Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why Are Golfers So Gullible?

Many will say that "perceived" product innovation drives the golf club market each year. Knowing that, gullible golfers still wait in line to be the first to turn over their money and buy the latest, hottest or most advanced product on the market today.

So, shouldn't it seem ridiculous to Mr. Gullible Golfer that Callaway, the big daddy of equipment, is coming out in 2007 with another "ultimate performance driver based purely on physics?" Obviously not.

I'm not picking on Callaway specifically, but all the equipment manufacturers out there. It used to be that once a year, around October, we'd get to see the unveiling of each company’s new line of golf clubs. Now, we see the cycle repeat itself every six months.

If I may, please refer to Exhibit A: the Callaway Fusion FT-i 460cc Driver.

Callaway Square-headed Driver

Now how is this one different than the others? Wow! It's got a square rear end. And it will come out at $599. Nike is going to have one too!! Last year it was screw weights, first introduced by Taylor Made, now its square butts.

As each new driver hits the market, the manufacturer mentions all the folks that are testing it on tour. Then they talk about the "performance enhancements", "breakthrough technology" and the "unprecendented amount of pre-orders". In the meantime, Mr. Gulllible is salivating at the prospect of getting his hand on one of these. If someone wins with it (perhaps an Annika or Phil), then it becomes the hottest seller....for a while.

Let's see, since 2002, Callaway has introduced the Great Big Bertha, Great Big Bertha II, Big Bertha 454, Fusion, Fusion FT-3, X 460, and now the Fusion FT-i. That’s seven new drivers in FIVE years. With an average sticker price of $399, Mr. Gullible would have needed to spend $2793 to keep up with the Jones since 2002.

That doesn't even include the new $899 set of irons, the $179 putter, the two $149 fairway woods, a $119 hybrid or the $42 Pro V1 golf balls Mr. Gullible’s needed to keep current.

I'm not faulting Callaway. I’m faulting Mr. Gullible the consumer. Instead of actually taking lessons to improve one's game or even playing more than twice a month, Mr. Gullible wants the club to do all the work. Just think, at $125/lesson, he could have 16 lessons with a pro and still have money left over to buy that Callaway FT-i when it shows up on eBay three months later for only $299.

Isn't there a point when a golfer has too many clubs or are we all just gullible equipment-buying fools?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Golf Gear News #27: Woods' Wife Sues, Daly Divorces Again, A New Maxfli, Wie Fails Again, Drug Testing for LPGA

CLICK HERE to listen.

In Episode #27 of Golf Gear News, host Bruce Stasch reports at The Newstand that Woods' Wife Sues, the Medieval City Found Under a Golf Course and John Daly to Divorce Again.

The Perfect Fit explores TaylorMade-addidas attempt to Reinvent Maxfli Brand with John Daly as its star.

The Guru Commentary rants about Michelle Wie's 11th Failure in a Men's Event and She Golf's Too talks about the LPGA's New Drug Testing Policy.

The Component Corner highlights a Labor Shortage in South Florida and a $3000 Gold Golf Tee.

We travel to South Africa to Play With Crocodiles and in Golf of the Weird a Spectator Steals a Golf Ball at a Tournament and a Russian Cosmonaut Hits a Golf Ball in Space.

As always, our show is sponsored by

Check out our new Media Kit.

Next time listen for the next installment with the Socrates of Golf - Duffer McDoughall Johansen.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Golf Gear News Contest Winners

Someone asked me about the contests that we mention on the podcasts. We've run a couple of them in the last few months and I thought I might tell you who were our winners.

Jim Farley, from New Jersey and Simon Rucker from Virginia were the two winners of our Check-Go Sweet Spot Finders Contest and earlier, Brett Ellingson from Texas was the big winner of the $150 Gift Certificate. He purchased a hard-sided travel case with his prize.

Since I'm in a giving mood and always up to award prizes to our listeners, look for another contest in December. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Golf A New Way With New Zealand GolfCross Game

We like to think that the Scots invented golf and the Americans moved it forward by forming the PGA and making it a big money sport. But what about the New Zealanders? What do they have to do with golf?

The land of grazing sheep and beautiful scenery is the site of the newest and perhaps will become the fastest growing golf game on the planet. New Zealand game inventor Burton Silver came up with GolfCross® in 1989. What makes this game interesting to the typical hacker is that the game is played on a regulation course, with all of the clubs in your bag (except the putter).

What makes the game unique is the oval ball. It looks like a football with dimples. Even high-handicappers can shape their shots because based on how the oval ball is positioned on the tee, the golfer can control the direction of the ball and make miracle shots around trees just like Tiger. Even better is that you can throw out you balky putter because when you get to the green, you hit the ball through a goal instead of into a tiny cup.

I like this game. It has so much potential. Think Frisbee Golf with you own clubs on a regulation-sized golf course and you start to get the idea of the game. For those of us that can't play more than once a week and never practice, this game can make us look like we're shooting in the 70s. Because of the patented oval ball, you always hit the ball straight, can generate controlled slices or hooks, and generate backspin or top spin just by how you place the ball on the tee.

On the company website, there are twelve contacts around the world that are a part of the GolfCross network, but GolfCross courses are only available in New Zealand right now. I'm guessing as this becomes more popular, we'll see a lot more courses considering this as an additional way to play the game. Six balls cost USD $44 and come with a free golf tee. That and a GolfCross goal is all you need to play the game. The balls will last a long time too because it is a lot harder to lose them than the traditional oval golf ball.

With such low growth in golf participation and the difficulty of the gof, we need innovators like Burton Silver to find new ways to get players to try out the game.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Update on 2nd Swing Liquidation

A reader asked about cashing in a credit he has available at 2nd Swing, the Minnesota-based retailer that filed for bankruptcy liquidation in September. It appears that customers are out of luck.

I found an article from the Milwaukee Journal from September that outlined 2nd Swing's credit policy.

I checked their website and it is no longer functioning. I called a location near me and the phone is disconnected. For those of the 17,700 customers with credits on the books, you've got a piece of paper that has the same value as my Excelsior Henderson Motorcycle stock -- worthless.

RIP 2nd Swing.

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Podcast #26: Norman Buys McGregor, Duo Jailed in Assault, North Korea Golf, Duffer is Found, Police Chase Stops Tournament

CLICK HERE to listen.

In Episode #26 of Golf Gear News, host Bruce Stasch reports at The Newstand that Norman Buys Controlling Interest in McGregor, Hockey Player Gets Hole in One and Callaway's New Online Concept.

Hear about a Super Expensive Putter from Japan.

The Golf Gear Guru finally catches up with Duffer McDoughall Johnsen - the Socrates of Golf, in his local bar.

We travel to behind the DMZ to visit North Korea's Diamond Country Club in Golf Around the World.

In Why Can't We All Just Get Along Two Jailed for Unprovoked Golf Assault.

We never have a shortage of oddities in Golf of the Weird when a Burnt Body is Found on Course and a Tournament is Interrupted by a Police Chase.

Finally, explore the mental side of the game at

As always, our show is sponsored by

Check out our new Media Kit.

Next time listen for the next installment with the Socrates of Golf - Duffer McDoughall Johansen.

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