G30 Success Story

Industry leading PING G30 Driver

PING G30 Driver

The PING G30 driver in the month of April, according equipment sales as tracked by Golf Datatech, not only maintained but increased its lead as the number one selling driver in the U.S. Driver sales are traditionally the highest in April as the golf season begins across most of the U.S.

This past month G30 market share rose to approximately 14 percent of all drivers sold which translated into 19 percent of dollars spent in the combined sell-through in on- and off-course retail stores.

The G30 was already the best-selling driver of 2015, January through March, at just over 11 percent market share in units sold and over 15 percent of dollars spent.

In a prepared release, PING Chairman and CEO John Solheim said, “To see momentum growing for the G30 driver in the heart of the golf season is very satisfying and a tribute to our engineering team. When we launched it last summer, it was clear this driver was special. It was used by Angel Cabrera to win the first week it was on tour and it’s been finding its way into golfers’ bags ever since. It all comes down to performance and there’s no question the technology of the G30 drivers helps golfers hit the ball longer, straighter and more consistently.”

In April unit sales were 56 percent greater than the second place model.

The G30, which retails for $350, is not the least expensive driver in shops but has built up a reputation for performance primarily for the “Turbulators” on the crown designed to reduce aerodynamic drag which helps to increase clubhead speed.

For the months of January  through April combined, the G30 driver was #1 in units and dollars, with shares of 12.30% and 16.47%, respectively. Over the nine months since its introduction in July last year, it’s been the top-selling driver model in units (10.27%) and revenue (14.64%).

PinCaddie 2 – Leupold’s Newest

Leupold PinCaddie 2

Leupold PinCaddie 2

It’s a given that judging what you purchase solely on the price may save you money on the frontend but quite possibly be the most expensive way in the long run.

There are so many examples of this in our lives that it’s refreshing when you find a product that is both priced competitively and top performing like the Leupold PinCaddie 2.

The company makes several models of laser rangefinders two of which I have favorable reviewed in the past year, the GX-1i2 and the GX-4i2, both being more expensive than the new PinCaddie 2.

At $200 the PinCaddie 2 is all most golfer’s need to find yardage to the pin and with Leupold’s built-in technology to reduce false readings from trees or other objects in the background, it is an easy choice to make.

Its light, just 6.3 oz., and will reach out to 300 yards when shooting at a pin which, let’s face it, is plenty for average players. The small size makes it easy to carry and use and of course the Pincaddie 2 is waterproof should you be caught in a shower.

Originally the PinCaddie 2 review was to be part of the ongoing “10 Rounds with…” series but after just two rounds it was apparent this is a quality product, efficiently doing the job at a very attractive price.

Negatives. If you have to have a fog-mode the PinCaddie 2 doesn’t have it nor is the aperture overly large which may or may not be an issue when wearing sunglasses or regular glasses.

Recommendation. With the $200 price tag and Father’s Day coming up, it’s is a great time to buy a Pincaddie 2 for Dad or to treat yourself. 

 

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the First Tee

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Making a visit to a nearby golf course where a good friend is a member, I was struck by how we were treated compared to what passes as “customer service” at a lot of courses.

First, let me explain. My friend’s course is open to public play so it’s semi-private or is it semi-public…I never can figure out the difference. Secondly, I have played there before and always received the same welcome, one seemingly backed by, “Gee, we’re glad you’re here.” Outside of spending time with my friend, I guess that attitude exhibited by the personnel had never registered as the big reason why I liked the place.

The “funny thing” I realized as we drove to the first tee was how much that smiling welcome had shaped my opinion of the facility.

It is apparent, if operators are not working hard to train their people how to make customers feel good about their experience they miss out on a critical component to generate revenue. If customers have positive feelings about those interactions with employees it helps bring them back over and over again. It’s such a straightforward method to fortify a relationship some companies spend millions training their people.

Call it success by emotional attachment, i.e., getting customers to feel a bond both consciously and subconsciously.

Unfortunately the lesson is lost on many course operators.

Social media plays a big part in bonding customers to any “brand,” but a typical mistake golf operators make is sending email after email filled with discount offers. That may be important information but by sticking to just telling customers about reduced greens fees they aren’t setting themselves apart from all the noise generated by courses striving to attract players.

And besides after a while a discounted price eventually becomes the rack rate in the minds of customers.

Wouldn’t it be better to create differentiation by sending information customers are interested in such as equipment evaluations, swing tips or almost anything to be unique rather than, “Look at the deal I’ve got for you.”

Successful operators have a social media program to interact with customers—and potential customers—that sets themselves apart from the crowd and helps forge that vital emotional bond.

A bond I first realized existed on the way to the first tee.

