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Home Daily Golf Briefs Daily Pulse for May 4, 2018

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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 8, NUMBER 88                                                         
Friday, May 4, 2018

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “The Masters has now become the biggest golf tournament in the world, and I'm comfortable saying that. I don't care about the U.S. Open or The Open Championship. It is the biggest tournament in the world, the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype. The most amount of everything is at Augusta. For me, it's the most special tournament that we play and it's the one that everyone desperately wants to win.”

BRAIN TEASER: This player has shot his age or better in 7 of 15 rounds this season. Who is he?

SOLID START: Acushnet Holdings Corp. (NYSE: GOLF), owner of the Titleist and FootJoy brands reported its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2018. Sales were $441.8 million compared to 433.6 million a year ago, producing an $8.2 million increase. According to the company, it experienced a 6.9% decrease in net sales (9.8% decrease on a constant currency basis) of Titleist golf balls as a result of a sales volume decline in Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls which were in their second year of the two year product life cycle and partially offset by a sales volume increase of our newly introduced performance models. In the U.S., sales volumes were impacted by unfavorable weather conditions. The company reported only a very modest amount of its new AVX balls were shipped in the reporting period.

On the hard goods side, it saw a 14.7% increase in net sales (10.4% increase on a constant currency basis) of Titleist golf clubs driven by higher sales volumes, primarily due to its wedges launched in the quarter and iron series introduced in the third quarter of 2017. This was partially offset by lower sales volumes of drivers and fairways metals, which were in their second year of the two-year product life cycle. It delivered a 4.6% increase in net sales (0.4% increase on a constant currency basis) of Titleist golf gear, driven primarily by higher average selling prices across all categories of the gear business, according to the company.

It reported a 1.1% decrease in FootJoy net sales (5.7% decrease on a constant currency basis). The company said this was due primarily to a sales volume decline in footwear as a result of the timing of new product launches compared to prior year and unfavorable weather conditions. Higher average selling prices across all FootJoy categories partially offset this and a sales volume increase in apparel. The company pointed out that FJ’s men’s line recently achieved the #1 position On Course in the U.S. market and its women’s athleisure collection has also become a leading apparel choice.

Net income improved by $3.4 million to $41.5 million, up 8.9% year over year, primarily as a result of lower tax expense, which was partially offset by higher interest expense and lower income from operations.

“As the golf season opens up around the globe, the industry is structurally in a good place and generally optimistic in what has been an exciting start to the season across the worldwide tours," reported David Maher, Acushnet's President and Chief Executive Officer. "While weather patterns have been a factor early this year, Acushnet is off to a solid start as we continue to execute on our long term strategy with good momentum across our various product categories.”

“We are pleased with how our business is tracking through the first three months of the year, which is best described as a sell-in period. Conversely, the second quarter and especially May and June, is far more about sell through, custom fittings and inventory replenishment. Overall, our first quarter sell in with trade partners was on target.

ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? It all started with the emergence of Tiger Woods at the back end of the last century. Never before had the most famous sportsman on the planet been a golfer, a turn of events that brought with it at least one unintended consequence. Since then, golf has made strenuous efforts to build on its “hip” new image. Appealing to a wider and more diverse demographic was seen as the obvious route to that much over-used phrase, “growing the game.” Not much has worked, of course, if the current decline in worldwide participation is our guide. Slow play is a cancer that is severely undermining all of the good work being done elsewhere in the “growing the game” department. And not even drinking heavily is going to make that unpalatable fact go away. READ MORE>>>

WEB GEMS:

THE GOOD FIGHT: Lee Embley, who was diagnosed in July 2015, wasn’t having any of it. And what grew from his desire to save himself is the basis for a national program he’s designed to use golf as a form of recovery. In partnership with the American Cancer Society, Embley’s Golf Beats Cancer is kicking off with a two-day 5K and golf event at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa June 10-11. As Embley describes it, the idea of Golf Beats Cancer is to bring cancer rehab to golf and at the same time bring golf to cancer rehab. READ MORE>>>

MISUNDERSTOOD GENIUS? It’s safe to say that, from a distance at least, not many people in golf are quite sure what to make of Bubba Watson. He certainly has a “love him or hate him” sort of image, which is something I have always found both understandable and unfair. I know Bubba better than most guys on Tour – we share the same management – so I am pretty well qualified to analyze his quirky personality. I’ve spent a lot of time with him and played many practice rounds in his company. At first, I must admit, he was a little strange to deal with. Bubba tends to hold himself back until he knows you are genuine. But once he makes that realization, he is fantastic to be around. He’s witty and quick with the banter. And he loves playing golf more than he loves doing anything else. Still, you have to take the time to get to know him. There is some effort involved. I took that time and made that effort, to the point where I realized that I really liked him. READ MORE>>>

HERE WE GO AGAIN: The mission statement of the U.S. Open identifies the tournament as “the toughest test in golf.” Evidently, the signature phrase is aimed at the people who tend the fairways and greens as well as everyone who plays on them.
At Shinnecock Hills, the staff was presented with the equivalent of the bar exam, having been asked by the U.S. Golf Association last year to remove wide swaths of fairway grass on 14 holes and roll in thousands of yards of fescue rough. In the USGA’s estimation, the venerable club in Southampton passed with flying colors. “They did it almost overnight,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “As someone at the club said, it was like a military exercise. When all is said and done, it looks tremendous. It fits your eye because these are the appropriate grasses.” READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “The Masters has now become the biggest golf tournament in the world, and I'm comfortable saying that. I don't care about the U.S. Open or The Open Championship. It is the biggest tournament in the world, the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype. The most amount of everything is at Augusta. For me, it's the most special tournament that we play and it's the one that everyone desperately wants to win.”--Rory McIlroy

Hale Irwin, 72, has shot his age or better in 7 of his 15 rounds this season!

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF