Business World News Notes


Editor's Note: Casey Bierer is The Golf Channel's new Business Reporter. He will file regular Business Edge columns so be sure to check back for his latest offerings.
Aldila Stops Duplication of the Green Shaft
Aldila, Inc., a leader in graphite golf shafts, announced that Global Sports Technology, Inc. has agreed, under threat of law suit by Aldila, to discontinue its sales of golf clubs with shafts colored with Aldilas proprietary Vapor Mirror Green. Aldila has been using this distinctive color for its very popular NV Series shafts for the past several years, and has extensively promoted this green as its trademark and trade dress.
According to Mike Rossi, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Aldila, Global Sports Technology is a distributor of Golf equipment who recently introduced a Tour Collection line with shafts labeled Shaft By Apollo and having a substantially identical shade of green, and Aldila immediately gave notice of its objections based on state and federal laws protecting trademarks and trade dress. Through counsel, Global Sports Technology last week informed Aldila that the green copy shafts have been discontinued, as Aldila had demanded.
This distinctive green shaft has become well known as Aldilas trademark, and the remarkable success of touring professionals using the NV Series has attracted particular attention to our shafts and this color, said Mike Rossi. We intend to take all necessary and appropriate actions to protect our exclusive rights to this color, he said.
The NV product features exclusive aerospace materials and Aldila's unique Micro Laminate TechnologyTM that provides the player enhanced power, consistent flex and precise feel. The Aldila NV is available for woods, hybrid clubs, and irons in a variety of weights and tip sizes.
Nike Golf Creates Beast in New SasQuatch Driver
Nike SasQuatch driverGlimpses of yellow have begun appearing on the PGA Tour -- yellow tracks belonging to the new Nike SasQuatch (SQ) 460 Driver, with its visually distinctive head design and yellow sole design. The SasQuatch sightings have occurred in the last month as a number of Nike Golf's Tour Staff, including Stewart Cink, K.J. Choi, Rory Sabbatini, Paul Gow, Carl Pettersson, John Cook, Franklin Langham and Stephen Ames, have recently tested the SQ Tour 460 version of the new driver on the PGA Tour.
Nike says their club wizard, Tom Stites, has designed the ideal ratio between the width of the clubface and the depth of the club head. The SasQuatch geometry pushes the breadth-to-face length ratio up, resulting in a larger, more forgiving sweet spot. Through geometry and Max Back Center of Gravity (CG) technology, Nike Golf says, theyve been able to achieve a lower, deeper CG without the use of weights. With its CG set back, low and deep, the SasQuatch is a highly engineered, streamlined instrument of size, power and forgiveness.
Nike Golf utilizes Powerbow technology, which provides the visual cue of the Max Back CG's radical geometry. According to Nike, the Powerbow technology placed on the back of the driver expands the perimeter of performance making it easier to get the ball up and hit it straight. Nike says the Powerbow adds a trailing volume of mass to apply more power and control to the ball without overstepping the 460 cc legal limit.
Nike says to get a hotter response and greater consistency, the SasQuatch has a face of layered yet tightly compressed titanium called NexTi, developed exclusively for Nike Golf.
The SQ 460 is available November 1, 2005 at golf shops and golf specialty stores nationwide and has a suggested retail price of $359. A tour model, SQ Tour 460, will be available in stores February 1, 2006 and carry an SRP of $419.
Fairway & Greene a Winner
Fairway & Greene has been selected as the winner of the Top Mens Vendor award by the highly respected Association of Golf Merchandisers for the third consecutive year in an annual survey of its members. The survey is designed to greatly assist AGM in gathering important industry statistics and determining the needs of its members for future educational initiatives.
AGM is a professional association of golf-related vendors and professional vendors located all over the world. Their mission is to educate golf retail buyers, merchandisers and golf professionals, elevate the golf merchandising profession and enhance communication between golf buyers and vendor partners.
To be selected to receive this great award for the third consecutive year is truly an honor, especially from an impressive organization such as AGM, states Todd Martin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Fairway & Greene.
NGCOA Announces Financial Benchmarks Program
The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) has begun a comprehensive initiative to measure the games key financial benchmarks. The program provides accurate and consistent industry measurements to help golf course owners and operators evaluate the performance of their facilities, compare their results to competitors and operate more efficiently.

Based on information provided by participating owners and operators, the reports measure participation, revenues and course utilization on a monthly and rolling basis. The information will be confidential to participating owners and operators, who can use it not only for operational purposes, but also for financing needs (whether buying or selling), or when providing information to analysts and media.

A timely, accurate and unbiased set of industry metrics helps our members and other key stakeholders make informed operational, marketing and purchasing decisions, said Mike Hughes, executive director of the NGCOA. This is the type of information decision makers in other industries rely on to understand and analyze trends. We believe these financial benchmarks quickly will become one of the most important management tools in our industry.

