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GolfSpy Barbajo

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Everything posted by GolfSpy Barbajo

  1. Rolex buyers don't buy a Rolex because they want to tell the time accurately. If that's what they want, a $20 Seiko is a better timepiece. Rolex buyers buy a Rolex because they want a Rolex. And maybe to feel a little like James Bond.
  2. I've heard of a similar story here - guy had a roadside farm stand and was selling tomatoes. He had two bins - one bin was marked 50 cents per tomato, the other marked $1 per tomato. These were the same tomatoes, they weren't separated by size, quality or anything. The $1 tomatoes sold out in no time. When the bin was empty, he took tomatoes out of the 50 cent bin and put them in the dollar bin, and sold out again. Price makes a statement...even when it comes to tomatoes.
  3. Outstanding topic! This is something Foz and I were kicking around while playing golf last weekend, so I'm glad someone posted. First off, I believe one thing: people (meaning the likes of us) are, by our very nature, NOT price buyers. That may sound antithetical to everything we think, believe, hear or read, but there's enough evidence to show that it's true. IF WE WERE PRICE BUYERS, the following would be true: The Yugo would have been the greatest selling car of all time. Anyone who works in sales would not be working - as all of whatever it is to sell would be sold by one entity, the one with the lowest price. There would be no concept of good-better-best. There would be no First class, comfort class or any other class on airplanes. Ruth Cris Steakhouse would not exist. I could go on, but you get the point. We like to think we're price buyers, but we're not. We may be bargain hunters, but that's not the same thing. Say you're bargain hunting for a golf shirt at a year end sale, and you find the cheapest one possible. Would you buy it if it was butt-ugly and two sizes too small? No, because style and fit are at least as important as price. (Sorry if this comes off as pedantic, but I teach a class in this for the day job ) Often time habit and/or comfort is a strong factor in why we buy what we buy. In the example of Chick-Fil-A vs. Zaxby's - logic and convenience says skip the line and hassle at Chick-Fil-A and head over to Zaxby's, but clearly that doesn't happen. It may be a blind loyalty to Chick-Fil-A, and no doubt there are people who love it and wear their Chick-Fil-A-ness as a badge of honor, but it's just as likely, if not more likely, that folks are simply used to going to Chick-Fil-A and tend to be risk-averse. It's easier and more comfortable to go to the place you've been going to - you know what you like, you know what to order and you know what to expect. That consistency of experience is powerful --- it's why you'll often see American tourists in Paris actually eating at a McDonalds - part of it is the oddity of eating a Big Mac in Paris, but the other you pretty much know what you're getting, and it's comforting. Hell, it's why chain restaurants are successful in the first place - when you're on the road and don't know where to eat, familiar is good. It's also why a show like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is popular - it takes a little of the risk out of trying something new when you visit somewhere, because hell, if Guy likes it, it must be safe. Tony has an interesting take on drivers, but it can be extended to any golf equipment -- if you look at Callaway, PING, Titleist and TaylorMade - you can consider those "safe" drivers. You know what to expect, you know they're going to perform. Cobra is also on that list, but a tad more fringe. When you start to look at other brands: Srixon, Wilson, Mizuno and others - they're not as safe. You may be taking a bit of a risk buying one of those instead of something you know won't rock the boat and won't suck. Chances are, those drivers will perform every bit as well as any of the others for you. And if you think Srixon, Wilson, Mizuno and the others should just lower their prices in order to sell more, well that does not compute. Price makes a statement. High price makes a positive, salutary statement, while low price makes a negative, derogatory statement. You mind says "this one's higher priced, it must be better. Why else would it be higher priced?" And conversely, "this one's lower priced, it must not be as good." It's interesting whenever we do a blog on PXG or any other premium equipment line (rememberer the P53 blog from last July 4th?), we sit around and wait for the blogosphere to lose its mind about price. The existence of high end, premium-price, premium experience equipment doesn't hurt you, me or anyone, and its existence doesn't mean one lower priced company has to close its doors. It's not a zero-sum game. And there's no evidence to suggest the existence of ultra-premium equipment is keeping people from playing the game. I don't know if you guys saw this, but Sub-70 golf equipment officially launched its products this week - it's a premium-type experience being sold factory direct online only (a la Hogan), with a limited initial offering. Its business model is VERY Hoganesque: you can only buy online, but they will custom-build your set to any specs you want. A set of forged irons starts at just a tick above $500. So in theory, if everyone thinks golf equipment is too expensive, these guys should clean up, right? They should be raking in the dough hand over fist, right? After all, the other thing we hear in the comments