Business Edge for Thursday May 3 2001


The latest:
ELY CALLAWAY UPDATE: It should be no surprise that someone as active as Ely Callaway isnt happy cooling his heels in the hospital. Word is that the golf industrys most energetic octogenarian is recovering nicely from last weeks gall bladder surgery, but he is understandably anxious to get back to the work he enjoys so much at the helm of his company.
Callaway officials are being cagey about pathology results from the tumor discovered on Mr. Callaways pancreas. Its not clear whether there are results yet, and if there are, no one is saying whether the tumor is benign or malignant. One source says revelation (or not) of those results will be Mr. Callaways call. Of course, Wall Street and the golf industry will be watching.
Its standard practice after surgery to send samples from tumors for pathology tests, said a medical school professor contacted by The Golf Channel last week.
TITLEIST MARCHES ON: Golf companies are notoriously secretive about market share numbers, but Titleist surely doesnt mind broadcasting these figures on the Pro V1: The new ball had 15 percent of the market in on-course pro shops in March, and 6.7 percent of the market in off-course shops that month. The combined market share number for on- and off-course shops was 9.3 percent, up from 6.2 percent in February.
That on-course number reflects distribution into about 75 percent of all available shops. Off-course distribution is better, with the balls being available in about 95 percent of such shops. But available is a relative term: Many shop managers tell Titleist (and me) that all their allocation is pre-sold and never makes it to the shelves.
Demand for the Pro V1 is so high, said one Titleist official, that the companys ball plants will work through the traditional two-week August shutdown for the first time in Titleists history. That will put Titleist ahead by another 100,000 dozen.
SPALDING PLANS SUMMER DEMO PROGRAM: For the 35 technical reps at Spalding Sports Worldwide, summer begins May 4, when the company starts its season-long campaign of 1,000 demo days around the United States. The reps, who do nothing but these demonstrations, will be giving golfers a chance to try out various Ben Hogan and Top-Flite products. Clubfitting services will be available. Spalding has details on its website,