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The 1st Annual Golf Hype Awards

Come one, come all to the 1st Annual Golf Hype Awards! Here is where we take a closer look at major golf manufacturers, and reveal some of the hype they’re spitting out to entice their customers to buy their products. As an avid golfer and blogger, I have pretty good insight into the trends in this business – and recently, I thought I’d share some things that have been irking me.

Without any further ado, I hope you enjoy the 1st Annual Golf Hype Awards.

Golf marketing departments know their stuff. They know how to make the clubs they’re advertising look and sound awesome. But what’s the truth behind the words they use? It has gotten to the point where words like “prototype”, “optimal” and “tour-proven”, are so overused, that they’ve lost all meaning.

How we performed this test:

We searched the webpages of major golf manufacturers out there, including Adams, TaylorMade, Nike, Cobra, Titleist, Callaway etc for our hype words. We then tallied the results. Yes, we know some websites will have more content/pages than others, which will ultimately skew the results, but the real point of this article is show how overused and meaningless these words have become.

Golf Hype Word #1: Prototype

Callaway Prototype Overused MArketing WordsThe winner? Titleist/Scotty Cameron.

Their websites reference this word 3,327 times. A league behind in second place is Callaway/Odyssey with 754 uses.

A prototype, by definition, is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. Huh? But then why is it being stamped on finished products in every golf store across the world? The word itself seems to imply some sort of exclusivity and that is why it sells. In actual fact, it’s just an excuse to up the price 100-300% on any product imaginable.

Golf Hype Word #2: Optimal

We ran a test on this word, including variations, like “optimize” or other words like “ideal” to determine that Nike Golf is the winner is this department, with 1629 different references.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, every other manufacturer we tested uses this word as well, but that begs the question – how can every single driver/wedge/ball/shaft produce an “ideal” ball flight or “optimal” performance? If this truly were the case, there would be no difference from one club to the next.  Hence why it’s #2 on our list.

Overused Golf Marketing Words

Golf Hype Word #3: Tour

Tour overused Golf MArketing WordsThis includes common variations like tour-preferred, tour-designed and tour inspired. The winner? Titleist/Scotty Cameron again with over 37,500 different references, leaving behind #2, Nike, in the dust with only 4,640 uses. If you look a little deeper and simply search “tour-proven” or similar variations, Callaway/Odyssey shines on top with over 1000 specific references.

The point? The word is meaningless. I’m pretty sure neither “Titleist NXT Tour’s” nor “Callaway Diablo Tour” golf balls are played by anyone on Tour.

Golf Hype Word #4: Technology

This particular word is a beauty. Shift a weight here, incorporate an aim line there, add some fancy acronym in front and the word “Technology”, and you have a selling point. I’m sure right now you could come up with 3-4 examples of what I’m talking about.

The winner? Titleist/Scotty Cameron with over 6,110 references. Second place goes to Callaway & Odyssey with 2,130 references. This word was the second most used word in our little test.

Don’t get me wrong, I know R&D departments are doing some incredible things for the golf industry, but calling each and every little change to a golf club, “technology”, is a little much. The next time you’re sucked in by a new “technology” take a closer look at what it actually is, and don’t be fooled by silly acronyms.

What’s our point?

We hope that consumers wise up to these lame marketing tactics. If you want to buy the latest and greatest driver because it promises you new “optimal trajectory technology”, our hope is that you call bullshit on it. Or the next time you’re looking at a prototype putter that’s $200 more than a similar non-prototype one, you may just think otherwise. Or even today, when trying out the latest “white” or “black” version of a driver, you buy it for its performance, not simply the marketing dollars behind it.

What’s your opinion?

We’d love to hear what you think about this topic? Do you have any other hype words you think are worthy of our list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

6 Comments

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  1. Yeah. All true. But suckers everywhere are “buying” into it.
    What about the “barely legal” tag making a club sound like some hot contraband!!

  2. Thanks for the comments guys. Yep Dave, very true – that whole max COR trend was a classic example of what I’m talking about.

    Cheers Colt!

  3. Hype is right. I know guys who buy a different driver or set of irons or wedges what seems like every year yet they shoot the same scores. I like the looks of the R11 driver (its just a sexy looking club) I don’t however like the feel its just too lite for me. I have tried new irons but there is not enough of a WOW factor to give up my trusted Mizuno MP30’s guess I will just keep what I have until I beat the grooves off then have them regrooved. Great point on all the hype, every year its the same ole song and dance by club makers. Who can blame them though a fool and his money are soon parted. Especially if you add the words pro or tour to the product sounds better then hacker I guess. Why is everybody claiming #1 on Tour who is #1 depends on who you ask. Just my opinion like an asshole we all have one.

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