“How Come The Marketing Department Keeps Screwing Up My Designs?”

Jeff Summitt Explores Marketing Misconceptions and Inaccuracies in Golf Club Design – Center of Gravity

As a technically inclined person, I take information seriously.  I shouldn’t matter whether the information is laid out as written text or appears as a diagram trying to describe something complex, but there should be a level of truthfulness in the context.  One of the pet peeves I have (and I have many) is when companies exaggerate claims of shifting the center of gravity in one of their designs

Center of GravityOne example of what you might see is the following hybrid. The yellow/black icon shows the center of gravity of the original clubhead, while the blue/black icon represents the center of gravity moving rearward as the clubhead is expanded.  While there is some truth to the CG placement becoming more rearward; it is no where near the proportionality that really occurs.

It is the responsibility of a marketing departmentCenter of Gravity 2 (or outside agency) to tout the claims and benefits of a product and come up with a marketing angle to help sell it through. In what starts out as good intentions becomes exaggerated.  For instance, the engineers / technical staff present the diagrams to the marketing department. In reality it looks like the following.

Like something out of a Dilbert cartoon, the members of the marketing department may hear the words that are spoken, but they don’t sink in as presented.  Rather what they see is not enough difference to get the point across so they innocently move the two icons in the diagram further apart.  Every manufacturer is trying to squeeze as much discretionary amount of weight out of the head to optimize the performance.  Even by saving 10 to 15 grams (which is considerable) may only shift the center of gravity 4 or 5 millimeters.  Converting this amount to a unit of measure you may be more familiar will accounts for only two-tenth of an inch.  To the lay person this may not seem like much difference nor look sexy in a diagram when the icons overlap, but believe me the technical people get excited by these small, but meaningful amounts.

So the next time you see a comparison of centers of gravity amongst clubheads in a catalog, magazine ad or in somewhere in cyberspace, you may want to think again and realize it may only be implying the difference is there but maybe not to the extent and accuracy that they really are.

2008 PGA Show Update

Jeff Summitt Discusses The Granddaddy of All Golf Shows, The Annual PGA Show

I always enjoy going to Orlando for the annual PGA Merchandise show for several reasons. First, it is my job to stay atop of equipment sector, so in most cases I am well aware of the product(s) before it is introduced at the show, but of course it is nice to see the new models up close and in person. I also have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the foundry representatives to go over upcoming models and share ideas on new technologies. (I have a long list of items we are working on for later this year that I extremely excited about!) Lastly, I enjoy speaking and sharing ideas with vendors, customers and long-time industry people that I been fortunate to know.

Continue here. 

2008 PGA Show Update

Jeff Summitt Discusses The Granddaddy Of All Golf Shows, The 2008 PGA Show

I always enjoy going to Orlando for the annual PGA Merchandise show for several reasons. First, it is my job to stay atop of equipment sector, so in most cases I am well aware of the product(s) before it is introduced at the show, but of course it is nice to see the new models up close and in person. I also have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the foundry representatives to go over upcoming models and share ideas on new technologies. (I have a long list of items we are working on for later this year that I extremely excited about!) Lastly, I enjoy speaking and sharing ideas with vendors, customers and long-time industry people that I been fortunate to know.
Continue reading “2008 PGA Show Update” »

Think You Know Your Golf History? Prove It!

Take The Hireko Golf History Quiz

The thing to understand is, in golf, if you think someone was first with that idea, someone probably beat them to it. One thing you will start to hear more of in the immediate future will be adjustable clubs where the shafts can be threaded into a head. Well, guess what? Screw-in shafts were done as far back as the 1900’s if you ask. That may give you a little hint to some of the following questions.

1. What decade was the first cavity back iron introduced?

Answer here! 

 

Think You Know Your Golf History? Prove It!

Take The Golf History Quiz!

The thing to understand is, in golf, if you think someone was first with that idea, someone probably beat them to it. One thing you will start to hear more of in the immediate future will be adjustable clubs where the shafts can be threaded into a head. Well, guess what? Screw-in shafts were done as far back as the 1900’s if you ask. That may give you a little hint to some of the following questions.

