Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Calling All Golf Equipment Companies - Can we show the LPGA a Little Love ?

As I was watching the US Women's Open last week, I was reminded of something that I have been very curious about for a while. I watched many of the players, and even looked back at some video of earlier events, and the evidence was staring me in the face like a hungry wolf....and I could no longer ignore it.
Equpiment manufacturers practically IGNORE LPGA players from a "staff player" perspective. Rather than try to argue my point however, I will let the facts speak for themself. I put together this chart which shows the major equipment companies (TM,Titleist,Ping,Callaway,etc) and a list of their LPGA STAFF players (players who are sponsored by the equipment companies). Don't confuse this list with one which shows which players USE which company's gear - this shows who actually has LPGA players as sponsored "Staff" players. Check it out (no, I don't expect to make any friends with this list by the way...)

Equipment Company

Staff Players

Titleist / Cobra





V. Hurst, Lindley,Gal,Pressel,Ueda






Delasin,Friberg,Hjorth,P.Hurst,Koch,Nordqvist, Ochoa,J.Park,Stahle,Stanford,Steinhauer,Ward,I.K.Kim


Blumenherst,McKenzie,G. Park, Pettersen,Wie,Simon

Now,compare this list of 33 LPGA players with the PGA Staff players for just ONE of the companies above....interesting,huh. Rather than try to draw any conclusions from this (other than Ping really supports the LPGA), I think it is much more meaningful to use this in a positive manner. As more and more women are playing golf at the amateur level, these companies are seeing more opportunities to sell them product. In a time of difficulty for the LPGA, wouldn't it be great to see several of these companies step up and show some strong support for the LPGA ? Perhaps one of them could sponsor an event that's looking for a one ? Or how about committing to sponsor at least 5 LPGA players ? Maybe a 2 year sponsorship deal for the top 5 qualifiers from the Duramed Tour ? There is a lot that these companies can do to help support the LPGA even more thasn they already do, and there could not be a better time for them to step up.


Heather said...

Well now I don't feel so bad about never receiving a new set of X22s from Callaway.

Seriously, I noticed the lack of logos and company stamps also. I've heard that the practice range at a PGA tourney is like Christmas time for the guys on tour. I'm surprised these companies aren't more interested in getting some amazing gals to tote their bags too--literally!

I like the idea of helping the FUTURES players too. If golf companies aren't stepping up to the LPGA plate how on earth will other companies be encouraged to do so?

More and more girls are playing at the junior level. These girls already have some great golfing gals to look up to. I want them to have a tour to dream about to.

Don't worry about me Callaway, but throw some more support to the gals that deserve it.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a player on a major tour that pays for clubs or balls or shoes or clothes unless they choose to.

Lower tier tours like the Nationwide and Champions Tours have some players on staff getting paid, but most just get equipment. The Futures Tour has very few players that get paid much more than equipment and a small stipend - unless you are a sure fire LPGA star like Vicki Hurst.

Marketing says to put money where it brings the biggest return on investment - and that is the PGA Tour.

It's not just the LPGA that has seen a slowdown in money paid for equipment endorsements - it is ALL the tours - men and women alike. The PGA Tour will be the last to see such a dramatic drop off because that is where the biggest money is found - but they have seen a drop off, too.

Vince Spence said...

Cash, great job.

No doubt that is Carolyn's fault also. Don't worry, Annika will fix it.

(Boy, have I been cranky lately..)

Waggle Room Ryan said...

Unfortunately, the lack of attention - as Court said - is a function of ROI. The women's golf apparel market is 30% of total golf apparel. About the same for equipment. In other words, they're making an investment in what they think will give them more bang for their buck. Of course, that plays into the cycle that may stop many women from starting the game in the first place.

Catherine Behan said...

Thanks for this post! I am working with Donna Hoffman at http://WomenonCourse.com (Callaway is a sponsor) to help encourage more professional women to get into golf.

If we can draw more women into the sport at the grass roots level, it will ripple far.

Golf is the game of a life time and it would sure be nice to have a little support from those companies who could make a substantial impact with a little forward thinking marketing!

Great post!

Dave @ Mud Ball Golf Blog said...

I understand what some folk are saying about 'ROI' but surely it sticks in the golfers mind, sitting at home watching the TV, when he sees the top female players being sponsored by company X more than say a low ranked PGA guy sponsored by the same company?

If this is true and the marketting guys at Titleist and Callaway just didn't realise - you can send the cheque to Dave @ Mud Ball Golf Blog, cheers...

Anonymous said...

the problem is that the number of female golfers that are marketable is very low. more than half of the players on the leader board each week barely speak english.

that is the simple truth.