Sep 07, 2016 | 08:17 am

Brand Awareness

With the equipment industry in a bit of a turmoil due to slumping sales and the exit of Nike from the hard goods side, Golf Datatech, the market research and consulting firm, has just completed a timely study called The Brand Identity in Golf (BIIG) Study, the first comprehensive report ever conducted on the major brands in the golf industry. In producing the study, the firm enlisted 2,100 die-hard golfers in the U.S. for their perceptions and attitudes about golf’s top 19 brands, encompassing all equipment and apparel product categories. The research compares consumer perceptions to category retail market shares as measured by Golf Datatech’s monthly sell thru data.
"This study is a first-of-its-kind, and we expect the results will surprise many across all sectors of the golf industry,” said Golf Datatech’s John Krzynowek. "Through the years brands have moved up and down the food chain, some driven by innovation and technology, others by success on the professional tours, and some by product breakthroughs or creative marketing programs, but there’s never been a project like this one, investigating attitudes and perceptions of the top brands, and what are the market share implications of how these brands are perceived."
The 2016 BIIG Report serves to answer a number of questions while revealing critical insights & perceptions that impact the entire golf industry, including:
    •    Which new brands are gaining traction? 
    •    Are established brands becoming dated? 
    •    What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the leading golf brands? 
Krzynowek adds, “A brand is a real asset, and successful brands extend well beyond simple product features and benefits. The BIIG study drills down into the essence of golf’s big brands and explores their impact on driving sales and market share.”

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Sep 06, 2016 | 08:47 am

Hazeltine is Ready

With three weeks to go to the Ryder Cup, host site Hazeltine National is rounding into final shape. The course that Dave Hill labeled a cow pasture when it hosted the 1969 U.S. Open has seen major renovations over the last half century, notably prior to both the 1991 U.S. Open and 2002 PGA Championship when Rees Jones updated the layout his father designed in 1961. The Hazeltine that hosts the Ryder Cup will measure 7,674 yards from the back tees—more than 500 yards longer than in ‘69—but U.S. Captain Davis Love III has said he’ll likely set it up shorter than that, moving the tees up on par fives to encourage birdies that will stir up the home crowd. The biggest change, however, will be in the routing: To give the thousands of on-site spectators better viewing opportunities, holes 5-9 will be flip-flopped with holes 14-18. Thus the course’s signature hole, the par-four 16th, will play as number seven. Love will announce his first three captain’s picks on Monday, and the home team will get its first look at the course next week during the break between the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. The final captain’s pick will be announced Sunday, September 25, on the eve of Ryder Cup week. 

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Sep 05, 2016 | 06:21 am

Pinehurst Opens The Deuce

It’s hard to believe there was anything missing from the Pinehurst Resort in the sand hills of central North Carolina, but one of the country’s best known golf destinations has just opened a new bar and restaurant next to one of the game’s iconic locales. Called The Deuce, it opens onto the veranda overlooking the final green of Donald Ross’s Course No. 2, which hosted both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in 2014. “You are literally a ball-toss from the 18th green…” says Tom Pashley, the resort’s president. “When the windows are open, you can hear the sounds of the game, whether it’s a roar for a made putt or the groans for one that just lipped out.” The restaurant—adorned with vintage photographs and memorabilia—serves lunch every day and appetizers throughout the afternoon and evening. (Word is, try the Loaded Tater Tots and Lobster Mac’n’Cheese Croquettes.) And there’s an assortment of specialty cocktails and local craft beers, including Pinehurst Pale Ale—which we’re betting will be paid for by the losers and enjoyed by the winners.

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Sep 02, 2016 | 08:52 am

Golf is Just for the Elite?

The media storm of PXG – Parsons Xtreme Golf – set the tone for the high end golf market. Founder Bob Parsons told the world a full set of his clubs would cost around $5,000, and he didn’t mince his words. When Golf Magazine asked Parsons why he doesn't list prices, he said, “I just tell people they’re expensive. Unless you expect to be spending some long green, these clubs aren’t for you.” Titleist then followed up a few months later with an announcement about their C16 driver and irons, which will likely cost $1,000 and $3,000 respectively. Miura, another club manufacturer from Japan, has always made clubs for the high-end market, with a set of irons running anywhere from $3,000 on up. And in the midst of all of this, Nike, whose products sat largely at the lower end of the market, announced that they will no longer produce clubs, balls, or golf bags.

Our Senior Editor James A. Frank wrote about this topic and said, “Face it: Rather than trying to position golf as a game for the masses, we need to accept that it’s more like polo, another activity that requires large amounts of time, specialized staging areas, expensive equipment, hours of practice, and manic devotion. We can, and should, do what we can to expose diverse segments of society to golf, but I’m fairly certain the game will remain the pursuit of an elite leisure class.” The high end of the golf market seems to be doing great while the “B” level clubs and equipment companies struggle.

Is it okay for golf to just be a sport for the wealthy? What about all of the efforts to grow the game? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments below!



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