Major Losses Overshadowing Victories

As I watched the television coverage from the Masters I noticed that when analysts recalled the 2016 Masters, they did not speak of Danny Willett’s win, they focused on Jordan Spieth’s meltdown. Spieth had a five shot lead when he came to the back nine then disaster — bogeys on 10 and 11 followed by a quadruple-bogey (seven) on hole 12. Willett shot a bogey free 67 but that doesn’t matter because most golfers remember Spieth losing the Masters. Plus, it doesn’t help that Willett has played horribly since winning.

The ANA Inspiration is another example. Can you name the winner of the 2017 ANA? I bet if you are a golf fan you vividly remember that Lexi Thompson was assessed a four-stroke penalty due to a Rules infraction that occurred during Saturday’s third round which was “phoned-in” by a fan watching the broadcast. Thompson played through tear-filled eyes to give herself a chance in a playoff against So Yeon Ryu and Ryu won.

As with the Masters, much of the golf coverage leading up to the 2018 ANA championship focused on what happened to Lexi Thompson in 2017 thus taking away from the normal focus on the previous winner.

I cannot remember who won the  2012 Kraft Nabisco (now called the ANA Inspiration) but I remember the image of I.K. Kim missing a one-foot putt for the win. I had to look up the winner – I.K. Kim lost to Sun Young Yoo. Or should I say Sun Young Yoo won the 2012 Kraft Nabisco in a playoff.

I would guess most golf fans cannot tell you who won the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open but they will remember Anna Nordqvist was assessed a two-stroke penalty because a television viewer “phoned-in” that her club had grazed the sand in the bunker. This did impact the championship outcome with Brittany Lang coming out on top.

A true golf fan will know the name Jean Van de Velde. Van de Velde is famous for his meltdown at the 1999 British Open. Every year the video of Van de Velde’s meltdown is shown sometime during the week of the British Open. I had to look up the winner, it was Paul Laurie.

Even Jordan Spieth’s 2015 U.S. Open win at Chambers Bay will always have an asterisk noting Dustin Johnson’s 3-putt on the 18th hole causing him to lose the championship. Most golf fans were not shocked that Spieth won but how he won was shocking. Of course, redemption came when DJ won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

The bottom line is “a win is a win” (as the saying goes) but it must be frustrating for a winner who’s victory will always be overshadowed by the story of the person that lost.

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Tiger and Phil – 40 is the new 20

I was working on this blog post and then the unexpected happen — Jack Nicklaus tweeted exactly what I had been thinking.

Jack Nicklaus Tweet

Jack Nicklaus Tweet after the Valspar Championship

I almost decided not to publish this post but then I thought, “great minds think alike” and my take on this is slightly different from Jack’s tweet.

In the last few years, as a golf fan who loved watching Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods for so many years, it was both fun and sad watching the changing of the guard as Jordan Spieth and other young players won majors and began making their mark on the sport I love.  I do enjoy the young guns. Jordan Spieth is my favorite but it seemed odd to me to think of Phil and Tiger as “old” and to hear so many golf analysts write them off.  After all other professionals won in their forties. In fact, Jack Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters at the age of 46.

So as a fan of Phil Mickelson, I was thrilled to see him play so well in February and early March. As you can see from the chart below, he had a great run and won the World Golf Championship in Mexico.

Phil 2018 Record

Phil’s finishes in the last four PGA Tour events

Everyone knows about the turmoil (on and off the course) that Tiger Woods has faced the last few years. I will admit that although I was amazed by Tiger’s talent, I was never a Tiger fan. I was always a Phil fan. I guess it was partly because Phil seemed more approachable and nice to his fans but mostly I loved “Phil the thrill” because you never knew what golf shot Phil would try when he got into trouble.  That being said, I have now become a golf fan that hopes Tiger does achieve success in his comeback because it appears he is a changed man and everyone deserves a second chance. In his 40’s, Tiger appears grateful to be healthy and able to play golf again.

So my hope for the rest of the 2018 golf season is that 40 is the new 20! I hope Phil and Tiger contend at the majors and win. I would love to see Tiger win The Master and Phil Mickelson win The U.S. Open (the one that Phil has yet to win).

And let the summer of 2018 be a reminder to all of us that “age is just a number” and “golf is a game for life!”

