For those of you who read the Rant two weeks ago about how some strong golf club manufacturers are hurting the industry, this one will serve as kind of a follow-up. In SirShanksAlot News and Rumors the other day he mentioned that TaylorMade Golf was planning on releasing another driver this spring.This is exactly what I was talking about. Although I was trying to stay away from naming names in my rant this serves as a perfect example.
In my store right now we have: the R510 TP driver, the R540XD, the R580XD, the R5 Dual Type N, the R5 Dual Type D, the R7 Quad, the R7 TP plus some old demos. We also have the V-Steel fairways, the 580 fairways, and the R5 Dual fairways. This is enough to confuse most diehard golfers so how are the recreational players supposed to decipher between all these models and price points. And now they want to add one more model to this overcrowded mess? Add to that the fact that most people in the business will tell you that the older R580 was a better driver than the R580XD, which is almost identical to the new R5 Dual.
Would TaylorMade lose sales if they only had two driver models out instead of seven? My guess is that they would probably improve. If TaylorMade didn't blow out drivers every single summer than people wouldn't expect to be able to buy them cheap in August and would be more willing to pay full pop in April. It would be nice if more companies took the Ping/Cleveland/Titleist approach where clubs are only replaced when a noticeably better model becomes available.
This is not meant to discredit or endorse any companies but merely to point out what I feel are downfalls in the industry right now. Almost all of the golf club technologies that we enjoy today were introduced by the major players in the golf club market. Where would we be without Callaway introducing the Big Bertha driver? Where would we be if Callaway hadn't introduced the undercut channel to irons? TaylorMade is largely responsible for bringing hybrid clubs to the mainstream in golf, and Ping is more responsible than anyone for the advances in golf club fitting.
Without these companies spending the kind of money they do on R&D and marketing there is no way we would have the kind of golf clubs we do.
That's all I have on the subject at this point in time. If it sounds like I am kind of on the fence and not really making a big statement one way or another it's because I am. But you know what? I am in the middle of a blizzard right now and just trying to stay warm.
One more thing I would like to point out before I go. The Mercedes Championship starts this week and that means the start of the 2005 PGA season. My late prediction is that this will be the year of Sergio. The swing changes finally come together along with the putter and the young Spaniard will win his first major.
Take Care and Stay Warm