Callaway Opens Online Sales Site

By Adam BarrNovember 11, 2006, 5:00 pm
Thing about turning on the afterburners is, you want to make sure no one gets burned.
Callaway Golf knew it could step on the gas, sales-numbers-wise, with online sales from its own website. But it wanted to be extra careful to not burn the traditional partners who have helped the company to be a perennial leader in the golf equipment race.
The biggest challenge is that all traditional solutions put the manufacturer and its loyal retailers in competition with each other, said Steve McCracken, Callaways senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Weve studied it for years, and thats always the problem that is staring you in the face.
The solution? Put the traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers in the passenger seat.
Callaway announced Wednesday that it will sell clubs directly from its own websites in the build-and-buy manner often found on automobile sites. Longtime retail partners will be fulfillment partners, shipping Callaway clubs, balls, accessories and apparel to consumers. Specialized e-commerce software will assign each order to the proper fulfillment partner based on factors such as geographical proximity and inventory levels. Fees will change hands to create an economic win-win for both Callaway and the brick-and-mortar retailer/fulfiller.
This model, which Callaway believes to be the first of its kind in the industry, was a long time in coming. The idea of fortifying brand awareness and loyalty by keeping enthusiasts on an original equipment manufacturers (OEM) site as long as possible is not new. But thorny problems of existing retailer relationships, and the fears that online sales might erode those bonds, took years of planning to solve.
Other OEM sites ' Nike, Cleveland Golf and Tour Edge are examples ' refer users to authorized online retailers, whose sites open in separate windows. The transaction continues on the selected retailers site.
On Callaways site, (also accessible from the companys main site,, the buyer stays within the Callaway web world until the transaction is over. Products from Callaway and all its related brands ' Odyssey, Top-Flite and Ben Hogan ' are available. And even though a retailer fills the order, Callaway accepts all risks, including failed credit card payments and liability for delivery problems. The site is available to United States customers only.
Callaway has operated a trade-in/trade-up site,, and that experience provided a foundation for the new venture. But the new-product site is much bigger, Callaway says.

More than 350 traditional retailers, some of whom already have mature online sales channels, signed up to participate in on the first day, McCracken said. Dicks Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, and Golfsmith are among the big golf retail names that adopted early. Callaway hopes to swell that number from the ranks of 15,000 retail outlets that carry Callaway brands.
One of Callaways biggest jobs on the way to the new online paradigm was convincing itself. Internally, customer service and sales leaders had to be comfortable with the proposed new partnership with retailers, especially with the idea of calming retailers recurring fears about online sales.

Beyond that, there was the lack of a clear golf industry model.
We studied what others have done, and some have done it reasonably well. McCracken said. Sony is one of those. But until we just launched, nobody in any industry had found a way to bridge the connection between consumers and retailers, using manufacturers as the bridge. Its a story thats bigger than golf.
If a customer starts on the retailers website and buys a Callaway product, the economic flow is somewhat different between Callaway and its retailers than it would be for a Callaway-site-only sale under the program just announced. But Callaway is confident that it has developed a model that benefits both itself and the retailers who have helped bring it along since the first Big Bertha driver came out in 1991.
The new program has been launched in the golf equipment off-season to allow for the eradication of the inevitable e-commerce bugs, few though they may be, McCracken said. But most of the focus is on the upside potential, which Callaway believes to be substantial.
We think there is business to be had online, McCracken said. Nobody knows exactly how much, but everyone sees it increasing every year. One of the [consumer] fears of doing business online is that you may be dealing with an untrustworthy partner. Weve solved that: theyre doing business with Callaway Golf, plus a network of retailers Callaway trusts.
Its not going to replace sales through brick and mortar ' where the customer can see the product, get fitted, get advice. We figure that will continue to be the core of retail distribution. But those customers who want to shop online, they now have a place to go.
Callaway hopes the Shop. program will be one driver of a sales turnaround. For the third quarter of 2006, net sales were $193.8 million, compared to $220.6 million for the same period in 2005. That yielded a loss per share of $0.18, versus a loss of $0.07 for the comparable period in 2005.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Getty Images

Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

Getty Images

Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

Getty Images

13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

Getty Images

McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.