Nike Innovation: Reinventing the Golf Tee

Ethnographic Research: Reimagining a Sport Basic

  • Awards
  • IDEA Winner
  • Capabilities Used
  • Industrial Design

When Nike asked Altitude to help segment its golf customers, this strategic assignment led to a re-evaluation of one of the most basic components of the sport: the golf tee.

Altitude transformed a neglected commodity accessory into a product that challenges the status quo and truly complements our new oversized driver. They showed the stodgy golf world how innovative Nike can be.

- Carl Madore, Creative Director

Putting Segmentation into Action

With the ultimate goal of increasing sales of Nike golf products, we conducted extensive ethnographic research with golfers to understand their needs, attitudes, and values. We found that golfers wanted products that helped them learn the game quickly, inspired them, and made the game easier to play. We leveraged this knowledge to carefully analyze and segment Nike’s golf customers into three new categories, thus enabling Nike to develop the appropriate clubs and products to meet the needs of each.

As part of our effort, we were also tasked with re-inventing the golf tee, increasing its height to enhance the performance of Nike’s new over-sized driver. We analyzed existing golf tee design, golf-swing physics, golf ball set-up, and other elements of the game. We also examined the attributes customers desired in the sport, such as performance and convenience. Our ethnographic research and design efforts yielded a diverse range of 33 concepts, and a standing ovation from Nike. Provided free with Nike clubs, these distinctive tees demonstrate Nike innovation, while helping golfers perform better and enjoy the sport at an elevated level. Nike is currently evaluating four prototype designs for large-scale production.Altitude logo