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Big Company vs. Small Company

 

I often get asked the question “do you actually think you can compete with the big companies such as Titleist?” My answer to this question is “oh hell yes!” There's enough love to go around! There are certainly enough opportunities out here on the “big show” to capitalize on. Conversely do I think Solus can become the number 1 wedge on the PGA Tour? In my minds eye, yes, realistically, no. The reason being you are dealing with not just one big company, but several all of which have deep, deep pockets and they are not shy of spending it! I will expand more in the “player contract” section later, but money is the single one factor that controls all that goes on out here with equipment. If you don't believe me pay close attention to the logo bags during the tournaments, why do you think you see so many of the same brands, money! The sole reason for being here is to validate our technology and conduct player testing while getting in front and offering our technology to the players we think we can help. I am a stats watcher/tracker, if I see a player that is struggling within the short game that is who I will approach the next week. Believe me they will welcome help especially if they are really struggling.

 

The player not only has the pressure of the playing status to stay out, but now must perform to keep it! Naturally we can't be everything to every player so our technology isn't for everyone just as is true with any other brand. This is the reason sometimes you will see a player really struggle after changing brands or contracts, the equipment may not fit their game. Sometime the player completely disappears for the season until he or she makes a change in the off season. I had no expectations of being able to come out here and own the wedge world, it is a pipe dream. The money creates and develops brand loyalty; yes, you have to pay to play so to speak.

Now with that said all is not lost! We will get clubs in play especially this year with the new FC-10. Our R&D out here on tour has proved to be our biggest asset. We listen and then deliver the product the players are looking for. Believe me when I say the player likes the fact we listen to their feedback and develop the products using this feedback, and then I go back to the players with the finished product. They love being part of the development and the fact that someone is really listening to them. The bigger the company the less they listen to these guys. Whether the product t is good or not they are paid to play the equipment, period.

 

Yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly I am asked to aged old question of “how many clubs to you have in play?” or “who's playing your club?” you don't know how old this gets. Does this really matter? Realistically on the PGA Tour we have about 10 to 15% of the players that we can actually get into the bag with. The Champions Tour where there aren't all the contracts and money we have around 10-15 clubs in play, the same holds true with the Nationwide, brand loyalty exists everywhere. It doesn't take long for you to figure this one out, look during any round and see what logo is on the bag, that bag 99% of the time will have that entire brand in play with the remote exception of the putter. The higher up the money list the fewer off brands will show up in the bag.

 

It is the nature of the beast! The big brands pay a lot of money to have bragging rights to be number one in a particular category on tour. We don't have the money to play this game and never will. We do have our technology though! You see this game can become a bidding war between companies. If you start a “pay for play” program and involves players that are under contract brace yourself the stakes will be raise on you in a jiffy to the point you and your company must back off and go back to your corner. These games go on all the time, but the consumer never really realizes the nuts and bolts of this game.

 

I have had fans in the stands call me over to see how many wedges I have sold to the pros thus far. Not to be funny but this is a joke! First of all the players are not paying for anything nor am I selling anything, you can take that to the bank! These players ask, they get, no questions asked; it is a right of passage for making it to the PGA Tour! Put that to rest. On an average over the past, say four years I have distributed an average of close to 600 wedges per year across all of the tours. Naturally, there is a cost associated with this. Not only do we have the head costs but we get grips from Golf Pride and shafts from True Temper which have been distributed for play on tour and tour only. So we all share in this expense! Hey you have to pay to play!

 

So in review we are out here because we have a superior club that has been validated on the PGA Tour and is in play. There are a lot of golf manufacturers that cannot brag about this, we can. We have committed to spending the monies to support being out here and develop products that are tour tested. We are on the front row so to speak and have paid and earn out stripes to be here! The next time you go into a retailer and they steer you to one of the bigger companies to buy your wedges keep in mind the only real reason is they have something or some players name to drop on you to tell you the reason why you should buy a particular product.

