The Golfalot.com Price Index in December remained almost unchanged, despite a number of categories falling as retailers battled for the all important Christmas sales.
The Drivers category was the largest faller, down -2.3% despite more retailers starting to stock new drivers from Nike and Cleveland. The fall was accelerated by price drops across a number of ranges including big name manufacturers like Ping and Cobra. With new drivers like Callaway’s Diablo Edge still to debut in the price index it is likely that the drop in the Drivers category will be reversed as the index moves into 2010.
Despite the entry of the new Cleveland CG15 series of wedges into the Index, the Wedges category fell -1.5% with price drops affecting a number of manufacturers including Ping. Fairways and Utility Clubs both fell by -0.5% in a month that saw small price drops across a number of brands.
On the positive side, Irons made up most of the gains with a rise of 1.6% as older models fell out of the Index and newer arrivals like the Cobra S2 range held their price. The Putters category held steady allowing it to provide a solid foundation for the arrival of a number of new models in the new year.
Overall the Clubs sector rose 0.12%. After an impressive November this small rise in December is further indication of the robust health of the club market.
A similar picture can be seen in the Golf Accessories category with the Index only falling by 0.4% as a result of retailers cutting prices to offer golfers value in the competitive Christmas market.
The largest fall of -1% was experienced in the Golf Balls sector as these popular stocking fillers saw small price cuts right across the board, with the market leading Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x being reduced by as much as 6%.
Golf Trolleys fell by -0.5%, Golf Shoes dropped by -0.3% and Golf Bags saw very little movement, down by only -0.1%. As 2009 comes to a close the Golfalot.com Price Index shows that the golf retail market is entering the Christmas market in good shape.
Despite the general economic uncertainty the Index has risen over the last 12 months by 0.3% and with the promise of new equipment in 2010 from all the major manufacturers the golf industry can enter the New Year with significant optimism.
The Golfalot.com Price Index in November enjoyed growth of almost 1% as the Club sector rallied to cancel out an overall drop in the Categories sector.
As predicted last month the Index was boosted by an injection of new products as retailers took delivery of new stock in time for the hoped for Christmas rush. The Irons category led the in the Clubs sector with the introduction of the Cobra S2 and S2 Forged irons marking a strong month for premium sets. With irons from both Titleist and Callaway recovering their prices after discounts in the last couple of months, even a drop in the price of some of the Nike Victory Red range could not stop the Irons category racing to a 2.8% rise.
With the first of the eagerly anticipated Nike Method putters hitting the shops along with the NCX-Ray series from Never Compromise, the Putters category also posted solid growth with a jump of 2.5%. This is a strong sign of encouragement with new models from Titleist and Callaway still to come.
Two new Nike drivers, the VR STR8-Fit Tour and the SQ Machspeed were the catalyst for growth of 2.2% in the Drivers category while the Utilty Club category rose by just under 1%.
The Wedges category fell back in November with a drop of exactly 1% caused by widespread reductions as retailers wait for new models from brands such as Cleveland, Titleist, Callaway and Mizuno while the Fairway Woods category fell by just over 2% after last month’s gains. Despite these small setbacks the Clubs category’s growth of 1.6% was the most successful month it has enjoyed since February 2009.
A fall of 2.7% in the Trolleys category overshadowed some strong performances elsewhere in the Accessories category as it fell by just over half a per cent. The relatively large fall in the Trolley category was caused by some mid and top end products falling out of the Index and some lower priced models entering for the first time or being reintroduced.
There was brighter news elsewhere in the Accessories sector as the remaining three categories made gains. The Golf Ball category grew by 3.1%, a heartening result as it was achieved with the lifting of reductions on models like the Nike One range and means the category can look forward to more good news as new products arrive over the coming months.
The Golf Shoes category, powered by the introduction of the Adidas Tour 360 4.0 at the premium end of the market, matched golf balls with growth of 3.1%. New models from Titleist, Sun Mountain and Powakaddy helped the Bags category to a rise of 2.4%.
Although the overall rise in the Golfalot Price Index of just under 1% is relatively modest it does represent the highest growth since July and the fourth highest of 2009. After a few months of losses and consolidation November has brought with it some good cheer as the Index is up half a per cent in the last 12 months.