 

Golf Channel Coverage of The PGA Merchandise Show: Three Cool Products

The PGA Merchandise Show, tagged “The Major of Golf Business,” is not open to the general public. However, thanks to the favorite TV channel of all golfers, Golf Channel, viewers got to see a lot of products on Morning Drive broadcasting from the convention floor.

Watching the PGA Merchandise Show on Morning Drive, I saw three products that I thought were really cool.

Weatherman Umbrella

Even if you are not a golfer this is a great looking umbrella. It appears to be really well constructed and can withstand 55 mph winds. And the golf umbrella has a pocket in the top of the umbrella to keep your glove dry. The really cool factor is the technology – the umbrella has a tracker so if you leave it at the course (or somewhere else) you can find it!  The Morning Drive Segment is fun to watch or view the product video below.

 

Transrover

Transrover is not available yet and the owner/inventor is using Kickstarter to launch/fund the product and I hope he does well because the idea that you can have a golf bag that transforms into a pushcart is amazing. You can watch the Morning Drive segment or view the product video below.

 

Fat Tire Golf Scooter

According to the Fat Tire Golf Scooter website you can buy your own scooter for $2,399. That’s not an investment I am likely to make but I am hoping I play a golf course one day that has the scooter. It just looks fun!

 

So from the comfort of my own home I had fun watching the coverage of the PGA Merchandise show on Morning Drive. I may buy the Weatherman umbrella. I will watch with curiosity to see if the Transrover becomes available to all golfers for a reasonable price. And maybe one day I will see a Fat Tire Golf Scooter available to ride on a golf course near me.

Thanks Golf Channel!

Lifestyle Ship Sticks Ads Get My Thumbs Up

It’s amazing how commercials really can shape your view of a product, service, or company. I have always thought that Ship Sticks (a service that will ship your golf clubs so you don’t have to lug them through an airport) was a great idea but I hated their commercials. In fact, I hated them so much that it tarnished my view of their brand.

Ship Sticks anywhere

The first one that really bothered me was an ad with a beautiful women at her door talking to a ship sticks delivery man picking up clubs. The joke of the ad was a male voice coming from inside a golf bag asking “Honey, are we there yet?” My reaction to this ad was that it was insulting to men. And I wondered if male golfers found the ad funny? Also, I have no problem with beautiful women selling product but I think the overt exposure of the woman’s cleavage in this ad is gratuitous and using this tactic is just plain lazy. If you haven’t seen it, you can view the “Ship Sticks Anywhere” for yourself.

Ship Sticks LarryThe next ad that seemed to run a lot on TV was called “Larry” which featured three co-workers giving a man a hard time for not having his clubs at the airport. Again, I thought to myself, do men really want to be portrayed as idiots (the three men questioning their co-worker)? At least “Larry” looked at the three men like they were idiots. Both these ads try to use humor but to me the ads are sophomoric and annoying.

I assume the ad agency presented the leadership of Ship Sticks all the demographic data that would indicate these commercials would be successful. Perhaps they are but I always thought the #1 Rule in advertising was don’t insult your customer; and 80 percent of golfers are male. Of course, I am a woman and have no idea if men find the portrayal of the man hiding in the bag and three co-workers insulting or funny.

Anyway, I am not writing because of the ads I dislike. I am writing because of the new direction of their commercials with two ads I recently saw on TV that I like.

The new ads use what I believe is a lifestyle approach focusing on things that golfers actually can relate to in their own golf lives. First is “Challenges” (see below) which shows images of bucket list golf destinations (with a voice over about ship sticks service). It might be viewed as boring or basic but if you are a golfer it catches your eye and makes you day dream (even if only for a few seconds) of playing those courses.

 

The other new ad that I like is “4 Buddies” (see below). Every golfer loves a great golf trip with their friends. Obviously, the reason I like this one if because women are the “buddies’ in the ad. Too many times I have seen golf commercials, online articles or print ads that are written as if only men take buddy trips. Not true! Yes, the majority of buddy trips are taken by men but I know many women golfers that take buddy trips. Now I think the ad will also catch the eye of male viewers because the women are young and beautiful (nothing wrong with that but I would surmise that most women taking golf buddy trips are a bit older).

 

Bottom line, I’m just one woman golfer but a smart marketer knows the “power of the purse.”  Personally, my opinion is that these ads appeal to a much broader customer base and improved the brand image of Ship Sticks; and I might even try their service when I take my next golf trip.

