The golf industry's sales numbers for the full year 2013 are still a few weeks away from being released, but it already has been a resurgent year for iron sales.
November numbers continued that trend, according to industry researcher Golf Datatech's report of November iron sales at on- and off-course shops. Units showed a 6.3 percent boost, while dollars were up 16.4 percent compared to last November's numbers.
The estimated $25.3 million in sales was the highest figure for November since the 2007 recession. It also was the fifth highest November since Golf Datatech began tracking sales figures in 1997. While November numbers will never match the kind of sales seen in the spring and summer months, there's been an increasing trend for companies to launch products in the fall. This November's iron sales were clearly fueled by successful fall introductions from a handful of major companies that ranged from players irons (Ping S55, Titleist AP2) to game-improvement sets (Adams Idea, Cobra Baffler XL, Mizuno JPX-EZ, TaylorMade SpeedBlade).
The iron business, which almost always is the biggest equipment purchase a golfer makes, was one of the few bright spots for the industry in November and throughout much of the year. Of the eight major categories tracked by Golf Datatech (metalwoods, irons, wedges, putters, balls, bags, gloves and shoes), irons saw the only significant gains. Wedges were flat and all the other categories were down to varying degrees.
In related news, Golf Datatech in conjunction with Yano Research Institute of Japan are expected to announce their findings in the first-ever U.S./Japan joint golf market report next Wednesday at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.