants to play more golf, but if you're looking at $40 or $60 or $100 a round, you have to decide if you need to spend that money elsewhere. If you join a club and buy into the whole atmosphere of being part of something—the pool, tennis courts, the social events—yeah, you'd better be prepared to spend a lot of time there.

Van Sickle: It's more difficult to find time for 18 holes than it used to be. A lot of our jobs have changed, and we're on call 24/7.

Garbedian: You can't disappear anymore. With cellphones, they can always find you.

What Will Happen to Acushnet?

Van Sickle: Titleist/FootJoy, an icon in the industry, is on the market. Should we be concerned?

Stine: Titleist's being up for sale has nothing to do with the economy. That's a situation related to their holding company.

Last: Yes, Titleist's situation is a function of how the golf industry has become more tied to a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, like every other business.

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