 

Well I don't know about you but if my game were at that level of play I would be there, wouldn't you? Just because a particular player is playing this product, keep in mind the chances he is being paid to play it! This makes a big difference! The consumer is brain washed into this as is the players. Hell there are players out here that can't play it if it doesn't have a particular brand stamped on it! I had a player tell me at the Transitions Championship that our new FC-10 would be perfect if it had Callaway stamped on it! Go figure.

 

Believe me when I say this, if little Solus had 60 wedges in play each week on the PGA Tour the same thing would hold true, we would find ourselves in the same position as we are today, we cannot say who is playing it. The majority of the contracts out here have a built in clause that doesn't allow the player contracted to endorse another brand period. Oh, yes we could brag on the win but believe me the first time I used a players name in one of my tour reports or blogs I would be called to the mat the very next week. In most cases, I would do nothing more than damage a friendship or relationship with the player that I have developed over the years. It's not worth it in the long run. So the next time you think of this now you know why! I could write for days on my experiences over the years with various player and companies arguing or pressuring a player to take our club out. If that fails they make every effort to “knock” us off! When in reality they have logos on all four corners and the general public will never really know, but the pressure will remain on the player as long as he is being paid! Remember one thing, we are out here and that speaks volumes!

 

By: Mark Thomas (Solus Tour Rep)

http://solusgolf.blogspot.com/

#TruthDigest
 

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Thanks Mark for the interesting read. I agree, the people out there are brain washed into buying the major brands, a lot of times with out even hitting the club. Such a bad mistake, but it doesn't take long for those people to seek help, lesson and getting fitted. I personally haven't played your wedges, just due to the fact I haven't been able to hit them yet, and I won't buy anything without hitting it. I wish you all the luck, and hope make more inroads into the market.

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

very true.

 

working at Golf Galaxy people walk in and ask for Vokey or Cleveland when it comes to wedges... Won't even consider others. It is sad.

"Hey Ace... You got any more of that gum?" "That's none of your damn business and I'll thank you for staying out of my personal affairs." - Ace Ventura Pet Detective

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Big Company vs. Small Company

 

I often get asked the question “do you actually think you can compete with the big companies such as Titleist?” My answer to this question is “oh hell yes!” There's enough love to go around! There are certainly enough opportunities out here on the “big show” to capitalize on. Conversely do I think Solus can become the number 1 wedge on the PGA Tour? In my minds eye, yes, realistically, no. The reason being you are dealing with not just one big company, but several all of which have deep, deep pockets and they are not shy of spending it! I will expand more in the “player contract” section later, but money is the single one factor that controls all that goes on out here with equipment. If you don't believe me pay close attention to the logo bags during the tournaments, why do you think you see so many of the same brands, money! The sole reason for being here is to validate our technology and conduct player testing while getting in front and offering our technology to the players we think we can help. I am a stats watcher/tracker, if I see a player that is struggling within the short game that is who I will approach the next week. Believe me they will welcome help especially if they are really struggling.

 

The player not only has the pressure of the playing status to stay out, but now must perform to keep it! Naturally we can't be everything to every player so our technology isn't for everyone just as is true with any other brand. This is the reason sometimes you will see a player really struggle after changing brands or contracts, the equipment may not fit their game. Sometime the player completely disappears for the season until he or she makes a change in the off season. I had no expectations of being able to come out here and own the wedge world, it is a pipe dream. The money creates and develops brand loyalty; yes, you have to pay to play so to speak.

Now with that said all is not lost! We will get clubs in play especially this year with the new FC-10. Our R&D out here on tour has proved to be our biggest asset. We listen and then deliver the product the players are looking for. Believe me when I say the player likes the fact we listen to their feedback and develop the products using this feedback, and then I go back to the players with the finished product. They love being part of the development and the fact that someone is really listening to them. The bigger the company the less they listen to these guys. Whether the product t is good or not they are paid to play the equipment, period.

