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Tickers in this Article: ELY, NKE, FO, ADGF
Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY), one of the most recognized brands in golf, is looking forward to the next season. For the 2009 year, net sales were down 15% to $951 million and the company lost 27 cents a share in 2009 compared to 24 cents in 2008. That's not a bad round considering the economic elements Callaway had to endure in 2009.

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Golf Anyone?
By most accounts, golf may be the most discretionary sport there is. As a golfer, I see things a bit differently, but when times are tough, its hard to shell out $40 or more for a round. One can argue, though, that for the four hours or so spent on the links, $40 is not a bad purchase. More than that, golf relies a lot on corporate events and business support. And with nearly every business tightening back on all manner or expenses, the golf perks may be some of the first ones let go. Up against all these headwinds, one can argue that Callaway turned in a decent year.

Cautiously Optimistic
To say the golf industry went through a tough time during the recession is an understatement. To top it off, golf's golden egg Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite break from the game of golf. While Tiger's absence clearly hurts the sport, it may spell opportunity for Callaway in the form of grabbing business from Nike's (NYSE: NKE) golf division, which has endorsed Woods since day one. However, the big picture for Callaway is simply to have a pick up in golf demand in 2010. On that note, management is "cautiously optimistic." The company estimates sales in the area of $1 billion and EPS of 25 cents to 35 cents a share. (For related reading, check out Play The Market Like Tiger Plays Golf.)

Ways to Play
In the sport of golf, Callaway is an iconic brand that sealed its reputation in the golf world with the introduction of the Big Bertha driver over 10 years ago. Since that time, Callaway has grown the company to include brands such as Odyssey putters, Top-Flite and Ben Hogan in over 110 countries worldwide. Most of Callaway's direct competitors are privately held. Major conglomerates like Fortune Brands (NYSE:FO) own Titleist, another quality golf company widely known for its golf balls and clubs. Otherwise, investors will have to go looking into micro-cap territory at Adams Golf (NASDAQ:ADGF) for a pure-play golf company.

Hoping for Par
If the pace of golf picks up in 2010, Callaway will likely benefit. Despite the 2009 net loss, a lot good things can happen to a $485 million market cap company with nearly $1 billion in sales. (For more, 10 Golf Tips To Help Investors Tee Off.)

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