by Jeff Skinner
The times there are a changing. Two big announcements in the world of golf reflect the ever changing landscape in the business of golf.
First, after 67 years of print publication Golf World has announced that they are discontinuing their printed magazine and will be going to an all digital format.
It’s no secret that all print media is under tremendous pressure and with less golfers and even less subscribers Golf World has decided to forsake the medium it has used since 1947. Golf World was losing print subscribers and its ad revenue was down cover 28% this year.
I can certainly understand how they needed to make a change. I had been complaining for years that by the time my copy showed up in the mailbox the next week’s tournaments were already over. But there was always a special column or piece that we couldn’t get online to make that hard copy issue worthwhile.
From Golf World.com: As part of the new strategic vision for Golf Digest and Golf World that began this spring with the introduction of the Golf Digest video channel, the relaunch of GolfDigest.com and the redesign of Golf Digest magazine, Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde and President Peter Hunsinger announce today a news division that combines the best of both Golf Digest and Golf World to expand our collective digital presence. With the sports news cycle demanding immediate access to quality content, we now will offer more of what our audience wants, when they want it and where they want to get it. To that end, beginning July 28, we’ll be making the following enhancements to both our golf brands.
• Golf World will now be available exclusively on digital platforms. Instead of 31 times a year delivered in print, a week after tournaments are completed, Golf World will be delivered 50 times a year on Mondays at 7 a.m. EST, accessible on all digital devices.
• Readers of Golf World will receive the quality content free of charge, and we will honor the value of their current Golf World print subscription with Golf Digest.
• Golf World Editor-in-Chief Jaime Diaz will lead the new news-division team that will encompass contributors from both Golf Digest and GolfDigest.com. Video reports will be added to our coverage, including “The Rosaforte Report” in video with chief correspondent and columnist Tim Rosaforte. Golf World content will feature weekly bonus “Long Reads” as well as “10 Things We’re Talking About,” stats packages, and Mike Johnson’s exclusive equipment coverage from the pro tours.
I understand the move, absolutely but I’ll miss the magazine for sure. But at least we still get the brilliance of Jaime Diaz and the inside connections of Tim Rosaforte.
It’s still a shame to see something that’s been such an intricate part of the fabric of golf journalism succumb to modern day issues.
At the same time we are watching Dick’s Sporting Goods fire 560 PGA Professionals from their golf sections. Dick’s informed their PGA Pros on Tuesday that they were done and gave them a severance package.
Dicks is the nation’s largest sports retailer and sells more TaylorMade and Callaway than anyone in the United States.
With the poor economy, less golfers playing the game and a flood of products still sitting on the floor Dick’s has missed its revenue targets and felt compelled to ax their pros. Part of this may be their too close relationship with some of their suppliers.
In the past year TaylorMade had four different new drivers and Dick’s stocked them all. And guess what? They didn’t sell. Here’s CEO Ed Stack’s take on the glut of merchandize sitting unsold on the racks in their stores.”We are selling drivers in our stores this spring for $99 that were approximately $299 20 months ago.”
To that I say whose fault is that? Certainly not the PGA Professional who had no input into what or how many items their store stocks. I remember talking to the guys at the Dick’s near me this spring and commenting on how many TaylorMade drivers were sitting there all nice and shiny. Well guess what? They are still there.
Did the buyers at Dick’s not realize the economy is in the tank? Are they out of touch with the recent golfing demographics? Or are they in bed with TaylorMade, Callaway and the rest.
These PGA Pros aren’t pulling down big bucks at Dick’s but they did have benefits and some needed the security of a situation like Dick’s. But now they are all out looking for jobs in the middle of the golf season and for no fault of their own.
It’s strange because Dick’s had promoted and used the fact that you would be serviced by a PGA Professional at all their stores. These pros were giving you the expertise you can’t get online. The pros set Dick’s apart. Now, Dick’s is going to be a driving range where customers go and try out their clubs and go home and order it online.
Ted Bishop, President of the PGA of America said in a statement, “The PGA of America is aware of the decision made today by Dick’s Sporting Goods that affects the livelihoods of many PGA professionals who have been employed at Dick’s.”
“We are extremely disappointed by the news, as any time even one PGA member loses a job we are extremely sensitive to such matters. … While we are sincerely disappointed with this news, we continue to support our PGA professionals who are extremely dedicated to share, teach and grow the game of golf.”
It looks like a bit of cutting off the nose routine. I bet they will sell less equipment now without the PGA Professional to help that customer with the sale.
It’s a sad day…in more ways than one.