Japan's golf industry hoping to cash in on Hideki Matsuyama's win at Masters
Japan's golf industry is hopeful that Hideki Matsuyama's triumph at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, on April 11 could unleash a resurgence in the local popularity of the sport.
Matsuyama is the first Japanese man to win a professional golf major tournament.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., which makes the Srixon golf clubs and balls that Matsuyama uses, hopes that the Masters win would boost sales of the Srixon brand in the US.
The golf equipment manufacturer has been creating products based on specifications by Matsuyama for clubs. It is also using new materials still under development in Japan and asking golfers to test them out.
Japan's golf-related market has been on a downward trend, totaling slightly over 1.3 trillion yen in 2018, half the figure in 1996.
The number of Japanese golfers dropped from its 1991 peak of 17.84 million to 8.9 million in 2016.
Meanwhile, the number of its golf courses peaked at 2,460 facilities in 2002, but fell to 2,227 in 2019, according to the Japan Golf Course Management Association.
Yano Research Institute Ltd. expected domestic sales of golf-related products to shrink by 10 percent in 2020 from the previous year.
But news of Matsuyama’s victory triggered a buying spree of golf-related stocks. On April 12, the stock price of Value Golf Inc., a golf course booking operator, surged by 19 percent from the closing price on the last trading day of the previous week.