News Notes from the Business World
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Email your thoughts to Casey Bierer
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.
PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation
Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.
The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
The statement reads:
The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.
The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.
The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.
The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.
Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins
Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.
Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.
It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.
Goodbye and good riddance.
The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.
“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.
The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.
Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.
Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.
But at what cost?
The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.
The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.
We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.
In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.
We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.
Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.
We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.
“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.
We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.
Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.
There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.
This is good governance.
And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.
This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.
We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.
Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.
Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.
David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.
“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.
Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.
“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”
Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.
The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.
Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.
Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:
1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.
2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.
While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”