 

Yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly I am asked to aged old question of “how many clubs to you have in play?” or “who's playing your club?” you don't know how old this gets. Does this really matter? Realistically on the PGA Tour we have about 10 to 15% of the players that we can actually get into the bag with. The Champions Tour where there aren't all the contracts and money we have around 10-15 clubs in play, the same holds true with the Nationwide, brand loyalty exists everywhere. It doesn't take long for you to figure this one out, look during any round and see what logo is on the bag, that bag 99% of the time will have that entire brand in play with the remote exception of the putter. The higher up the money list the fewer off brands will show up in the bag.

 

It is the nature of the beast! The big brands pay a lot of money to have bragging rights to be number one in a particular category on tour. We don't have the money to play this game and never will. We do have our technology though! You see this game can become a bidding war between companies. If you start a “pay for play” program and involves players that are under contract brace yourself the stakes will be raise on you in a jiffy to the point you and your company must back off and go back to your corner. These games go on all the time, but the consumer never really realizes the nuts and bolts of this game.

 

I have had fans in the stands call me over to see how many wedges I have sold to the pros thus far. Not to be funny but this is a joke! First of all the players are not paying for anything nor am I selling anything, you can take that to the bank! These players ask, they get, no questions asked; it is a right of passage for making it to the PGA Tour! Put that to rest. On an average over the past, say four years I have distributed an average of close to 600 wedges per year across all of the tours. Naturally, there is a cost associated with this. Not only do we have the head costs but we get grips from Golf Pride and shafts from True Temper which have been distributed for play on tour and tour only. So we all share in this expense! Hey you have to pay to play!

 

So in review we are out here because we have a superior club that has been validated on the PGA Tour and is in play. There are a lot of golf manufacturers that cannot brag about this, we can. We have committed to spending the monies to support being out here and develop products that are tour tested. We are on the front row so to speak and have paid and earn out stripes to be here! The next time you go into a retailer and they steer you to one of the bigger companies to buy your wedges keep in mind the only real reason is they have something or some players name to drop on you to tell you the reason why you should buy a particular product.

 

Well I don't know about you but if my game were at that level of play I would be there, wouldn't you? Just because a particular player is playing this product, keep in mind the chances he is being paid to play it! This makes a big difference! The consumer is brain washed into this as is the players. Hell there are players out here that can't play it if it doesn't have a particular brand stamped on it! I had a player tell me at the Transitions Championship that our new FC-10 would be perfect if it had Callaway stamped on it! Go figure.

 

Believe me when I say this, if little Solus had 60 wedges in play each week on the PGA Tour the same thing would hold true, we would find ourselves in the same position as we are today, we cannot say who is playing it. The majority of the contracts out here have a built in clause that doesn't allow the player contracted to endorse another brand period. Oh, yes we could brag on the win but believe me the first time I used a players name in one of my tour reports or blogs I would be called to the mat the very next week. In most cases, I would do nothing more than damage a friendship or relationship with the player that I have developed over the years. It's not worth it in the long run. So the next time you think of this now you know why! I could write for days on my experiences over the years with various player and companies arguing or pressuring a player to take our club out. If that fails they make every effort to “knock” us off! When in reality they have logos on all four corners and the general public will never really know, but the pressure will remain on the player as long as he is being paid! Remember one thing, we are out here and that speaks volumes!

 

By: Mark Thomas (Solus Tour Rep)

http://solusgolf.blogspot.com/

 

 

Maybe I am incredibly stupid, but I do not fathom the fascination the average golfer like me has with playing the same equipment as the pros. I understand that aluminum bats are very different from wooden bats, but does one ever see young baseball players in elite wooden bat leagues out looking for exact same bat as MLB stars? Do good or excellent recreational skiers run into the local shop demanding to see the 2010 model of skis and boots that Bode Miller had at the Olympics? I have never played tennis, but my friends who play(ed) indicate they were never very influenced by what equipment Pete Sampras or Roger Federer were using. Why are golfers so foolish as to believe that using the same equipment as the top 50 or 100 players in the owrld use will have any noticeable impact on their game?

