Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Economy and Golf

Well, as we all know the economy is at the worst point we have seen it in a while. I know our new President says we will get out of this, but in my daily job I have seen the new Housing and Recovery act and I don't think rewarding people who don't make their payments a $5,000 principal reduction on their mortgage over 5 years if they can make a payment under a modification is fair to those of us who make our payments, but that is another story.

Sad thing is we are beginning to see the true effects of the economical downturn in golf. Today, I read an article discussing the liquidation of Macgregor's product. We all knew the time was coming for Macgregor with the departure of Bobby Grace and the CEO of the company. Macgregor has struggled to keep up with the big dog OEM's over the past few years and it has now caught up with them. The real question is what OEM's could be next? Well, here's a few I think we could see out of the game sometime throughout the year:

1. Nickent Golf-While I love their clubs, they just don't have the market share to keep up with other OEM's. I own a Nickent driver and it is just as good as any other driver I have used, but when people see Taylor Made, Callaway, Nike or any of the other OEM's you pull away from Nickent and it is a company you don't see at every shop.

2. Tour Edge-A smaller company that has decent equipment, but like Nickent it isn't seen in every store. The other issue I have with Tour Edge is the Exotics line and the other line of Tour Edge equipment are so distant in comparison. I think the Exotics equipment is over priced. I am not saying it isn't good, but you can get something just as good for a cheaper price. The rest of their equipment....well, if you like hybrid wedges then this is your company. I just can't see them selling much this year.

3. Wilson Staff-I don't know if they will go under, but their offerings are nothing near the competition. The prices are very reasonable, but the irons are the only thing that have gotten good reviews. The drivers and fairways are not top of the line. The lack of multiple tour players using the equipment will hurt as well. I think we could see this company dwindle throughout the year.

The other problem at hand with the economy is the withdraw of sponsors from PGA Tour events. A perfect example is FBR. You may remember that just a mere few weeks ago the FBR Open was on TV and the crowds were as raucous as usual, but news today says that FBR has pulled out as sponsor for the event.

I can only imagine with the banks and other financial institutions that sponsor PGA Tour events that this will become a common thing in sports news. I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more sponsors pull their sponsorship of events. How will this effect the game? Who knows. We currently haven't been able to project what would happen with the market so I won't even speculate how this will effect the tour.

It is definitely not a great time in our world, but remember it could always be worse. Only time will help our current situation and I think it will take more time than most people expect. I just feel that our country is pining on rewarding people for irresponsible. Until we do the exact opposite we are in for a rough time.

On a more positive note, Tiger will return to action tomorrow when he tees off at 2:02 PM EST. Good luck Tiger. I expect some big things from him this year. I know it is good for the game!

Hit 'em straight!

Friday, February 20, 2009

He's back......

Well, as everyone surely knows by now, Tiger has announced his return for the Accenture Match Play next week. I can't say I am surprised he would be back this soon. We all know how hard Tiger works at keeping his body in great shape so you can only imagine how hard he worked during therapy to recover.

I must say that I am excited to see him back on the course, but a part of me wonders how well the knee will hold up. Needless to say, I will be glued to the TV on Wednesday of next week to see what happens. Good luck Tiger!

Here is a link to article on pgatour.com if you are interested: http://www.pgatour.com/r/tiger_archive/index.html

Thursday, February 12, 2009

GPS Acquisitions

Now I love golf equipment more than most people, but I also have a thing for technology. I am one of those people who love to see new and cool products come out and then I love to buy them and tinker with them.

When you combine the two things I love then I go crazy which is why I love golf gps units. I own a golf gps unit and I love the thing. I don't just love it for the technology side, but I love the fact that I can get yardages to exact spots on the course no matter where I am.

I own an iGolf Neo, which is one of the most affordable gps units on the market. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the uPro or Skycaddie, but it gets the job done and it gets it done at under $150 which is the best part.

Two of the companies I mentioned above though have had some big news in the past few weeks. I noticed on the web a few days ago about a couple major acquisitions that were made.

Here are the links to the press releases:



Now if you want to read those go ahead, but let me sum it up for you. Callaway recently went out and acquired uPlay which is the company that released the increasingly popular uPro gps unit. The uPro provides the user with flyovers of the hole much like what you see on Sunday at the final round of a PGA Tour event on CBS (this feature costs extra though).