With certain individual categories performing so strongly, and others still to feel the reinvigorating benefits of new stock, the November Golfalot Price Index is a source of great optimisim as manufacturers, retailers and consumers look forward to the surge in Christmas shopping expected over the next few weeks.
The Golfalot.com Price Index of UK golf equipment enjoyed another month of stability in October. Overall the index remained almost completely static as an influx of new models from Ping
was offset by reductions on other brands as retailers continue to make plans for new stock for a number of manufacturers.
The Club sector grew by just under 0.3% with the Fairway Woods category performing most impressively with growth of 3.2% following the arrival of three new models across the Ping G15 and i15 ranges and relative stability from older models. The arrival of the new Ping models gave the Utility Clubs category a boost with a rise of 1.4%. The Wedges category was up just over 1% as small reductions from last month were removed across a range of manufacturers, including Wilson, Srixon and Ping.
A drop of -1.7% meant the Putters category was the worst performing across the golf club sector thanks in large part to reductions across the Callaway range of putters as retailers anticipate the arrival of the new Callaway Odyssey White Ice models in the middle of November. The Driver category welcomed three new Ping drivers but reductions on models by MD Golf, Callaway and Hippo combined to register an overall fall of just -0.5%. The Golf Irons category remained broadly static recording only a negligible drop.
It was a month of very little movement in any of the Accessories categories and overall the sector fell by less 0.2%. The Golf Bags category posted positive growth of 0.3% but Golf Balls and Golf Shoes both dropped by 0.5% and Golf Trolleys fell by half that amount. With a number of leading manufacturers announcing their new accessories lines over last few weeks it won’t be long before these new products begin to make an impact across the sector.
Almost all the large manufacturers have had a busy month releasing new golf equipment with high profile launches coming from Titleist, FootJoy, Nike, Callaway and Srixon across all the Golfalot.com Price Index categories. At the moment both retailers and consumers have to be patient as they wait for these new products to join Ping’s i15 and G15 ranges in reaching the shop floor as many are not available until late 2009 or early 2010.
The expected injection of so much new stock brings many reasons for optimism and, in the meantime, another impressively solid month of stability leaves the Golfalot.com Price Index in good shape as the Christmas sales rush coincides with the arrival of so many high quality, ‘must have’ products.
The Golfalot.com Price Index enjoyed a stable month as manufacturers, retailers and consumers continued to wait for the rush of new stock that will be launched over the coming weeks and months.
The index fell by just over a half of one per cent, a marginal drop as the golf market continues to show its resilience in a testing economic climate.
Overall the clubs sector remained static although Wedges were the best performing category as they recovered from last month’s slump to post growth of 4.4%. This strong showing was thanks to the removal of some of the reductions brought in last month and the return of some higher end models like the Ping Tour W to the index.
The biggest drop in the clubs sector came from Fairway Woods with a fall of some 2.6%. This was fuelled by reductions on certain models as retailers clear the decks for the influx of new stock. The Ping G10 range, for example, saw a number of reductions as the shops wait for the arrival of the newly released Ping G15 woods.
The Drivers sector fell by 2% for similar reasons with some models dropping from the index and reductions across a range of manufacturers including Adams, Callaway, MD Golf and Ping.
Elsewhere the clubs sector displayed a resolutness as Putters, Irons and Utility Clubs all held their positions from last month providing a strong foundation for the new equipment of the Autumn.
In the accessories sector the position was less positive with only the ever consistent Golf Trolleys remaining static and the sector as a whole dropping by 1.8%.
The biggest fall came in the Golf Shoe sector where a drop of 4.6% saw reductions for a wide range of manufacturers including Bite, Callaway, Ecco, Footjoy, Oakley and Stuburt.
Golf Balls also saw a number of reductions to fall by 4.3% with models from both Callaway and Nike seeing reductions. Golf Bags completed the unwanted hat-trick in the accessories sector falling by 3.2% with a number of quite small reductions on mid priced bags from manufacturers such as Ben Hogan, Cleveland and Cobra.
After both sectors fell in August the September Golfalot.com Price Index is once again proof of the ability of the golfing markets to bounce back and their ongoing ability to stand up to external pressures of the economy.
With top manufacturers prioritising product launches over the coming months, August and September are months for consolidation in the Price Index as new models and stock are anticipated.
