Posts by Dylan Morris:

PERFECT FIT – As the new CEO, David Abeles brings vision and innovation to TaylorMade-Adidas

David Abeles first fell in love with the game of golf as a 10- year-old growing up in Connecticut, thanks to a few golf loving neighborhood kids. After working his way through school by caddying, he landed a sales job in New York with TaylorMade – the very same company whose banner adorned the wall of his childhood bedroom. Now 44, both the game and the business of golf fascinate him as much as ever. In an exclusive interview, the new CEO tells us just what it is that makes TaylorMade so special, why performance is all that matters, and what it’s really like to do business in one of the most competitive industries in the world.

 Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 1.52.39 PM

What was your reaction on getting the call to come back to TaylorMade earlier this year? was thrilled. I have a wonderful history with TaylorMade-Adidas, from my first job with them in the mid-1990s as a salesman to my position running sales operations first in China and then in North America. In 2014 I left to run Competitor Group Inc., a company that puts together marathon and half marathon races, before getting the call to come back to TaylorMade in early 2015. I came back because I love this organization. We’ve got a group of incredible people who work here. They’re passionate golfers, innovative and creative thinkers and competitive business people, all of which I relate to.

When did you first fall in love with TaylorMade products? Believe it or not, my first introduction to TaylorMade was while caddying for a man named Charlie Stepnowski every weekend at the Glastonbury Hills Country Club in Connecticut. He had 14 TaylorMade clubs in his bag that he swore by. Now I have 14 TaylorMade clubs in my bag, and I’m just as passionate about mine from the R15 driver and AeroBurner series to the RSi irons.

What do you think is TaylorMade’s most exciting product right now? I’m particularly excited about four of our products the R15 driver, the AeroBurner metalwoods, the RSi irons and the Tour Preferred golf balls. The R15 driver is the most adjustable driver in golf. The AeroBurner is the fastest club we’ve ever made. The RSi iron features new slot technology in the face, which the industry’s never done before. And the ball is the best-performing ball on the market. If you put all of these items in your bag, your golf game is going to improve, no question.

What is TaylorMade’s approach to inspiring the younger generations to learn and love the game of golf? The younger generation is very important to us. We formed a strategic alliance with the PGA to form the PGA Junior League, and in doing so we’re ensuring an initiative that really strengthens the game of golf. We’re also involved with various global institutions that teach golf to younger players, and we’re constantly looking into equipment for junior players that would enable them to enjoy the game even more.

What does the future hold for TaylorMade? Our mission is to continuously innovate new products. So whether it’s a year from now, two years from now or ten years from now, we’ll never bring a product to market that isn’t better than what we’ve released before.

What advantages does TaylorMade gain by having sponsored tour players in the spotlight? Golf is a unique sport in that you can actually play the same courses as the pros and with the same equipment and occasionally, you can even hit some of the same shots. Because of this fact golfers love to know who is using what equipment, and it’s part of our mission to tell them. We’ve got a great group of sponsored players across the globe, including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day and Justin Rose. More players on the Tour play TaylorMade than any other brand, and we have the No. 1 metalwood, driver and iron on Tour. Having these players represent our company is critically important, because they can share better than we ever could how great our products perform.

how do you see the game of golf evolving in the near future? My theory about this is simple. It’s been a great game for hundreds and hundreds of years, and the game of golf is going to be just fine. In fact, data suggests that it’s growing rapidly, with 3.5 million to 4 million new golfers playing the sport every year. When I work with the USGA and the PGA and LPGA tours regarding initiatives to grow the game, what I see actually makes me more excited about the game than I’ve ever been.

What do you love about the game? love that it’s a competitive sport, but that thanks to the handicap system you can play with your friends and family and largely be on the same playing field. I love the values the game teaches. And I love the fact that it’s really the only sport you can play your entire life.

 

A Colorful history – Golfers’ Warehouse has been serving golfers across New England for more than 30 years

 

10835117_10153830081828852_2378276253763147572_o

When you think of golf hot spots, New England doesn’t immediately jump out. Sure there are many revered courses, but considering that it can get pretty cold and snowy during the winter, it’s not exactly Hawaii, Florida or Southern California.

But that didn’t stop Mark Blair from opening a golf retail store in 1983 called Golfers’ Warehouse. Over the years, the chain expanded and now serves five cities in southern New England. It’s been part of the Worldwide Golf Shops chain of retail stores since 2009. “It was really the early years of golf retail,” says Mike Britt, who began working for Golfers’ Warehouse in 1990 and is today the Northeast Regional Manager for Worldwide Golf Shops. “There may have been some small local shops around, and other areas like Southern California had Roger Dunn, but there weren’t the proliferation of big chains like today. So Mark got into it very early and it worked.”

The first store opened in Hartford, Conn., and has over the years expanded from 7,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet. From the very beginning, the focus was on an interactive experience. “The biggest thing for us in those days was the hitting bays,” Britt said. “People always wanted to try our products inside and I think that was what made us stand out. Most shops were lucky to have one hitting bay with one net, but our stores had six to eight bays. Golfers appreciated being able to hit clubs on the spot.”

