A couple of days ago in this blog that I posted Monday, I applauded prudent use of the term “cautiously optimistic” used by Callaway CEO Chip Brewer about the state of the golf industry going forward.
Brewer made that statement in reporting a third quarter in which a 30 per cent increase in net sales year over year was announced, pretty impressive stuff for a company that just a few years ago some believed to be teetering despite it being one of the most well-known brands in golf.
There were other stories that caused some in mainstream media to claim in various stories that golf was on life support.
Part of that argument was based on Nike’s decision last year to get out of hard goods and the eventual sale of TaylorMade by adidas, a deal that is now complete with KPS Capital Partners LP taking over and TaylorMade heading into a new era optimistically under new ownership, according to David Bradley, president and general manager in Canada.
Bruce Carroll, general manager of Callaway Golf Canada, reiterated Brewer’s claim that, while it’s a positive sign, one or two good quarters doesn’t mean the company can rest on its laurels, even paying homage to Callaway rivals in a very competitive industry.
Carroll is correct. Whether you’re a public company trying to keep shareholders happy or a private manufacturer, all hands on deck are needed from the top down, through research and development, marketing, sales, fitting, etc., in such a market.
Gaining market share is one thing. The other aspect is how large is that market? According to a National Golf Foundation report on golf participation published earlier this year, there are positive signs in the United States. You can read more in this story from Golfworld.
The main thing, whether it be golf club sales or participation in the game, is that growth needs to be sustained over the long haul before we begin recognizing it as a pattern, hence the term “cautious optimism.”
It’s not that we shouldn’t be optimistic, but if we were on the golf course, we would be suggesting fairways and greens in that we can’t get overly excited or down because of what happened on the last hole, nor can we get too far ahead of ourselves about what’s ahead.
All we can concern ourselves with is our next shot, no matter which sector of the industry in which we work, because there are factors from outside the industry that need to be considered, such as the overall economy, as well.
In his recent fall economic statement, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau showed a roaring economy, rising revenues and low unemployment, a truly rosy outlook. You can read more in this story from CBC.
Just a few days later, however, Statistics Canada indicated that the Canadian economy may be cooling. You can read more here in the Financial Post.
Fortune and prospects, good or bad, can change in a blink of an eye. Chances are we’ll be hearing more about the Canadian economy in the coming months, but just like the negative stories we’ve heard about the golf industry, we can’t get caught up in it.
There is a need for long-term planning on how we intend to grow our individual businesses, but the key to that is that it won’t happen overnight. There could be spurts of growth, or on the other side, bumps down the road that will rattle us. Either way, all we can focus on is what’s immediately ahead.
A plan is not a guarantee, the key is execution and success is never immediate.