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Taylormade CEO Fuming! - Wants New Rules For Hackers


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TaylorMade-Adidas Golf president and chief executive officer Mark King is fed up, frustrated and fuming about golf's lack of growth. He's lobbying for a new set of rules to make the game easier for beginners and recreational players, like using 15-inch cups and letting them toss their golf balls out of bunkers.

 

King's ideas may be a bit exaggerated, but he's dead serious about creating a new way to play.

 

"We are not getting new people to come into the game. If we're going to change their behavior, it's going to have to feel like it's completely radical," said King, during an interview at the PGA Merchandise Show. "Even when we do attract new golfers, they leave within a year. Do you know why? It's not because it takes too much time. It's not because it's too expensive. It's because it's no fun. It's really hard.

 

 

 

 

READ FULL ARTICLE: http://www.golfweek.com/news/2011/jan/28/frustrated-taylormade-chief-lobbies-new-rules/

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I think that he is going in the right direction with this, but don't most recreational golfers do this any way. I have played with many different golfers from a scratch golfer to a 25 handicap. And they all change the rules a little. Like playing leaf ball during the late fall and if the sand is way too hard do to rain than we don't play out of the bunkers. I am just saying most of the rules that the PGA has can not really apply to recreational golfers because we don't get the opportunity to play the same courses that they do..

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I don't know the exact numbers but I bet if you go back to pre-Tiger days and compare them to now you will not see that much difference. This is not about rules or the game getting harder. We simply saw a huge rise in new golfers taking up the game because of the Tiger-Effect and many of those golfers have left or are leaving the game.

 

His allure has simply worn off to the majority of the population.

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While there's no question that his comments are driven by his desire for more $$$, I don't think that he's entirely wrong. He is wrong about cost not being a deterrent, I have a number of friends who don't play or don't play much because golf is damned expensive. That said, I do have other friends who don't play because the game has a steep learning curve and they don't have much desire to embarrass themselves. While I'm not opposed to the idea of a set of "novice/beginner/hacker rules," I do wonder whether they would help much. Consider that nothing is stopping anyone from playing by whatever rules they want right now. I could take a friend out to the course and tell them, "Just pick up after 10 shots, throw it out of bunkers, etc" but, whether I made these rules or the USGA did, would anyone want to play by them?

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I've seen this topic get pretty heated on a few message boards. You have ultra conservative guys and ultra recreational guys going at it and it gets ugly. I'm sort of in the middle - most people play by a set of local rules anyway. I don't know about a 15 inch cup though.

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The 15 inch cup seems impractical. Are you going to have two cups on every green? What is one cup is in the line of the other?

 

I read a suggestion somewhere that they build more executive and par 3 courses, which I think is a fine idea, though perhaps there are enough already, I don't know. Whether there are enough or not, I think those types of establishments should be better publicized as avenues to get into the game. You can play there without all the pressure, you don't need a full bag of equipment, and it might get some people hooked on the game.

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IMHO people are not so into golf because the learning curve is just so steep. I have a few colleagues who are just picking up the game, but it will be months before they are ready to bring their game from the lesson tee to a real golf course.

 

Compare that to soccer, basketball, tennis, just about anybody can dive right into it and have some fun.

I think the keys to getting people play golf for the long term are getting them good at it, and injury avoidance. And with proper techniques, one would be less likely to get injured.

 

For this to happen, we need more affordable golf instructions. Starting out golf is not cheap, and I think if the major golf brands want to insure long term growth of the market, they should sponsor golf lessons. This would ultimately help grow the game, and sustain interest for the long term. Golf teachers would also need not worry so much about paying the bills, just concentrate on providing good instructions.

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The PGA doesn't have their superstar right now, just a bunch of Chris Boshs...no Lebrons. Tell Taylor Made to find a guy who can become a media favorite and run with it.

 

Also, we are becoming a more cost conscious population after the recent economic downturn. How about they lower the price on golf clubs? Shock the world and offer a $100 driver for 80% of the golf population that can't break 90. Offer a $200 set of irons. Enough with this investment we have to make in order to have a little fun. Granted green fees are a little outrageous (the city-owned courses here in Texas are making a killing with their cheaper prices) but offer the golfer a cheaper way to enjoy the game.

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Also, we are becoming a more cost conscious population after the recent economic downturn. How about they lower the price on golf clubs? Shock the world and offer a $100 driver for 80% of the golf population that can't break 90. Offer a $200 set of irons. Enough with this investment we have to make in order to have a little fun.

 

Agreed, but people NEED to buy expensive stuff to feel good about their game. For example, Wilson/Staff irons. The "7" series (Ci7, Di7) used to sell for just $300 new, and even though they were extremely high performance irons, they just didn't have the "Taylormade" or "Callaway" sticker in front. People just discharged them because "there surely is a reason why they are so cheap and surely that's a bad thing, but the $1000 Callaway FT-i irons surely offer me a better game or they wouldn't be priced that high". W/S irons now are priced near the $600 line, and surprisingly, they are selling more right now than they did before.

 

Its definitely not the case in the U.S., but in some other countries, most of latin america for example, playing golf is a symbol of status and wealth, just as driving a Jaguar or high-end Mercedes can be. Those people NEED to keep the prices high enough to keep the game exclusive, since they don't want to share the time with "other kind of people". I know it sounds stupid but its so true! I know people who are paying two mortgages and sold their car, but keep buying the newest most expensive driver every 6 months when Taylormade releases it...

