Q&A as Callaway president Brewer and Topgolf CEO Berle speak merger

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Within the pandemic world of Zoom conferences, it’s usually tough to discern physique language and facial cues due to unhealthy web connections or evolving expertise. That wasn’t the case with Chip Brewer.
From the outset of a Q&A with the Callaway Golf president and chief govt, there was no mistaking his pleasure. “My job is to not screw it up and be supportive,” he stated with a smile when requested about Callaway’s latest merger with Topgolf.
In a wide-ranging interview with GolfChannel.com, Brewer was joined by Topgolf CEO Dolf Berle to speak about one of many golf trade’s most important mergers lately.
It’s such odd instances that we’re residing in, was this merger in your radar to begin the 12 months? If not, when did this change into a precedence?
Brewer: The dialog form of said in [the second quarter of 2020] and heated up in Q3. We’re happy that each corporations realized this was the appropriate transfer.
That is one thing we thought of for a very long time. We’ve had a place with Topgolf since 2006. That is such a robust mixture and creates such a robust entity within the sport of golf. It’s additionally good for the sport of golf. It’ll profit the patron and profit the game. Topgolf is the perfect factor that’s occurred in golf since Tiger Woods.
My job is to not screw it up and be supportive of [Dolf Berle] and his staff. They’ve an engine down there and the patron loves Topgolf. They don’t prefer it, they like it.
Berle: We had been rising remarkably nicely and had been headed for an IPO to proceed that speedy progress charge in all components of our enterprise. As a result of COVID confirmed up, we closed all our venues in the midst of March and didn’t go forward with the IPO. It is a exceptional touchdown spot. We’d say mission achieved and completely happy touchdown.

Inside Topgolf, the intersection of golf and leisure

How will the assets that this merger creates allow Topgolf to develop?
Berle: We imagine that after a cautious research of all of the commerce areas within the U.S., there’s the potential for 200 venues within the U.S. [Topgolf currently has 63 locations around the globe]. That’s a mix of small, medium and enormous venues. Internationally, we’ve a franchise strategy and we’ve efficiently opened venues in Australia and Mexico. Dubai is opening in Q1 subsequent 12 months.
How do plan to leverage Topgolf’s recognition into membership and golf ball gross sales?
Brewer: It’s going to be a aggressive benefit for Callaway to have the ability to entry all of those golfers. We have now this massive viewers with them within the fold and we’re going to do what’s in the perfect curiosity for Topgolf. Folks may have curiosity in a number of the newest and biggest merchandise from Callaway. Within the Las Vegas facility we’ve a becoming middle and we’ll discover these forms of alternatives as nicely.
Greater than 51 p.c of Topgolf prospects determine as non-golfers. How do you transition these potential gamers into extra conventional, 18-hole golfers?
Berle: A non-golfer means they golf one or much less instances a 12 months and also you see that on the tee traces. There are individuals in excessive tops and constructions boots and every part else. We’re offering easy accessibility to the game and a first-time expertise that’s social and enjoyable. We discover that folks be taught to like the sport and change into proficient sufficient to maneuver to a green-grass facility.
Brewer: The great thing about that is, it’s going to occur organically. I respect all of the grow-the-game initiatives and maybe they had been impactful, however you couldn’t see it within the numbers. Topgolf is clearly going to be the most important progress initiative we’ve seen and you may see it within the numbers.
Seventy-five p.c of those non-golfers say they’ve a excessive or very excessive curiosity in taking part in what we name conventional golf. Of the non-golfers half of these guests stated they deliberate to play on a golf course in 2021. That’s very particular.

BY Rex Hoggard

 — October 27, 2020 at 7:15 PM
Callaway and Topgolf introduced on Tuesday an all-stock merger with an implied fairness worth of Topgolf of roughly $2 billion.

Are you able to clarify the significance of Topgolf vary as a part of this transaction?
Brewer: It’s actually a hidden gem as a result of it’s so small. To most individuals, it’s not a recognized entity but as Topgolf has reached a crucial scale. With the success that it drives at these ranges, the place revenues are going up 25 to 60 p.c, it makes it a greater expertise for the patron.
In the event you go to the vary and you’ve got it in your cellular app we’d have entry to information that enables us to see the way you’re hitting it and we will goal market you with both swing ideas or merchandise that can profit you. It’s actually thrilling the various things we will leverage.
What are your ideas on how gamers like Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson are pushing the boundaries on the high degree and do you envision a few of this working its means right down to the leisure recreation?
Brewer: It’s clearly enjoyable, we’re all going to strive it. In my group on Saturday a man had a 46.5-inch driver shaft delivered to him. That’s one of many enjoyable issues about golf. That’s one of many issues we’re going to have the ability to leverage right here. That’s what we love about this recreation.
How do you envision the momentum that golf gained in 2020 due to the pandemic carrying into subsequent 12 months?
Brewer: There’s clearly quite a lot of uncertainty on the earth. Having stated that, the momentum that golf has I don’t see something altering within the close to future.
Within the close to time period, we’re benefactors of those uncommon instances and I don’t see why that might change. In the long run our embedded progress charge as an trade is a bit of larger. We’re not going to maintain that progress, however these traits should not abating.
Berle: We’re excited as a result of the addressable viewers is huge and world and the merger with Callaway permits us to be much more assured that we can have sustainable progress.

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