Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It seems the big OEM's are truly becoming marketing companies first and club manufacturers second. Are they?

Good call there for sure. If you follow the golf industry closely from a business standpoint, you could see this starting to happen back in the 1990s when several of the leading OEM companies decided to do an IPO and get on the stock market. Once you do that, the financial side puts more pressure on the company to keep pushing their sales and profit. And from that come product development decisions that are made much more on the basis of "what can that do for our sales" compared to what can that really do for the golfers.

PING could be the exception. Not only have PING remained a privately held company and chosen not to go public, but they have always operated their company with an engineer as the leader of the company, and not people from marketing, sales or finance.

Back in the 1980s before any of the golf companies went public, it seemed that the CEO or Pres of every golf company was a person who worked their way up through the engineering or product development side of the company. Then when all this heavy competition for sales and profit hit the industry, all the CEO's came from sales/mktg/finance.

Anyway, it really would be a dream if the majority of regular consumer golfers could know all this as well as know the facts of life about custom fitting versus standard off the rack. Maybe someday that will happen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What type of shafts to OEM's put in their clubs?

From Tom Wishon:
I'll just chime in with some info on the shafts that the OEM companies use in their standard off the rack clubs because I have a good deal of experience to know about that.

When an OEM goes to work to come up with a shaft that is going to be installed in the millions of clubs they will make to be shipped to all the retail stores and pro shops to be sold off the rack, they have two primary requirements.

1) It cannot cost them much more than $10 because they want to keep their profit per club up as high as possible. With clubhead prices rising quite a bit over the past 2 yrs, the OEMs definitely do not want to spend much money on their stock shafts.

2) It has to be of a weight, flex and bend profile that would fit as wide of a range of golfers as possible. That means most stock shafts for drivers and woods are going to be in the area of 65 grams in weight, and will not be too stiff in the butt or tip section for each flex letter. Some OEMS are taking the additional approach to create their S flex stock shafts to be stiffer in the tip section for its flex than will be the R flex stock shaft. In other words, they make the S for a better player but the R for a very much average swinger.

Basically, as the golfer has a more and more aggressive swing speed, with a later and later release, the chances of most OEM stock shafts fitting them properly gets smaller and smaller - thus the need for better than avg to much better players having to spend even more money to get their standard off the rack club fit with a different shaft.

All this once again adds up to say that a golfer who buys off the rack and does not go find an experienced clubmaker to be fit for his/her clubs is unfortunately exhibiting behavior that is not very smart.