The History of Nike Golf

By Michael J. Brna Ph.D.

Nike Inc. earnings declined from 1983 to 1986 because of competition and changing consumer preferences. New product lines were added, and the company entered the golf industry in 1986 with a new line of golf shoes.

Shoes and Apparel 

The golf line initially focused on golf shoes and apparel, and in 1985 Nike sponsored top professionals Seve Ballesteros and Curtis Strange. 

Tiger Woods

The company continued this strategy in 1995 by signing budding superstar Tiger Woods to a 20-year, $40 million endorsement contract even though the company did not have a line of golf equipment or golf balls. This marked Nike's serious commitment 

Nike Golf

Nike Golf was established in 1998, when Nike was among the top five marketers of golfing apparel. Nike Golf was formed to manufacture and sell golf clubs and balls to cash in on the growing golf market.

Golf equipment

The first branded golf balls were sold in 1999, and the first clubs were introduced for sale in 2002. Nike continued its proven strategy of signing tour professionals like Rory McIlroy for endorsements and implementing an aggressive marketing campaign. Nike clubs and balls have been used to win majors in both the men's and women's game. 

Nike Golf Returns to Apparel

In 2016, Nike Golf shocked the sporting world by announcing it will no longer make golf clubs, bags, or balls. Instead, Nike is returning to only making golf shoes and apparel. 


About The Author

Michael J. Brna, Ph.D., conducts public speaking and small group facilitation training and is a member of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Quarterly Newsletter Editorial Review Committee. He considers himself a Jack Lemmon-type golfer who writes fact sheets for


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