A Lawsuit Over Costco Golf Balls Shows Why We Can’t Have Nice Things For Cheap

Ephrat Livni, writing for Quartz: Unless you’re a golfer, you probably don’t think about golf balls. But a new US lawsuit about these little-dimpled spheres has an economics lesson for all shoppers, showing why consumers have cause for concern when companies use court for sport. Costco, the wholesale membership club, rocked the golf world in 2016 when it started selling its Kirkland Signature (KS) golf balls at about $15 per dozen, a quarter to a third the price of popular top-ranked balls. Industry insiders called it a “miracle golf ball” for its great performance and low cost, and Costco sold out immediately. It’s planning to release more in April. In response to the bargain ball’s reception, however, Acushnet — which makes the popular Titleist balls — sent the membership club a threatening letter. It accused Costco of infringing on 11 patents and engaging in false advertising for claiming that KS balls meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands.


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