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Pinetree Golf Balls – sign of things to come?


berkeleybob
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Out here in Denmark, it looks like there’s a new ball maker in town. Urethane covered, 3 and 4-layered balls, DTC—it looks to be the same setup as Snell and Vice minus offerings golf accessories with their logo on it. The pricing is where you would think it would be; golfballs here run about $10-$15 more than in the US, across the board from Duosofts to Pro VX1s, and Pinetree costs $45 for a single box and $34 per box when bought in quantities of five or more. That loosely translates to Maxfli Tour prices.

Their site is only in Danish for the Danish market, and we’re a pretty small market at that. So, I’m just wondering, is this where it’s all going? Will more boutique ball makers show up regionally? Putting out urethane balls at prices cheaper than what’s traditionally out there?

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During my last US visit, I recently bought myself a box of Maxfli Tour Xs (which I like over the Maxfli Tour), but I’ll give these folks a spin. Their site’s reviews so far are pretty good. 

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DRIVER :ping-small: G410 PLUS 10.5°  |  FAIRWAY :ping-small: G410 3/14.5°  
HYBRIDS 
:ping-small: G410 19°, 22°  |  IRONS :mizuno-small: JPX 900 FORGED 5-PW 
WEDGES :cleveland-small: 
CBX 2 50°, 54°, 58°  |  PUTTER KIRKLAND Signature KS1

BALL :wilson_staff_small: DUO SOFT +   :srixon-small: Z-URS   :callaway-small: SUPERSOFT, HX HOT BITE (old stock)
BAG :1590477705_SunMountain: 3.5 LS  |  PUSHCART :Clicgear: ROVIC RV1S

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That's interesting ... And probably a good question to post to MGS gear head Tony Covey!

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WITB of an "aspiring"  😉 play-ah ...
..PXG Gen5 0811XF (PX EvenFlow Riptide CB 50/5.0 or Grafalloy Prolaunch Blue 45/A)
..Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 (UST ProForce V2-HL 5/F3)
..Callaway Rogue ST Max OS 4H (PX Cypher Black 50/5.0)
..Callaway Big Bertha 5H (Recoil ZT9 460/F3)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT 60/A) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 and CBX 60 (Rotex graphite)
..EvnRoll ER5 or MLA XDream (..Edel EAS 4.0 on the bench)
..all in a Datrek bag on an MGI Zip Navigator electric cart.

Forum Member tester for the ExPutt Putting Simulator (2020)

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With a name like Pinetree, I'm afraid that it will head in that direction! 🤣

  • Haha 6

:titleist-small: Driver, TSi1 10* Stiff Flex

:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR  HL 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: 939x 5 hybrid

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (6 - AW)

:Sub70:  JB Wedge 56*

:cleveland-small: Wedge, CBX 60*

:odyssey-small: Putter, Marksman Fang 35"

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5 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

With a name like Pinetree, I'm afraid that it will head in that direction! 🤣

After they hit a tree and you par the hole, it could be called a Barkie.

  • Haha 3

Driver: :taylormade-small: Stealth Plus - 10.5*, Oban Kiyoshi Purple O4Flex-65 Grams Purred
3 Wood: :taylormade-small: SIM - 15*, Graphite Design Tour AD DJ5 Stiff
Hybrid: :titelist-small: TS3 - 19*, Hzrdus Smoke 6.0 Stiff
Irons: :titelist-small:  7 - PW T100S, 4 -6 T200 all with Nippon NS Pro 880 AMC Chrome Stiff 

Irons: :cobra-small: 4 - PW King Forged Tec with Aerotech Steelfiber I95 Stiff

Wedges:  :titelist-small: Vokey SM 8 - 50*, 56*, 60*  Standard Wedge Shafts   

Putter:  :scotty-cameron-1: Phantom X 5.5           
Putter:  :scotty-cameron-1: Studio Select Newport 1.5
Ball: :titelist-small: Pro V1 or Maxfli Tour

 

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I think we will see more regional boutique brands, tailored towards the demographic in that region.

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In my bag:

Driver: :cobra-small: Speedzone Xtreme 9.0* Fujikura Motore X F1 6X

Wood: :cobra-small: Speedzone Tour Fujikura Motore X F1 7X

Hybrids: :cobra-small: King Utility 19.5* Diamana Tensei White Pro 90TX

Irons: :srixon-small: Srixon ZX5 4-6 (1 degree weak), ZX7 7-PW Project X 6.5

Wedges: :taylormade-small: Milled Grind 3 50*, 54*, 58* Tour Issue S400

Putter: :seemore-small: Nashville Z1C 34"

 Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X 

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1 hour ago, jayjay0808 said:

I think we will see more regional boutique brands, tailored towards the demographic in that region.

