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New Products Hit Market Despite Uncertainty

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NEW PRODUCTS GALORE: This doesnt look like a golf economy in shock. New products from Callaway Golf, Adams Golf, and Wilson Golf will be in pro shops over the next two months (except one Callaway ball model, which will come out in March 2002). Despite industry fears that the uncertainty arising from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will depress leisure product spending, the new products make things look robust for the moment.
 
And theres more on the way. Titleist had planned to launch its newest Pro V family golf ball models Sept. 12 at the PGA Tours American Express Championship, but that was all called off out of respect for the national situation.
 
But the two balls will be out soon enough. Already, theyre on tour. The names arent final yet, but the model called the Star, which has less spin than the Pro V1, is in the bags of 24 players at the Texas Open at LaCantera. Four players are using the Diamond model, which has more spin than the Pro V1.
 
All this comes within weeks of Titleist introduction of its NXT balls.
 
Titleist is coming on strong in a continuing effort to counter the potential threat from sporting goods giant Nike, which plans to add a David Duval model to its Tour Accuracy line. The Tour Accuracy DD and another new ball line, the Precision Double C, will ship in February.
 

 




























































Company
 

Product
 

Primary Feature
 

Shipping Date
 

Suggested Retail

 

Callaway Golf

 

 

 

HX Red and Blue golf balls
 

 

'Tubular Lattice Network' instead of dimples for improved aerodynamics
 

 

March 2002
 

 

$58 per dozen
 

 

Callaway Golf
 

 

CTU 30 Red and Blue golf balls
 

 

Thin urethane cover allows for larger, more powerful core
 

 

November 2001
 

 

$50 per dozen
 

 

 
Adams Golf
 

 

Ultimate GT irons
 

 

Lower center of gravity helps get ball airborne
 

 

November 2001
 

 

$800 per set
 

 

Wilson Golf
 

 

Deep Red irons
 

 

Clubhead weight low and back for better lift; low-torque Fat Shaft
 

 

October 15
 

 

$950 per set (graphite); $750 per set (steel)
 

 

Titleist
 

 

As-yet unnamed Pro V1 models
 

 

'Star' has less spin than Pro V1; 'Diamond: has more
 

 

Not yet known
 

 

Not yet known
 

 

Nike
 

 

Tour Accuracy DD golf ball
 

 

Ball David Duval used in Open Championship; high trajectory and low spin
 

 

February 2002
 

 

$54/dozen
 

 

Nike
 

 

Precision Double C golf ball
 

 

Distance/feel combo
 

 

February 2002
 

 

$35/dozen
 

 


 



Surely, many industries will suffer more than golf in the wake of the terrorist attacks. But dont take all these product introductions as ironclad evidence of a strong future. Once product development schedules get going, its difficult to derail them without major cost leaks. The larger companies can withstand sluggish sales, even with new products on the shelves. But watch for the demise of troubled smaller companies to accelerate as golf sales flatten.
 
SPALDING SIGNS THE DONALD: Not that Donald, thank goodness, but four-time All-American Luke Donald, who was a college star at Northwestern before turning pro this summer. Donald, who played a Spalding Strata ball even before turning pro, will continue with that ball. Hell also play Ben Hogan irons and carry a Ben Hogan bag.
 
The parties wont discuss the terms of the agreement.