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Maybe I am incredibly stupid, but I do not fathom the fascination the average golfer like me has with playing the same equipment as the pros. I understand that aluminum bats are very different from wooden bats, but does one ever see young baseball players in elite wooden bat leagues out looking for exact same bat as MLB stars? Do good or excellent recreational skiers run into the local shop demanding to see the 2010 model of skis and boots that Bode Miller had at the Olympics? I have never played tennis, but my friends who play(ed) indicate they were never very influenced by what equipment Pete Sampras or Roger Federer were using. Why are golfers so foolish as to believe that using the same equipment as the top 50 or 100 players in the owrld use will have any noticeable impact on their game?

 

I actually have a theory about this to answer what was probably a rhetorical question:

 

I don't think people appreciate/recognize pro golfers as athletes. Think about this: no one expects basketball shoes to make them jump higher. People do not go into Foot Locker and say, "Uh, I need the new LeBron's because I jump way too high, just like LeBron, and those will help cushion my landings after dunks." Why don't they say that? Because people appreciate that basketball players are phenomenal athletes who can do things that regular people can't. They understand that the gap between NBA players and themselves is not shoes or ankle braces, but natural ability. The average golfer, however, believes that with the right equipment they can hit the ball 300 yards. Why? Because they don't appreciate the level of athleticism involved in doing that, so they assume that the only difference between them and the pros is the equipment.

 

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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I doubt it works as simply as all that.

 

Granted that the smaller less productive pros might need to consider their contracts more important than their feel for a club, but that would be bread and butter talking and in that conversation, it has a very strong voice. The more productive pros can and often do drop a brand if ever they feel it's club isn't what they need. The club is but a tool and when it doesn't serve well enough, a change is often more profitable provided you truly feel the change will be sufficiently beneficial to your game.

 

There truly are brands that are almost instantly found acceptable by those of us with limited means, and we are more inclined to accept as good those brands that boast of being used by name players and are heavily advertised. We don't really know how thick and rounded a leading edge is, or should be. Neither do we really understand how much bounce should be on any wedge and where it should be placed. Most of us don't even have the vaguest of how to fully use the capabilities designed in these clubs. We are weekend warriors with all the attendant limitations the title dictates. There will, of course, be the minority that takes the time and trouble to educate themselves as to the nuances of club designs, but the far greater majority of us will make the miss and then console ourselves that it's our fault because we are using a name brand.

 

 

Shambles

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I actually have a theory about this to answer what was probably a rhetorical question:

 

I don't think people appreciate/recognize pro golfers as athletes. Think about this: no one expects basketball shoes to make them jump higher. People do not go into Foot Locker and say, "Uh, I need the new LeBron's because I jump way too high, just like LeBron, and those will help cushion my landings after dunks." Why don't they say that? Because people appreciate that basketball players are phenomenal athletes who can do things that regular people can't. They understand that the gap between NBA players and themselves is not shoes or ankle braces, but natural ability. The average golfer, however, believes that with the right equipment they can hit the ball 300 yards. Why? Because they don't appreciate the level of athleticism involved in doing that, so they assume that the only difference between them and the pros is the equipment.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

My thoughts. I have (note past tense) bought equipment before because my favorite player was playing them but it never crossed my mind that it would make me hit it 300 yards. I bought it for the same reason I bought those ugly Reebok Pumps that Shaq used to wear and those roman gladiator looking shoes Sir Charles used to endorse, I bought them because they were products used by the athletes I liked. Up to 2 years ago I used to buy Adidas footwear because Sergio, Justin Rose etc and a few other players I liked wore them and they looked good.

 

Did they improve my game? I don't think so but that was before I discovered places like GEA, GO, even the old GD discussion board. Guys who are here even as lurkers just taking a look will know more than 99% of the golf population out there.

