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August 1, 2014

As Golf Industry Sales Slump Wilson Golf Continues to Grow

Wilson optimistic about golf's future, committed to a leadership position to deliver game improving products and a positive golf experience for players of all levels

CHICAGO, August 1, 2014 - In direct response to its sustained growth in iron and golf ball market shares over the past twelve months, Wilson Golf has expanded its sales force by recruiting six new territory managers across the United States.

In the midst of much discussion regarding the imminent future of the golf industry and the continued announcements of layoffs in competitive golf brands, Wilson is optimistic about the future of golf and the company's pivotal role in that growth.

"It's obvious the nature of the sport is evolving," comments President of Wilson Golf, Tim Clarke. "Whereas approximately 400,000 golfers leave the game every year, approximately the same number take it up. Our role is to make sure those entering the sport will stick. We feel like Wilson Golf is the perfect brand to enhance the golf experience for any level of player."

The company expanded its sales force by recruiting six new territory managers across the United States. All new employees came from within the golf industry - the majority of which were recruited from some of the biggest golf equipment manufacturers in the world.

Wilson Golf, through steady, calculated growth over the last seven years when numerous competitors have been bought out or collapsed, is poised to take the leadership position that 100 years of legacy and innovation has earned. In expanding the sales force, Wilson better positions itself to enhance the golf experience through equipment solutions, distribution and overall game improvement.

Providing an Equipment Solution for Every Player
The F-C-D (Feel-Control-Distance) fitting system, developed seven years ago by Wilson innovation, opens up the opportunity for amateurs and better players alike to find an iron solution that suits their game. F-C-D communicates the importance of matching player needs to technology performance attributes through a simple fitting session.

It determines if a player relies on feel, control or distance but also considers other factors that slightly alter their personal experience with a club - launch angle, spin rate, size, shape, appearance and weight distribution. The six Wilson Staff iron offerings - framing its widest product line yet - meet fundamental needs and let the custom fitting process do the rest.

Increasing Distribution
Access to Wilson Staff equipment is vital to growing more consumer trials. With an increase in territory manager count, Wilson Golf will focus distribution in the on-course channel, advocating for products that have realized success in the off-course channel - such as DUO, which was the #1 selling distance ball in the off-course channel in Q4 last year.(1)

Sustaining Life Cycles
After conducting research with various stakeholders in the industry, Wilson Golf has committed to two-year product cycles. "Shorter product cycles lead to overwhelming inventories and rapid price repositions, and can be injurious to on- and off-course retailers as well as consumers," explains Clarke. "We want to build dependable relationships with our key partners and instill confidence that our innovation is worthy of staying in shops longer."

Providing Game Improvement
The GearUp website (wilson.com/gearup) developed by Wilson Golf hosts a variety of tips surrounding all aspects of the game - swing instruction and drills, mental game, fitness and nutrition and rules and etiquette. Accessibly open to everyone, GearUp encourages golfers to uphold the integrity of the game, and relieves the intimidation factor experienced by newcomers to the game - again, vital to sustaining industry growth.

"There has never been a better time for current golf enthusiasts as well as those interested in taking up the game," said Clarke. "Great golf courses are now more affordable, once-pristine closed country clubs are now open to the public, and there has never been more information available through social media channels and golf-centric websites that help any level golfer to enjoy the game."

(1)According to the Q4-2013 Golf Datatech report, DUO is the best selling 2-piece golf ball in the off-course sales channel.

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