Is golf technology in a rut? I discuss how we got here and a little of what the future holds.
In my line of work, we talk often about technology stagnation. We often find that new products hitting the market have only slight improvements from the products offered a short while ago. The market then becomes extremely competitive, prices drop, and growth becomes a thing of the past. The most recent example is the personal computer market. Many people feel today that there is little incentive to by a new computer. I feel the golf industry is very near to a similar rut.
This came to me while playing golf a few weeks ago. All three of the guys in my group had R11 drivers in their hands. R11 is almost three years old and TaylorMade has released so many new drivers since then it begins to spin your head even thinking about it. But for the most part these new drivers were not driving my golfing buddies to ditch the old driver and switch over to the new ones. I asked them why the newer drivers hadn’t tickled their fancy. They mentioned the improvements just didn’t justify the price tag.
Continue reading “The Future of Golf Technology”
I get a little nostalgic for 2008.
During the PGA Championship coverage, as it became clear that 2013 would be another winless major championship season for Tiger Woods, CBS aired a graphic that included the exact date of Tiger Woods’ last major win.
June 16, 2008.
What were you doing on June 16th, 2008, besides watching a wounded Tiger limp around Torrey Pines, while Rocco Mediate slowly let his only real shot at a U.S. Open slip through his grasp? I was finishing my sophomore year – of high school. I couldn’t so much as drive a car.
It’s been over 5 years since that date. For comparison, Tiger won seven majors in the five-year span from 1999 to 2003. He won six over five years from 2005 to 2009. And he hasn’t won a single one since.
Here’s what the world has been up to.
Continue reading “Measuring Time Since Tiger’s Last Major Win”
After making a splash earlier in the year with the X Hot and RAZR Fit line of woods, Callaway golf is back at it again with the introduction of a third new driver, the FT Optiforce.
Early in the year, Callaway made a splash in the golf world with the introduction of their new drivers, the X Hot (which had a standard and Pro model) and the RAZR Fit Xtreme. Both clubs were solid offerings and gained big followings. When I wrote both the X Hot Pro driver and iron reviews, I mentioned how Callaway had decided to scale back on it’s product line, which was in my opinion a good thing. They had too many products going at the same time and I felt that it led to a bit of confusion on the part of the consumer. Put simply, there were too many choices. It seems that Callaway is starting to go back that way already, as they have introduced a third line of drivers, the FT Optiforce. This driver isn’t aimed at replacing either the RAZR Fit or X Hot line (in fact, we’ll see the X2 Hot line in early 2014), but as a third choice for consumers.
The new club has a number of features, some of which haven’t been seen before with a Callaway driver, including a new hosel design. Read on to find out if this is the latest and greatest of Callaway drivers or just another club crowding the shelf.
Continue reading “Callaway FT Optiforce 440cc Driver Review”
In the coming months, Callaway Golf will be releasing two new sets of irons; the Apex and Apex Pro.
Earlier this year, Callaway Golf kind of put themselves back on the map with the release of the X-Hot series of clubs. The drivers and fairways proved to be very popular and found their ways into the bags of many players. The same was true of the X-Hot and X-Hot Pro irons. Now Callaway is following that up with the release of a new product line; the Apex.
The new Apex irons will come in two different offerings, a standard model as well as a pro model. There is quite a few number of new features with the new sticks and according to Callaway, they are kind of going against conventional wisdom. On the forums here, we often will have members asking which clubs to choose and one question that comes up from time to time is “forged or cavity back.” Now, while that really isn’t the choice (one can get a forged cavity back or a cast blade/players iron), the general idea is that better player’s clubs tend to be forged while those that lend more forgiveness to the high handicap players tend not to be. The big idea, so to speak, with the Apex irons is that they will give all the distance and forgiveness normally seen in a GI club in a forged iron.
Continue reading “Callaway Set to Introduce New Apex Irons”
A near miss for Woods and Lewis, a first for Ko, and big wins for Bjorn and Jimenez… What a great way to wrap up 2013!
With Tiger’s Northwestern Mutual World Challenge wrapping up this weekend, most of the top golfers will be heading home this week or next to spend time with friends and family over the holidays.
But there is one more big tour golf event for 2013. This week the European Tour holds the second edition of the Nelson Mandela Championship, which will start a day early and finish Saturday in observance of the state funeral for its namesake. This year’s event was briefly in doubt due to the Mr. Mandela’s passing, but the organizers decided that it would be more of a tribute for the tournament to go on. The championship will benefit one of Mandela’s dreams – to build a world-class children’s hospital in South Africa. To that end, all profits from the tournament will go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.
But now, for the week that was… HtL links you up with Zach Johnson’s shocking win, a first-of-(probably)-many titles by a 16-year-old pro, and much more.
Continue reading “Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Seven”
How EA Sports can bring golf video games into the next console generation.
According to a statement released by EA Sports recently, the video game giant and golfer Tiger Woods have severed ties.
According to who you believe, the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games already appeared to be on the rocks, and the ’15 edition (to be released in 2014) will be either delayed until at least April or not sent to market at all.
Neither option would be all that unheard-of; EA has monkeyed with the release dates for the Tiger Woods games before. The games were released in the fall every year between 2003 and 2007, until moving towards the late summer for the 2008 version and earlier in the summer for 2010. In 2012 EA cut a deal to include Augusta National in the game, and worked hard to push it out before The Masters.
EA is also no stranger to cutting off a game entirely. They dropped the MVP Baseball series after 2007 (mostly because rival 2K Sports signed an exclusivity deal with MLB in response to EA’s similar deal with the NFL), and have yet to pick the series back up even after the 2K/MLB deal expired. After their NBA Live 10 game received (justifiably) terrible reviews, they cancelled its follow-up, NBA Elite 11, at the last minute, and haven’t released a basketball game since despite relatively weak releases from 2K (though NBA Live 14 is set to come back later this year).
It remains to be seen what exactly the ramifications of the Tiger/EA separation are. I suppose it’s possible that Tiger remains in the game as a playable character, though his days on the cover are surely gone.
The games remain different year-over-year, but the yearly releases have become frustrating. Excess players, expensive extra courses, and rotating single player modes have made the games stale, and while the extra space of Blu-Rays and larger on-board stock hard drives should help them, EA needs to make some deep changes. Here are a few things I think could get the PGA Tour video game series off and running again.
Continue reading “How EA Sports Can Revive the PGA Tour Video Games Sans Tiger”