I would think it might go in the opposite direction, depending on where they’re sourcing the balls. After the Titleist lawsuits in 2015 that shuttered a number of DTC ball brands I wonder how gun shy folks might be about getting into that market. 

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In my  :wilson_staff_small:  carry bag:
:callaway-small: Mavrik Max 10.5* R Flex Evenflow RipTide
:cleveland-small: Hy-Wood
:cleveland-small: Launcher 5h
:wilson_staff_small: D200 6i-PW
:cleveland-small: CBX 54* & 58*
:cleveland-small: #10
:bridgestone-small: e12 Contact
 

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19 hours ago, GaDawg said:

After they hit a tree and you par the hole, it could be called a Barkie.

Or a sappy. It is a pine tree after all.

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:titleist-small: Driver, TSi1 10* Stiff Flex

:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR  HL 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: 939x 5 hybrid

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (6 - AW)

:Sub70:  JB Wedge 56*

:cleveland-small: Wedge, CBX 60*

:odyssey-small: Putter, Marksman Fang 35"

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The pandemic golf boom, the success of some DTC brands like Vice, and price inflation among name brand golf balls may be driving new "boutique" golf ball brands. It seems that there are a lot of new players trying to establish themselves as the craft beer of golf balls, but I don't think this trend will last much longer, nor do I think some of the newer DTC brands will last. I'm a collector of urethane golf balls and in my "gotta catch 'em all" Pokemon Go approach to collecting, I've come across a lot of new DTC brands in the U.S. including Quantix, Trust, and Piper. Some of these brands are based overseas (you can tell by the bad English riddled all over their US websites), but they use order-fulfillment companies or marketplaces such as Amazon to push their product. So it doesn't matter if they are only selling a hundred boxes a month, because their opex costs are relatively low. Meanwhile, without a local presence and solid marketing plan, these groups will never reach the level of sales and name recognition as OnCore, Vice, and Snell. To succeed, you need to have more than just a YouTuber review, and you need a better sales pitch than "we're like Pro V1 but cheaper". You need to build-up a large enough adoption rate among golfers that they start bringing in new customers through word-of-mouth, and without that buzz I don't see how your brand lasts. There are a few other headwinds working against the newer DTC brands:

1) SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES:  Chemicals supplies to make golf ball covers, particularly urethane, are tight right now. It's driving-up the cost of production, and obviously the largest manufacturers get the lions share of what raw materials are available. Additionally, there are only so many golf ball factories and with recent acquisitions (I'm talking about you TM), getting someone to produce your product is extremely difficult. These supply chain and manufacturing issues will stem the flow of new brands, or at the very least, constrain their inventory levels.

2) THE GOLF BOOM (OR BUST): Now that we are entering an endemic stage globally, people are starting to go back to their pre-COVID routines, which means less time for golf. It was a gorgeous weekend (finally) in Chitown, but yet I had no trouble finding a tee time at some of the most popular courses. That wasn't the case the last couple of years. While I don't think golf's popularity will drop to pre-pandemic lows, I do think that the frenzy is starting to subdue a bit. We have a larger golf community than before the pandemic, but most new golfers may only be playing a round a month rather than a few times a week. Fewer rounds of golf mean, fewer lost or damaged balls to replace. 

3) BRAND NAMES WIN: When all is said and done, the brand names have a iron clad grip on the market. Save for a few disrupters like Snell, Oncore, Vice, and maybe Sugar, there is not much market share for DTC brands. Craft beers have gained interest because they have a better flavor, as well as story behind them that consumers connect with. The craft breweries often experiment with different ingredients to give their beers a unique taste which usually cannot be found at other types of brewery -- there are really no limits to crafting new brews. Golf balls are a different story. In sticking within USGA guidelines, there is only so much a new golf brand can do to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. Perhaps aerodynamics offers a bit more opportunity to experiment, but the smaller brands lack the R&D to develop new dimple patterns and often just go with one of the stock options provided by the manufacturer. So being a "copy-cat, wannabe for less" is not a winning story. OnCore at least has an interesting story with their mantle technology, Dean Snell is a golf ball OG, and Vice made golf cool. What is Piper's story? Or this Pinetree brand? There just is no compelling reason for a consumer to ditch a brand with gravitas to make these brands their new "gamer." Most golfers have not even tried or heard of the top DTC brands. My friends initially made fun of me for playing a ball named "Snell" (don't worry Dean, I took their money and bought another box of Snell with it). Titleist, Taylormade, and Callaway are the Nike and Adidas of golf balls, and that type of brand power is difficult to disrupt. One of my friends is a 7-hcp and plays Callaway Supersoft because of the price. Even after a lengthy lecture (next time I'll use PowerPoint) on the benefits of urethane covers and that he can still save money by playing a great urethane ball like Snell or Vice, he refused to switch brands -- "nah, I'll stick to Callaway bc they know what's up" (insert eye roll here). 