section on the blog and on social media is that marketing is all bullshit and do these golf companies think we're stupid? Logic says Hogan, Sub-70 and others should be on the fast track to Profit Town. I don't think marketing makes us think a specific product from a specific company will make us a better golfer, I think marketing is designed to make us feel more comfortable giving Callaway $500 for a new driver than we would be giving Mizuno or Wilson $500 for a new driver. That's why you hear about the Cortex - "for that kind of money it better be 20 yards longer than my M4!!!!" And lower the price of the Cortex isn't going to change that comfort equation. The point with Hogan or Sub-70 or others - the lower priced options are there. I spoke with an interesting dude at Hireko Golf several months ago and he maintains that, with the same shaft and loft structure, any one of the Hireko-sold irons will perform, for golfers like us, every bit as well as anything you can find from any main stream OEM in the same classification. That's a bold statement, and one I'd love to put to the test. But even if it's not the same, even if it's close - say a Callaway Rogue 7 iron goes 170 yards and the Hireko-made similar iron only goes 167 - would you buy it? Here's another thing - let's say the Big 5 iron set is $1,200, and you could get a comparable set custom-made to your specs with your shaft from, say, Sub-70, for $600. My guess is people would rather wait and buy the $1,200 set either used or discounted to, say, $800 than buy the unknown name for $600 brand new and custom built. Why? Comfort and safety. A $600 dollar set of irons is a $600 dollar set of irons in our eyes. But a $1200 dollar set of irons marked down to $800? Bargain!!!! Sorry for the rant, boys. It's raining and I've been listening to Lewis Black on Spotify all morning...
  4. Great to have spent the weekend with you Foz - really appreciate the friendship and the golf. Hope your surgery went well and that you'll be back better than ever soon!
  5. Fun playing with you again Foz! The weekend was a double-bogey fest for me, but on the fun scale it was a tap-in Eagle. Good luck this week Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  6. As for quality - they seem fine. Several range sessions and three rounds over the weekend and no problems. They’ve gone easy in the badging so I don’t know if these will have any issues. But they held up just fine and the feel of them certainly isn’t cheap. Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  7. I’d cut Wilson a little slack - they get sample sets to us for pictures and initial impressions. They sent me what they had in their same supply. They’re not actually coming out to be in stores until mid January. That’s one of the differences between one of the Big 5 and the challenger brands. They do what they can... Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  8. As mentioned in the Wilson ball thread, I got to spend the weekend in Tampa playing golf with Foz. Brought the demo set of Wilson Staff D7 irons to try - here are a few thoughts. 1. They are long - the lofts are strong (28* 7-iron), but they go long with a nice high flight. 2. They fly really, really high. 3. The soles are pretty wide - a good bit wider than Foz's Cobra F8 irons. Definitely in the Super Game Improvement category. 4. Top line is thicker as well - Wilson did a decent job of softening the look, but as it says above, it's a Super Game Improvement iron. 5. They're long. Did I mention they're long? They're long. 6. And they fly high. Really high. 7. How high? So high that I had more plugged shots on the green, fringe and fairway with these irons in 3 rounds than I've had in the past ten years. Yeah, it rained a lot, but these things would drop straight down. Crazy. 8. The shafts they sent me were regular flex, KBS Tour 80's - not anywhere close to fit for me. I usually play a C-Taper, so these were whippy and very soft in the tip, by comparison, which no doubt played a huge role in how high these flew. I mean high... 9. I'd be very interested to see how these perform in a slightly more stout shaft - maybe a C-Taper Lite. 10. Feel-wise, they really felt nice with on-center strikes---similar to the PING G-400. One other thing - you did get enough feedback when you hit it heel or toe, so off-center hits felt noticeably different. Which is good. 11. I know people may have feelings about the Power Holes, but I gotta tell you. After 54 holes of golf, they never once bothered me at address or during the swing, because they're on the freaking bottom of the club. 12. You could notice the flange at address, even with the wedges. Not horrible, but noticeable. But then again, if you're the tuype of player who doesn't like to see a flange at address, you're probably not the target market for these clubs. 13: Who is the target market? Honestly, anyone with a 10 handicap or over who wants a little more distance and doesn't mind the look, it's a solid iron. I'm a 6 (but trending in the wrong direction) and I could see these in my bag until I get my ball striking grooved. I like the feel (even though they're not forged) and they go far. Can't really talk about precision for two reasons - one is that these were my first rounds in over a month, and the other is those shafts really weren't right for me. Whenever I tried to give it a bit more oomph, nothing good happened. If I went with an easier swing and more club, results were better, although the left was in play a lot. 14. They go high. Did I mention that? Any questions?