With that achieved retailers will be quietly confident of a welcome and deserved boost as golfers use the Autumn to refill their bags on the new and improved equipment offered by the manufacturers.
The Golfalot.com Price Index fell off in August by just over -1% as the golf retail market appeared to be preparing for new equipment launches in Autumn with discounting of a number of brands across all sectors.
The Golf Clubs Sector fell by -1.4% with all of the categories recording falls in the month. Golf Drivers
, which drove the growth of the sector in July, fell by -3.4% with significant discounting of the Adams Speedline
, Callaway Hyper X
and Hyper X Tour
models as well as small price discounting across the majority of other major brands. The largest fall was experienced in Fairway Woods
, which fell by -4.3%, a drop again attributable to retailers discounting prices on a number of models with the Adams Speedline
range and Wilson Staff Df6 among the most notable movers. Golf Wedges
also dropped by -4% with retailers discounting some models by small amounts across the sector and some of the older models dropping out of the index. The remaining categories in the Clubs Sector recorded more modest falls, Utility Clubs
(-1.4%) and Irons
(-0.3%) as retailers position themselves in this competitive market place.
The Accessories Sector also fell in July although the negative growth was far less marked than in Clubs with a fall of -0.4%. The largest drop came in the Golf Balls
category which fell by -2.6% on the back of slight discounting by retailers across all brands. Golf Shoes
also fell by more than -1%, with reductions witnessed on some Adidas
models, whilst Golf Bags
fell by just 0.7%. The only positive performance this month came from the Golf Trolley
category that registered modest growth of 0.3%.
Despite the fall in the Golfalot.com Price Index in August the market remains in robust health following a very positive summer, with growth of 2.9% since January, and with retailers looking to position themselves to compete, it is good news for the consumers who continue to fuel the Golf Industry retail sector.
The Golfalot.com price Index enjoyed growth of just over 1% in July as the market again displayed its strength and stability.
A small rise in the Clubs Sector was powered by the Golf Drivers category which gained almost 3% as some of last month’s special offers ended and some of the cheaper models fell out of the market.
Putters also displayed some strength growing by 2.4% with the end of reductions on some Odyssey putter models outweighing big reductions on the Nike Ignite series.
Wedges proved the biggest loser in the sector with a fall of 2.3% caused by some of the higher end models dropping out and some reductions across the Nike golf range. Elsewhere Fairway Woods, Irons and Utilities were alomost unchanged from June.
The Accessories Sector recorded growth of 2.3% as every category enjoyed a boost. Golf Shoes were the strongest performers with a jump of 5.5% as the prices of the top ranges stabilised and some of the older models dropped out of the market.
Golf Balls also performed well with growth of 3.5%. Special offers on the top of the range models from Srixon and Titleist stabilised in July as some of the older and lower end models dropped out of the market.
Golf Bags enjoyed growth of 3.1% and Trolleys 1.1% as the accessories provided the catalyst for July’s growth in the Index.
With a strong performance across a wide range of sectors in July retailers will be hoping that golf’s increased exposure thanks to the Open will mean another strong performance in August.
With the golf season swinging into top gear in June, the Golfalot.com Price Index in the UK experienced another settled month, with the retail market maintaining its strength in the face of the wider economic uncertainty of 2009.
The clubs sector reported a small fall of -0.3% with small fluctuations across all categories offsetting each other and maintaining the level of the index. The largest price change was witnessed in the Golf Drivers
sector which fell by -1.7% . This can largely be attributed to small movements across the sector, however an interesting battle for business on newer equipment was witnessed. The popular Callaway Big Bertha Diablo
golf driver, which fell by £40 last month, continued to be discounted as retailers were keen to exploit the interest in this new range following the offer of an Odyssey putter
for a £1 with every purchase.
Following the surge in the average price of Fairway Woods
last month the sector witnessed some consolidation, falling back -0.8%. In addition, Irons
(-0.9%) and Putters
(-0.3%) also registered small falls. The Utilities
sector recorded the Club categories only positive growth, rising by +1% with small price increases across a number of brands.
