Golfsmith Aims for Women

Although just 10% of Golfsmith’s customers are women, the Austin, TX-based golf products cataloger/retailer is launching a spin-off title for women this month. Golfsmith president/CEO Jim Thompson is determined to win over a greater portion of the nation’s 5.8 million female golfers — and to ultimately make his company the Home Depot of the golf industry.

“There is serious pent-up demand for golf equipment and merchandise designed for women golfers,” Thompson says. “It can be very difficult for women to find the clubs and apparel that appeal to them.”

To coincide with the spin-off’s launch, Golfsmith signed a one-year sponsorship agreement with Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA) pro Natalie Gulbis, who appears on the cover of the first issue of the catalog. In addition, Golfsmith in March signed a deal with the LPGA to serve as the exclusive off-course cataloger/retailer for the LPGA Collection, a line of women’s golf apparel that debuted in Golfsmith’s 44 stores in May and will also be included in the new catalog.

Catalog and online orders last year accounted for $88.9 million in sales — about one-third of its overall $257.7 million in revenue. In 2002 about 40% of Golfsmith’s $218.1 million in sales, or $87.9 million, were from the catalog or the Internet. “Serious golfers don’t shop in catalogs frequently,” says Tom Stine, founder/partner of Golf Datatech, a Kissimmee, FL-based golf research and retail sales data provider. “They look at catalogs, but don’t necessarily buy from them. Catalogs provide key [retail] advertising and sales promotion, however.”

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