1. What decade was the first cavity back iron introduced?
  a. 1930’s
b. 1950’s
c. 1960’s
d. 1970’s
   
2. What decade was the first metal wood introduced?
  a.1860’s
b.1890’s
c.1940’s
d.1970’s
   
3. What decade did the first slip-on rubber grip introduced into the market?
  a.1930’s
b.1940’s
c.1950’s
d.1960’s
   
4. What decade was steel first introduced into a golf shaft?
  a.1810’s
b.1880’s
c.1890’s
d.1910’s
   
5. What decade was the first composite shaft introduced?
  a.1940’s
b.1950’s
c.1960’s
d.1970’s
   
6. What decade was the first patented golf club?
  a.1810’s
b.1840’s
c.1870’s
d.1910’s
   
7. What year was the first titanium head introduced?
  a.1987
b.1990
c.1993
d.1995
   
8. What decade did the first adjustable weighted metal wood appear to counter hooking or slicing the ball?
  a.1860’s
b.1900’s
c.1930’s
d.2000’s
   
 
   

Hireko Introduces The New Bionik 500 Series Putters With Laser Precision Accuracy At Affordable Prices

New Putters Designed To Not Only Sink More Putts But Save A Few Bucks Too

Bionik 500 PuttersCITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, January 22, 2008 – Hireko Golf introduces five new Bionik 500 Series Putters featuring state-of-the-art design and performance combined with affordability. All Bionik Series 500 putters feature an advanced new TPU face insert for superior feel and control.

“We showed these models to a number of golfers”, said Jeff Summitt, Technical Director for Hireko Golf. “They could not believe just how beautiful these clubs were up-close and even more so when I told them the price.”
Continue reading “Hireko Introduces The New Bionik 500 Series Putters With Laser Precision Accuracy At Affordable Prices” »

Is Golf Club Component Pricing Getting Out of Hand?

Hireko’s average priced titanium driver head is in the $52 range. Couple this with the same $30 shaft and $5 grip, and the cost is roughly $87. If the clubmaker sold at $199, he would make an incredible 56% margin and a profit of $112. Even if the clubmaker were to sell at $150, he would be making 42% margin and a profit of $63. The clubmaker could even sell at $125 and still make over 30% margin! Alternatively, if clubmaker upgraded to a premium shaft which costs say $60, his cost is now $117, which is still nearly $20 lower than the competing $135 with a mid-end shaft.  Continue Here….

Is Golf Club Component Pricing Getting Out of Hand?

The cornerstones of the component business and the emergence of the cottage industry known as component clubmaking was based upon the average person’s ability to get not only affordable clubs, but also good quality golf clubs as well. There was a huge void at the time between the price and quality of name brand clubs compared to those available in the discount sector. Plus the local clubmaker could service the needs of their local area on a more personal and in many cases a more knowledgeable level. We have the following families to thank for this: Paul’s, Maltby’s, Altomonte’s and Lin’s. You can consider them to be our founding fathers of the component clubmaking industry.

What was a fledging industry in the early 1980’s, component clubmaking quickly grew. This was largely due to the price differential between golf components and assembled OEM clubs. A clubmaker could easily put together a set of custom built components, sell it at half the price of OEM clubs, and still make money!

Year Average OEM Retail Price
For set of 8 irons*
1965 $200
1975 $300
1980 $400
1982 $500
1984 $600

Dynacraft Prophet CNC Irons*Source, Modern Guide to Clubmaking, 1987

For a clubmaker, the cost of the components in the mid 1980’s for a steel-shafted set of 8 investment cast irons was less than $120 including the cost of supplies. The most expensive item was the iron golf club head which the clubmaker could purchase for roughly $9.00 per head. Maybe surprisingly to some, as the foundries increased efficiency at every stage of production, not to mention fierce competition, prices have held steady even to this day, while only the cost of the shafts and grips have risen.

But for clubmakers to put together the components and make a profit is becoming less and less true today. Why? As many component manufacturers matured, they began offering more innovative products, becoming OEMs themselves. Undoubtedly, performance and quality improved, but the pricing has increased exponentially. When you begin to factor in the price compression amongst the OEMs reducing their costs to become more competitive, there is less of a differential in price as there once was.

