Michelle Wie watches her tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Marathon Classic in 2014 in Sylvania, Ohio. She is just one of the pro golfers who have a clothing line with Nike. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Nike to drop golf equipment business

Donna Tam Aug 3, 2016
Michelle Wie watches her tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Marathon Classic in 2014 in Sylvania, Ohio. She is just one of the pro golfers who have a clothing line with Nike. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Following in the footsteps of rival Adidas, Nike is getting out of the golf equipment business, the company announced Wednesday.

While it will no longer sell equipment, like clubs and bags, it will continue to sell golf apparel and footwear. Daric Ashford, the president of Nike Golf, said in a statement that golf pros like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie have kept the company’s garments popular. All three golfers have clothing lines with Nike.

“Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide,” he said. “Over the past year the MM Fly Blade Polo, the Flyknit Chukka and Air Zoom 90 have all connected strongly with golfers.”

Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards said Nike will now focus on “investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”

Nike Golf is the company’s worst performing division, according to Bloomberg. Sales were down 8.2 percent in the last year, totaling $706 million. It’s a number that’s fallen for three years straight.

It’s more bad news for a sport has had trouble attracting players in recent years, and is already dealing with participation issues at the Olympics this year thanks to Zika concerns.

But Nike’s move to apparel may also be indicative of the company’s general success with its clothing lines. Consider what it did with just one tennis dress.

Nike certainly understands the  weight of its brand. Earlier this year we talked to Nike cofounder and chairman Phil Knight about the worth of the company’s iconic swoosh:

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.