News Notes from the Business World

By Casey BiererJuly 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: Casey Bierer is The Golf Channel's new Business Reporter. He will file regular Business Edge columns so be sure to check back for his latest offerings.
 
Wilson
In news from Wilson Staff, the company is getting ready to launch product in three key categories. Tim Clarke, Vice President of Sales says, We obviously have just gone through a major re-launch with the Staff brand. Things have gone extremely well. We have a couple of areas where we want to do some tweakingto fine tune the success we are experiencing.
 
This involves the launch of a new control iron, the Ci6; nomenclature for Control iron, 2006 model year. The iron will marry the performance qualities of the tour developed Pi5 irons with the game improvement characteristics of the Di5. The top-line will be noticeably thinner than the Di5. According to Clarke, The feedback we were getting from customers and retailers suggested they wanted an iron that looked like a tour iron but was easier to play. The Ci6 now offers that.
 
And, continuing to work closely with Staff Advisory Member Padraig Harrington, the company will soon release a new series of forged tour wedges. Tom Gruger, Global Marketing Director Worldwide for Wilson Golf says, The Fw6 is our first entry back in to forged wedges since the days of the legendary Dyna-Power. These new wedges are Wilson Staff through and through. They have the traditional, classic look that Wilson pioneered including bore-through. Bob Mendrella and Joe Phillips both consulted on the project and Padraig was heavily involved. In the past, Staff wedges set the gold standard for wedges and the new Fw6 series will get us back to that place.
 
The final part of the equation is a new hybrid. Clarke says, The 05 model hybrids were our entry in to the ever changing and growing hybrid market. The 06 model has considerably more sophisticated internal technology as well as a different look. Weve shortened the head up and the club has play tested extremely well at the highest levels of golf.
 
Aldila
From Poway, Calif., ALDILA, INC. (NASDAQ:NMS:ALDA) recently announced net sales of $21.8 million for the three months ended June 2005, an increase of 53% over the same period in 2004, and net income of $3.6 million ($0.66 fully diluted per share), an increase of 68% over Q2, 2004. In the comparable 2004 second quarter, the Company had net sales of $14.3 million and net income of $2.2 million ($0.42 fully diluted per share). For the six months ended June 30, 2005, net sales increased by $10.1 million to $39.6 million, an increase of 34% over the same period in 2004 and net income increased by $2.5 million to $7.0 million, an increase of 56% over the same period in 2004.
 
It is gratifying to report second quarter numbers that beat our strong first quarter results, said Peter R. Mathewson, Chairman of the Board and CEO. Our second quarter sales increased by 53% versus the second quarter of last year. The average selling price of golf shafts increased by 31% quarter on quarter on a 20% increase in unit sales, which increases were driven by the increased sales of branded and co-branded shafts.
 
Driven by continued strong sales of our flagship NV? shaft line our second quarter 2005 branded sales exceeded our branded sales in the second quarter 2004 by 54%. Our net income of $7.0 million for the six months ended June 30, 2005 represents the best first half of the year the Company has had in the past 10 years, Mathewson said.
 
We have some extremely compelling product development initiatives underway with club manufacturer OEMs whereby we are custom designing shafts to work in conjunction with their new product releases in order to optimize equipment performance, said Michael Rossi, Vice President Sales and Marketing for Aldila. Co-product development can happen as far as a year or more in advance of a new product launch date. These efforts are important to ensure were getting the best possible product to market.
 
True Temper
Its a business strategy that also works for True Temper Sports. They are partnering on a new club release project with Mizuno. While the model name is under wraps, Dick Lyons, Mizunos Vice President /General Manager, Golf Division said, We are getting ready to release the highest quality game improvement set in our history. Weve worked closely with True Temper on a shaft that will ensure the clubs perform up to our expectations.
 
Chad Hall, True Tempers Director of Marketing said, Mizunos special game improvement project required a shaft to perform at very specific levels. Ball flight and trajectory ' getting the ball airborne with positive flight characteristics for higher handicap players ' the shaft plays a huge role in making that happen. Chad went on to say, Were launching, with Mizuno as our launch partner, the new Dynalite Gold SL in a Sensicore and non-sensicore version. Mizuno was looking for a shaft to optimize the performance of their new game-improvement set initiative. The Dynalite Golf SL shaft delivers just the ball flight and trajectory characteristics Mizuno was looking for with the tour performance standards set by True Tempers flagship shaft, Dynamic Gold.
 
Golf Pride
Summertime golf, when the weather is most often hot and your hands sweat a bunch, can make holding on to your grips without slipping a problem.
 
People simply dont pay enough attention to their grips. Im not sitting here telling you this so people will buy our grips. Im a golfer. I believe in the advice Im giving, said Jeff Fiorini, General Manager, Golf Pride Grips. Many people just dont realize the benefit that can come from a fresh set of grips. Even if you dont play that often, when you do play, you deserve to give yourself every chance to play your best golf. New grips can help do that.
 
Product wise, the company is extremely happy with the market performance of its Dual Durometer and New Decade grips. Fiorini says, The combination of sophisticated new rubber and compound technology have taken our already dominant line of grips and helped position us with even more strength in the grip business. Im particularly pleased with the visibility we receive on television due to the fact that the red color part of the New Decade grip shows up so well on TV. And, you know, we dont pay the players. They just love our grips. I think that says a lot about the product right there.
 
PeakVision Sports
From your hands to your eyesI recently met with J. Paul Moore, Founder and CEO of PeakVision Sports ' makers of eyewear for active sports including, of course, golf. PeakVision Sports utilizes a new material called NXT. This new material provides clarity equivalent to optical glass at less than 40% of the weight, while offering scratch and shatter resistance far superior to traditional polycarbonate lenses.
 
NXT offers 100% UV400 protection. Also, in addition to the challenges associated with single filter lens, most sunglass lenses today are injection-molded polycarbonate (plastic), a 40 year old manufacturing technology. This technology, while producing light weight and inexpensive lenses, also produces lenses with very poor optical clarity, Moore said. The distortion created during injection molding is a visible and pervasive artifact of all current performance sunglass lenses and also interferes with the ability to visualize contours and estimate distances. Our manufacturing process and the use of NXT material allow us to manufacture a superior product.
 
Ill have more in-depth news on PeakVisions technology in the weeks to come.
 
Pinehurst Resort
Lastly, all roads, apparently, lead back to Pinehurst. The Resort recently announced it will marry the its award-winning golf school with a research-based, scientifically validated golf fitness program; thereby potentially improving distance and overall game performance while at the same time reducing injury. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) initiative is spearheaded by Scott Lephart, Ph.D., A.T.C., and director of UPMCs Neuromuscular Reseach Laboratory. The Pittsburgh'based center has conducted ongoing golf research since 2001.
 
I had an opportunity to spend some time with Dr. Lephart during my stay in Pinehurst. Ill share more detailed information on this project with you soon.
 
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.