The NGCOA is working with Golf Datatech, a noted golf industry market research firm, to collect and report the financial benchmarks.
Padraig Harrington Hosts Youth Clinic
Padraig HarringtonWilson Golf and Padraig Harrington, the eighth-ranked player in the world and a Wilson Staff professional, hosted a golf clinic recently at Sand Ridge Golf Club in Chardon, Ohio to benefit the children of the Cleveland Chapter of The First Tee.
Harrington, the popular Irishman is a two-time winner this year on the PGA Tour and a veteran of three Ryder Cup competitions. He has posted nine victories on the European Tour since turning pro in 1995.
I love taking part in events that include children and the kids from the First Tee were great, said Padraig. Their enthusiasm for the golf and everything the sport represents is tremendous. Its very exciting and rewarding for me to help children and teenagers new to the game, and that is what The First Tee is all about.
Wilson Golf, who made an equipment donation to the Cleveland Chapter, is an avid supporter of The First Tee, the World Golf Foundation initiative dedicated to enhancing the lives of young people through golf. This year Wilson is donating $100 to The First Tee for every birdie recorded by Harrington on the PGA Tour, raising $10,600 for his 106 birdies to date. Last year Wilson donated $23,760 to the organization based on birdies by Wilson Staff professional Jesper Parnevik.
There are so many children today that dont have the opportunity to learn and play golf, and The First Tee is all about giving kids that opportunity, said Angus Moir, Global Business Director, Wilson Golf. The First Tee is tremendous for golf and the golf industry, and we are proud to support them with events like this.
Accu-Length Receiving Strong Results
In two months since being introduced to new and existing clients, Accu-Length's Consumer Awareness Program has enabled the rapidly-growing junior golf club company to form and strengthen strong retailing bonds while seeing a significant spike in its business.
The program, which started in mid-May and recently concluded, has united select retailers with Accu-Length in a television campaign that has been running in the retailer's area. Participants in the program were required to order a minimum amount of Accu-Lengths products and take delivery soon thereafter to be eligible.
'We couldn't have asked for any better results than what has been achieved,' says Rick Rutter, President, COO and Founder of OnTrack Sports, LLC, Makers of Accu-Length, the only Expandable Junior Golf Clubs. 'Retailers are extremely pleased with the traffic that the campaign has helped bring into their stores. At the same time, consumers have been pouring into our retail partners to see what Accu-Length is all about.
Accu-Length says it is the only expandable junior golf club on the market. A one-of-a-kind spacer system allows Accu-Length to grow with the junior golfer without any sacrifice to the product's quality. Accu-Length's product line is known for its professional quality, with stainless steel heads and filament wound graphite shafts.
Accu-Length Expandable Junior Golf Clubs was named the Best New Equipment Product at this year's PGA Merchandise Show.
SofTrak Synthetic Putter Greens on a Roll
SofTrak Synthetic Putting Greens says some of the worlds best players are selecting SofTrak for installation and use in the comfort and convenience of their homes (Fred Couples, Steve Flesch, Bruce Lietzke, etc). SofTrak is also a top choice of families (virtual country club in the backyard, something all ages can enjoy, etc), avid everyday golfers (for game improvement, as replica greens of famous or favorite golf holes, etc), commercial businesses (practice ranges, bed & breakfasts, etc), college golf programs (Clemson, Rider, SW Missouri State, Princeton, etc) and non-profit organizations (Payne Stewart Memorial/The First Tee of the Ozarks, etc).
VersaSport International, exclusive supplier of SofTrak, recently installed two SofTrak greens at the Payne Stewart Memorial/The First Tee of the Ozarks facility in Branson, Mo.
We were able to expose over 2,400 inner-city kids to the game of golf this summer; many for the first time, says Mark Parry, Director of the Payne Stewart Memorial/The First Tee of the Ozarks. We used the SofTrak greens all summer and they responded very well. They will get more and more use as the years roll by and they have the durability and realistic performance qualities we need.
SofTrak says a rapidly growing trend SofTrak installers are encountering is the request of replica greens by avid golfers. The attached image is of a SofTrak green that replicates the 14th hole at the King & the Bear Course in Florida.
Heavy Putter Introduces A-1 Model
Heavy Putter, played exclusively by the Nationwide Tours leading money winner (through July 23), releases this new, center-shafted blade design offering the same features that distinguish all Heavy Putter models ' heavy-mass putter heads and a Weight Management System consisting of a heavy upper-shaft insert and interchangeable tip weights to create a patented balance point. According to Heavy Putter, the balance point is 75 percent higher than conventional putters.
'The introduction of the A-1 is the next step in our goal to provide golfers what they want ' a putter that looks great, feels great and helps them make more putts of all lengths, says Steve Boccieri, President of Heavy Putter.

Heavy Putter says the standard Heavy Putter total weight of 885 grams (roughly two pounds) is the heaviest among USGA-conforming putters and roughly twice the weight of conventional putters.
The fourth product in the Heavy Putter line, the A-1 is available in various standard, mid- and long-putter lengths for men and women in both right- and left-handed models. MSRP is from $259.
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