PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Dick’s Sporting Goods has reportedly fired all of their in-store PGA professionals.
According to an ESPN report, a “decline in the golf equipment industry,” led to the decision to let over 500 employees go.
Sales of drivers were only down about 2 percent through the first quarter. According to the report, the problem is that those drivers are selling for 16 percent less than a year ago.
Overall, Dick’s Sporting Goods missed their overall golf business sales by $34 million in the first quarter.
The company which has over 500 stores nationwide, initially wanted to have a PGA professional in each location.
But the company reportedly blames the downturn in participation, the decline of Tiger Woods and too many products flooding the market cut into Dick’s bottom line so much that the company seems to be giving up on winning the golf equipment business.
Bob Cook, a Forbes Magazine contributor, wrote the article, “How a Declining Middle Class is Killing Golf.” He joined Bill Rehkopf on the KDKA Afternoon News about the problems surrounding the game.
“There’s two basic problems with golf. One is that it’s very expensive, the equipment’s expensive, green fees are expensive, and particularly at a time when the middle class is in decline, that means fewer people can afford it,” Cook said. “Another aspect is that it’s a frustrating game.”
Cook explains the numbers just aren’t there for the sport. Numbers of high school students showing interest peaked in the late ‘90s and has been on a decline ever since. It is also highly unlikely that if someone did not show interest in golf then, they are not likely to express an interest later in life.
While people still enjoy watching the pros play on TV, Cook says that a lot of people not only do not have the money, but they do not have the time to play.
An average 18 holes of golf can take around four hours, it’s getting harder and harder for middle class Americans to carve that much time out of their day.
So, does Cook think we can anticipate a stop in this downward slide in the future?
“It may be going on for a while. It’s been happening for a little while, and it will probably go on longer,” Cook said.
You can listen to the whole interview with Bob Cook here: