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storm319

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  1. DTC technically refers to the product originator (not necessarily the producer) selling to the consumer directly while bypassing 3rd party retail, wholesale, and/or distribution. The point is to eliminate unnecessary intermediary margins that result in additional retail markup. In the case of Maxfli, it is a house brand of DSG and only sold in their retail locations so classifying that as DTC is acceptable because DSG has full control over the marketing/distribution/retail portion of the supply chain. Costco’s Kirkland balls qualify as well. Additional to this particular industry, most consider the fact that balls considered to be DTC are produced in independent, white label factories not owned by the originator. The most direct form of distribution in this industry would be purchasing a urethane offering from Acushnet, Bridgestone, or Callaway (all fully manufactured in wholly owned facilities) via their website.
  2. storm319

    TM buys Nassau

    Some outlets have referred to the 2019 Foremost situation as an outright acquisition while others have referred to it as a joint venture which implies that Taylormade does not fully own it. Either way they now have full or majority control over the two biggest/best white label ball factories in the world. At a minimum they should be able to curb future IP infringement and have the potential to squeeze out or limit new entrants into the DTC market if they wish. I’m actually surprised that Acushnet didn’t do this years ago.
  3. storm319

    TM buys Nassau

    Much of this is incorrect. First, all ball brands under Acushnet are produced in a factory that they fully own, they do not outsource any ball production (plants 3 & 4 for multilayer cast thermoset urethane models, plant 2 for injection molded cover models, plant C for custom stamping). Next, Nassau did not produce balls for Nike as they specialize in cast thermoset urethane covers (process established in partnership with Taylormade in the mid-2000’s), Nike’s urethane models were all injection molded TPU produced by Bridgestone from 2000-2010 then at the SM Parker factory in China (formerly Fantom) starting with the 20xi line I believe. Nassau’s largest customer in the past couple of decades has far and away been Taylormade. Also, switching to a different factory is not an easy task nor is it without implications. The biggest challenge is going to be with the cover production method. I am only aware of 5 facilities in the world that currently have thermoset casting capabilities in any real capacity and those are all now fully or partially owned by Acushnet and Taylormade. Dimple patterns are also generally limited to what the factory already has unless the customer wants to pay for new tooling (which short of the big ones like Callaway, Taylormade, or previously Nike doesn’t really happen). Remember the Snell MTB Red? That was Dean’s attempt at offering a new option at a time that Nassau did not have capacity so he went to another factory (Fantom/SM Parker) which resulted in a ball with a TPU cover and Nike’s 336 dimple pattern which. The ball was universally panned and lasted less than a year because it was nothing like Dean’s prior work. Core and mantle production methods are more generic across the industry which makes factory migration easier, but I would imagine it is a bit more involved than a few weeks of back and forth.
  4. To be fair, the only real authority these organizations have is over their hosted events and they even have a history of not aligning on rules. While regulating course conditions is unprecedented, there really is nothing to stop the USGA from adding it in the rulebook although it is highly unlikely given that they have historically been one of the worst offenders when it comes to unsustainable conditioning (especially fairway height). Setting a good example at the US Open could potentially go a long way. This first new local rule is a reasonable change since adoption above 46” is almost non-existent. The second proposal of lowering the upper CT tolerance is reasonable as well but again will have minimal impact. The third proposal is incredibly ambiguous which is concerning and opens the door for a potentially sizable rollback of the ODS which has clearly been the target all along. Ultimately the USGA has had a poor track record when it comes to equipment regulation so it is reasonable for stakeholders to be skeptical and want to push back against any proposal.
  5. The 2 year cycle is nearly complete for this generation so they would be making this move around this time anyways to ready production for the new release next spring. The big differences this time are the current inventory shortages due to supply chain issues and unprecedented demand brought on by the pandemic. That particular WRX OP only states that current model production is ending in favor of the next rollout, the branding change is simply speculation (that OP later posted that his source who I would guess is a sales rep may be misinformed about the new replacement being “different”).
  6. By “just heard” do you mean read a speculative post by a random person on the internet? Keep in mind the the current generation has come to the end of its product cycle for which production would be discontinued around this time under normal conditions. The big difference with this transition will be the inventory gap due to the current climate (low supply + high demand brought on by the pandemic), granted the season is coming to an end in much of the country so we are entering into a period of lower demand anyways. As for a potential rebranding, the WRX post was ambiguous without any actual information other than current production has halted which aligns with what this OP stated. My guess is that WRX user heard this from a local sales rep which should be taken with a grain of salt given that it is highly unlikely that reps would have any actual info on a new product that isn’t set to launch for 5 or 6 months. If Callaway does decide to rebrand, it won’t be due to the current line exceeding sales expectations.
  7. That is not universally possible as spin is primarily based on angle of attack and strike location (speed can exaggerate these but given optimal club delivery it won’t have much of a direct effect on spin). The best the USGA would be able to do is set spin minimums based on specific sets of less than optimal swing variables in order to further punish poor strikes however OEMs could make club adjustments to adapt to the new optimal.
  8. Inconsistent messaging from CS at should not be a surprise considering that it is likely among the lowest paid roles (assuming they are even directly employed given that many companies outsource CS). Additionally sales reps are not as informed as you would expect (many times tour seeding and conforming list pics leak well before most sales reps see anything). Basically I would take anything you hear from CS or a local sales rep with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that internal communication at large companies tends to be a struggle even during the best of times and this pandemic has been even worse in this respect.
  9. He is technically correct but it was not isolated to liquid cores, all wound balls had CG closer to the center than modern solid core multilayer balls. The problem with his suggestion is that there is no realistic way to enforce a CG requirement for golf balls. The physical attributes of the ball that relate to distance that can be realistically measured already are limited by the USGA (weight, diameter, dimple symmetry). If adding more spin off the tee is the goal, the USGA would have to create some type of reactionary test under a specific set of swing variables similar to the current ODS and velocity tests.
  10. The only US based ball plants are in Massachusetts (Callaway & Acushnet), Georgia (Bridgestone), and South Carolina (Taylormade). Additionally, Callaway’s Chromesoft line and ERC Soft are currently produced in their Chicopee, MA and nowhere else. Their other ionomer offerings are outsourced to Foremost in Taiwan which may be part of the reason for the recent shortages of Supersofts.
  11. Multilayer urethane balls use ionomer for the mantle layers so if that is the problem we will likely see shortages across the board.
  12. Dual cores designs are the real problem as there is a larger margin of error when trying to center the inner core due to the size of the outer core and method of molding a core. Injection molding mantles and covers are much easier to get right consistently (and thickness deviations aren’t as drastic due to their relatively thin nature vs a core).
  13. I stand corrected (Chip Brewer references this in the video below). An important thing to keep in mind is that much of the investment was focused on expanding/updating the physical building, production capacity, human capital, and simply replacing archaic equipment. We’ll probably never know what part of that went directly to QA or whether the new equipment just resulted in a more consistent product, but Callaway definitely didn’t drop $50 mil simply because of one of Tony’s social media posts (although you may be able to give him credit for their addition of xray QC). Also, I'm not trying to pick on Callaway as all OEMs struggle with consistently centering dual core designs (I personally swore them off after seeing an extremely misaligned NXT Tour nearly a decade ago).
  14. Actually, Callaway was already a couple of years into their 5 year, $50 mil investment plan when the 2019 test came out so it was not a reaction to the bad press (although the way that they continually brought it up during damage control made it seem that it was a reaction to the test). I do agree that the release of the results this time around were a bit lack luster given the build up.
  15. Both Nassau and Foremost produce the core/mantle assemblies for their urethane models at the moment with cover assembly/finishing/stamping/QA/packaging happening in TMs South Carolina facility (ionomer models are 100% outsourced to Foremost and some unknown Chinese factories). Core/mantle production was exclusively Nassau until recently where they started moving some capacity over to Foremost. Tony Covey has mentioned multiple times that they are moving everything to Foremost (may be weaning off Nassau), but I am still seeing both at retail (box states core/mantle country of origin, Korea = Nassau / Taiwan = Foremost).
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