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Agreed, but people NEED to buy expensive stuff to feel good about their game. For example, Wilson/Staff irons. The "7" series (Ci7, Di7) used to sell for just $300 new, and even though they were extremely high performance irons, they just didn't have the "Taylormade" or "Callaway" sticker in front. People just discharged them because "there surely is a reason why they are so cheap and surely that's a bad thing, but the $1000 Callaway FT-i irons surely offer me a better game or they wouldn't be priced that high". W/S irons now are priced near the $600 line, and surprisingly, they are selling more right now than they did before.

 

Its definitely not the case in the U.S., but in some other countries, most of latin america for example, playing golf is a symbol of status and wealth, just as driving a Jaguar or high-end Mercedes can be. Those people NEED to keep the prices high enough to keep the game exclusive, since they don't want to share the time with "other kind of people". I know it sounds stupid but its so true! I know people who are paying two mortgages and sold their car, but keep buying the newest most expensive driver every 6 months when Taylormade releases it...

 

 

And that is why it's so sad, because it's so true.

 

I have friends that don't want to take up the game because of the supposed high investment costs and/or the learning curve... but come on! If EVERYONE, from the Callaway's to the Acer's lowered prices, the perception would NOT be so bad (still waiting to see if Mr. George Fellows follows through with making the game more affordable). Not only that, there'd be money left in the coffer for lessons! How does the game of golf really lose? I mean, other than the CEO's making a little less money, everyone else (courses, PGA teachers, etc.) would make more. It seems like golf's infrastructure would be made stronger overall by this.

 

This is why I game the clubs I game. I'm not a bad golfer (not great either, but above average), yet I don't spend two months worth of wages whenever some company rolls out their "new and shiny". Not only does this leave me with more money for greens fees, I can provide for my family guilt-free (could you imagine? "Yeah, the power got shut off, but I just got that SWEET forged iron set that looks and plays the same as last year's set") and without any hassle from the wife.

 

The PERCEPTION is what I would want to change. Go ahead and play whatever you like (except counterfeits), but gaming a full set of "big boys" means absolutely nothing. People want to grow the game? Get that ridiculous notion out of people's heads. Hard to do when it's shoved down everyone's throat, but it can be done.

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Justin,

 

Your not the only one with a cheap bag, I'm play off low single figures and except for wedges and the odd putter, I've never bought a brand new club. I just wait 6 months for something if I really want it, until it's half the price. I don't care about the odd scratch, they're golf clubs, they'll look like that eventually anyway.

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Well good custom fitted equipments do help one to play golf better... so by buying golf equipments at a low discounted price from an outlet might not really bring the best result in one's golf. :D:)

 

Anyway, not fully enforcing the rules of golf during a recreational play is fine by me (since most of my mates use non-conforming clubs and they don't seem to have much difference from the conforming ones (we are just amateurs)) but changing the cup to a bigger size, and throw the ball out of bunker? that's stretching a little too far that's not golf...Why not change the name of the game and call it floff or sloff and place it in a recreational park! come one, golf is about the challenge... It won't be fun if there is no challenge in a game isn't it? ;)

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All that man cares about is his companys bottom line, and even then probably only because his multi-million dollar bonus is related to it.

There is another game PUTT PUTT!!!

he's all about volumn in sales.

Get involved wih kids , that,s the future.

The baby boomers are going into the retirement.

He's more into Sailing and Selling

Wake up the ecomony has been down.Golf is not free!

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Justin,

 

Your not the only one with a cheap bag, I'm play off low single figures and except for wedges and the odd putter, I've never bought a brand new club. I just wait 6 months for something if I really want it, until it's half the price. I don't care about the odd scratch, they're golf clubs, they'll look like that eventually anyway.

 

 

+1!

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Well heres my 2 cents worth : I have been around this game all my life and it has changed. My dad was a pro at a small public 9 hole course for years. The course was a great beginners course and also had a short 9 hole par 3course. I watched people take up and play the game for years. Some stayed there for their entire golfing life some improved and moved on to more challenging courses. I think part of the problem is that a lot of those smaller tracks have closed up and these newer courses are too hard and frustrating for the beginning and "average Joe weekend golfer". I can remember when we sold Ram Fastback clubs cheap. I can remember those sets were Driver and 3 and 5 wood with 3 5 7 9 PW and you had a choice of 3 different putters and a bag. My dad being the good guy he was would throw in a dozen "lake balls" on the deal. If I remember right the whole deal was around $65 or $70.He sold a ton of those sets. He did not make but maybe $10 or so on the deal but he said he would make it up on rounds being played and loyal customers he as right. Today it is a different type of customer. Pepole see all the hype and have to have the top line stuff. I used to try to sell trade ins cheap to people that were interested in the game but they wanted he newest and "longest" hitting stuff. I also for the life of me cannot understand people I see and hear people trying to play these hard courses from the back tees all the time i am talking about people that cant break 100 on a 6000 yd course playing a72 7400 yd course from the tips. I hear them in the restuarants all the time"you know that (insert name of course) really broke my balls today but I shot 125 from the tips but Joe won he shot 119. How in the heck can it be fun?? i guess different strokes for different folks. I also think here is too much Golf instruction on TV and print media today people read and see all this and they get confused and then get discouraged and quit the game. Also I think the price of green fees in this tight economy has hurt the game. Yes I know thecosts of maintaing a golf course but people are so demanding they think every golf course has to maintain the standards they see on tv They probably would not play some of the courses I grew up on and I still down here play some of the older less maintained courses Yep people have changed and Golf along with it but I think not for the better

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