  9. So the Florida Golf Weekend is over - 54 holes with Foz was a blast and a half! We played two rounds yesterday at Saddlebrook, and one round this morning at Pebble Creek - Foz's home course. First - the Duo Professionals: I like this ball - the low compression is what makes it stand out. Plenty of spin around the green and it's, well, soft. Colorwise I'm not a fan of the orange - but the matte yellow looks really nice, and the white is, well, white. At $34.99/dozen, it's not overpriced - but it is more than the $29.99 Q Star Tour from Srixon. I'd say both balls are very comparable - Wilson differentiates itself in both feel and available colors. The new Srixon Prototypes - new versions of the Z Star and the Z Star XV - were both excellent. They're noticeably harder than the Duo Professionals, but the new Z Star is noticeably softer than the previous version, as I had one in the bag to compare. I can't say if the XV is softer, as I didn't have one handy to compare, but I'd imagine that softness would be one of the improvements made. For their part, Srixon isn't telling yet. We had a little wind yesterday - and as always, Srixon balls perform admirable in the wind - nice and stable. I'd recommend either ball if you like Tour level performance. I'd say the Z Stars have a little bit of an edge, but I'd be fine playing either ball for the season.
  10. I'd agree - trade shows are traditionally part of your cost of doing business. In the plumbing and heating business, we have one huge national trade show and a crap-ton of minor national shows as well as regional shows. On one had, you do try to generate leads, but the real challenge is actually following up on those leads. Getting the leads is easy - doing something with them is hard, because as a manufacturer you're doing more with less as it is. Relationships, exposing potential customers to what you have and to remind your customer base that you're a serious player is the reason you're there, but if you can figure out how to figure out the ROI on that, you're 5 steps ahead of everyone else. So many of the people I interviewed for the article used the word optics, and it's a very descriptive term - both in terms of the showing the world the relative health of the industry. Can you imagine the hue and cry if three of the Big 5 skipped the show? As you know, the golf media and self-proclaimed experts everywhere LOVE a good feeding frenzy. "OMG - TaylorMade, Titleist AND PING aren't at the show? The industry's dying!!!" A perceived healthy industry is good for every business that exhibits at the show. Optics apply to individual companies -- you can tell the rumor mill surrounding TaylorMade is churning the waters already. Skipping the show won't be fatal though, after all - they're still TaylorMade. But if Wilson or Srixon skipped the show? These guys must be struggling. Hogan is an interesting test case - their eCommerce approach means the PGA Show is really meaningless to them. They'll have people attending the show and meeting with media and suppliers, simply because everyone will be in Orlando so it's convenient and cost-effective for them, but exhibiting would have no value whatsoever for them. It'll be interesting to see how New Level makes out. Eric isn't looking for retail channels, but he is expanding his base of fitters and PGA Pros. He told me he'd prefer to do just the demo day, but Reed says you can't have demo day unless you're also on the show floor, so he'll only be on the floor. My good buddy Seliano from Italy will be there this year with his Mati Putters - it'll be good to see him (he's a paisan!) and I hope he's able to create a market for himself in the US. Lynx is another interesting case. They had a very large booth last year to try to jump start its US business. They struck a deal with Dallas Golf and now have a US-based PR firm helping them. They'll be exhibiting again this year and will be at Demo Day, so it'll be interesting to see what they have and how they do. Rumor mill says they have a new driver they're very excited about. So yeah, it's relationships and meetings where all the people who can make things happen for smaller companies are in one place. As long as that dynamic exists, and the optics are important enough to the big guys to keep paying to anchor the show, I don't see the show going anywhere. It will evolve though, it has to. One source said if the PGA won't include consumers, there's an opportunity for someone to organize a major, consumer-focused Demo Day event that brings the energy of the PGA Show to the consumer. Question is - who would that be, and is that something you guys would consider trekking to?
  11. Flying to Florida as we speak with about a half dozen of these buggers in the bag, along with the Srixon prototypes. Will file a report once we're done - if I can remember which end of the stick to hold...
