Chances are you were one of the first to be seen wearing FootJoy’s D.N.A. golf shoe. The reason the odds suggest you were is that after the initial launch back in February, 2014 D.N.A., it only needed three months to became the best selling shoe in golf.
FootJoy will be making available shortly the new D.N.A. (DryJoys Next Advancement) golf shoe now with full customization through its MyJoys program. “We were faced with the challenge of how to make our most feature-laden golf shoe even better and I believe we’ve accomplished that,” said VP or Product Design and Development WW, Doug Robinson, “With influence from our leading Tour players we have upgraded the overall performance of the shoe while giving golfers the ability to add their own personal touch through the myriad of custom options in MyJoys.”
The latest D.N.A. golf shoes feature a new TourLock Cleat System for enhanced performance and traction in all conditions. While maintaining its low profile appearance, the new cleat system significantly enhances retention. Inside D.N.A., an improved SnugFit Tongue conforms to the top of the foot and locks it in place, FootJoy said.
Meanwhile, consumers might have some hard choices to make. MyJoys currently offers more than 14 million ways of customization, including exotic print leathers, personalization, country flags and novelty, MLB and Collegiate logos. “D.N.A. loyalists have been clamoring for a customizable version of the shoe since its initial launch nearly two years ago, so we’re excited to offer it as a part of our MyJoys Program,” said MyJoys Marketing Manager, Rita Lepage.
Stock availability begins on October 28th, but MyJoys order availability has already begun! The MSRP for stock offerings is $220 or $240 with the BOA lacing system. For those that choose to customize through MyJoys the price points move to $260 and $282 with the BOA system.
CNBC reported that Acushnet, owner of Titleist and FootJoy brands, is working towards an initial public offering. While it may be news to CNBC and in turn its viewers, the company’s owners, Fila, have been on the record confirming this always was its original plan. "We've planned an initial public offering (IPO) since we acquired Acushnet in 2011. We will push forward with the plan," a FILA spokeswoman told the Korean Times in April. "Our goal is listing the company on the New York Stock Exchange next year. But things can change depending on market situation."
As long time readers of the Daily Pulse and Web Street Golf Report may recall, in 2011 a Korean Consortium consisting of Fila and Mirae Asset acquired the company. Fila's investment was seen to be long term (a strategic investment) while Mirae Asset (investing on behalf of the Korean Pension Service Fund) was seen to be more of the traditional five-year invest and redeem. The fifth anniversary of the acquisition is in July 2016. Therefore, it only makes sense that the company would be exploring recapitalization options as it faces a potential redemption. "As a matter of policy, we do not respond to questions or speculation regarding strategic matters, including the capital structure of the company," stated Wally Uihlein, Acushnet’s CEO upon inquiry from the Daily Pulse on the matter.
Despite the rough and tumble times in the golf industry in recent years, the acquisition has been an excellent one for Fila and Mirae Asset. Acushnet has made money each year that it has been in the possession of the Korean Consortium. According to its financial performance, Acushnet has delivered in excess of $121 million in net income over the past three fiscal years alone. At the midway point of 2015, the company has earned another $62.5 million for its owners. The original purchase price was approximately $725 million in cash and $500 million in debt for the company. Over the relatively short time that Fila has had an ownership stake in Acushnet, its stake will have grown to 33% by 2016 as it coverts available bond warrants into equity. Fila's investment position of $100 million was roughly 12% at the outset and will have grown to 33% by 2016 assuming it converts the last tranche of available warrants, according to information publicly available on its web site. Should Acushnet elect to join the ranks of publicly traded companies in 2016, it would also present an open-ended exit strategy for its shareholders. It would in effective eliminate the need to undergo the necessity of future funding if a large shareholder decided to take their money elsewhere some time down the road.
So why sell given the financial performance has been stellar via an initial public offering? In some countries, when investments are made on behalf of public funds, there are covenants that require redemption to be made through the public markets in order to receive an undisputed "fair market value." That could be the case here since it is public knowledge that many of the funds associated with the investors listed (Mirae, Neoplux) emanate from public holdings. Another mitigating factor that could be in play is some of the Koreans investors also probably looked at the Acushnet Company acquisition with an eye on the world's second largest GDP: China. Back in 2011, there was considerable discussion and hope that China could or would repeat the Japan Golf Market growth of 1970-1990. However, the reality that the Golf Course construction ban in 2004 and later the central Government anti corruption campaign (initiated in 2013) have dampened the hopes of many who were looking at China as the golf industry's next platform for growth opportunities. In the meantime, Acushnet must explore its available options based on what it likely knew when it was acquired back in 2011.
