Monday, March 27, 2006

Golf Gear News - Podcast #11 3/26/06

We've just uploaded our eleventh podcast!
Feedburner Click Here.
iTunes Click Here.

The Newstand: Korean Prime Minister Resigns, Ford Dumps Golf for Bull Riding, Want to Buy a Golf Team?, Golfer Shuts Down Portland Airport The Perfect Fit: Driver Clubface Loft She Golfs Too: Sex or Play Augusta? Component Corner: Solar Golf Bag, Golfsmith Files for IPO Golf Around the World: Lucifer's Anvil Golf Course Mythbusters: Is TheTiger Effect Still Working? Golf of the Weird: the Geese Police
Website Spotlight: Top Golf

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Second Coming of John Harris

Being from Minnesota, I’ve always been a big fan of Champions Tour golfer John Harris who just won $121,000 with his 2nd place finish in the Toshiba Senior Classic a few weeks ago. He’s always been an excellent golfer, one of the top amateurs in Minnesota. He also played on a victorious Walker Cup team in the 1990’s.

What I find more amazing is not his talent, but his perseverance. He originally turned pro in 1976, but flamed out after a few years. Regaining his amateur status in 1983, he kept plugging away on the amateur circuit, dominating by winning four Minnesota titles, five mid-amateur titles and the 1993 U.S. Amateur at age 41. At the same time he also ran a very successful insurance agency. Yet, turning fifty in 2002, the call of the golf course brought him back to the Champions Tour to try it as a professional one more time. His hope was maybe, this time, he’d be able to realize his dream in professional golf.

Well, it appears that he is well on his way to doing just that. In his first year as a professional in 2002 his best finish was 28th, in 2003 it was 11th, in 2004 he had four finishes in the top 10, and in 2005 he had two top 5 finishes and earned over $480,000. This year, in just five tournaments, he already has two top 11 finishes and earned $176,250 for his troubles. At 54, it seems that Edina-resident John Harris is on his way to becoming Minnesota’s most successful Champions Tour player. He’s a testament to what hard work and perseverance can get you. As Yogi Berra said “it ain’t over til it’s over.”

Keep up the good work John.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Golf Gear News - Podcast #10 3/12/06

We've just uploaded our tenth podcast!
Subscribe here.
The Newstand: The Grand Old Man at 76, Longest Drive Ever Hit -- In Space, Course Refuses Ex-President The Perfect Fit: Callaway Tries to Customize She Golfs Too: Fellas & Fees Drive Women Off Component Corner: One Column Pricing at Dynacraft, Heavy Putter Get New Name Golf Around the World: The Kabul Golf and Country Club Mythbusters: Should You Keep Your Head Down? Golf of the Weird: Saudi Women Can't Drive Golf Carts, World's Largest Golf Cart Parade
Website Spotlight: Celebrity Golf

Friday, March 10, 2006

What’s Happening to ESPN?

First there was ESPN, then ESPN2, then ESPN Classics now ESPN Deportes. Through the years, to fill airtime, they have added rodeo, tractor pulls, swimming, billards, and volleyball to supplement the standard fare of football, baseball, basketball and hockey.

Now they’ve sunk too low. I read an article written by Cara Buckley of the Miami Herald entitled ESPN on Hand for Miami Domino Tournament. The network sponsored a dominoes championship tournament last fall that will be broadcast, in seven parts, on ESPN Deportes and ESPN2.

Trying to target a largely Hispanic audience, ESPN Deportes attended the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. There, 150 players competed for the $25,000 prize. The players, most from the Cuban neighborhoods in Miami were Viejitos (older people), with the final four players being 77, 56, 65, and 61.

Some snobs think that golf isn’t a sport. Others can’t understand why they televise pool tourneys or poker. If they don’t think golf is a sport, then what is the game of dominoes? If you think the Champions Tour is old, the senior tour players are spring chickens next to these guys.

Imagine the suspense when, in a heated dominoes match, the score tied, the final tile lays on the table facedown. Suddenly, a player turns over a tile to reveal nine dots and………wake me up when it’s over.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Clubbuilding War Breaks Out

The clubbuilding industry is in for some significant changes with the recent purchase of GolfWorks by Golf Galaxy.

Let’s look at the signs that are starting to emerge. Golfsmith, founded in 1967 is the granddaddy of clubbuilding. They began with a catalog that supplied components to the do-it-yourself clubbuilder. Then, they expanded into brand name merchandise, started opening retail stores (currently 50+ stores) with a clubbuilding department, and now have a powerful Internet presence. In 2002 they were bought by Atlantic Equity Partners III.

Golf Galaxy was founded in 1995 and started out opening retail stores (currently 51 stores). They went public in 2005. In 2005 they launched their Internet site, recently purchased GolfWorks (considered the 2nd largest component seller) and intend to open clubbuilding departments in each store. With this recent acquisition, they are clearly setting their sights on Golfsmith.

It will be a little like the ongoing cola war between Coke and Pepsi. They both sell the same product, they both have major brand visibility and they both sell to the same customer. With both companies being well financed, both will need to keep propping up their value with increased sales. The only way to do that quickly is by adding new stores or by acquisition.

Look for a marketing battle in the next few years as these two well financed gladiators try to steal business from each other. This should open up market opportunities for smaller players that can fill niches not adequately covered by the BIG TWO, especially in the clubbuilding realm.