Must Have Golf Goodies

There will be a smorgasbord of stuff you might want to try or have dreamed about since those cold, wet days in January. Would-be consumers might look at $5.99 brush tees that could make the ball go a tad farther, $1,000 drivers with interchangeable shafts, or putters, including the space-age $199 TaylorMade Rossa Monza Spider that is supposed to put a better roll on the ball.

Then there are the others – golf extremists who covet the ultra-high-end gear and are willing to pay $3,000 for a driver, $1,000 for a graphite shaft and perhaps $4,000 or more for irons used by the pros. They know everything about the equipment long before the product launch date.

Ground zero for these obsessed individuals is, a Web forum where some 43,000 members discuss the latest and greatest. The most popular topic usually shows “what’s in the bag” photos from PGA Tour events.

“What we focus on is what we like, the highest-performing product,” Thrun said by telephone from his headquarters in Henderson, Nev. “I’ve seen it for years. Once something becomes mainstream, our clientele loses interest in it. We like to have things that other people don’t have. Who doesn’t?”

There’s also plenty of talk about getting optimized – taking your swing and finding the right shaft and driver clubhead that will give you the best launch angle and spin characteristics. These days, those stats are measured on $25,000 launch monitors and can be tweaked to get you into the best launch and spin numbers.

Bubba Watson, the PGA Tour’s longest driver, is known to have ungodly numbers – a 17-degree launch angle with 1,700 rpm of spin. The industry standard is about 12 degrees and 3,000 rpm.

Likewise, Callaway has a new set of “Tour Authentic” irons and wedges based upon similar thinking. The irons, which are limited to 1,000 sets nationwide, sell for about $2,000, the wedges $200. Typical high-end irons go for $799 to $1,100, wedges $120.

“A lot of that interest on our end got generated by what we saw online, whether on eBay or Bomb Squad,” said Bill Knees, Callaway’s senior vice president of marketing. “There is a group of people who want to play what the tour players have, either because they think they are that caliber or they just think it’s cool.”

And one way or another, those equipment-obsessed golfers who seek the perfect club and golf game eventually affect what the rest of us will put in our golf bags.  Full article


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