Who Says TV Golf Needs Tiger?

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Part of the lament about golf on television is, without Tiger Woods on the tube viewership is a way down and advertisers aren’t getting the exposure they are paying for.

Well, it’s anecdotal of course, but according to a statement from the Golf Channel “THE PLAYERS Sunday overnight rating on NBC up 60 percent over 2014” and the cause obviously was the edge-of-the-chair excitement of the three man playoff. Ricky Fowler won the “almost a major” PLAYERS by eliminating Sergio Garcia after the three hole playoff and then Kevin Kisner in sudden death on the island green 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

It was the third most watched Sunday of the past year topped only by last month’s blowout at the Masters by Jordan Spieth and the battle between Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship in August with world number one McIlroy winning.

PrintComparing previous years’ of THE PLAYERS this past Sunday also came in third after Tiger Woods’ win in 2013 and Henrik Stenson’s win in 2009.

More data will be coming to expand on the how much good golf from appealing players is just what viewers crave.

Perhaps as heartening as any fact concerning how many of us were watching the thrilling finish is victory is a solid validation of Fowler. He is not the most overrated player on Tour as supposedly was the case after an anonymous poll of fellow pros conducted by Sports Illustrated.

Can anyone say nattering nabobs of negativity?

Oh, and Tiger? He made the cut on the number and ended up T69 so the man that “moves the needle” like no other in our game was finished before the cameras went

 

10 Rounds With GolfBuddy WT5

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At $200 the GolfBuddy WT5 is an affordable watch-style GPS unit and part of the company’s extensive line up of distance measuring devices.

On-course testing found it has lots of easy-to-like features beginning with the display which, even for someone like me who needs reading glasses, was perfectly readable in direct sunlight. In addition to the usual front-back-center of the green readings, a single push of a button gives distances to targets and hazards such as water and bunkers.

The WT5 also has a “dynamic” green view and pin placement function—another single button press–and it allows you to move the pin icon around on the green for a more precise yardage reading.

Golf_Buddy_WT5_400

An update of the WT3, the WT5 is not as thick as the older model and is comfortable on the wrist for a full eighteen, even in the heat and humidity of Florida.

The WT5 is pre-loaded with 37,000+ courses and automatically recognizes which one and which hole you are playing plus the digital scorecard was both handy and quick to use. As with all of the GolfBuddy GPS devices, there is no annual fee or a charge to download additional course.

The other and obviously important factor is the WT5’s charge lasted for a full two rounds and though I never used it solely as a watch, according to GolfBuddy, in the watch mode the charge will go a full month.

Among the least expensive of the wrist units the full feature WT5 is a great choice and if you are in the market for a GPS-based distance measuring device this is one you should consider.

Putting — the Curse of TV Golf?

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“Golf nuts,” such as myself, watch lots of televised golf often to the consternation of our spouses. We thrill at the skill (and sometimes the luck) of the “best players in the world.”

Booming drivers. Spinning wedge shots. Curling putts. Each draws us to see Phil or Tiger or our favorite.

It’s the last of those three exhibitions of golfing prowess however that’s pushing me towards forsaking golf on television.

Not that I actually have, after all I’m still a golf nut, but the coverage of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play has put putting on my mind. It seems putting is all they show particularly when recapping earlier matches. If a putt was shown on the tube you can go to the bank it is going in.

To be fair a couple of factors tend to dictate the seemingly unbalanced coverage of putting. First, over the first three days with 32 matches daily and several “feature matches” putting  was easy to use as both a way to check in on the match status and give TV time to a greater number of players.

Second, to show a putt takes maybe 30 to 40 seconds but a full shot requires camera time for the setup, address, swing and hang time, not to mention roll out, spin on the green or the examination of a non-fairway lie. Since hang time on say a drive is six to seven seconds all by itself the total time for full shots certainly makes it more coverage-efficient to show putts.

Since around 40 percent of the shots by pros are putts one could expect a fair number to be shown plus of course, it’s the outcome of a putt that determines win, lose or draw in match play or the final total in medal play.

We all understand that. Still, giving putting more air time has another unwelcome facet. How many fist pumps, grimaces, stares skyward and mouthed but unvoiced expletives can one endure?

To back up my rant I counted the number of putts and the number of full shots televised during four different segments of the Match Play…and then gave up. In one segment the putts exceeded full shots by four and the in others putts and full shots were virtually neck and neck.

For me then, it was the perception of “all they show is putting” that got me fired up. It’s certainly not the reality.

So I guess it’s like Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella often said, “Nevermind.”

Now if they could just do something about the irrelevant prattle by certain commentators…but that’s grist for another column.