Hello everyone and thanks for dropping by. SirPuttsAlot has escaped on a golf trip for the week so it looks like you’re stuck with me for a while. I’ll try to keep the next few days entertaining and somewhat exciting! Just a few odds and ends today… it’s really slow right now and there is nothing going on!
I had a great chat with my TaylorMade/Maxfli/Adidas rep today. He brought his boss (National Sales Manager) with him so I was able to pick their brains a bit. Most of the stuff was old news… I saw all the new products again, we chatted about backorders, we talked about some upcoming closeouts (nothing all that exciting from what I understand) and I picked up some odds and ends too. Looks like Maxfli will expand the Black Max line a bit… just like they expanded the Noodle line last year. What should we expect? Details were a bit sketchy but I am thinking that a higher spinning Black Max is a possibility. The Black Max has been a bit of an odd one for us this year. It’s a great ball but it’s in really tough against the Titleist Pro V1. Most consumers are familiar with the Maxfli name but when they start spending some serious cash on golf balls, they lean towards the proven Pro V1. Give the Black Max a try… you’ll probably really like it. We also talked about a few current products and their position in next year’s line up. Both guys seemed to think that the TP Forged Irons, the R5 driver, the R5 fairways and at least one version of the R7 driver will all carry over into the spring. It’s still the summer and lots of things can happen but TaylorMade seems to be positioning themselves very nicely as fall approaches!
In case you’ve totally missed it… the FT-3 Fusion and matching fairway woods are now up on Callaway’s website. I am starting to hear a bit of consumer buzz around these at the shop and the U.S. Open win should really help the driver. We should be getting our first shipment of the new Callaway products next week and then our reviews should follow!
I also had a nice chat with some of the folks at Nike Golf today. It sounds like a new driver may be on the horizon… possibly a legal version of the Nike DFI driver that is currently available in Japan. The DFI has a lot of internet people talking and a North American version could really boost sales. I called a few different Nike retailers that I know and most say that sales are pretty stagnant right now. The balls and bags seem to be moving but club sales have really slowed down. Sounds like everyone that wanted Nike Slingshot irons have them now! I thought the NDS line would be huge for Nike. My retail friends say that the NDS has been decent but not amazing. I’ll see what other Nike news I can dig up…
We get all the investor reports from Callaway Golf… anyone can get them if you sign up for them on the Callaway website. I read through these from time to time and every now and again there are some interesting odds and ends buried in the vast collection of words…
– Callaway says that the majority of their sales come from items that are less than two years old so they try to keep a two year life cycle on most of their clubs. Keep this in mind if you’re out shopping for new clubs! This means that most of the current Callaway clubs should be around next year.
– In general, there are better gross margins on woods than on irons however it sounds like they are really feeling the pressures of meeting lower pricepoints put forth by other companies.
– The continued “price compression” is starting to hurt the Pre-Owned side of things. Makes sense… new clubs are becoming cheaper so used clubs lose their value in a hurry.
– They don’t beat around the bush when it comes to golf balls… they mention another company (Titleist) that holds nearly 50% of the golf ball market share in North America. They also mention that five golf ball consumers account for almost 25% of all Callaway golf ball sales. I’d be curious to see who these top five consumers are… I would think Golfsmith and Edwin Watts have to be in there…
– They don’t think that there has been much growth in the golfer population over the past 4 years. I don’t know if I agree with that… I think there are more people taking up the sport but these people aren’t making huge equipment investments. Callaway clubs are usually purchased by the more experienced player.
– The “+” versions of some of their current drivers will not be R&A conforming as of January 1, 2008. We sell the odd “+” club but most people don’t even know they exist.
– Callaway strongly believes that Tour usage has a big impact on retail sales. I used to really think that people bought clubs based on what Tour players used but more and more customers tell me that they don’t care. What works for Phil probably won’t work for Joe Consumer.
– They talk a bit about their 2 year warranty policy. I’ve sold Callaway clubs for 11 years and I had no idea that they only had a 2 year warranty. We’ve been able to get warranty work done on clubs that are 5 and 6 years old… no questions asked.
Some odds and ends for you. Most of it really isn’t earth shattering news but it’s kind of neat to see some of the stuff we talk about in a more “official” form. That’s all for today… thanks for stopping by and we’ll talk to you soon!