For several years now, there are pockets of the golf world that have been spreading the rumor that Under Armour is going to get into golf equipment...like any day now.
The rumors have varies, but they typically involve Under Armour buying an existing golf company.
Under Armour's buying Titleist to bring all of Jordan Spieth Inc. in house! Nope, Titleist went public.
Under Armour's buying TaylorMade any day now. You'll see! Nope.
Under Armour could buy up Nike's patents and intellectual property and start selling golf clubs! Nope, Nike's not selling.
As it turns out, all of the rumors have been and will continue to be wrong. According to Under Armour founder (and fellow University of Maryland graduate) Kevin Plank, Under Armour is not getting into the golf equipment business.
"There are not a lot of things you are allowed to do from an innovation standpoint," Plank said at the Fast Company Innovation Festival. "It's not a very large market and the margins aren't great, so business-wise, there are not a lot of reasons to do it."
He's got a point. The USGA and R&A have pretty well regulated what golf clubs can do. The golf ball is pretty well capped in certain characteristics. Engineers are getting closer all the time to the limits of what they can do in the regulatory sandbox. However, OEMs are also still developing innovations that improve equipment performance each year, even if it's not in the same eye-popping way we saw with the move to titanium from steel and the improvement of ball materials to control spin and improve distance.
But, the margins are pretty small given the R&D that goes into developing each product.