TMaG’s Back to the Future

I have been playing this game long enough to remember when driving range drivers became mainstream. It was 40 years ago, and Gary Adams had this thing called the “Taylor Made Pittsburgh Persimmon.”

The head was cast from stainless steel, it had a 12° loft and hit the ball a mile even for those of us in the “swing challenged” category. Back then going to a driving range wasn’t a TopGolf experience. The clubs were old, dinged, chipped and one of the first things you did was sight down the shaft to make sure it was somewhere near straight. In general clubs were pathetic but as bad as they were, I cringe to think about the golf balls where often round was not an option. Continue reading

Tiger’s P•7TW Irons
Precision Based Performance

The superlatives applied to Tiger Woods particularly after winning the Masters in April, his 15th major chasing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18, are often over the top. But one thing is sure though, no player with the possible exception of Ben Hogan has ever had higher standards for his equipment. When Woods signed with TaylorMade Golf in January of 2017 he and the company began a quest to find replacements for the Nike designed blade-style irons he basically had been playing and winning with for 15 years. Continue reading

Phantom X – Lots of Putter Tech

Scotty Cameron is one of the most respected putter designers in the industry and when he comes up with a line of putters such as the Phantom X and that they are high-tech it is well worth paying attention.

Quoting Cameron: “Phantom X is by far the most high-tech putter line we’ve designed to date. This product is so much faster looking, and taken to the next level, that it needed a new name. It’s a major leap in performance. We’ve designed a variety of flange setups, alignment options and shaft bends to offer mallet players more models to choose from. I was inspired by Tour players who’ve asked for slightly smaller profiles with more alignment options and solid face construction. The engineering has been ramped up to an entirely new level to bring this brand-new line to life. Phantom X is the ultimate lineup for mallet players.” Continue reading

Bridgestone Tour B XW-1
Wedges with Biting Rail Grooves

Bridgestone Golf for the 2019 season has introduced a new line of wedges, the XM-1s, that can produce very high ball spin rates for control with the soft feel players want.

Weekend golfers often are in a quandary about wedges. Maybe its they don’t understand the need for precise gapping of lofts or how to solve the mysteries of bounce, but the truth is these clubs though overlooked by some are considered by better players as the basis for their scoring. Continue reading

Low-Spin Driver from Titleist
The New TS4

Titleist’s line for the 2019 season especially the TS2 and TS3 drivers were products of the Titleist Speed project, an internal program to maximize ball speed. The new design has paid benefits making Titleist drivers the most played on the PGA Tour and helped to remove the “too short and too much spin” reputation of earlier models especially the 917D.

Whether the feeling that Titleist couldn’t be competitive distance-wise with Callaway’s Epic/Rogue/Flash or TaylorMade’s M series drivers was fair or not, the TS2/TS3s have moved beyond that as a consideration. Last week they were joined with a model for better players who generate a lot of driver spin, the smaller clubhead low-spin TS4. Continue reading

Monday After the Players

This year as for the past several the media talked interminably about whether The Players should be designated the “fifth major.” To some this is a pointless exercise since the players themselves consider it to be very important tournament with far and away the strongest field, even the de facto holder of the title “major.” Most fans could care less and file the discussion in the same folder as doing something about slow play. Continue reading

Stroke Lab from Odyssey-Distance Control

Distance control, not aim, is the key to becoming a good if not great putter and consistent distance can only come from a consistent repeatable stroke. Rather than concentrate on a new way to do alignment lines or making a new face insert to improve the ball’s roll why not figure out a design that will improve distance control? Continue reading

Club Companies on a Roll

The past year was a good one for golf equipment companies lead by the two largest Acushnet Holdings Corp. (NYSE: GOLF) and Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY). Acushnet owns the largest selling brand of golf balls, Titleist, plus FootJoy (shoes/clothing) Scotty Cameron (putters), Vokey Design (wedges) and Links and Kings (accessories). Callaway sells both clubs and balls and owns TravisMatthew (clothing), Jack Wolfskin (outerwear), OGIO (bags) and Odyssey (putters). Continue reading

MTB-X Challenging the Big Guys

There’s always a risk when a company tries to improve on a popular product. However, Dean Snell of Snell Golf is not against taking chances if it means a better product for the fiercely competitive golf ball market dominated by Titleist and their flagship Pro V1 and Pro V1x models.

In its fifth year, Snell Golf’s latest challenge to the Titleist number one position is a redo of the MTB Red and named the MTB-X. (As an aside, MTB stands for “My Tour Ball.” Clunky to say the least and which thankfully appears to have disappeared from the company lexicon.)

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Wilson Staff D7 Driver

Wilson made a statement about their view of the club business with the introduction of the Cortex last November. This winner of the Driver vs Driver Season 2 is a feature-rich model with a titanium skeleton, carbon fiber, changeable weights, adjustable hosel and a price of $500.

They are now obviously making a different statement with the release of the $300 D7 driver along with the companion fairway woods and hybrids. Continue reading

TaylorMade’s New Spider

You can pardon a clubmaker boasting a little when for 10 years they have made one of the game’s most popular putters and in recent times, consistently week to week the most played single model on the PGA Tour. TaylorMade Golf may have been pushed from the top metal wood sales spot by Callaway and have unfulfilled plans to carve out a bigger chunk of the Pro V1 market share from Titleist with the TP5, but by any standard the Spider putter and its descendants most notably the Spider Tour has been a smashing success.

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“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.”

Matt Corey, Chief Marketing Officer for PGA TOUR Superstore, leans forward to make his point, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

In other words, all the grand plans in the world won’t work unless the company’s people are committed and feel part of the them.

It sounds simple however that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The proof is in the doing…and PGATSS is doing in spades.

The golf merchandising landscape is littered with failed ventures that attempted to sell to consumers conditioned with “gimme a deal” mentality fostered by Internet sellers and marginal brick and mortar operators whose primary strategy was continuous discounting in the hopes of producing sales. Continue reading