Golfsmith, Golf Digest Magazine Ink Fulfillment, Advertising Deal

Golf equipment cataloger/retailer Golfsmith on April 13 entered into a partnership with The Golf Digest Cos. to handle all the fulfillment for Golf Digest magazine’s Golf Digest Pro Shop catalog and online orders. Golf Digest, which entered the catalog business last year, will make Golfsmith its premier national golf retail advertiser for its magazines, which include Golf World, Golf for Women, and Golf World Business.

In the arrangement, Golfsmith will increase its advertising in all the Golf Digest magazines from 1/3-page and 1/4-page back-of-the-book ads only promoting Golfsmith’s club-making business, to two or three full page ads promoting the Golfsmith brand, says Golfsmith spokesperson Andy Craig.

As part of the deal, Golf Digest Pro Shop will gain access to Golfsmith’s private-label product lines, such as Lynx, Zevo, Snake Eyes, and Killer Bee. The Golf Digest catalog plans to increase its circulation this year from 550,000 in a two-mailing test last year to more than 6 million. Golfsmith will also handle all of Golf Digest Pro Shop’s logistics, shipping, and customer service from Golfsmith’s Austin, TX-based fulfillment center.

Golf Digest chose to hook up with Golfsmith on the back end for Golfsmith’s greater warehousing capacity than Golf Digest’s former fulfillment partner, Norwalk, CT-based golf retailer GolfMor, which continues to handle fulfillment for two of Golf Digest’s credit card programs.

In taking a quantum leap from test mailings of 50,000 and 500,000 last year to four mailings this year of 1.5 million (April), 1.5 million (June), 1 million (fall), and 2 million (holiday), Golf Digest Pro Shop is rolling out the catalog after beating plan by more than 25% last year in the first mailing and meeting a higher projection level for the second, according to Tom Witschi, Golf Digest Cos.’ vice president of new business and international development.

The fulfillment changeover to Golfsmith was needed “because we want to scale the business quickly,” Witschi says. “Golfmor was outstanding for us, but we needed an organization that could handle significant volumes very quickly.”

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