 

Now I know off the bat what would probably fit me because of the knowledge I gain from these boards about companies like Solus and we know as well what may be lousy products (Poooooow, anyone?). The boards have the information so I won't be buying clubs that when they gets here I would have to adjust my game drastically.

 

Just to add. Everyone was a small company before in the golf world. Great companies with good products stay on longer. I'm sure when Hogan, Wilson, and Ram were ruling the roost Callaway and Titleist were small fish.

 

If Solus stays on the right track they may eventually become a big company. Titleist started out basically as a ball company. Then they spread everywhere and have had success in drivers, irons, Vokeys and Camerons.

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Let's not kid ourselves. Among amateur golfers, this is a prestige factor at work. How many times have we seen a beautiful set of blades (Mizunos, Scratch, Titleist, etc.) in a bag of a player that had no business gaming them. Or a tour driver? We've all been guilty of the desire to pimp our bags and gaming the same equipment that the pros play is part of that.

 

The more knowledgeable consumers (like the folks that frequent this board) gravitate towards exotic brands because it sets their bags apart. Did I like that someone came up to me yesterday on the practice green to ask about my Byron Morgan putter? Hell yes. Solus has that same cache among those in the know. But probably 95% of the general golfing public lacks that awareness.

Callaway FT-9 Driver 10.5* Grafalloy Prolaunch Axis Blue

Callaway FT-9 Driver 9.0* Grafalloy Prolaunch Platinum

Cobra Baffler Rail F Fairway 15.5* Fujikura Motore

Wilson FYbrid 19* UST Proforce AXIV Core

Cobra Baffler Rail H Hybrid 22* Fujikura Motore

Ping I15 Irons 5-UW AWT

Ping Tour-W 56*,60* DG Spinner

Ping Redwood ZB Putter, WRX Starshot, 35"

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I actually have a theory about this to answer what was probably a rhetorical question:

 

I don't think people appreciate/recognize pro golfers as athletes. Think about this: no one expects basketball shoes to make them jump higher. People do not go into Foot Locker and say, "Uh, I need the new LeBron's because I jump way too high, just like LeBron, and those will help cushion my landings after dunks." Why don't they say that? Because people appreciate that basketball players are phenomenal athletes who can do things that regular people can't. They understand that the gap between NBA players and themselves is not shoes or ankle braces, but natural ability. The average golfer, however, believes that with the right equipment they can hit the ball 300 yards. Why? Because they don't appreciate the level of athleticism involved in doing that, so they assume that the only difference between them and the pros is the equipment.

 

Thoughts?

 

Sat, the question was not rhetorical. I think you provided a very good answer, but it still does not sufficiently explain the degree to which golfers worship the equipment the top players use. I have noticed that in the past few years, retailers and the state-approved golf media have managed to convince the lemmings that custom-fitting is a good idea, and has caught on to some extent. How can the sheep possibly reconcile they need to be custom-fitted, yet demand said fitting be done with Tour-class equipment?

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Let's not kid ourselves. Among amateur golfers, this is a prestige factor at work. How many times have we seen a beautiful set of blades (Mizunos, Scratch, Titleist, etc.) in a bag of a player that had no business gaming them. Or a tour driver? We've all been guilty of the desire to pimp our bags and gaming the same equipment that the pros play is part of that.

 

The more knowledgeable consumers (like the folks that frequent this board) gravitate towards exotic brands because it sets their bags apart. Did I like that someone came up to me yesterday on the practice green to ask about my Byron Morgan putter? Hell yes. Solus has that same cache among those in the know. But probably 95% of the general golfing public lacks that awareness.

 

+1. In my recreational league my partner carries the lastest TM driver ( I can't even keep up with which model), FOUR Vokey wedges, last year's Ping irons (custom-fit) and a Scotty. He is ecstatic to shoot under 45 for 9. When I ventured that he might want to invest a small percentage of that $$$ in instruction, I was told it would be a waste of money. ;)

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Let's not kid ourselves. Among amateur golfers, this is a prestige factor at work. How many times have we seen a beautiful set of blades (Mizunos, Scratch, Titleist, etc.) in a bag of a player that had no business gaming them. Or a tour driver? We've all been guilty of the desire to pimp our bags and gaming the same equipment that the pros play is part of that.