The year was 2003 when the USGA and the Royal and Ancient drew a line in the sand for the coefficient of restitution (COR)--the measure of the springlike effect of golf balls struck by drivers--at .830. It was a big deal. Fast forward to 2015 and it’s become a way of life. The focus in the beginning centered on drivers as a way of putting the equivalent of a governor on distance for players, especially elite caliber ones.
As equipment has evolved with the assistance of technology, COR has become less of a tempest in a teapot of sorts. However, equipment companies have found ways to increase the spring-like effect in more products besides drivers. Case in point, Callaway Golf has announced a new set of Apex irons that will be arriving at retail in the weeks ahead.
Callaway’s Apex family is a forged product, which better players prefer in terms or appearance and feel. However, Callaway’s R&D department has built into its new Apex irons cup face technology, which has also been a mainstay in its driver business. Nevertheless, the significance of the marriage of forged with cup face technology represents a breakthrough, according to Callaway Golf.
“A regular iron featuring no face technology would have a COR of about .78,” Dr. Alan Hocknell, head of Callaway Golf’s Research and Development department stated. “Our original Apex iron had a COR of about .80 region. Using the face cup you get the COR up to about .82. There are no other forged irons that have that kind of ball speed capability. This is the first forged cup faced irons from anybody in the world, ever!”
The cup face is featured in the 3-7 iron, Hocknell said. It becomes muted in the 8-iron and above due to loft, he added. So for players that love the look and feel of forge and want to maintain or possibly improve ball speed on their iron shots, the new Apex irons could just what the doctor (Hocknell) ordered.
The new Apex irons (3-SW) will debut at retail on October 30th. Callaway is pricing the set at $1,199.99 with steel shafts (True Temper XP 95) and $1399.99 with graphite shafts (UST Mamiya Recoil 760/780).
The company continues its tradition of offering a Pro set of the irons as well. “The Pro is really a blend of feedback that we’ve had from Tour and better players,” Hocknell explained. “A lot of it saying the shape and size of the profile of our X forged 13 irons was more preferred but the trajectory of the original Apex Pro was also preferred. So could we combine those two things together?”
Hocknell and company used a multi-material design that it says optimizes the Center of Gravity (CG) of each club, yet working within the confines of the shape feedback it was given. The longer irons (3-5) have more offset and a tungsten insert to lower the CG for higher launch, while the shorter irons (6-A) have a higher CG for a controlled, penetrating trajectory.
The Apex Pro irons will also be at retail on October 30th. It is priced identical to the new Apex irons with the only difference being True Temper Project X steel shafts versus True Temper XP 95 found in the new Apex model.
Another first for Callaway is the introduction of a hybrid for the Apex and Apex Pro player. It takes the company’s Forged Face Cup that leads to high ball speeds and fuses it with its Internal Standing Wave for versatility. The Internal Standing Wave positions the weight so that Callaway can move the CG where better players want it. “A lot of Callaway hybrids are derived from what you would think of as fairway wood DNA. They’ve got really hot faces with forged face cups particularly low centers of gravity and they have fairway wood launch conditions. It’s the bulk of what average players in the market absolutely need. However, there is a school of players that are really looking for a more iron replacement characteristic in their hybrid,” explained Hocknell.
Callaway’s Apex Hybrid won’t arrive at retail until December 4th. It is being priced at $219.99 and the stock shaft chosen for it is a Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black.
On Friday The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews welcomed its newest Captain, Gavin Caldwell. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1947, Caldwell was club Captain and Chairman of the Walker Cup Committee when it hosted the 1991 match. A former Trustee of Portmarnock Golf Club, he enjoyed a successful university golf career and is President of Dublin University Golfing Society.
He was educated at St Columba’s College and Trinity College in Dublin and forged a career in investment management. In 1980, he was appointed as the founding Chief Executive of Ulster Bank Investment Managers, the Irish subsidiary of NatWest Group, a role he held until 2003. He is currently a non-executive director of several Irish subsidiaries of international investment companies. Caldwell has served on the Amateur Status and Championship Committees of The R&A and was a member of the General Committee from 2010-2013. He has been a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club since 1996.
In keeping with tradition, Caldwell kicked off his tenure as Captain with the traditional driving-in ceremony on the 1st tee of the Old Course today. He began his year in office with a drive at precisely 8 am as a cannon fired alongside the tee. A large crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the ceremony along with a number of Past Captains including HRH The Duke of York. After hitting his tee shot, Caldwell said: “This is a great thrill for me because I am only the third Irishman ever to be Captain of the Club in its very long history. This moment has been on my mind since I was asked to be Captain.”
As Captain, Caldwell will represent The R&A and support its work in developing golf around the world. He will attend R&A championships in the professional and amateur games and assume an ambassadorial role for the Club. “I have a wonderful year ahead representing The R&A at many events all around the world. It’s important to me to be a good Club Captain and it is truly an honor to take up this new role. I’m looking forward to spending time with the members and participating in events that happen here in St Andrews,” he said.