 

Music on the Golf Course

Remember the funny Caddyshack music scene?

In 1980, when Caddyshack was released, music on the course would have been unheard of but now with smartphones and portable mini-speakers music is an option some golfers embrace.

And as I was writing my blog post and watching the QBE Shark Shootout on the Golf Channel there was Greg Norman promoting his business, Shark Enterprises, that has a new technology product to transform the golfer experience with “web-connected golf carts that enable streaming music and entertainment.”

I love music! I listen to music in my car, while working out, and in my home. However I am not one of those golfers that wants to listen to music while I play golf. In general, I enjoy the sounds of nature and the conversation with the other golfers in my foursome.

I have no problem if other golfers want to listen to music as long as they are respectful of others but that’s the crux of the matter. Just as in other aspects of life, there are those that are considerate of others and those that are clueless when to comes to being a considerate individual.

I have had one good experience and one bad experience on the course. The good experience was with a player that liked music and wore ear buds. He enjoyed his music without the rest of us in the foursome having to listen to it. He also had the music low enough so that he was aware of what was going on in the group and on the course.

The “bad” experience was in a work golf event. It was an after work nine-hole scramble and one group had music blaring. Another person in my group yelled at them to turn it down but of course they could not hear him. Apparently my foursome was not the only group annoyed because the next day a co-worker sent a very funny email to staff making the case, using The Rules of Golf, for the foursome to return their prize and be disqualified (yes, it was a competition).

So who determines if the music is too loud on the course? My opinion is if another golfer asks you to turn the music down, that pretty much indicates that your music is too loud. But this is my opinion and so I decided to search the internet to look for “official” data on how loud is “too loud.” I was not surprised that I could not find any volume standards. I did find the following advice in a Golf Digest article from 2014, “Take 15 paces from your cart. If you can still hear the guitar riff from “Welcome to the Jungle,” you should probably reduce the volume.” Sounds like great advise to me!

Now if you want official rules you can go to the USGA website to search the Rules of Golf and in section I (which covers etiquette and behavior on the course) it clearly states, “Players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.” Or if you are a Rules geek then an FAQ on Rule 14-3a is more up your alley because it reads:

“A player may not use any artificial device or unusual equipment that might assist him making a stroke or in his play. Listening to music or a broadcast while making a stroke or for a prolonged period might assist the player in his play, for example, by eliminating distractions or promoting a good tempo. Therefore, the use of an artificial device to listen to music or a broadcast, whether or not through headphones, while making a stroke or for a prolonged period of time during a stipulated round is a breach of Rule 14-3…”

What’s a golfer to do? I prefer the simple answer — be considerate of other golfers on the course. Unfortunately not all golfers are considerate of others. It’s sad to say but as music becomes more popular on the course, golf courses operators may need to consider posting a music policy at the first tee. You may be thinking, we don’t need another policy that inconsiderate golfers won’t obey. My response, it’s not the policy that is the issue, its how the policy is implement that has an impact on experience. For example, if a golf club has a four hour pace of play policy then good courses have rangers out on the course evaluating pace of play and moving slow golfers along.

Here’s an idea for golf course managers to decide if they need a music policy. For one week have starters ask the question “Do you listen to music while playing golf?” It won’t burden the starter to keep a tally of a yes/no answer. The starter may even get some interesting anecdotes he can pass along to his boss. The value to the course manager is data about your customers! Maybe based on the answers the course decides they need a music policy. Or maybe the course manager decides to embrace the music loving golfers and offers a “music golf nine-hole party” after work on a night where business is slow. I might even try a music golf party! But I digress.

As a golfer, I want to enjoy my time on the course and I want other’s to enjoy their round of golf; and golf courses with great starters are the first step to making everyone’s round enjoyable. Would it be so hard to train starters to talk about music when the give their spiel on pace of play, carts on the course, or any other course specific policies they doll out?

Finally should traditionalists worry about Greg Norman’s web-connected golf carts coming to their course? No, in a Golf World article about Shark Enterprises it states, “The best feature of the cart are two speakers whose cones are designed and angled to project sound directly at the center of the bench. The tone is loud and rich, but diminishes to a point of near inaudibility 40 feet from the cart. Which is a key feature to respect the sacred space of golfers who want only birdsong and babbling creeks.”