Business Edge for Friday Feb 23

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The latest:
 
COEFFICIENT OF COMPETITION: No surprise here. Golfsmith International has introduced a new, nonconforming driver for the U.S. market under its Lynx label. The Parallax Hi-COR will feature a 310 cc beta-titanium head. It's the work of Golfsmith design chief Tom Wishon. Three models will be available, each designed with a specific face thickness to suit a range of swing speeds between 75 and 120 miles per hour.
 
But unlike the Callaway ERC II, which started the nonconforming furor and carries a suggested retail price of $625, the suggested retail for the Lynx club will be $300 with a graphite shaft. That's also by design; Golfsmith wants to take advantage of the interest in nonconforming clubs among potential buyers who don't want to spend at the Callaway level.
 
TEMPERED OUTLOOK: Last year was a good one for golf shaft giant True Temper Sports. But the company's chief is cautious about 2001.
 
'Although 2000 was a very good year for True Temper, we have a cautious outlook for 2001,' said Scott Hennessy, president and CEO of the Memphis-based company. 'Retail sales of golf equipment have been sluggish to flat for the last several months, and the industry continues to consolidate at both the retail and OEM level.'
 
True Temper has sales of $110.6 million in 2000, up from $92.2 million the year before. Net income last year was $5.6 million, up from just $1 million in 1999.
 
Some say Hennessy is overcautious in light of the interest in True Temper's new BiMatrx shaft, the metal-graphite hybrid Mark Calcavecchia used with a Ping head to win the Phoenix Open in January. True Temper introduced the shaft in January, and Adams Golf has it in its new woods. But the flatness he cites is on the minds of many manufacturers as the season opens.
 
A BEAR IN THE DESERT: Jack Nicklaus has begun work on his first golf course in the Middle East. The as-yet unnamed course will be the central feature of the Dubai Investments Park, a development of Dubai Investments PJSC, a leading development and investment firm in the United Arab Emirates.
 
Nicklaus Design has 210 courses open for play in 27 countries. The new course is expected to open this year.
 
STAT DU JOUR: Average number of fairway woods carried in the bags of PGA Tour players: 1.3; Senior PGA Tour players: 1.9; LPGA players: 2.6. (Source: The Darrell Survey Golf Equipment Almanac 2000)