The Costco Kirkland Signature Golf Ball; man what a story. By now you know the deal. It's a four-piece, urethane cover golf ball, with performance that can stand toe to toe with any tour ball on the market today.
All that, and it's only $15 a dozen.
Anybody in the ball business who says they aren't monitoring the situation and aren't concerned about the lasting impact the K-Sig might have on their business is absolutely lying. The industry is nervous. Believe that.
We can haggle over whether or not the Kirkland Signature is the biggest equipment story of the last decade (give or take), but one thing that isn't up for debate, Costco's surprise foray into the golf business shook up the industry.
The K-Sig has been a godsend for the budget conscious consumer. Like I said, a hell of a story, but unfortunately it appears to be coming to an end, and I suspect the bigger ball manufacturers will sleep easier tonight because of it.
Here's what we're able to share.
Our source inside Costco has not responded to our calls; however, a source familiar with the situation has told us that Costco has suspended production of the Kirkland Signature until further notice. Whether you want to call it a shortage or a total outage, the lack of Kirkland golf balls available to the consumer is being blamed on supply chain issues.
We're told that, internally, Costco is saying that production will resume at a later date (and that an email will be sent to customers when stock is available), but we have good reason to believe that is an unlikely scenario.
A representative of Nassau Golf (originally listed as the manufacturer of the Kirkland Signature Ball on the USGA conforming list) has told MyGolfSpy that Costco purchased overruns of Nassau's European-market-exclusive Quattro ball. There is some indication the sale was made through a third party, and that Nassau may not have been directly involved in the deal. The same source confirms that while the Costco balls have a different core color, the material composition and layer thickness are absolutely identical to the Quattro.
With the initial supply of overruns exhausted, Costco effectively has nothing left to sell.
With Costco selling its version of the Quattro at its cost ($15/dozen), it appears that Nassau is not particularly interested in selling Costco any additional inventory. As you can imagine, there's little interest in allowing Costco to undercut the Quattro with the Quattro, nor is there any desire to see the ball market (including direct-to-consumer brands like Snell, and OEMs such as TaylorMade) undercut either.
I mention TaylorMade in particular because the company's tour balls are produced at the same factory as the Costco/Nassau balls, and there are some indications that production of new TP5 has pushed smaller companies to the back of the production line. Even if Costco otherwise had the capability to produce balls immediately, which it appears it doesn’t, the K-Sig wouldn’t be given priority over larger brands and long-term customers.
For those wondering if Costco might look to have its balls produced elsewhere; while that theoretically could happen, the application of urethane covers is a highly-specialized process. There are few factories capable of doing it.
To get back in the ball game, it appears Costco will have to wait for more overruns to become available or find another source for what would likely be a fundamentally different ball.
As the larger industry pushes back on the factories, it seems unlikely that Costco will be able to reproduce the current K-Sig or anything like it for the foreseeable future, and almost certainly not for $15 a dozen.
While we have reason to believe there's more to the story (and we're not done investigating), we believe that in all likelihood, this is the end of the line for the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball.