His business card says hes the founder and CEO of PeakVision Sports, the Overland Park, Kan., company that makes sport sunglasses and has recently entered the golf market. And while thats true enough, Moore clearly gets more excited by light density, glare reduction and color than all that dull balance sheet and income statement stuff.
Amber certainly enhances your visualization of greens, and thats nothing new, Moore said.
Oh yeah? Its a new one on me, and probably plenty of other people who used to just slap on any pair of sunglasses they could get their hands on. Turns out color, polarization, and their effects on your vision can make a big difference in how you play. Moore, whose background is in optics and health care (he licensed a yellow-enhancing lens to tennis power Bolle, and now even linesmen use it), thinks its time he colored golfs world.
Thanks to better consciousness of eye care and advancing technology, sports sunglass sales have been rising steadily, says the Sporting Goods Manufacturer Association International. Wholesale sales were about $420 million worldwide in 1998, but they expanded to more than $600 million in 2003, the last year for which data was collected. Oakley, Sundog and other brands have staked out significant golf territories, all seeking to satisfy the need for a cool look and the necessity of enhanced ultraviolet protection. (Golfers and tennis players have almost twice the incidence of UV-related eye disorders as the rest of the population, Moore says.)
Moore is fully aware that the market already serves golfers. But they dont do it to his satisfaction. Interchangeable lenses are a particular pet peeve of his.
Interchangeable lens glasses usually come with one set of grey lenses and one set of amber, Moore says. Grey helps with glare reduction, and of course amber is good on greens. But nobodys gonna change lenses from the tee to the green. Any one filter is going to compromise one of the visual goals.
Moores solution was two filters in one lens, which led to PeakVisions dual-zone technology. Gray up top, amber below, with a smooth transition between the two. Its not a bifocal look.
What many golfers might find most educational is Moores view on polarized glass.
Its really been overhyped, Moore says. Golfers really dont need it as much as they think, because golf is such a vision-critical sport and polarization can interfere with depth perception. That is, an 18-footer can look like a 21-footer. The impending frustration needs no elaboration. Moore didn't include polarization in PeakVision lenses>
It all depends on your sport or activity, Moore said. Pilots want polarization up top, but on the bottom of their lenses, it makes the instruments and gauges too hard to read. But sailors want the reverse: polarized down low, to see what the water is doing and anticipate changes in the wind.
Among the pros who have tried the golf glass are Bruce Fleisher, Scott McCarron, and Billy Andrade. Andrade has said that the dual zone approach helped rid him of headaches and improved his putting. McCarron agreed.
One benefit iswell, its hard to be comfortable when youre squinting all the time, McCarron said. These sunglasses let your eyes open up more, so you can see a little bit better. They help read greens and improve your depth perception.
PeakVision has golf and baseball models available, and skiing and other sports will make the product list soon. Meanwhile, Moore is spreading the word about his manufacturing process, which involves a 20-hour curing time but yields a very strong lens that resists optical performance changes when the weather shifts.
THE NEW GUY: Imagine being in a new job for four days and someone offers to buy the company. Someone else, that is.
So it was for George Fellows, Callaway Golfs new CEO, who took the reins August 1 as the winner in an extensive search for the successor to William Baker. (Baker, an old friend of founder Ely Callaway, served after the August 2004 departure of Ron Drapeau, and will remain on the board.)
News of a possible cash offer for Callaway by Boston capital group Thomas H. Lee Partners and insurance company Fidelity National Financial Inc. in late May lifted Callaway stock out of the $11-per-share echelon up to around $15, where it has been cruising along since. But Monday, Bain Capital, another Boston group, and MacGregor Golf came in with another cash bid, this time a little higher at $16.25 per share. (Formal offers have not been tendered yet, and the parties declined comment in accordance with securities regulations, according to the Los Angeles Times and responses to Golf Channel inquiries.)
The board is handling its responsibilities with regard to those inquiries. But here inside Callaway, all of that conjecture frankly is viewed as sort of idle diversion and doesnt come to the heart of the matter, said Fellows by phone from Callaway headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. My charge from the board of directors of this company is to fix whats not working, to return us to the level of profitability weve become used to, and to regain some of the share thats eroded, especially in metalwoods.
Callaway, once the industry leader in metalwoods, is now second to TaylorMade-adidas Golf by eight points. Although Fellows experience isnt in the golf industry, Callaway is banking on his extensive resume in consumer products (Mennen, Playtex, Revlon, and a substantial consulting career) to reconnect Callaway to its consumer.
The key to any consumer products business is obviously getting very close to your consumer, said Fellows in a tone of confidence that is said to be his hallmark. I think we need to improve our research and stay out ahead of them and develop products ahead of the curve instead of following the curve. We often set the curve, but we want to anticipate the way technology is going and the mindset of consumers.
Not that everything needs to be fixed. Two big capital groups wouldnt be sniffing around Callaway if the brand werent still strong. And when we say big, we mean pretty large: Bain recently worked on a bid to buy the National Hockey League for more than $1 billion.
Callaway is really geared to being an innovator, Fellows said, discussing the brands vigor. If you take a look at the last 10 years of the industry, weve brought most of the news to the table. Marketing execution and supply chain satisfaction are high on Fellows list of things to work on, however. The company (and its not the only one) has at times run into problems satisfying demand even when distribution is running well: that is, they have had the industrys best problem, which happens when so many people want your clubs that you cant put them together and box them up fast enough to be consistent with your own quality standards.
Thats not acceptable at the end of the day. Were in the business of fulfilling retailer and consumer requirements, Fellows said. And thats what were going to do.
As for lack of golf industry experience, consider the careers of two other people who didnt have it: Ely Callaway and Karsten Solheim.
ANOTHER NEW GUY. Astute readers and viewers will have noticed by now that Ive got a partner. Casey Bierer, an experienced hand on the other side of the camera, has joined TGC as our second-ever dedicated golf business and equipment reporter. He made his Golf Central debut on July 12, and his note on PeakVision in this space last week, which spawned the above treatment, was part of his maiden column on TheGolfChannel.com. You can count on us double-teaming both the TV side and this site week in, week out. You can contact Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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