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News With sport's popularity fading, Golfsmith files for bankruptcy

With sport’s popularity fading, Golfsmith files for bankruptcy

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Golfsmith International Holdings, the retailer of golf clothing and equipment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a slide in the sport’s popularity in North America.

The Austin-based company listed debt and assets of as much as $500 million each in Delaware court, and said it would try to sell part of the chain as a going concern while shutting some stores. If that fails, the company would liquidate, according to a resolution passed by Golfsmith directors and included in the bankruptcy court documents.

Managers were “directed to finalize and implement a going-concern sale and partial chain liquidation plan and, in the alternative, a full chain liquidation plan,” the resolution reads.

Golfsmith, which merged with Canada’s Golf Town in 2012 to become what it called the largest specialty golf retailer in the world, is owned by OMERS Private Equity Inc., part of the Ontario municipal employees’ pension fund.

The golf industry hasn’t recovered the popularity it enjoyed at the turn of the century, when Tiger Woods dominated the sport and attracted hordes of new fans. Millennials in particular haven’t embraced golf’s slow pace and hours-long time commitment. The number of U.S. players declined to 24.1 million last year from 25.7 million in 2011, according to the National Golf Foundation.

Nike has said it will no longer sell equipment for the sport, and Adidas is trying to offload most of its golf brands.

For more on local impact of Nike’s exit from the equipment business: www.fortworthbusiness.com/news/fore-nike-s-exit-from-golf-equipment-business-hits-home/article_2c399fac-6182-11e6-84b4-c72e24046c35.html

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