This Season Just Ended At Dick's
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/23/14
The advertising positioner for the Dick's Sporting Goods chain of stores is, "every season starts at Dick's." But for more than 560 PGA of America teaching pros employed by Dick's, the season ended on Tuesday.

The largest retailer of TaylorMade and Callaway golf equipment and products fired all of the PGA of America teaching professionals the company employed in their 560+ stores in the United States.

During a conference call to report first-quarter earnings, CEO Ed Stack revealed that sales badly slumped in two categories: Hunting and golf. The forecasted earnings-per-share was revised downward by as much as 30%. The loss of sales of golf equipment was the larger concern. Stack also admitted that they are selling some drivers in their stores for $99 that were previously selling for $300 not more than one year ago.

In 2006, Dick's Sporting Goods purchased the Golf Galaxy retail chain, which began with one store in Bloomington, Minnesota during the 1990s. The company has kept those Golf Galaxy stores operating as normal, giving them two sets of equipment stores and also employing a PGA of America teaching professional at each location for lessons. Same-store sales at Golf Galaxy outlets were down 10.4% in the first quarter.

ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that they obtained a letter to each of the PGA pros written by PGA President Ted Bishop. "I'm sincerely disappointed that the careers of so many PGA professionals have been hurt today," he wrote.

Pittsburgh Business Times reporter Tim Schooley noted on May 20 that Dick's has lease expirations soon on a number of Golf Galaxy stores — and said that company president and COO Joe Schmidt was not sure what would happen with them. But if the company's golf retail efforts have not yet hit bottom, as Stack implied, the outlook is not good.

With a shrinking American economy, businesses struggling to survive under increased federal regulations since 2009, and millions of Americans having given up looking for work, the dismissal of 560 employees is, sadly, not unexpected.

Some PGA of America members tried to take a sober, analytical view:

Many others, however, are taking a far less charitable view of the company:

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Image via Dick's Sporting Goods

[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
It is a real blow to these workers to lose their jobs. My hope is they can rebound from this setback quickly.

Tor ... a bit less pontificating on economic matters may be in order. The comments on the shrinking economy and millions of people giving up looking for work are more suitable for either a political or economic forum, where I would dispute those comments with data from the World Bank and Bureau of Labor Statistics
Torleif Sorenson says:
With considerable respect to you, Brian, our web site visitors are from all over the world. They deserve to have some context.

And the economy did pull back by 2.9% in the first quarter, while exports fell by almost 10%.
birdieXris says:
I dunno. i don't think i've ever had a pro at the Dick's i've gone to. It's always been some random dude who was in bikes, or gym equipment the day before. That being said, i never bought anything from Dick's just because nobody there could carry on an intelligent conversation about the product.
GBogey says:
Golf is way overbuilt for what is and will be a smaller customer base. The declining number of courses gets the headlines, but it will cycle its way throughout the industry. There are too many retail outlets for all to be healthy, and there are way too many manufacturers. My prediction is that there will be some shakeout there in the next few years. There are at least by my count 9 larger manufacturers and countless smaller guys chasing a shrinking pie. At some point some will consolidate/merge/go away - simple economics.
Duke of Hazards says:
The Dick's near me is unimpressive. They are outclassed by both Golfsmith and a large warehouse box store in CA/HI called Roger Dunn. Dick's doesn't offer deals on used equipment and their staff is not very skilled (installed my grips on the wrong way (adjustable shaft)).

The staff at both Golfsmith and Roger Dunn are just better. Most avid golfers that are going to drop $700-$1000 on an iron set or $300 for a driver are going to pick those other places over Dick's. Dick's should just sell basic golf equipment for beginners and leave the better equipment and training to the specialty golf stores. I never see anyone in the golf section at Dick's, but the aforementioned specialty golf warehouse (Roger Dunn) is always jam packed, no matter what time or day of the week.
Torleif Sorenson says:
I was surprised to learn that Dick's sells bicycles. Anytime I have needed educated and experienced salespeople (or repairs), I have always gone to several local bicycle shops.

As far as Dick's sales of hunting gear declining, my guess is that Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, Scheels, and other outdoor specialty shops are siphoning that business away.
slimpks1850 says:
Exactly what birdieXris & Duke of Hazards are saying. (although I don't know of Roger Dunn but do have a Golfsmith I travel to instead of going to the local Dicks)

I like the story but the only surprising part is that they had PGA of America teaching pros. You sure? I've never seen 'em.
oobgolfms says:
There's no such thing as a good club fitting at a Big Box store, regardless if it's Dick's or any of the other 'mega' stores. Go and find a Golf Digest Top 100 fitter to get the real thing, otherwise you're throwing good money after bad (golf).
falcon50driver says:
Maybe they should change the business name to
"Nice Guy Richard's Golf Store"
Matt McGee says:
I'll second the comments of Bkuehn.
Virtuaframax says:
Since Dick's bought Golf Galaxy, I believe the PGA professionals were employed at Golf Galazy and not Dick's. The one close to me had a PGA pro teaching.
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