(GolfWRX) The strategy was always a risky one: Put a PGA pro at every Dick’s Sporting Goods location as a competitive advantage over online retailers.
The company acknowledged yesterday that the approach hasn’t worked: Dick’s Sporting Goods has fired all the PGA professionals working at the company’s 560 stores. An obvious cost-cutting measure in the face of industry contraction, the move leaves more than 500 PGA pros out of work.
“I’m sincerely disappointed that the careers of so many PGA professionals have been hurt today,” wrote PGA of America president Ted Bishop in a letter to the affected professionals, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.
The Sports & Fitness Industry Association recently recorded its fifth consecutive drop in the number of U.S. individuals who claimed they played golf on a course at least once annually, and the figured dropped 2.5 percent from the year before. The National Golf Foundation reports 400,000 people left the game within the past year.
Given macro-trends like the above, the move—although shocking in its all-at-once nature—isn’t totally surprising. Same-store sales for Golf Galaxy, which Dick’s acquired in 2007, dropped 10.4 percent for the most recent quarter. Dick’s stock price is down more than 25 percent from its 52-week high.