Unlike golf retail companies in sunnier parts of the country, Golfers’ Warehouse operates with a seasonal mind set. “We’re open all year round,even when there’s snow on the ground and courses are closed,” Britt said. Store traffic in the winter consists primarily of people gearing up to travel to warmer destinations andpeople who want to come in and hit a few balls. But when the snow melts and the sun returns, there’s a huge rush. “Once April and May roll around,our business ramps up a lot,” Britt said. “Our customers will come into the store chomping at the bit because most of them haven’t played in a few months, and they’re hungry.”

Becoming a part of Worldwide Golf Shops was an easy transition, Britt said, as he and his colleagues were familiar with the company. “I think we were pretty comfortable that things wouldn’t change drastically because we knew their way of doing things,” he said. “We were confident they would add to us and still let us be ourselves.” Britt says employees were also very excited about the addition of Worldwide Golf’s 90-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, which they hadn’t been able to offer before without the proper infrastructure. “We quickly found our philosophy was the same as Worldwide Golf’s to offer professional club fitting and repair, but also to make sure the customer walks out with the club that fits them best.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 12.19.04 PM

ALL HANDS ON DECK – A good golf glove can make a difference in the way you play the game

You can never underestimate the value of a good golf glove it plays a starring role in your connection to the golf club. A great-fitting glove can lead to a surer swing and a more comfortable round. So when it comes time to actually buy one, it’s important to know just what you’re looking for.

To start, gloves come in three main categories – synthetic, leather and specialty. “Synthetic gloves tend to be more durable than leather gloves,” said Don Rea, Store Manager at The Golf Mart in Santa Rosa, Calif. “Most beginning and highhandicap players use these gloves. They don’t have the feel of leather that the better players prefer, but they have extra reinforcement in the palm area, which makes them last longer.”

Rea said that when it comes to a great leather glove, there’s no better option than Cabretta leather. “For most lower-handicap players it’s all about feel, not durability,” Rea said. “Nothing offers that better than Cabretta leather.” And lastly, specialty gloves are designed for players who need a little more padding on their palms. “The players who use this glove are generally people who have trouble gripping the golf club,” said Rea. “The glove has padding on the palm and between the joints of the fingers, so it provides that extra support.” Here’s a look at five gloves to consider the next time you tee it up…

Shop Gloves at Worldwide Golf Shops Here: http://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/Gloves/search

 

Going the distance – Innovations lead to added length in Volvik’s DS-77 ball

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 10.43.40 AM

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YrBSmTo4GQ#t=29

Volvik combined innovation, problem-solving and vision when it created the DS-77 golf ball in 2014. The DS-77 is Volvik’s extreme distance ball, but it’s not meant to just perform well off the tee. Its unique construction also provides a great feel and spin on the green.
“Dual Spin [for DS] means that there are different spins for this ball off the tee and around the greens,” said Jon Claffey, National Director of Sales and Marketing for Volvik. “It is genuinely a high-end, two-piece ball that performs like an extreme distance ball off the tee and like a three-piece ball around the greens.”
The DS-77 was designed for moderate swing-speed players who need help reducing side spin and increasing their distance, a common challenge among amateur golfers. The DS-77 effectively reduces the side spin that leads to hooks and slices, which leads to better accuracy and more length.
The ball also features a high COR for maximum ball speed, a 77 compression that reduces driver spin and a soft core that produces a great putting feel and accurate shot control.
“Everyone tells us that the DS-77 ball is an underpriced ball for how it performs,” said Claffey. “Because of the increased spin around the green, it actually plays more like a $35 ball. Because of the low driver spin, it is super straight. It’s also very durable. So there is extreme value with this ball.” The DS-77 comes in orange, yellow, pink or white for $22.99 a dozen.

Shop DS-77 here: http://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/Volvik-Mens-DS77-Golf-Balls/10113948/Product

READY FOR LAUNCH

When it comes to innovation in drivers, Callaway set the tone for the industry long ago with its Big Bertha line. With a reputation for low spin, adjustability, great forgiveness and a large sweet spot, Callaway drivers are consistently ranked high in performance tests and player preferability. And with the upcoming launch of the Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond driver and the new Great Big Bertha driver both will be available for pre-order August 14 Callaway once again proves that constant improvement is high on its list of priorities.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 1.12.59 PM

Let’s take a closer look at each:

– BIG BERTHA ALPHA 816 DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND
Designed for better players, the Big Bertha Alpha 816 features a dual-distance chamber for increased ball speed and extreme distance. Callaway’s R•MOTO technology provides the structure for a thinner face, which leads to high ball speeds on both on- and off-center hits. And the adjustability is unrivaled.

“The 816 has even more adjustability as far as the spin than there was before,” said Callaway Brand Ambassador Bruce Loman. “What you’re going to be able to do, and this is pretty cool, is adjust the hit location and spin based on where you typically strike the ball on the club face.”

– GREAT BIG BERTHA
The Great Big Bertha is back, but with more innovation and technological breakthroughs – including the best combination Callaway has ever produced of an aerodynamic head shape and lightweight club design.

“This is a very forgiving low-spin driver, which is hard to do,” said Loman. “They keep tweaking this stuff
and it just gets better and better.” Four different golf shafts will be available to choose from. “There’s gonna be a lot of options with both the 816 and Great Big Bertha,” Loman said.

Check out more on Callaway Golf here: http://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/Callaway-Golf/4014/Brands