A very similar picture was seen in the Accessories sector with the average prices for golf balls, bags, shoes and trolleys dropping by just -0.1% from May. Golf Balls
fell by the largest amount (-1.5%) as a result of small price changes, with high end balls like the Nike One Tour
and One Tour D
being dropped by £1 as retailers fought for position in this market. Similar discounting could be seen at the lower price end of the market, with the Pinnacle Platinum Discount and the Srixon 08 AD 333 falling by similar amounts. Price falls in both Golf Shoes
(-0.8%) and Trolleys
(-0.1%) were offset by a small rise in the price of Golf Bags
(+1.0%) as the Accessories sector remained largely static.
As the stability in the average market prices of the Golfalot Price Index is mirrored by the continued good levels of traffic experienced by Golfalot.com’s Price Comparison Service the domestic golf market looks to be in good shape. With Tiger back at the majors and a hot, football free, summer forecast there is every reason to believe that this strong position will continue into July and August as more players head out onto the course.
As golfers look forward to the summer months the Golfalot.com Price Index in the UK enjoyed a month of consolidation with small fluctuations across the categories cancelling each other out to leave the Index exactly as it was in April and to offer further evidence that golf is well place to rise to the challenges of a testing 2009.
The largest move in the clubs sector came from Fairway Woods
which rose by 6.2% as the Adams Speedline range entered for the first time and some of the Callaway models that had been the subject of early spring reductions recovered there price. With the much anticipated TaylorMade R9
woods still to debut in the Index, May’s strong performance might suggest that Fairway Woods will be a sector to watch for the rest of 2009.
also performed strongly with a leap of 4.2% reflecting the introduction of mid range brands like the Seve Icon from MD Golf and older models dropping out. With the Putters sector also awaiting the new TaylorMade Rossa Monza Spider Balero it seems that flat sticks will be shouldering a lot of expectations amongst retailers in the coming months.
With a rise of just over 1.1% the Golf Drivers Sector
was the only other club category to record positive growth. Irons
were the biggest losers, slipping by over 2.5%. Utility clubs fell by just over 2% with wedges
falling by under half a percent. Overall, however, the Clubs sector remained static for the month.
It was a similar story in the Accessories sector where Shoes
displayed the most impressive performance with a leap of over 4.2%. With a number of older, cheaper shoes dropping out of the Index, the sector has been powered by top of the range models from Adidas
holding their price in their first few months of release.
The Golf Balls
sector rose by 2.3% as retailers reaped the benefits of the ongoing battle between Srixon
for control of the lucrative premium ball market. Elsewhere the Golf Bags
sector recorded growth of around 0.2% while the Golf Trolleys
sector dropped by 1.2%. Like the Clubs sector Accessories remained static overall.
As golfers look forward to spring turning into a pleasant summer retailers will take comfort from the continued strong performance of the Golfalot.com Price Index in 2009. With April and May both providing consolidation, the long term forecasts of good weather would seem to promise a wonderful summer of golf. Retailers will be hopeful that a steady May will give way to a heady June.
The exciting climax to The Masters amidst the reassuringly familiar sights and sounds of Augusta National always gives golfers a feeling that the golf season has officially started. This sense of stability is reflected in the Golfalot.com price index for the UK, with a solid month of consolidation across all sectors. The Index rose 0.21% to maintain recent growth and provide continued evidence of the strength of the UK Golf sector as enthusiasts tee off in earnest for the season proper.
The clubs sector experienced slight growth of 0.3% with a fall of 0.9% in the Fairway Woods
sector being offset by small increases across all the remaining club sectors, most notably Wedges
, which grew by 2.6%. The fall in Fairway Woods
continued the trend from March of retailers looking to price competitively on the newer models, particularly the popular Nike SQ Dymo
and Cobra S-91
ranges. By contrast the growth in the Wedges
sector can be put down to the exit of some lower priced wedges from Petron and Benross, coupled with the realignment of March discounts on some models in the Titleist Vokey
range, increasing the average price of a Wedge for April to £56.66. The next best performer was the Utility Clubs
sector, which grew by +1.5%, boosted by the introduction of the new Cobra Baffler TWS
The stability in the UK Price Index continued in the accessories sector, which maintained the level of the previous month with small gains in both the balls and trolleys sectors being offset by slight drops in Golf Bags
and Golf Shoes
as retailers look to compete for the business of players investing in gear for the new season. The Golf Bags
sector headlined last months index with a stunning 9% growth and this month maintained much of that strength, falling by only 1%, with small discounts on some of the new Sun Mountain
models that had entered the index in March. Golf Shoes
also dropped slightly, down 0.5%, but with small gains in the Golf Balls
(+0.3%) and Golf Trolleys
(+0.4%) sectors, there was no overall change in the Index for accessories.