Consumers need to fairly understand the costs associated with an OEM golf club. About 2/3rd of this cost is marketing and distribution. Marketing costs refer to all the print ads, TV commercials, player endorsements, product giveaways, etc. Distribution costs refer to the cost associated with getting the product to the retailer. Just think about distribution – the more hands a product touches, the higher the price. In the case of many OEMs, there are costs associated with paying sales representatives, distributors and possibly even getting the product onto the retail shelves. Brand name companies typically offer drivers starting in the $299 range. Taking out the marketing and distribution costs, a driver will price out at about $99.

Now let’s look at some component costs. As competitors start releasing their 2008 catalog or publishing their new prices on their internet sites, one can very well see how the pricing by some component companies do not allow the clubmaker to make a profit and compete versus an OEM. Let’s take the driver as an example. One very large component supplier’s average priced titanium driver for 2008 is $99.28. Some boutique component distributors sell their drivers for many times more. In one example, we’ve seen one company offer the clubhead itself for $299, while many others are in the $100 to $199 range.

We also need to include the cost of the other components. OEMs typically put in their own branded shafts, which can vary greatly in quality and price. For the sake of argument, let’s say the OEM shaft is equivalent to a $30 shaft, which should easily cover the majority of OEM stock shafts. And OEMs typically use their own branded grips, but again, for the sake of argument, let’s say they use the equivalent of a $5 grip.

So when you add up a $100 component driver, a $30 shaft and $5 grip the hobbyist orPower Play System Q2 Driver do-it-yourselfer is going to spend $135 for the just the components to make a driver (more with a premium shaft). If a clubmaker sells this club at $199, he or she would make $64 gross profit at 32% margin. Keep in mind, however, he is now competing with a closeout OEM model that might also sell for $199. Alternatively, if the clubmaker tried to sell the club at $150, his profit margin drops substantially to 10% and his profit is now only a mere $15! By the time labor and other overhead is added in, the clubmaker would most likely have lost money.

So are there still values out there that allow the clubmaker to make a profit? Yes, take a look at Hireko’s average component head price for each product category for 2008.

Drivers Fairways Hybrids Irons Wedges Putters

$ 51.95 $ 12.99 $ 12.95 $ 9.06 $ 8.74 $ 16.19

Hireko’s average priced titanium driver head is in the $52 range. Couple this with the same $30 shaft and $5 grip, and the cost is roughly $87. If the clubmaker sold at $199, he would make an incredible 56% margin and a profit of $112. Even if the clubmaker were to sell at $150, he would be making 42% margin and a profit of $63. The clubmaker could even sell at $125 and still make over 30% margin! Alternatively, if clubmaker upgraded to a premium shaft which costs say $60, his cost is now $117, which is still nearly $20 lower than the competing $135 with a mid-end shaft.

While this is but one example, when you compare Hireko’s pricing to our competitors across the board, you will see proportional savings in each category. Your hard earned dollars will go further with a component company that is looking after the best interest of the average golfer.

With gas pricing rising along with food, electricity, health insurance, your child’s education and just about ever other conceivable product or service, we at Hireko are here to carry on the fundamentals of what the component industry was based upon; affordable pricing and good quality you can count on. Of course, each company has its own prerogative to set their own prices as they see fit, but at Hireko, we firmly believe that by keeping prices fair, our customers have the best opportunities to thrive.

How To Buy Golf Clubs With Brains Not Brawn

Jeff Summitt Explores How To Purchase Wisely

Selecting a golf club that is suited to your game can be a formidable challenge with all the different options that are available to you. For golfers that have played for some time, the selection process is often easier as that person can use the past experiences to avoid certain specifications that may have not worked well in the past and choose only those parameters that have worked well. For more experienced golfers, this is simply part of the game, just like experimenting with different stances, ball positions and swings just to see where the ball will go.

But if you are fairly new to the game, you will have to build up your database of experiences to guide you along the way when purchasing new golf equipment. Golf can be expensive if you want it to be, but it doesn’t always have to be. Often times when you purchase equipment, you have no choice but to purchase the entire set of irons or even a set of clubs, when you wish you could have purchased a single club to try first. This is one of the Hireko differences as you can buy just one club to see if you like it first. Just like when you go into the grocery store, you don’t fill up your entire shopping cart with a single type of item that is unfamiliar to you or your family. Rather you will buy one, or a variety, try them to see which one(s) you like, then you can buy with confidence the next time around.