In the long run, in order for a boutique DTC brand to succeed, it has to: 1) have a story that differentiates itself from other brands (and not just a low-price model); and 2) it needs to have enough sales volume to generate a word-of-mouth campaign to drive new traffic. That is a tall order when you have limited sales channels and manufacturing constraints. I think you will see these start-ups come and go, but I don't think we're going to see a robust craft golf ball industry anytime soon.

p.s. As I mentioned, I'm a collector, and I'd love to get a sample of the Pinetree balls. PM me if you can help me score some.

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:taylormade-small: Stealth, 9*, Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60
:ping-small: G425 Max 5W, Accra FX 2.0 150 M4 shaft
:ping-small: G425 Max 3H, 4H
:mizuno-small: JPX921 Hot Metal 5-GW, Aerotech Steelfiber i70
:vokey-small: SM8 56*, 60*
:EVNROLL: ER2V, +1* loft
:titleist-small: PRO V1

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1 hour ago, bogeymonsters said:

The pandemic golf boom, the success of some DTC brands like Vice, and price inflation among name brand golf balls may be driving new "boutique" golf ball brands. It seems that there are a lot of new players trying to establish themselves as the craft beer of golf balls, but I don't think this trend will last much longer, nor do I think some of the newer DTC brands will last. I'm a collector of urethane golf balls and in my "gotta catch 'em all" Pokemon Go approach to collecting, I've come across a lot of new DTC brands in the U.S. including Quantix, Trust, and Piper. Some of these brands are based overseas (you can tell by the bad English riddled all over their US websites), but they use order-fulfillment companies or marketplaces such as Amazon to push their product. So it doesn't matter if they are only selling a hundred boxes a month, because their opex costs are relatively low. Meanwhile, without a local presence and solid marketing plan, these groups will never reach the level of sales and name recognition as OnCore, Vice, and Snell. To succeed, you need to have more than just a YouTuber review, and you need a better sales pitch than "we're like Pro V1 but cheaper". You need to build-up a large enough adoption rate among golfers that they start bringing in new customers through word-of-mouth, and without that buzz I don't see how your brand lasts. There are a few other headwinds working against the newer DTC brands:

1) SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES:  Chemicals supplies to make golf ball covers, particularly urethane, are tight right now. It's driving-up the cost of production, and obviously the largest manufacturers get the lions share of what raw materials are available. Additionally, there are only so many golf ball factories and with recent acquisitions (I'm talking about you TM), getting someone to produce your product is extremely difficult. These supply chain and manufacturing issues will stem the flow of new brands, or at the very least, constrain their inventory levels.

2) THE GOLF BOOM (OR BUST): Now that we are entering an endemic stage globally, people are starting to go back to their pre-COVID routines, which means less time for golf. It was a gorgeous weekend (finally) in Chitown, but yet I had no trouble finding a tee time at some of the most popular courses. That wasn't the case the last couple of years. While I don't think golf's popularity will drop to pre-pandemic lows, I do think that the frenzy is starting to subdue a bit. We have a larger golf community than before the pandemic, but most new golfers may only be playing a round a month rather than a few times a week. Fewer rounds of golf mean, fewer lost or damaged balls to replace. 

