Yes Golf in the USA filed for bankruptcy on 18 November. An announcement on the Golf Digest website began, “For a while they were a David among Goliaths…” This was true of the US-based company, but crucially it remains the case with the global distributor network – most of which are wholly owned businesses – and most particularly in the UK and EU, where the brand has always enjoyed a loyal following – thanks partly to its enduring popularity on the European Tour, writes Dominic O’Byrne.
The British company remains strong. Yes! Golf (UK) managing director Peter Allison said, “It’s a sad day for the brand in America but we have healthy pre-orders for 2011 in Britain & Ireland, a strong stockholding of popular product under our roof and a new consignment arriving in January that includes new models for the coming season.”
Yes! has always enjoyed a great deal of goodwill and this remains one of the brand’s enduring assets (as officially recorded in the list of assets by the US administrators), in addition to a well-established network of retailers and custom-fitting centres across Europe. Indeed, the popularity and strong trading record of these specialist facilities has been one of the engines of Yes! Golf’s continued survival (if not actual success) throughout the EU in the last 24 months or so. It still ‘owns’ title of World’s #1 Custom-fit Putter Brand , and that remains unchallenged by any other golf club manufacturer.
It is understood a serious bid has been put into the US administrators by an existing Yes! distributor, and according to Peter Allison the primary strength of this bid is the fact that practical, hands-on knowledge of the entire process from manufacture through market channels to the Tour and consumer retail are key. They offer the best chance for the brand to maintain current market position, leaving it better placed to make a stronger recovery simultaneously with – if not actually ahead of – the expected upturn the golf equipment industry anticipates in the short to medium term.
It is mainly for market differentiation and regionality reasons that Yes! Golf UK and Yes! Golf EU are separate entities, but both businesses are close to each other and both are ideally placed to maximize recovery opportunities. According to the authoritative KPMG report Golf Participation in Europe 2010 golf demand (UK & Ireland 30.9%) and supply (UK & Ireland 44.6%) is concentrated in just a small number of countries – 92% of golfers being located in just 10 countries with the UK and Ireland being home to the majority of those.
Further practical considerations include the strengthening relationship Yes Golf in the UK and EU now enjoy with the manufacturing partners in China. The entire ordering process was streamlined some 12 months ago whereby communications links were established directly between manufacturers and regional distributors.
Yes! Golf UK www.yesgolf.co.uk