Callaway Focusing on Core Golf Brands: CEO

Callaway Golf CEO Chip Brewer told CNBC Thursday the maker of golf clubs and clothing shed its Top-Flite golf ball business to focus on its two core brands, Callaway and Odyssey.

The Top-Flite business was sold to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Brewer called Top-Flite “a great brand, and it’s been with the company for several years. But if you look at where the company is now, we think the best strategy is to focus on our core brands...We’ve got a lot of runway there, a tremendous amount of opportunity, and it made sense to part company with Top-Flite. Dick’s has been a great partner and they’ll do very well with it.

Speaking from the Masters Tournamentat Georgia’s Augusta National, which began Thursday, Brewer said more people are playing more rounds of golf on American courses thanks to this winter’s milder weather, and that means a lot more opportunity to sell them equipment such as Calloway’s Razr Fit driver, introduced this season.

Having a notable player such as Phil Mickelson endorsing Calloway “helps” the business, but “it’s not one of those things when you see an immediate surge in sales” if the golfer wins the tournament, Brewer said.

What is surging is the company’s Asian business, where the Callaway brand there is “iconic, even stronger than the U.S. at the moment,” he said. “A lot of the growth is coming out of Asia over the next few years. It will be a big part of our strategy and one of the positives as we look forward in our business and the golf industry in general.”

There’ll also be competition, including at Augusta National where Tiger Woods, wearing his Nike gear, will be facing Mickelson, in Calloway’s.

“For a gentlemen’s game, it’s an intense business,” said Brewer. “I enjoy that competition.”

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