Jack Nicklaus is not just the greatest golfer of all time, but he also has brilliant business instincts.
On CNBC this afternoon Nicklaus and David Chu, founder of Nautica, discussed the strategic partnership between the Nicklaus Companies and David Chu Management. Nicklaus’ brand is one of the most recognized in the golf industry. Chu will assist with the planning and development of the brand as a lifestyle brand. They’re focusing on expanding to the Asian markets. Chu said there is a huge opportunity in the space, and golf is a growing industry and business in Asia. Chu’s goal is to put the Nicklaus brand worldwide to create greater distinction and desirability.
Nicklaus and Chu emphasized the explosion of golf in China, which they’ve identified as their key market. From my count, Nicklaus has 16 golf courses under construction in China, not to mention 10 in South Korea and 2 in Japan.
Golf is in fact blowing up in China (my mom has told me repeatedly). This is quite a savvy business move by both parties involved. There’s no better time to tap that market before another company does. Nicklaus has the “name” and Chu has the Asian connections and strong business expertise. China doesn’t seem too affected by the economic downturn – it’s actually one country on the rise.
I assume the target demographic is the wealthy and upper-middle-class businessmen, who view golf as a status symbol and you bet they know who Jack Nicklaus is. The Chinese consumers LOVE American brands that have prestige attached to the name. (The more I think about the partnership, the more I realize how genius it is.) If Nicklaus sells — which he will — in Asia, it’s going to be big bucks in his pocket.