Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Price Of Gas Will Affect Your Game

Here in Minnesota, a gallon of gas costs $2.69/gallon. A dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls are $43.99. Expect that price to go up. Not because of demand, but because of the price of gas. Like everything else, the cost of golf balls, bags, shoes and umbrellas will be more expensive in 2006. Many golf components are made from materials that start as high-priced petroleum. Steve Pike's article Crude Awakening from PGA Online highlights some of the increasing costs that manufacturers like Footjoy, Bridgestone, Ping and Wilson are currently swallowing.

Frank Simonutti, manager of recreational golf ball development for Wilson Golf's says that their rubber prices are "about 80 percent higher" than in 2004. Footjoy's President Jim Connor says "We use an extensive amount of thermoplastic urethanes in our outsoles....and those costs from makers such as DuPont and BASF have risen dramatically in the last six months."

In addition to the already high cost of brand name equipment because of marketing and sponsorships, you'll be seeing a price hike because Katrina, Rita and the Iraq War have all pushed up the price of a gallon of gas as well as the price of that Pro V1 that you just hit into the water.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Double Standard for Women's Golf Marketing

Answer me this - why does the mainstream media treat women golfers as a completely different species of golfer? Don't they play the same game as men?

With over 5 million women playing the game each year, it seems to me that mainstream golf television, as well as magazines targeted to women, handle their reporting and advertising like women are only interested in a nice walk in the fresh air and more importantly, they need to make sure that their hair and clothes make them look like fashion models. Please, give me a break.

I just leafed through the Sept/Oct, 2005 issue of Golf For Women, a publication from the same publishers as Golf Digest, and I was especially humored by some of the magazine's display ads. You've got Polo, Liz Clairborne, Golfsmith and Bette & Court advertising clothing that most lady golfers wouldn't be caught dead in on the course. Even worse, the LPGA Ad on page 142, has a woman that has too much eye liner, is incorrectly holding a belly putter pointed at least 18 inches from the target, and has her hands in the WRONG POSITION.

To make matters worse, it seems that every women's magazine, even when the topic is sports, has to have a fashion spread. Golf For Women is no different. Their spread To the Manor Worn, is a joke. They've got models (not real golfers) wearing stuff that has them dressing up like Christmas trees. Just because a model is holding a golf club or wearing a golf glove, doesn't make them ready for a round of golf. Even the male model pictured looks like a clown.

As I was writing this, I also saw Eric Barzeski's post on his blog The Sand Trap that trashes The Golf Channel's coverage of the Solheim Cup. He states "Sunday's coverage was some of the weakest golf coverage I can remember in over 15 years of watching golf on television. Not only did The Golf Channel fail with poor technology, but they failed with lackluster broadcasting "talent" and insipid storytelling."

Now how can this happen? Women are the fastest growing segment of the golf universe. They are growing while the number of male golfers hasn't grown for more than five years. Isn't this a market that is just emerging? I'm surprised that we don't hear more women complain that the mainstream media treats them as a marketing afterthought.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Nicklaus is Royalty

I thought it was interesting that only three living people were ever featured on legal tender: Queen Elizabeth of England, the Queen Mum and Jack Nicklaus. Boy, golf has sure gone big time. This summer the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) issued $10 million banknotes (US $15.6 million) that have quickly become a collector's item.

Now, before we get too teary-eyed, like in everything with big-time golf, there is more than meets the eye.
The RBS will be the primary financier of Guggenheim Nicklaus Partners, a new business venture between Guggenheim Partners, a global diversified financial services firm, and Nicklaus Investments, the real-estate investment arm of the business owned by the Golden Bear and his family. GNP they will invest in high-quality residential real estate and golf resort communities around the world, featuring Nicklaus-designed courses as the centerpiece of each development. It's good to be royalty. Sources www.pga.com and www.todaysgolfer.co.uk

New Podcast Coming Soon

We've been working on creating a new podcast that will focus exclusively on golf equipment, golf clubs and golf gear. No rambling on about the tour, interviews with golf pros or celebrities that don't know anything about golf. We'll focus on the topics that real golfers want to know about: golf components, clubbuilding, cool gear and news on the equipment industry.