Spalding Plans Extensive Sampling Program

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TRY IT, YOULL LIKE IT: Thats what Spalding Sports Worldwide hopes will happen when it launches a vast sampling program to get golfers to try its new golf balls.
 
'Sampling is the best way to get consumers to try a product,' stated Mike Ferris, executive director of golf ball marketing. 'Our research shows that 43% of consumers consider switching brands if they like the sample.
 
So starting Feb. 16 and 23 in southern and southwestern markets, Spalding will give out two-ball sleeves of their Strata of Top-Flite XL 3000 balls to golfers who come to participating locations. The program will move northward with four more sampling days on April 20, May 4, June 1 and June 8.
 
Spalding expects the program to reach 1.1 million golfers at 10,000 locations.
 
FLOYD BACK WITH IMG: After eight years with another agency, Raymond Floyd has returned to International Management Group, which had represented him since 1969.
 
Floyd hasnt been extremely visible lately. His last Senior PGA Tour win was at the 2000 Ford Senior Players Championship. His most notable endorsement in recent years has been for American Home Products. Floyd appeared in television commercials for the Advil brand.
 
Chris Roderick will handle Floyds affairs from IMGs main office in Cleveland; he didnt return calls by deadline.
 
FROM JAPAN TO CLEVELAND: Cleveland Golf, that is. Graphite shaft maker Fujikura Composites America Inc. has landed the Launcher metalwood business from Cleveland. Fujikura will be the sole supplier of shafts for Launcher drivers and fairway woods for the 2002 season.
 
Fujikura, which has offices in Vista, Calif., near San Diego, makes its shafts in Japan and China.
 
SSTGET OUT OF THE RAIN: Well, there are other reasons to come into the trailer introduced at Pebble Beach this week by Strategic Shaft Technologies LC. The company claims that more than 100 PGA Tour players use SST PURE technology to align the shafts of their clubs properly, resulting in more quality ball striking. SST will add its 24-foot trailer to the caravan of such vehicles that follows the tour week after week, Monday through Wednesday, to help players who need club repairs and adjustments.
 
And this week, the trailer may get crowded with caddies and others who are just hoping to keep off the Monterey Peninsula chill.