Serious golfers' opinions toward the role the Sporting Goods Channel plays in golf sales has deteriorated significantly, according to the 2015 Golf Datatech Channel Segmention Study released Thursday, Jan. 15.

The sixth annual study, which is based on surveys of 3,000 golfers in Golf DataTech's Serious Golfer database, explores consumer attitudes and perceptions when buying golf equipment and merchandise, preferences of the various sales channels, and what consumers like and dislike when shopping for golf products. It found that after years of improving perceptions about their role in golf sales, attitudes about the Sporting Goods Channel were down significantly in almost every measure covered by this study.

Other findings of the report include:

  • 2014 total equipment sales thru the On and Off Course Channels totaled $2.5 billion, the third highest in the past six years;
  • The Off Course Specialty Channel is perceived as providing the best customer service of all channels;
  • Online purchases of shoes, drivers and balls increased significantly over the past two years, while online purchases in general continue to grow rapidly but remain relatively limited, particularly in high involvement selling categories like clubs.

Additional findings from the 2015 Channel Segmentation Study, which speak directly to the On Course (Green Grass) sales channel, include:

  • 2014 Green Grass shopping and purchase behavior improved or matched prior year levels in every product category over the prior studies’ results;
  • The Green Grass channel continues to lead all channels for apparel sales.