 

The more knowledgeable consumers (like the folks that frequent this board) gravitate towards exotic brands because it sets their bags apart. Did I like that someone came up to me yesterday on the practice green to ask about my Byron Morgan putter? Hell yes. Solus has that same cache among those in the know. But probably 95% of the general golfing public lacks that awareness.

 

You're 100% right, and it's a point that I ignored in my response. Name recognition is a huge thing. My friend was proudly telling me about buying Titleist irons recently. Are they the best fit for him? Probably not, but he was happy to have that name in his bag because the Titleist name is equated with Tour success and being a player.

 

Sat, the question was not rhetorical. I think you provided a very good answer, but it still does not sufficiently explain the degree to which golfers worship the equipment the top players use. I have noticed that in the past few years, retailers and the state-approved golf media have managed to convince the lemmings that custom-fitting is a good idea, and has caught on to some extent. How can the sheep possibly reconcile they need to be custom-fitted, yet demand said fitting be done with Tour-class equipment?

 

I think the combination of believing it will make them play better and prestige/bragging rights/whatever you want to call it explains the phenomenon pretty well. I'm certainly open to there being other factors that I'm ignoring, but I never underestimate people's ability to convince themselves that this new club is going to turn things around for them (and make them look cool).

 

I don't think the emphasis on fitting needs to be seen as at-odds with the emphasis on Tour equipment, in fact, I think it enhances it. Everyone knows (or should know) that the tour players are custom fit for their equipment, so why shouldn't I be custom fit too? It's another step towards being more like the tour players, not less like them. I understand that logically, custom fitting would mean that people are playing clubs that are less Tour-ish. In truth, it means someone will walk into a golf store and say "I want to be fit for _____ (insert name of wildly ability-inappropriate club)" and so they buy the ill-fitting club in the right length and *maybe* with the right flex shaft.

 

Hopefully that makes sense or at least expresses what I'm trying to say.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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+1. In my recreational league my partner carries the lastest TM driver ( I can't even keep up with which model), FOUR Vokey wedges, last year's Ping irons (custom-fit) and a Scotty. He is ecstatic to shoot under 45 for 9. When I ventured that he might want to invest a small percentage of that $$$ in instruction, I was told it would be a waste of money. ;)

 

Let's see, I carry the lastest TM Nike driver, FOUR THREE Vokey CG15 wedges, Ping irons (custom-fit) and a Scotty Byron Morgan. He is I'm ecstatic to shoot under 45 for 9.

 

I guess I better invest in lessons. :)

Callaway FT-9 Driver 10.5* Grafalloy Prolaunch Axis Blue

Callaway FT-9 Driver 9.0* Grafalloy Prolaunch Platinum

Cobra Baffler Rail F Fairway 15.5* Fujikura Motore

Wilson FYbrid 19* UST Proforce AXIV Core

Cobra Baffler Rail H Hybrid 22* Fujikura Motore

Ping I15 Irons 5-UW AWT

Ping Tour-W 56*,60* DG Spinner

Ping Redwood ZB Putter, WRX Starshot, 35"

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Let's see, I carry the lastest TM Nike driver, FOUR THREE Vokey CG15 wedges, Ping irons (custom-fit) and a Scotty Byron Morgan. He is I'm ecstatic to shoot under 45 for 9.

 

I guess I better invest in lessons. ;)

 

 

You are a 14, he is a 27. When I say break 45, I mean on a course with a nine hole rating of between 33.5 and 34; it is relatively easy, and he might do it twice a year. I have seen your swing and you are not in the same league (pun intended).

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I take lessons every single spring, I think it's important and a great tool to learn, refresh and prepare you game for the summer! (which is where I do the bulk of my golfing). Rather have 4 lessons than the latest driver any day!

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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