TaylorMade’s new Face Slot Technology pays off in a big way.
TaylorMade Golf didn’t become one of the world’s top-selling golf equipment designers and manufacturers by resting on its laurels and living in the past. That’s why the Carlsbad-based company has released a new line of irons, the RSi, incorporating high-tech wizardry and top-notch playability. “The new RSi 1 and RSi 2 models, along with the RSi TP that will be available on Jan. 15th, take face technology to the next level”, according to TaylorMade sales representative Shawn McCaskey.
“The new Face Slot Technology allows golfers to hit it anywhere on the club face and they will get maximum ball speed, launch angles and forgiveness,” McCaskey said. Each model is designed for different players. The RSi 1 for mid-to-higher handicappers, the RSi 2 for mid-to low handicappers, and the TP line for the elite player. The Face Slot Technology found in the club’s heel and toe is indeed the most distinctive feature of all three clubs; it builds on the speed pocket, or slots, that were inserted onto the soles of TaylorMade’s irons two years ago. This improved the ball speed on shots struck low on the face. The face slot provides a similar benefit, increased ball speeds on heel and toe hits. Ball speed, of course, translates into more distance. “No matter what model you play, in my opinion these are the most forgiving, longest and straightest clubs on the market,” McCaskey said.
WATCH how TaylorMade’s new Face Slot Technology is changing the face of the game.
Worldwide Golf Enterprises started as a small San Diego golf store and quickly grew to one of the largest multichannel golf retailers in the country.
The old adage “from mighty oaks, acorns grow” is certainly true for Worldwide Golf Enterprises. What began as one small store in San Diego in 1984 with less than a dozen employees is now an 87 retail store chain stretching from Hawaii to Florida, with over 1,000 employees. “In the early days, we all sensed the growth potential and it was ownership’s vision that put us where we are today,” said Rick Levy, vice president of operations for Van’s Golf Shops, one of the six brands of the Worldwide Golf Enterprises portfolio. “From day one, world class customer service has been our main goal, and we’ve kept that focus through all the expansion.”Worldwide Golf Shops began as Golf Mart, a small golf store on Morena Boulevard in San Diego just below the University of San Diego. The company expanded to nine Golf Marts in San Diego and Northern California before making its first large acquisition. In 1993, Worldwide Golf Enterprises acquired 23 Orange County and Los Angeles area golf stores known as Roger Dunn Golf Shops.
Worldwide Golf Shops incorporated its novel 90-day 100% satisfaction guarantee in its new stores, an innovation it began in 1984. “We felt you couldn’t service a customer better than giving them a 90-day 100% satisfaction guarantee for anything they purchased,” said Levy, who has been with the company since 1984. “If someone returned with a golf shirt, golf club, bag or putter they didn’t like, there was no hesitation … the response was, ‘Let’s see what we can get you that you will like.’“
In 1997, Worldwide Golf purchased nine stores formerly owned by Arizona-based Van’s Golf. Like all its acquisitions, Worldwide Golf kept the original name and a big part of the team. “We look at the existing staff and management as tremendous assets,” Levy said. “They are people with a lot of experience and have immense customer loyalty, which has great value.” In 2009, Worldwide made its biggest geographical leap, acquiring New England-based Golfers’ Warehouse.
The final two acquisitions came in December 2013 with Uinta Golf, based in Utah, and Edwin Watts Golf, based in Florida, Worldwide Golf’s largest acquisition to date. “We were a family-run business with a lot of tenured employees and what is so smart about Worldwide Golf is that they kept as many of the managers and employees as they could,” said Kerry Kabase, who had worked for Edwin Watts Golf for 37 years and today is a consultant with Worldwide Golf. “They allowed us to keep our identity, which was great for our loyal customers. But now they could walk in and see a fully stocked golf shop with that 90-day guarantee. It was a smooth transition and we feel very lucky to be working under their umbrella. They were a lot like us, avid golfers who were all about customer service.”
Currently, Worldwide Golf Shops includes 48 Edwin Watts Golf stores in 12 states; 12 Roger Dunn Golf Shops in California and Hawaii; 10 Golf Marts in California; seven Van’s Golf Shops in Arizona; five Uinta Golf stores in Utah; and five Golfers’ Warehouses in the Northeast. As far as future expansion? “We want to keep every opportunity open, and if there’s a market and there’s a need we wouldn’t hold back” Levy said. “We feel very comfortable right now. We’re in several year-round markets and business is going well.” Even though Worldwide Golf Shops has several regional brands, it makes a concerted effort to make sure that all its customers feel at home at every one of its stores: its 90-day satisfaction guarantee extends to all its stores, as do all store policies. “That’s another smart thing,” Kabase said. “Each one of its brands has its own customer loyalty and now that loyalty extends to the umbrella operation. If you buy a new club in New England and then travel to Hawaii but don’t like it, you can walk into a store there and exchange it, or use a gift card you bought from a Florida store in Arizona. That really helps grow customer confidence.”
Worldwide Golf Shops, already a big player in the Western United States and the Northeast, is now one of the largest national golf retailers with its acquisition earlier this year of Florida-based Edwin Watts Golf, the largest golf retailer in the Southeast. As part of the purchase, Worldwide Golf will operate 48 Edwin Watts Golf stores in 12 states, each of which will keep the Edwin Watts name. “The acquisition of Edwin Watts Golf is a perfect ft into our portfolio of brands, for among many business attributes its main focus is the same as ours, which is outstanding customer service,” said Al Morris, Worldwide Golf Enterprises President.“Edwin Watts Golf rounds out our formidable stable of brands that now operate from coast to coast.”
Nike’s new line of Vapor irons get a big boost with input from Tiger and Rory
Few major golf manufacturers had such an interesting route to prominence than Nike Golf. For 30 years, Nike was known for one thing: it made shoes, focusing heavily on high performance athletic footwear. It began producing golf shoes in 1986, but didn’t leap into the golf equipment market until 2000, helped in no small part by signing Tiger Woods to an exclusive deal. Since that time, the company’s balls and clubs have helped it become a major player in the golf industry and its latest line of Vapor irons is the most recent example of the company’s dedication to high performance and technological innovation. With blessings from both Woods and the world’s current No. 1 player, Rory Mcilroy, the Vapor iron’s replace Nike’s Covert line. Lighter in weight, with a center of gravity moved to the center of the club face, Vapor has a much thinner face than its predecessor, resulting in Nike’s most precise, longest and most forgiving iron to date.
“The lightweight design helps golfers generate more club speed, the ultra-thin, ultra-fast face creates faster ball speeds, and moving the center of gravity to the center of the face makes the club more stable,” said Rowdy Bank, General Manager of The Golf Mart in San Diego. The three models — Vapor Speed, Vapor Pro Combo, and Vapor Pro are each built for golfers at different stages of their game. Both McIlroy and Woods had input in the design process, but it was the research and development team at Nike Golf that figured how to implement the ideas. “My favorite feature of these clubs is the Vapor’s clean aesthetics, which is a departure from the Covert line,” Bank said. “They feel great, as well.”
LATE-NIGHT TEE TIME
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to tout Nike’s new Vapor irons and that’s when the fun began.