News Notes from the Business World

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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.
 
Wilson
In news from Wilson Staff, the company is getting ready to launch product in three key categories. Tim Clarke, Vice President of Sales says, We obviously have just gone through a major re-launch with the Staff brand. Things have gone extremely well. We have a couple of areas where we want to do some tweakingto fine tune the success we are experiencing.
 
This involves the launch of a new control iron, the Ci6; nomenclature for Control iron, 2006 model year. The iron will marry the performance qualities of the tour developed Pi5 irons with the game improvement characteristics of the Di5. The top-line will be noticeably thinner than the Di5. According to Clarke, The feedback we were getting from customers and retailers suggested they wanted an iron that looked like a tour iron but was easier to play. The Ci6 now offers that.
 
And, continuing to work closely with Staff Advisory Member Padraig Harrington, the company will soon release a new series of forged tour wedges. Tom Gruger, Global Marketing Director Worldwide for Wilson Golf says, The Fw6 is our first entry back in to forged wedges since the days of the legendary Dyna-Power. These new wedges are Wilson Staff through and through. They have the traditional, classic look that Wilson pioneered including bore-through. Bob Mendrella and Joe Phillips both consulted on the project and Padraig was heavily involved. In the past, Staff wedges set the gold standard for wedges and the new Fw6 series will get us back to that place.
 
The final part of the equation is a new hybrid. Clarke says, The 05 model hybrids were our entry in to the ever changing and growing hybrid market. The 06 model has considerably more sophisticated internal technology as well as a different look. Weve shortened the head up and the club has play tested extremely well at the highest levels of golf.
 
Aldila
From Poway, Calif., ALDILA, INC. (NASDAQ:NMS:ALDA) recently announced net sales of $21.8 million for the three months ended June 2005, an increase of 53% over the same period in 2004, and net income of $3.6 million ($0.66 fully diluted per share), an increase of 68% over Q2, 2004. In the comparable 2004 second quarter, the Company had net sales of $14.3 million and net income of $2.2 million ($0.42 fully diluted per share). For the six months ended June 30, 2005, net sales increased by $10.1 million to $39.6 million, an increase of 34% over the same period in 2004 and net income increased by $2.5 million to $7.0 million, an increase of 56% over the same period in 2004.
 
It is gratifying to report second quarter numbers that beat our strong first quarter results, said Peter R. Mathewson, Chairman of the Board and CEO. Our second quarter sales increased by 53% versus the second quarter of last year. The average selling price of golf shafts increased by 31% quarter on quarter on a 20% increase in unit sales, which increases were driven by the increased sales of branded and co-branded shafts.
 
Driven by continued strong sales of our flagship NV? shaft line our second quarter 2005 branded sales exceeded our branded sales in the second quarter 2004 by 54%. Our net income of $7.0 million for the six months ended June 30, 2005 represents the best first half of the year the Company has had in the past 10 years, Mathewson said.
 
We have some extremely compelling product development initiatives underway with club manufacturer OEMs whereby we are custom designing shafts to work in conjunction with their new product releases in order to optimize equipment performance, said Michael Rossi, Vice President Sales and Marketing for Aldila. Co-product development can happen as far as a year or more in advance of a new product launch date. These efforts are important to ensure were getting the best possible product to market.
 
True Temper
Its a business strategy that also works for True Temper Sports. They are partnering on a new club release project with Mizuno. While the model name is under wraps, Dick Lyons, Mizunos Vice President /General Manager, Golf Division said, We are getting ready to release the highest quality game improvement set in our history. Weve worked closely with True Temper on a shaft that will ensure the clubs perform up to our expectations.
 
Chad Hall, True Tempers Director of Marketing said, Mizunos special game improvement project required a shaft to perform at very specific levels. Ball flight and trajectory ' getting the ball airborne with positive flight characteristics for higher handicap players ' the shaft plays a huge role in making that happen. Chad went on to say, Were launching, with Mizuno as our launch partner, the new Dynalite Gold SL in a Sensicore and non-sensicore version. Mizuno was looking for a shaft to optimize the performance of their new game-improvement set initiative. The Dynalite Golf SL shaft delivers just the ball flight and trajectory characteristics Mizuno was looking for with the tour performance standards set by True Tempers flagship shaft, Dynamic Gold.
 
Golf Pride
Summertime golf, when the weather is most often hot and your hands sweat a bunch, can make holding on to your grips without slipping a problem.
 
People simply dont pay enough attention to their grips. Im not sitting here telling you this so people will buy our grips. Im a golfer. I believe in the advice Im giving, said Jeff Fiorini, General Manager, Golf Pride Grips. Many people just dont realize the benefit that can come from a fresh set of grips. Even if you dont play that often, when you do play, you deserve to give yourself every chance to play your best golf. New grips can help do that.
 
Product wise, the company is extremely happy with the market performance of its Dual Durometer and New Decade grips. Fiorini says, The combination of sophisticated new rubber and compound technology have taken our already dominant line of grips and helped position us with even more strength in the grip business. Im particularly pleased with the visibility we receive on television due to the fact that the red color part of the New Decade grip shows up so well on TV. And, you know, we dont pay the players. They just love our grips. I think that says a lot about the product right there.
 
PeakVision Sports
From your hands to your eyesI recently met with J. Paul Moore, Founder and CEO of PeakVision Sports ' makers of eyewear for active sports including, of course, golf. PeakVision Sports utilizes a new material called NXT. This new material provides clarity equivalent to optical glass at less than 40% of the weight, while offering scratch and shatter resistance far superior to traditional polycarbonate lenses.
 
NXT offers 100% UV400 protection. Also, in addition to the challenges associated with single filter lens, most sunglass lenses today are injection-molded polycarbonate (plastic), a 40 year old manufacturing technology. This technology, while producing light weight and inexpensive lenses, also produces lenses with very poor optical clarity, Moore said. The distortion created during injection molding is a visible and pervasive artifact of all current performance sunglass lenses and also interferes with the ability to visualize contours and estimate distances. Our manufacturing process and the use of NXT material allow us to manufacture a superior product.
 
Ill have more in-depth news on PeakVisions technology in the weeks to come.
 
Pinehurst Resort
Lastly, all roads, apparently, lead back to Pinehurst. The Resort recently announced it will marry the its award-winning golf school with a research-based, scientifically validated golf fitness program; thereby potentially improving distance and overall game performance while at the same time reducing injury. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) initiative is spearheaded by Scott Lephart, Ph.D., A.T.C., and director of UPMCs Neuromuscular Reseach Laboratory. The Pittsburgh'based center has conducted ongoing golf research since 2001.
 
I had an opportunity to spend some time with Dr. Lephart during my stay in Pinehurst. Ill share more detailed information on this project with you soon.
 
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