Golf Shaft Equipment Sales & Marketing: Theory is One Thing...
Golf Shaft Equipment Sales & Marketing: Theory is One Thing, Experience is Another
When golf equipment manufacturers first introduced perimeter-weighted club heads, golfers discovered that their bad shots, or misses, were better. Up to that time I had never heard the expression that “your misses would be better.” If anyone had said that to me, I would have thought they were referring to my wife's well-being.
Innovations and Successful New Products
Not all innovations stand the complete test for all golfers. One short-lived innovation was FeatherLiteTM golf clubs, a big trend in the late 80's. FeatherLites were good enough to win at least one tour event but the fact that many golfers believed they were unsuitable in high winds put the brakes on their marketing momentum.
New product ideas can come from many sources inside and outside of a company. It is up to the product development team to work with the engineers to create successful products. A product not only has to meet a perceived need and function as designed, but it must also appeal to the customers’ idea of how a winning product looks.
Lightweight graphite golf shafts were especially promising for seniors and ladies. Early graphite shafts seemed to have too much torque for the better players and that fact probably delayed their acceptance. Today, Aldila is building graphite shafts with the performance characteristics that PGA Tour players demand. The latest Darrell Survey at the PGA Championship counted hundreds of graphite shafts in the players’ golf bags with Aldila leading the way, as usual.
Redefining How High Performance Looks
When the first PingTM iron hit the market I was a Head Pro with the golf shop concession and was responsible for all purchasing. I was able to put a set of Ping irons in my shop with the agreement that the salesman would buy the set himself if it did not sell by the end of the season.
The Ping irons had quite a unique appearance with their dull grey finish. Because the golf clubs were manufactured with stainless steel there was no familiar, shiny chrome to attract the eye. I was challenged by the sales rep to go outside the shop and hit the asphalt cart path with the sole of the club head. I practically ran out the door to call his bluff. I took a full swing and struck the ground. As I brushed off the specks of asphalt and inspected the sole, sure enough, there were no scratches because there was no chrome to scratch.
Sometimes the Customer Just Isn’t Ready
However, that was not a big enough selling point to move the golf clubs out of the shop. When fall rolled around those Ping irons were still sitting in my shop. Traditional golfers, including myself, could not get over their unique appearance. The salesman had failed to explain that appearance isn’t everything, and that the trade-off for a bigger sweet spot – and better misses – was well worth it. Until next time, play well and enjoy the game.
Aldila’s golf blog is dedicated to bringing you information, news and entertainment about golf and to helping all of us get more enjoyment from the game through golf technology and golf equipment innovation. Joe CoWhick is a former PGA Head Professional and the founder of Joe CoWhick Golf Innovations, which is dedicated to teaching and improving play in golf. Joe has been part of various PGA sections, including; Iowa, Illinois, Gateway and Metropolitan NY; and he’s given more than 25,000 video golf lessons in 10 seasons at the world-famous Richard Metz Golf Studio. You can find out more at: www.joecowhickgolf.com.
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