In the past, the Club Captaincy was bestowed on the winner of the annual Challenge for the Silver Club but by the early 19th Century the Captaincy had become an elected office.
Part of the tradition is that a gold sovereign is paid by the new Captain to buy his golf ball back from the caddie who retrieves and returns it. American caddie Oliver Horovitz returned the Captain’s ball for the third time, after also retrieving it at the driving-in ceremony of 2014-2015 Captain George Macgregor OBE and 2011-2012 Captain Alistair Low.
For the man who has everything or maybe wants everything this could be just what the doctor ordered! In anticipation of the 30th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus’ 18th Major Championship, Soundwaves Art Foundation has partnered with St. Andrews Legacy to celebrate an iconic moment in golf.
Soundwaves Artword, by TimWakefield, is paired with Robert Highton’s remarkable hand-painted Jack Nicklaus composition. Wakefield, who has collaborated withPink Floyd, Paul McCartney and others, creates artwork by digitally manipulating and coloring soundwaves captured in recorded sound and music.
Wakefield created the piece from the sound of the crowd cheering as Nicklaus watched his putt drop for a birdie on the 17th hole at Augusta National on April 13, 1986. The shot gave him the lead and as most golfers know he went on to win his 18th Major Championship.
Limited editions signed by Wakefield and Nicklaus, along with numbered prints are available along with canvas prints in black floater frames. Proceeds will be directed towards funding for rehabilitation of injured military personnel. As the holiday season quickly approaches now that summer has made way to autumn, this once in a lifetime opportunity is available for only a limited time on a first come, first serve basis. To learn more click here.
“Having spent significant time in San Antonio and Washington, DC I now appreciate just how many of the ill and injured have challenges that mean they will struggle on the championship courses in Scotland,” said Graham Proctor, CEO St Andrews Legacy. “I’m sure the most challenged feel excluded, they don’t believe they will ever get to experience St Andrews. In 2016 that will change. Working with St Andrews Links Trust and utilizing the phenomenal practice facilities and the beginner courses adjacent to The Old Course we will host a number of veterans with the greatest challenges who are now learning to play golf. St Andrews Legacy is attempting to cater for all levels at ‘The Home of Golf.’ It is an exciting time.”
To learn more about St. Andrews Legacy visit: http://standrewslegacy.com/ or check out a You Tube video chronicling the exploits of some 20 ill and injured veterans using golf as part of their rehabilitation to St Andrews
Titleist has announced new irons for 2015. The company began its seeding process with its TOUR players earlier this summer and now is letting the rest of the golfing world in on the details. The company has several new irons for players to choose from and throughout the rest of the week, the Daily Pulse will provide readers with the information on what they can look forward to seeing at retail starting next month.
The new 716 Titleist AP1 and AP2 irons, available beginning Oct. 23 in golf shops worldwide, are built using precise amounts of tungsten to deliver. “AP1 and AP2 irons are designed for two distinct player profiles. AP1 is for players seeking maximum distance and forgiveness. AP2 is for players seeking distance and forgiveness in a tour-proven iron,” explained Chris McGinley, Vice President, Titleist Golf Club Marketing. “Our R&D team has precisely engineered both models to create speed and launch for distance with maximum forgiveness to help all players improve their iron play.”
The new 716 AP1 features an extreme 360º undercut cavity design with a large, thin, unsupported face. These features, Titleist said, are key to delivering speed and launch conditions for more distance. The tungsten weighting (an average of 42.5 grams per head) provides maximum forgiveness, it said.
“Golfers are getting a double helping of distance with new AP1 without sacrificing trajectory,” said Marni Ines, Director, Titleist Irons Development. “By carving more mass from the undercut and thinning the face, we get more launch and speed. On top of that, we’ve added a significant amount of tungsten, which lowers the CG and increases launch. We’ve taken that extra launch and used it to strengthen the lofts. Stronger loft means more speed. More speed means more distance. There are a lot of companies that chase distance mainly by strengthening lofts and lengthening shafts, but we think we’re doing it the right way, with superior technology.”
“Remember, when it comes to good iron play, distance is still just one part of the equation. Distance control and accuracy are just as important, and that’s where forgiveness comes into play,” added Dan Stone, Vice President, Golf Club R&D. “We are the only company in this category using high density tungsten. You can make a club more forgiving just by making the club head larger, but golfers don’t always want that. Through our technology we have the best combination of low CG and high MOI in the game improvement category. What that means to the golfer is hitting the ball far enough to reach the green and stopping it close to the pin more often, and maintaining distance consistency and trajectory even when you hit it off center.”