Whilst 2009 still promises to provide challenging conditions in the context of the wider economy, the stability in the Golfalot.com Price Index for April indicates that the UK Golf Sector appears to be in good shape as the season gets fully underway. With the better weather of the summer months and the excitement of the Masters kick starting the migration back to the course all the signs are that this stability promises further encouragement for the months ahead.
In a month of fluctuating fortunes throughout the different sectors the Golfalot.com price index in the UK stayed steady in March proving that the industry has the strength to maintain the large gains made in February. The index fell by only 0.6% to post the most successful two months since August and September and to provide a huge amount of optimism as the golf season proper swings into view.
In the clubs sector some of last month’s big winners fell slightly. A fall of 4.4% made the Wedges sector the biggest loser, the drop powered largely by falls across the Titleist Vokey range. Fairway Woods, the success story of February, fell by 3.4% with retailers quick to make slight reductions on new models from Nike and Cobra in an effort to steal ahead of their competitors. A fall of 3.3% in the Golf Drivers sector took some of the shine off last month’s big gains but the sector remains higher than it has been at any time since November. The drop was fuelled by small reductions in some of the newer models such as the Rapture V2 and the Cobra S9-1 series and major reductions from a couple of the TaylorMade R7 series as customers and retailers wait for the TaylorMade R9 to hit the shelves.
Elsewhere in the clubs sectors Irons and Putters both posted slight falls of just over 1% while Utility Clubs bucked the trend to record a gain of 1.5%. Utility clubs benefitted from the lifting of those post Christmas reductions which lingered into February with models from Callaway, Nicklaus and Adams all posting increases in price in March. Overall the clubs sector fell by 1.8% in March following the increase of 4.6% in February.
The accessories sector, somewhat overshadowed in the February Price Index, made an increase of 2.8% in March thanks in large part to an excellent performance from the Golf Bags Sector. The introduction of the 2009 ranges from both Sun Mountain and Ogio saw the Bags sectors record stunning growth of over 9% to reach its highest average price since the Golfalot.com Price Index began in October 2004. Large rises in March and April are not unheard of in the Golf Bags Sector and it will be interesting to see if the sector’s price holds over the next few months.
The Golf Balls sector posted an increase of 3.2% as the Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X and the Titleist ProV1 and ProV1x made an immediate impact following their long awaited debuts in the Index. With these high end golf balls proving remarkably consistent in holding their price over the years it will be interesting to see how they fare in the economic climate of 2009. Trolleys posted an increase of 1.3% to record their third straight increase of 2009. Golf Shoes were the only accessories sector to drop, the fall of 3.5% caused by almost immediate reductions in the price of some of the major new models including the FootJoy SynrG and Nike Air Zoom TW 2009.
The consistent drip feed of new models combined with retailers continuing to entice customers with reductions on some of the major products has led to a month of mixed fortunes on the Golfalot.com Price Index. While it is impossible to predict what affect the economic tribulations of 2009 will have on the industry in the coming months the usual boosts of both the better weather and golf’s traditional high exposure during Masters week mean that a certain optimism is not misplaced.
Although the slight overall drop in March would seem to prove that the emphatic increases of February were unsustainable the drops have been far more manageable than might have been expected. That every sector apart from wedges remains higher than in December is certainly evidence of an industry that remains healthy.
With the credit crisis still dominating the news headlines, the Golfalot.com Price Index in the United Kingdom provided some heartening news in February with price rises in every sector leading to an overall increase of 3.8%. The rise means the index has now more than recovered from the mini slump experienced in the run up to Christmas.
February’s increase was driven by some sharp gain in the club categories where Fairway Wood and Golf Drivers led the way with jumps of 8.3% and 6.5% respectively. With the major manufacturers having declared their hands and 2009’s new product lines are now hitting the shops, both categories enjoyed a boost from the Cobra S9-1 range, the Nike SQ Dymo line and the partial introduction of the Adams Idea Tech a4 clubs.
