By Sara Germano
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. is cutting hundreds of jobs in its golf division as fewer Americans hit the links.
A spokeswoman for the PGA of America said more than 400 of its members who were employed as golf instructors at Dick’s were notified Tuesday that they would be laid off. The organization, which counts more than 28,000 members overall, said it would offer career counseling and employment services to its affected members.
Representatives for Dick’s didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to a Dick’s annual report, the company offered in-store private lessons with PGA and Ladies Professional Golf Association golf professionals across its Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy locations. There were 593 such employees as of Feb. 1, according to the filing. Dick’s employed about 34,300 full- and part-time workers overall as of that date.
News of the layoffs was earlier reported by ESPN.
Dick’s has been struggling with weak golf sales as players leave the sport. The retailer plans to take floor space away from golf merchandise in its Dick’s stores, and expand women’s and youth apparel instead. Dick’s Chief Executive Edward W. Stack said in May that there was more downside in the golf market, sales of which missed the company’s estimates for the quarter by $34 million.
An annual survey by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association earlier this year revealed the fifth consecutive drop in the number of U.S. individuals who reported playing golf on a course at least once, down 2.5% over the year before.
The downturn in the golf market has Dick’s rethinking its golf strategy. In 2007, Dick’s acquired specialty golf retailer Golf Galaxy for $226 million, according to a filing. Since then, it has expanded its store fleet to 79 as of May 3 from 65 stores at the time of acquisition.
Same-store sales for Golf Galaxy dropped 10.4% for the most recent quarter, and Dick’s executives said they would re-evaluate locations for potential closures, relocation, or remodeling as lease renewals come due in the next two years.
Write to Sara Germano at [email protected]