The golf magazine market has undergone a major shake-up in response to dwindling circulations and advertising revenue.
The biggest casualty is Fore!, which has slipped to sales of just over 50,000 copies a month since its high profile, multi-million-pound launch in 1993. Owners Emap have decided to merge Fore! with its older sister, Today’s Golfer, as part of a £1 million relaunch in April. The titles had a combined circulation of more than 110,000 (ABCs July-December 1999) The new title will be called “New Today’s Golfer”.
Emap publishing director Ed Beale said: “”I know our competitors will say Fore! was failing but that’s simply not true. Instead I believe this re-launch is a radical and bold step which will present a higher quality product.
“”There was simply no need for a third magazine – we did consumer studies and learned that there were only two markets – one for golf as a professional sport and one as a practical title with a more technical bent. Both Today’s Golfer and Fore! filled the latter market and by merging them I believe we now have two monsters which will sell well in the market.””
In another unexpected move, Colin Callander has stepped down as editor of brand leader Golf Monthly after more than a decade in charge. Owners IPC have asked Women in Golf editor Jane Carter to take charge of the next three issues while the post is advertised. Callander, instead, will take up a freelance role at the magazine with the title of editor at large.
Meanwhile, the position of editor of Golf World, Emap’s up-market monthly, remains unfilled since Dave Clarke’s departure to become publisher of Today’s Golfer. Deputy editor Steve Carr is currently in charge and an internal appointment is expected to be announced soon.
St Andrews Press, publisher of the National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer magazines, has been wound up. The two titles, which only went on sale in retail outlets towards the end of last year, have been taken over by Sports Publications, a Cheshire-based company which is about to launch the bimonthlies in Spain and Holland.
And Golf Business, the golf trade monthly which was acquired last summer by Venture Fair, has been suspended while the publishers seek further funding.
However, it is not all doom and gloom on the golf media front. Emap intend to compensate in part for the disappearance of Fore! by launching a golf internet site from early summer, the quality bimonthly Golf International is about to declare an ABC figure of 54,229, and new title Golf Classic will hit the news stands in Britain, Germany, Sweden and France next month.