In a month that saw every category rise, the other big club winner was the Irons sector with a rise of just over 5% thanks to the introduction of the Cleveland CG7 range and the Adams Idea Tech Idea A4. Elsewhere existing models like the Ping Rapture V2 made slight gains as the post Christmas sales peter out and retailers begin to look towards the start of the new season and the better weather. Wedges grew by 2.4% with Putters and Utility Clubs both gaining just over 0.5% to complete a full house of positive growth in the equipment sector.
There was also heartening news in the accessories sector where all four categories made gains. Golf Shoes led the way with newer products like the Footjoy SynrG and the Nike Air Zoom TW 2009 holding their prices and some of the lower end products regaining some of the price drops they experienced in the pre and post Christmas rush for sales. With growth of 3.8% Shoes just pipped both Golf Balls and Golf Bags to be the best performer in the category.
In the Golf Balls sector growth of 3.5% was especially heartening as the new Titleist ProV1 and Pro V1x and the Srixon Z-Star and Z-Star X models are still to hit the UK shelves. An increase of 3.2% in the Bags category was powered by the introduction of new models from Nike, Callaway and Wilson by a number of retailers. Trolleys enjoyed a month of consolidation in February to record growth of just under 1%.
Across the Atlantic the Golfalot.com Price Index in the United States saw a second successive month of relative stability in February. With a number of new products launched at the PGA Merchandise show in Orlando appearing in stores this month, the story in most categories was one of a discounting of old stock being offset by the introduction of new ranges, with the net effect being a small drop of 0.3% in the overall Index.
The Clubs sector registered small falls in five out of the six categories, with only wedges bucking the trend with a slight increase of 0.2%. The Golf Drivers category fell by -0.4% with a number of older models discounted (for example the Adams XTD Pro, Callaway FT-i Tour and the Wilson Staff Spine) as the index saw the arrival of the Cobra S9-1 range and the Nike SQ Dymo range. This experience was mirrored in the Irons category with dramatic falls in the price of the Mizuno MX-19 and MX-25 irons being offset by the arrival of new premium models, most notably the Nike Victory Red Range (Forged, Split Cavity and TW Forged.
Utility Clubs (-1%) also fell with slight price reductions being seen across a range of brands, with the Fairways category remaining relatively stagnant as it benefited from the arrival of the new Cleveland Launcher. Putters were the biggest movers in the Clubs sector this month posting a drop of -2.4% with the introduction of the new value Odyssey Crimson range from Callaway driving the average price down whilst Wedges moved in a positive direction registering the sectors only increase of 0.2%.
The Accessories Sector outperformed Clubs this month registering growth of 0.3%. Although all categories posted positive growth the month’s real story is the 3.2% rise in the Golf Ball category. With the launch of new ranges from Nike (One Tour, One Tour D and One Vapor), Srixon (Z-Star and Z-Star X) and Titleist (the 09 Pro V1 and 09 Pro V1 x) the category saw significant moves in the premium end of the market that fuelled the growth of the category overall and boosted both the Accessories Sector and the Price Index in the US overall. Golf Bags (+0.5%), Golf Shoes (+0.5%) recorded slight growth while the Trolley sector remained the same.
With each passing month the Golfalot.com Price Index on both sides of the Atlantic is increasingly showing a resoluteness in the face of the economic battering both countries are suffering. The end of the extended sales period in the UK has seen prices return to a more stable level giving the Index the perfect foundation to enjoy a major boost with introduction of new products. With a number of new models still set to trickle into the stores and with the Golf Ball sector guaranteed an imminent boost there is certainly cause for at least cautious optimism as the British golf season gets into full swing.
In the United States the February story is one of consolidation with big new releases jostling for position in the Index with some hefty reductions on outgoing models. Over the last couple of months the US Index has proved hardy enough to remain stable in the growing economic storm and with the return of Tiger Woods set to dominate the national headlines and Masters’ weekend lurking just around the corner, many retailers should be quietly confident of an encouraging start to the spring and summer season.
After falls across every sector in December the Golfalot.com Price Index in the UK rallied to post the first January increase since 2005. The UK Price Index notched gains in every sector with an overall jump of 2.1% helping to make up some of the ground that was lost with the pre-Christmas reductions last month.