3) BRAND NAMES WIN: When all is said and done, the brand names have a iron clad grip on the market. Save for a few disrupters like Snell, Oncore, Vice, and maybe Sugar, there is not much market share for DTC brands. Craft beers have gained interest because they have a better flavor, as well as story behind them that consumers connect with. The craft breweries often experiment with different ingredients to give their beers a unique taste which usually cannot be found at other types of brewery -- there are really no limits to crafting new brews. Golf balls are a different story. In sticking within USGA guidelines, there is only so much a new golf brand can do to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. Perhaps aerodynamics offers a bit more opportunity to experiment, but the smaller brands lack the R&D to develop new dimple patterns and often just go with one of the stock options provided by the manufacturer. So being a "copy-cat, wannabe for less" is not a winning story. OnCore at least has an interesting story with their mantle technology, Dean Snell is a golf ball OG, and Vice made golf cool. What is Piper's story? Or this Pinetree brand? There just is no compelling reason for a consumer to ditch a brand with gravitas to make these brands their new "gamer." Most golfers have not even tried or heard of the top DTC brands. My friends initially made fun of me for playing a ball named "Snell" (don't worry Dean, I took their money and bought another box of Snell with it). Titleist, Taylormade, and Callaway are the Nike and Adidas of golf balls, and that type of brand power is difficult to disrupt. One of my friends is a 7-hcp and plays Callaway Supersoft because of the price. Even after a lengthy lecture (next time I'll use PowerPoint) on the benefits of urethane covers and that he can still save money by playing a great urethane ball like Snell or Vice, he refused to switch brands -- "nah, I'll stick to Callaway bc they know what's up" (insert eye roll here). 

In the long run, in order for a boutique DTC brand to succeed, it has to: 1) have a story that differentiates itself from other brands (and not just a low-price model); and 2) it needs to have enough sales volume to generate a word-of-mouth campaign to drive new traffic. That is a tall order when you have limited sales channels and manufacturing constraints. I think you will see these start-ups come and go, but I don't think we're going to see a robust craft golf ball industry anytime soon.

p.s. As I mentioned, I'm a collector, and I'd love to get a sample of the Pinetree balls. PM me if you can help me score some.

1865c1308e1cb92aa10e14148d963e97.jpg

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Driver: :taylormade-small: Stealth Plus - 10.5*, Oban Kiyoshi Purple O4Flex-65 Grams Purred
3 Wood: :taylormade-small: SIM - 15*, Graphite Design Tour AD DJ5 Stiff
Hybrid: :titelist-small: TS3 - 19*, Hzrdus Smoke 6.0 Stiff
Irons: :titelist-small:  7 - PW T100S, 4 -6 T200 all with Nippon NS Pro 880 AMC Chrome Stiff 

Irons: :cobra-small: 4 - PW King Forged Tec with Aerotech Steelfiber I95 Stiff

Wedges:  :titelist-small: Vokey SM 8 - 50*, 56*, 60*  Standard Wedge Shafts   

Putter:  :scotty-cameron-1: Phantom X 5.5           
Putter:  :scotty-cameron-1: Studio Select Newport 1.5
Ball: :titelist-small: Pro V1 or Maxfli Tour

 

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17 hours ago, bogeymonsters said:

As I mentioned, I'm a collector, and I'd love to get a sample of the Pinetree balls. PM me if you can help me score some.

I’ll get back to you in a while. 😉

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DRIVER :ping-small: G410 PLUS 10.5°  |  FAIRWAY :ping-small: G410 3/14.5°  
HYBRIDS 
:ping-small: G410 19°, 22°  |  IRONS :mizuno-small: JPX 900 FORGED 5-PW 
WEDGES :cleveland-small: 
CBX 2 50°, 54°, 58°  |  PUTTER KIRKLAND Signature KS1

BALL :wilson_staff_small: DUO SOFT +   :srixon-small: Z-URS   :callaway-small: SUPERSOFT, HX HOT BITE (old stock)
BAG :1590477705_SunMountain: 3.5 LS  |  PUSHCART :Clicgear: ROVIC RV1S

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/9/2022 at 3:28 AM, bogeymonsters said:

p.s. As I mentioned, I'm a collector, and I'd love to get a sample of the Pinetree balls. PM me if you can help me score some.

Tried to DM you - but couldn't.
I have some if you want 🙂

Looking forward to trying these out, unfortunately in the Danish golf communities a lot of people seem to like them and talk about them, but I've met very few who actually tried them and there was a bad fake member marketing post on a Danish forum which led to a lot of conspiracy about the balls actually just being a standard outsourced-produced ball with a name on it. 
They are still cheap and I'm still getting a bunch of logo balls from them, my game isn't good enough at all to really benefit from the difference anyway (Unless I hit it well of course, then the lack of spin is obviously an issue and I call the ball names as it flies...... I'm sure you know what that feels like)

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Bjorn Jacobsen.
Video game sound designer - when I'm not golfing.

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