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The 10 best golf commercials of 2013

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This year’s PGA Tour season came to an end last weekend at the Tour Championship, which got me to thinking about what an incredible year of golf it has been.

The highlights from 2013 include: Tiger v. Sergio at The Players, Adam Scott’s breakthrough win at Augusta, the anchored-putter ban, Mickelson’s runner-up finish at a U.S. Open (again) followed by redemption at Muirfield, and a Hogan-esque ball striking showcase from Jason Dufner at Oak Hill.

But do you know what was really off the charts in 2013? Golf commercials.

This year produced better golf commercials than any year in recent memory. The commercials were so good, in fact, that I think it’s necessary to recap the 10 absolute best golf commercials aired this season.

To clarify what I mean by the “best commercials” I ask the simple question: How effectively does the advertisement express itself? Whether their goal was to evoke laughter, chills or simply make you want to buy their product, these commercials exhibited the highest caliber of production value and entertainment:

No. 10 — Bridgestone: “Pro-Shop/Assistant Manager”

[youtube id=”xVxy_AeL57o” width=”620″ height=”360″]

There were three of these throughout the golf season, all of which featured one of the best casts of any on this list. But I thought this episode was best.

FAVORITE PART: A short, chubby Trevino emerging from the crowd and telling the pretty woman: “I’ll tell you about compression.”

No. 9 (and 8) — MasterCard: “Feeling like a pro”

[youtube id=”a9JAF8MxGbY” width=”620″ height=”360″]
[youtube id=”pS4rJ1TN4QM” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Hats off G-Mac, Ian, Sneds and Mr. Watson here. Yes, they’re only lip-synching in the second commercial, but that makes it fun.

FAVORITE PART: “That’s the guy. SNEEEE-DUH-KER!!”

No. 7 — Footjoy: “The Mark of Player”

[youtube id=”JN_NlaunQ1o” width=”620″ height=”360″]

No jokes, tricks or surprises here, but FootJoy’s “Mark of a Player” spot succeeds with a pump-you-up musical score and a simple message: players play our stuff.

FAVORITE PART: Webb (presumably) splitting the fairway with a serious game face.

No. 6 — PGA Tour: “Born for This” (FedEx Cup Playoffs)

[youtube id=”ThLpym0D1QI” width=”620″ height=”360″]

This is the more bada** (and thus more rewatchable) version of its predecessor. The pause during each player’s two sentence quotes is so effective.

FAVORITE PART: The music. This song makes me want to video myself during a round with quotes of my own. Example: After a skied drive, I once yelled fore… to alert myself.

No. 5 — ESPN: Rickie Fowler’s SportsCenter Commercial

[youtube id=”UKk0z-5M9c4″ width=”620″ height=”360″]

Rickie Fowler is quickly becoming one of my favorite golfers. He’s cool, great with the fans and, apparently, can even poke fun at himself.

FAVORITE PART: Rickie spitting out the coffee.

No. 4 — Nike: “No Cup is Safe”

[youtube id=”2NCDYjHtEcU” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Nike did not waste much time from the time it signed Rory to featuring him in a pretty awesome advertisement. In a sort of Jordan/Bird shot for shot type contest, El Tigre and McIlory trade barbs and trick shots in a funny display of showmanship. If only Rory could have been so confident on the course this year.

FAVORITE PART: Tiger remarking to Rory: “Dude, is that your real hair?”

No. 3 — EA Sports Tiger Woods 2013: “The Rumble”

[youtube id=”8cFKBM5adMo” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Tiger teams up with The King in this very well done ad which features two golfing legends fighting off a group of would-be trophy thieves. Yes, it oversells it a bit at the end with Trevino’s (still nonetheless funny) cameo, but it is very well done.

FAVORITE PART: “Omaha spread?” “That’s what I was thinking.” Side note: how convincing is Tiger in this?

No. 2 — Avis: “The Professionals”

[youtube id=”gBGBxAUUDwk” width=”620″ height=”360″]

This rivals the Rickie Fowler commercial for the “most genuine laughter induced” when I first saw it. The music is funny (which helps Steve morph from a man into a beast), as was Stricker getting dusted by an old couple in a beat up old sedan.

FAVORITE PART: Stricker kills it by calmly stating “I’m a savage” at the end.

