Let’s face it… buzz sells. Companies spend millions on advertising in hopes of creating buzz and the internet has provided an excellent machine for “buzz creation”. Visit a forum like Golfwrx or any golf website and chances are you’ll get an idea of what will be big for next year. As the 2006 equipment starts to make it’s way into stores and onto the internet, there are some early “buzz” leaders that have caught my eye. I’ve also been asking a lot of my customers about 2006 clubs that they are interested in and I’ve been getting an idea of what they know and how they know it.
The New TaylorMade R7 Drivers – TaylorMade is one of the best at creating a buzz… and one of the best at backing up that buzz with quality products. The idea of bumping up the release of the R7 425 has really got people talking. This early release has really done three things… it’s given the die hard golfers something new to add to their Christmas lists, it’s created additional buzz around the upcoming release of the 460CC version and it’s knocked down the price of the current R7 driver. The lower priced 400CC R7 should be a popular choice for many Christmas shoppers and the 425CC R7 will have people talking (and buying) long before the 2006 season starts. Think about it… get your driver out there early and let the consumer empty their golf budget before the competitor’s driver makes it to market.
The Odyssey SRT Putters – I think this is getting some early buzz because of it’s unusual look. I had a lot of people ask me (and we had a lot of email) about the “putter that Charles Howell III was using”. It was really tough to miss the gigantic SRT putter on TV a few weeks back and something as simple as that has created buzz. Will this putter sell? Who knows… it’s pretty big and kind of ugly… but there will surely be a long line of golfers wanting to try it.
The MacGregor MACTEC NVG2 Driver – This one has been generating some solid internet buzz combined with some minor magazine buzz. We’ll see it in another couple months but it’s proof that the internet is becoming a powerful buzz tool.
The 2006 Titleist Line – Titleist is an interesting one. They don’t give golfers much info to work with… and they create a buzz by basically doing nothing. What will they release? What will the new stuff look like? When will it come out? Take a look at the 735 irons and how much buzz was created around them. We didn’t know much about them except that they were going to be Titleist’s next big iron. The internet was filled with 735 rumors and golfers ate it up. The 2006 Titleist line is following a similar path. We have a pretty good idea of what is coming but there aren’t too many concrete answers. The possible release of the 905R driver is probably the most talked about. The 905S and 905T weren’t a huge hit with many golfers and the idea of a 460CC Titleist driver has many golfers pretty excited. If you take a few new irons, a new hybrid and some new putters… and sprinkle in a bit of uncertainty, mystery and lack of information… you’ve got loads of buzz.
The Nike Slingshot Hybrid – One of the best ways to create buzz is to get your club into the hands of the best players in the world. Word on the street is that Tiger has tried the new Slingshot hybrid and it’s got golfers talking. The Slingshot hybrid has also made it into a few golf magazines… mainly because of the Tiger thing… and it should be a solid addition to the Nike lineup.
So where does this buzz come from and where does the average golfer in my shop get this information? The majority of golfers I talk to get their information from golf magazines. These magazines are great sources of information and are easily accessible. They may not have the latest breaking news like the internet offers but the information in them is more than enough for most golfers. Some of my customers say they see stuff on TV… some have keen eyes and pick out new equipment and others just see the new ads. The internet is also a huge buzz machine. It’s pretty obvious when an internet observer comes in my shop… he’s up to date on all of the new stuff and knows whats coming down the road. Sometimes I even have the urge to create a website that talks about the buzz around golf equipment… oh wait… nevermind.
That’s all for today. It will be interesting to watch these “buzzed” clubs as they come to market and see if the hype translates into sales. Have a great day and we’ll talk to you soon!