Now, I really like Callaway's thoughts on this. They already have a rangefinder in the inventory so why not add a gps unit? Why not add the gps unit with the most hype? I really think with the Callaway backing and logo this gps unit will begin to sell more and more than what it has in months past. Not only that, but I think you will see become more readily available in local shops with the Callaway backing.

The first link I have of the two covers Bushnell's recent acquisition of iGolf. Now we all know Bushnell is famous for their rangefinders, but they recently entered the golf gps market with their Yardage Pro which used iGolf's gps mapping to provide distances.

Now as I said I am a customer of iGolf and while I will say there products are fabulous and very affordable they still lack in a few areas. Customer service is an area where improvement is much needed and maybe with the Bushnell acquisition this will aid in that area. I also believe that the Bushnell name will help provide more face time for the iGolf units than the iGolf name did. In fact, iGolf recently launched two new units the Saturn, a full color gps that provides hole layout, and the Triton, a black and white unit that is more full featured than the Neo. I really think with the changes in the products name that you will begin to see more and more of their products as well.

All in all, the two acquisitions will benefit both acquiring party and the party acquired. This will allow more people to see the uPro technology and iGolf technology while giving both Callaway and Bushnell more products to attack the market share owned by Skycaddie and other gps units.

On a side note, if you have never tried a golf gps unit go out and give one a go. I think you might really enjoy the benefits it gives you.

Hit 'em straight!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Super Cool Golf Sites!

OK so that is a really cheesy heading, isn't it? Well, I was having writers block for the moment.

So are you ever sitting around at the computer wondering if there are any golf sites on the web that you could pay a visit to, but you aren't sure which sites to visit? Well, I have a few great sites to visit!

Let's get started.......

1. http://www.14stix.com/

I don't know how many of you have ever visited 14stix.com, but this is a neat site. If you ever visited woot.com and you love golf then 14stix.com is perfect for you.

Basically, 14stix.com has a deal of the day and it is a different deal each day. I check this site on a regular basis and they have some great deals. The site is very functional as well. I love the fact that they let you know exactly how many items are remaining for sale.

I just recently found out about 14stix.com and I have followed it every day since then. I highly suggest that each and everyone of you should check out this site!

2. http://www.mygolfspy.com/

Are you longing for photos of clubs you haven't seen? What about products that aren't even out yet? Well, if you answered yes to either one of those questions then this site is a must visit.

mygolfspy.com provides a daily updated blog that follows the ins and outs of the golf world. A majority of their blog entries cover golf clubs or golf products for every golfer. I know, that for myself, I have found plenty of useful knowledge about golf products that I wasn't aware of.

The big thing for me is their special articles. I have read so many great "how to" articles on mygolfspy.com. This is another must see site!

3. http://www.golfwrx.com/

Do you like forums? If you like both forums and golf then this is the best golf forum in the world! I have been a member with GolfWRX for a while now and I visit the site on a daily...well hourly basis.

This site is chock full of tons of information. Bag pictures from tournaments? Check. Swing tips? Check. Club making info? Check. Tour news? Check. The list goes on and on!

Another great feature is the for sale part of the forum. I have made a few purchases for my golf bag on the site. You can find great deals from people who are looking to offload their equipment and you can get that for a great price.

A golf addict could waste many a hours a day on GolfWRX! It is definitely worth the visit, but if you get hooked it isn't my fault.

4. http://www.stracka.com/

Stracka is a very nice website that I discovered about four months ago. Stracka combines blogs, forums, stat tracking, handicaps, etc. all into one package. The blogs are a great way to speak your mind if you don't feel like starting your own blog page. They are also great for getting your blog out there in the golfing community.

The forums are average, but they aren't the main focus. I really enjoy the ability to track stats while I am on the course. If you have a cell phone with the ability to connect to the web you can post your score, GIR and fairways hit all while you play via their mobile app. It is really great to do that while you play.

They recently introduced handicap clubs, which is a great feature, if you are travel golfer like I am. I play so many different courses that this allows me to start a golf club on their site with a minimum of 10 people and establish a legit USGA handicap. You will still have to have a handicap chair, which means they have to take the test, but I have taken the test it is a piece of cake.

Stracka.com's wealth of options can keep you busy for hours. If you are looking for stat tracking and online handicaps with a little flair of Myspace for the golfing world then check out Stracka today!

These four sites should give you hours of fun so I will leave you with these four for the moment.

Hit 'em Straight!