No. 1 –Dicks Sporting Goods: “Swing your Swing”

[youtube id=”MkX6xQM_QE8″ width=”620″ height=”360″]

This Dick’s Sport Goods commercial is just so well made and, let’s face it, applicable to many of us who probably every once in a while need to chill out on the hyper technical stuff and just go out there and (like Arnie) rip it. I particularly love the cook swinging the spatula while on the job, which we can all relate to.

FAVORITE PART: Arnold walking the walk by showing us his violent, jerky, unique — and awesome — swing.

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Lawyer, Bachelor and Golf Nut. John also writes for his and his sister's Italian culinary and lifestyle blog at www.johnandelana.com, maintains an honest GHIN handicap, and is from New Jersey; all of which he is proud of.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Alex

    Oct 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    the fedex commercial with the metal band was by far the best golf commercial of 2013.

  2. KyDerby

    Oct 18, 2013 at 9:46 am

    The best commercial from years ago was a spoof of Tiger Woods. Tiger had done his black and white “I am Tiger Woods” for Nike. I believe it was Lamkin grips that did one (in black and white) showing 4 duffers slicing and hooking their shots into the woods. Then they would show a close up of their face (like the Tiger commercial) and say “I’m in the Woods”. It only aired a few times and have to assume the Tiger or Nike Machine strong-armed someone to drop it. Would love to see it again.

  3. Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    Oct 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I like the “Swing Your Swing” ad best as it’s also a PSA with Mr. Palmer admonishing a basic truth not to be lost.

  4. Josh

    Sep 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Great list. The Titleist commercial where it shows the players behind the ball visualizing the shot. You actually see the shot take off as they envision what they intend to do with the ball. I thought that was a great commercial.

    • Andrew

      Sep 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      That was a good one, had forgotten about it.

  5. Andrew

    Sep 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Great job! Stricker kills me with “I’m a savage” ROFL!

    The Visa “feeling like a pro’ commercials equally good too.

    • breakn70

      Oct 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      The “Savage” is #1. Not even close.

  6. LT

    Sep 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    That Rumble commercial is pretty awful. Dunno why anybody like that, or the game. The game has such awful graphics and movements still.

    • John

      Sep 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      I never played the game. I will take your word for it.

  7. John

    Sep 26, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The Fed Ex Office Ones came awfully close, esp the one with the old guy who has the massive hand… Rory and the Robot, also deserves honorable mention (although if you look closely, he does not make the last shot).

    Golf is a Sport was a dud in my opinion. I didn’t buy into it. Just my opinion.

    Thank you for the comments.

    • LT

      Sep 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      You didn’t like any of the PING commercials with Bubba and Hunter? lol

      • John

        Sep 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

        Ha – LT – I sense sarcasm? Those commercials did not do it for me.

  8. yomomma

    Sep 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I think the milk has gone bad

    • CW

      Sep 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      This isnt orange.

      I think that Fowler commercial is hilarious!!!

  9. Mike

    Sep 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Very disappointed that TW 14 “Golf is a sport” didn’t make the cut. It was a very good commercial, much better than “feeling like a pro”. Anyway, at least WRX got #1 right. Luv Arnie. “Swing your swing” is arguably the best golf commercial ever made. 60 seconds of pure inspiration that hits the soul. Message so powerful and personal it transcends race, class and gender. Best of all…timeless.

  10. Rich

    Sep 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I hate to say this but how did the mark stefenhaggen commerical not get in? that commericial doesn’t have actual golf in it but it’s hilarious.

    • John

      Sep 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Rich – Agreed. Very good and came close to getting in; if i made an honorable mention list, it would be on it.

  11. Mike

    Sep 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I think Rory vs. Robot is the best of all. Hilarious.

    • Mike

      Sep 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Dicks Sporting Goods ‘Nike VRS Covert’ Tiger Woods is hilarious as well.

      • Andrew

        Sep 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        I really thought the Rory vs. Robot commercial was kind of meh……..

        • John

          Sep 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

          He doesn’t even make the last shot (the elevated washing machine)!

          Still entertaining nonetheless.

  12. LL

    Sep 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Good choices.

    My personal fav is the USGA “While we’re young” ad with Arnie and Clint.

  13. JS

    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    As a Dick’s associate for the golf department, that commercial is actually a spot on representation of our customers.

