Course of Style: Riders in the Sturm

Course of Style: Riders in the Sturm

Adidas Tour360 Sport

First quarter financial results were reported this week by Adidas-Group AG, the Germany-based parent company of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, a powerhouse of the golf business—and they are in the drink. Net profits at Adidas were down 97 percent, compared to the same period last year. Does that mean that the golf business, like everything else, is tanking?

Not quite. The quarterly results for the TaylorMade-Adidas golf division, known for its innovative products like its R9 drivers and Adidas Tour 360 shoes, show a sales increase in 2009 of 2 percent, when calculated in Euros (to 194 million from 191 million). Adjusted for currency fluctuation, however, revenue declined somewhat, about 6 percent, according to the report. Profits for the California-based golf unit declined 21 percent from last year, said Katja Schreiber, a corporate public relations executive with Adidas Group in Germany.

Profits are profits. So while the company and the industry faced tough economic times, including a “highly promotional retail environment” (which means wall-to-wall “sale” merchandise), golf volume was fairly steady and the golf division is making money. That is not so bad relative to the overall Adidas numbers. Nike Golf has reported similar declines, with its third-quarter 2009 results (that is, through February) showing a decrease in golf apparel revenue of 9 percent, according to its corporate website, while shoe sales in the division were up 8 percent.

So while the bean counters in Herzogenaurach (near Nuremberg) may be in a state of shock, the folks in Carlsbad, CA, where TaylorMade-Adidas is based, can relax and perhaps savor the recent Quail Hollow win by Sean O’Hair, who plays TaylorMade clubs, wears clothes by Ashworth (a division of TaylorMade), and walks the course in Adidas Tour 360 LTD golf shoes.

Long-hitting lefty Bubba Watson was a stylish presence at the Quail Hollow Championship last week, where he tied for second. Watson, who wears his golf shirts buttoned to the top, wore a pink polo on Sunday with pleated, khaki-colored trousers and white golf shoes, relatively logo free. It was kind of a minimalist traditional look, not at all what is suggested by his good-old boy nickname (his given name is Gerry).