  12. And not for nothing on the D7's - they do launch high and go very far - pretty easy to hit. Hard to determine feel, since it was about 15 degrees and I was hitting half-frozen range balls. Also, the KBS Tour 80 isn't quite right for me, even at my advancing age, but the sticks are going to Florida next week so we'll see what we will see. The set makeup is 5 through gap, with the 5 coming in at 22* and the Gap at 48*. Will most likely pack the 52-56-60 wedge set, a 19* hybrid plus driver and FW. Have some golf scheduled with RevKev and Foz - we'll post pictures!
  13. Not so sure about a new V6. The old clock on the wall says it's time but there's nothing out of Wilson suggesting anything is imminent - they usually give us an idea when releases will be announced. We knew the D7 irons date two months ago, and we already know when the woods will be announced, but there's nothing on an update for the V6. They did refresh it a bit last year with the Raw version, and they haven't dropped the price any, which is always a sure indicator of a replacement in the pipeline. Pergande said the D series is by far their biggest seller, so much so that even if they have an edition that is, by their standards, a bad seller, it'll still sell more sets than anything in the FG Tour family, simply because of demographics. All that said, there is an update on those sexy blades Gary Woodland is bagging. Pergande says they're still prototypes and testing with Woodland and Brendan Steele is still ongoing...and if it all goes well, Pergande says Wilson "will find a a way to commercialize them" at some point in the first half of 2019. No guarantees, but that's what they're thinking...
  14. Dunno - good chance Foz and the Rev will get to see them this coming weekend....
  15. Hogan is interesting - given their recent history. The digs they had at the old Fort Worth newspaper building were fancier, but ultimately is went away part and parcel of their 2017 bankruptcy. The company right now is right-sized for its business...and while the digs could be a bit fancier, it suits their needs for where they are right now. Modest is the word of the day... As with pretty much every OEM, their heads are manufactured and finished in China at a high-end forging house, and they're assembled in Fort Worth under Steve Dreyer's watchful eye. They do no testing for fitting there - so no hitting bays or anything. It's strictly assembly. Can you keep a secret?
  16. Had some time today in Fort Worth and paid a visit to the Ben Hogan HQ on the city’s outskirts. The setup was as Hogan’s Tyler Brewton described - a working assembly facility and not much else. It’s in an out of the way business park, and when you e tee you walk right Into the assembly room. It was quiet there today - manufacturing chief Steve Dreyer said they’re on winter schedule working four 9-hour days and one four hour day for 40 hours. There are 10 full time employees plus a handful of what Tyler calls contract workers. The back end of the building in storage and inventory, with a break room and a couple of offices. Pretty bare befitting an online only company. Did get to see some of the stuff they’ll be adding to the line next year. All I can say is if you’re a Hogan fan, you’re going to like it, and at least one item I saw looked like a home run. I did get to interview Steve Dreyer for our Hogan story last year, and I met him briefly back in 2015, but I was proud to be able to shake his hand today. It’s not every day you get to shake hands with a guy who shook hands with Ben Hogan. Took a few pics - some classic Hogan clubs on display, plus some of the assembly and warehouse are. Any questions, lemme know... They had some classic clubs on display - including g a deer of Hogan Precision irons, with as sharp of a butter-knife 1-iron as I’ve ever seen... wish I could hit the damn thing... Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  17. Heading to Dallas on day job business - thought I might sashay over to Fort Worth and visit the Hogan folks while there...

  18. With Pincollect, you simply hold your hand over the cup once you've holed out and press the button for your number of putts. The GPS then records the location of the pin along with the putts. It's reasonably accurate - I've had to move the pin a little afterwards, but for civilian GPS, it's not bad.
  19. Ditto on the above - Happy Birthday ole timer....
  20. He’s 22. My guess is there was a girl involved....[emoji41][emoji41] Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
  21. I was texting and watching when the last segment started and totally missed the pop up ad. Saw some comments on Twitter and had to check the DVR - mercy what a gaffe by Golf Channel! I read a comment somewhere - I think it was in the blog comments - along the lines of who would buy a driver designed by an amateur. Two things... 1. Evan is a professional industrial designer, meaning he does stuff like this for a living. Tim is an engineering student - so these guys have some chops. 2 - and more importantly, once the basic ideas were in, Wilson's R&D team did a lot of the guiding and heavy lifting. The biggest problem with the Magnus was the kid wouldn't listen to the experts when it came to advice, ideas, etc. The fact he made it to the final three is, in fact, kind of remarkable.
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