Callaway Golf – What To Expect In 2006

Hello everyone and thanks for dropping by. We’re nearing the end of 2005 and we thought it might be a good time to run through some of the big golf companies and talk a bit about what to expect from each of them in 2006. We’ve seen some of the new products from various companies already and we’re starting to get an idea of what each company will be up to in 2006. We’ll start this look ahead with Callaway Golf.

The Company

Many people (including me) thought that someone was going to scoop up Callaway Golf in 2005. There was some talk about an offer being made by an investment group but nothing materialized. Callaway has a lot of good things going for them right now… a great putter company in Odyssey, a successful golf ball operation after purchasing Top Flite and a solid footing in the game improvement category. A company looking to make a huge jump into golf might see Callaway as an “in” but I think there would need to be a lot of money behind any offer. I still think it’s something that could happen but only time will tell. Rumors also continue to swirl around the chances of Callaway landing another big name on the PGA Tour. Padraig Harrington is the name that I hear the most.

The Products – What We Know Now

Callaway has always been a friend of the average golfer. The majority of their designs target the mid to high handicapper and it makes sense… that’s where the money is. The company has started to make some waves in the “players” category and expect this to continue in 2006. The X-Tour iron was a hit with better players and having Hogan technology behind some of their designs will only help.

We’ve seen most of the new Callaway products already. The new X460 driver will replace the Big Bertha 454… the 454 could have easily made it through 2006 but I guess the company felt a need for change. The X460 driver and matching fairway woods will give Callaway a nice selection in the game improvement/value category. The FT-3 driver and fairway woods will carry over into 2006 and give Callaway a higher end/advanced technology option. Callaway will have a few wood options for the better player too… with both drivers and the X fairway woods available in “Tour” versions. The Heavenwood line has already been expanded and it doesn’t look like these will be changed.

The iron line has been tweaked a bit. There will be new looks for both the Big Bertha (mostly cosmetic) and Fusion irons (slightly thicker sole). The X-18 irons and X-Tour irons remain the same although both could be changed during the season. The Callaway iron line had a pretty good season so it’s not a huge surprise that changes are minimal.

Odyssey will have an interesting addition come spring. The SRT line will feature both a 2-Ball and a 3-Ball verison and will get the majority of the attention. These will be the putters that everyone will want to try in the spring… but I wonder how many will buy them. There will also be a new “crank neck” 2-Ball putter added to the line. The White Hot line will be slowly phased out early in the spring so watch for a sale there. The new/old Dual Force 2 putters might be a sleeper… they are quality putters at a good price. People like brand names and like brand names at a cheap price.

The HX Red and Blue balls will be gone in 2006 but I haven’t really heard any news on new golf balls. The prices will change a bit (watch for some Callaway balls to go down in price) as the company moves their products into various price points. The golf ball market is a tough one to crack but Callaway has done their best to stay competitive.

The Products – What Might Be On The Way

The majority of the buzz surrounds a new wedge and a new set of irons. A new X-Tour wedge has been out on Tour for a while and it looks like we’ll see this in 2006 (probably March). I’ve talked a bit about it before but it’s basically their “higher spin” wedge offering. There have also been pictures of a new X-Tour iron floating around the internet. There isn’t a lot of news on these yet but I’m sure more news will be available once the PGA season gets going again in 2006. Don’t be surprised to see a real Roger Cleveland influence on some of the new Tour products. The X and Fusion woods should be around for a while and I don’t expect to see any major news on the woods and hybrids front. Most Callaway products run on two year lifecycles so I’d expect the woods stick it out for 2006. The putter line is pretty solid… there may be a new model or two (maybe another center-shafted option) introduced mid-season but I think the company is pretty happy with their current technologies and price points.

There you go… Callaway in a nutshell. We’ll take a look at a few more companies over the next few weeks and try to give you an idea of what’s to come in 2006. I’m off to bed… it was a tough day. Let’s see… my car got stolen, my San Diego Chargers lost, my Boston Bruins lost and Darren Clarke lost. Wow… what a day. Thanks for the emails and support! Talk to you later.

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