Why golf club-maker Callaway is moving away from the fairway

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With a record number of new golfers teeing off in 2020, Callaway, the maker of golf balls, clubs, bags and apparel, has been thriving.

Callaway announced in May first-quarter net revenue of $652 million, a 47% increase from a year earlier.

“Callaway pre-Covid was already the number one brand in sticks, I call it, which is putters, drivers and irons,” said Jefferies analyst Randy Konik. “They were outpacing industry growth and they were also number two in balls behind Titleist.”

Callaway has made moves off the fairway as well. In March, the company completed its merger with golf entertainment business Topgolf, which combines virtual driving ranges with food and cocktails.

“This is a transformative merger. It creates an entity that doesn’t really replicate anything that currently exists, with the leader in golf equipment merging with the leader in golf entertainment,” said Callaway CEO Chip Brewer.

Last year, almost 37 million players teed off at a golf course or participated in an off-course activity like a driving range. Nearly a third of the U.S. population watched, read about or played golf in 2020.

But with movie theaters, travel and concerts expected to rebound, will golf club-makers like Callaway and its rival Acushnet be able to maintain their momentum?

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