The game on the links isn’t the only competition in professional golf.
While touring pros battle each other on the links, golf equipment manufacturers fight for their loyalty in the marketplace. Getting your clubs in the bag of a top pro is a sure way to boost sales. All of the major golf manufacturers want the highly visible pros to use their equipment, and they devote considerable effort to making that happen.
Touring pros change equipment and make new sponsorship deals for a number of reasons. Often, it’s because a manufacturer offers better financial rewards, but sometimes the change is made in the interest of getting on board with an equipment maker whose products feature new technology or have been shown to be working well for other tour golfers.
Who’s on First?
Equipment and sponsorship changes generally come in the winter, as the PGA Tour’s signing season for equipment and apparel companies begins on January 1. And while not every golfer hunts down a new deal every year, enough of them move to another brand to make the first day of signing season as big a deal as the first day of hunting season.
This year, TaylorMade picked up six pros early on, taking Lucas Glover away from Nike and Ryan Moore from Adams. Nike, meanwhile, signed five pros who were former Titleist players, while Adams added Jeff Overton to its roster and Cobra made a deal with Jesper Parnevik.
Who are you wearing?
While golf equipment manufacturer work to get their clubs in the bags of the most visible pros, apparel manufacturers strive to get clothes on their backs. I guess they figure we duffers will don the same duds as our favorite pro. This year, Scott Percy switched from Lyle & Scott to IZOD Golf Apparel, while Webb Simpson opted for IZOD after having been dressed by Ralph Lauren at previous tour events. It’s sort of like the green carpet show of the pro tour.
Buy a Spot on my Hat
If you want to promote your product by sponsoring a participant in a sporting event, it will likely cost you about $2 million dollars to get your company’s name on the quarter panel of a top Nascar team, but it might cost you even more to get your logo on the cap of a top contender on the men’s PGA tour.
Of course caps aren’t the only place where ad space can be purchased. The sleeves and chest pocket go for big bucks as well. Even the shoes and back of the collar are for sale. And of course the bag that holds those clubs is often seen on television, so it’s valuable real estate. It’s all part of the marketing of golf and the people who play the game professionally.
Anyone want to buy some space on my ace bandage?
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