If golf means more to you than putting a brightly colored ball past a spinning windmill, maybe you caught Ladies Professional Golf Association star Annika Sorenstam win her 11th competition this year. That's the most wins in a single year since 1964. Even if you heard the news over the weekend, Callaway Golf
Last night, the company issued a press release to congratulate Sorenstam for the win and pat its own back because she won the Tyco
Nearly a decade ago, when the company stormed the scene with its revolutionary oversized clubs and titanium drivers, Callaway rode the boom in the golfing industry. Top golfers swung Big Berthas, and hobbyists followed suit. But while a "hole in one" is a great golf shot, it's not a desired attribute in a business model. Callaway had a hole in one, and it came from the competition. Rivals caught up; discounters flooded the market; and even counterfeiters had their chance to land on the green.
Callaway's sales peaked five years ago. Despite ramping up its apparel efforts, introducing new drivers, and even entering the golf ball business, the company has yet to climb back to its 1997 performance. A profit warning back in September and a delay in filing its third-quarter financial report earlier this month have kept the stock's performance below par; it's trading where it was back in 1993.
The company has made the strategic changes to roll with the slow economy. It launched trade-in programs and sells certified, pre-owned gear. But Callaway earned $0.97 a share last year and is on track to earn $0.92 a share this year. Wall Street is looking for $0.95 a share come 2003. That's not growth. That's a sand trap. Until the company shows some resiliency, it's probably best to putt around this hazard.