Growth of 1.7% in the Club Sector was helped by Fairway Woods increasing by almost 5% as the sector welcomed the debut of the new Titleist 909 range and the Ping Rapture V2 recovered from the impact of the December sales. Another of last month's big losers, Golf Drivers, posted a confidence boosting increase of 2.5% with models like the Yonex Nanospeed i and the Ping G10 recovering from major reductions in December.
Utility Clubs rose by 1.7% with models such as the Callaway Heavenwood and Ping Rapture V2 returning to their pre-Christmas levels andWedges increased by 1.3% with the re-emergence of clubs like the Adams Puglielli. Irons and Putters, increasing by 1% and 0.8% respectively, recorded the smallest jumps in the clubs sector but retailers will take heart from the fact that golf irons such as the Cleveland C7 and C7 Tour range and Odyssey's new White Hot XG and Crimson Series golf putters are yet to hit the UK stores.
In the Accessories Sector overall growth of 2.9% was driven by a jump of 4.7% for shoes and 4.3% for golf balls. Shoes benefitted from the introduction of three models at the top end of the market with the Adidas Tour 360 3.0, FootJoy Synr-G and Nike Air Zoom TW 09 all hitting the stores and enjoying the cache of celebrity endorsement. The increase in Golf Balls was thanks largely to a levelling out of the price drops used to encourage customers in the run up to Christmas and can be taken as real sign of optimism with the arrival of high profile new balls from Srixon, Callaway, Titleist and others expected in the run up to Spring.
Elsewhere in the Accessories sector, Trolleys notched up growth of over 3% thanks largely to the continuing presence of some the more expensive products like the Greenhill GreenMaster range and the re-emergence of models like the Powerhouse Electric Trolley in the market.
The Bag sector proved as steady as ever with growth of just 0.3%. That was, however, enough to ensure that Bags joined Shoes as the only markets to rise above the price they reached in November before December's dip saw every sector tumble.
Across the Atlantic it was month of consolidation and stability for the Golfalot.com Price Index in the USA with prices barely registering any changes. Although the American retailers would no doubt welcome a British bounce, the lack of movement did serve to prove that the drops of December were aimed at attracting shoppers rather marking the start of a downward trend.
With very few new products entering the market, the Clubs Sector experienced a month of almost complete stability. With growth of 3.5% Wedges were the top performer thanks almost entirely to the restoration of prices that were dropped in December when retailers used discounts on wedges to attract shoppers. With a small drop of -0.6% the Putters sector was the only other market to experience a rise or fall of more than half a percent as some of the top end models left the index. With new models from Cleveland and other manufacturers set to hit the shops soon there can be confidence that January's small drop will quickly be recovered.
The Accessories sector followed the trend of the Clubs sector with very little movement. Golf Balls was the only sector to move by more than 1% with an increase of 2.1% - heartening news with some of the big golf ball models of 2009 still to reach the customers. This month's rise can be largely attributed to a restoration of former prices at the higher end of the market following the December drops, most notably with the TaylorMade TP Black and Red series.
The Golfalot.com Price Index for January suggests that optimism in the golf industry - despite the battering of December's festive sales - has not been misplaced. After recovering its poise and reacting positively to the drip feed of new products from manufacturers the UK Index was able to shake off the nerves engendered by last month's falls. With more new products ready to hit the shops and with the more amiable golfing weather of the Spring hopefully around the corner there are enough signs of life across the various sectors to suggest that the widespread economic malaise might not be as seismic for golf retailers as was previously feared.
A steady month in America perhaps reflected the calm before the storm with new products set to start hitting the shops shortly after the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando at the end of January. With the wider American economy still experiencing a huge downturn the lack of movement in the US Index is to be welcomed as a sign that the golf sector does not seem tied to other struggling industries. As the country awaits the economic reaction to President Obama taking office, January seems to have given the US Index a solid foundation for 2009.
With a raft of new clubs in the pipeline and the major manufacturers unleashing their latest weapons in the battle for supremacy in the golf ball market, the signs for a good 2009 seem encouraging on both sides of the Atlantic as we approach the season proper and await the return of Tiger Woods.