    “Is this driver– that’s stamped VR_S Covert on the sole which hangs on the VR_S Covert fixture below its VR_S Covert sign– the VR_S Covert driver?”

    … Yes.

    • LT

      Sep 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      I LOVE that commercial. It’s such a true representation of the idiocy of shoppers in the retail world, I love it.

  14. RJ

    Sep 24, 2013 at 11:12 am

    How did the two Euro Tour commercials not make the cut? Paddy on the range and Rory vs the robot were both better than the Dicks commercial which sucks.

    • KF

      Sep 24, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Please tell us what you really think.

      • TravisLG

        Sep 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        I agree, Rory with the washing machine should be very near the top if not the top.

  15. JK

    Sep 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

    what about the fedex office ones?

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Opinion & Analysis

Bag Chatter: An Interview with Uther Supply

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Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email mailbag@golfwrx.com for consideration. This interview is with Daniel Erdman of Uther Supply.

Tell us about Uther. How do you pronounce that? What are you all about? How did you start?

It’s actually pronounced “other.” We’ve gotten that question a lot and, to be honest, we’re kind of OK with it. We wanted to brand ourselves as unique, so we think it fits well. We want to create products that no one else creates. That could be towels in unique prints or some other golf goods outside of that. We’re targeting the customer that wants to be different as well…people who want to demonstrate their unique personalities.

Forgive me for being a little direct, but golf towels may not strike a lot of people as being something a lot of people would start a business with. Were you seeing a lack of something in the marketplace somehow? What prompted you to start this company selling golf towels?

It may not be conventional and I definitely recognize that. Some of my friends have laughed at me for starting a golf towel business. I guess it hit me when I was working at private clubs (I have worked at The Thornhill Club and Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto). When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together. Billy Horschel’s octopus-print pants at the 2013 US Open was something that always stuck out in my mind and in that moment when I was staring at all those bags, it all kind of came together in a way. I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.

What do you think differentiates your products from others in the marketplace? Why do you think people would buy your products?

We’ve already addressed the fact that we offer different and bold prints, but that’s obviously the first thing that most customers will notice. Beyond that, though, we put a lot of attention to detail into our products. We went through 40 different suppliers to get things right. My grandparents had a really successful flooring mat company when I was growing up. Watching them run the family business gave me the bug at a very young age to start my own business. It also taught me how much quality matters and getting the right suppliers and materials. It was so much more difficult back then without the internet, but now, a quick google search just does so much of the legwork for you.

Uther Supply’s golf towel lineup

Something that I think is very interesting here is you’re very young at only 22 years old. A lot of the people I’ve talked to recently have been in their twenties as well. Tell me a little bit about what it took to start this company. Did you have to secure an investment? A lot of people shy away from starting a company for fear of the hill being too steep to climb, if you will. Since you’re in the process of climbing it, what’s that actually like?

It definitely was difficult. The only outside funding I got were some grants and loans from business accelerator programs. Those helped tremendously. I remember having to place a very large order at my supplier at the same time my one of my funding opportunities was being processed. That particular one only had like a 20 percent acceptance rate, and if I didn’t get it, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to fund the order. The way everything happened to be timed, I had to I place my order before I heard back from my funding application to meet a deadline. It turned out I was accepted, so that was a relief, but it was definitely pretty stressful. You know, in the beginning, you’re working for months before you generate any income. You’re doing everything for the first time like sending stuff through customs, dealing with suppliers, collecting transactions, you name it. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way and when you have zero money coming in, the mistakes you make hurt so much more. You have no processes or systems in place. It’s something you need to accept for what it is and grind through it. Social media helped accelerate things quite a bit (including meeting my sales partner Luke through Instagram). Selling on Amazon and going to the PGA show last year gave us a boost as well. It’s hard to say what the hardest part is specifically. It’s just the grind in the beginning trying to get momentum behind it. Once you get over the hump, it’s really exciting and fun, but getting up to that point is definitely not easy.

It should also be mentioned that you’re based out of Canada. A lot of people would assume being in the Great White North would make the game of golf a challenging proposition. How long/short is your golf season in Ontario? How do you stay sharp over the Canadian winters? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to play golf when it’s far too cold for most of us? To what lengths will you go?

It can get interesting for sure. I first started golfing because of my hockey friends. Yes, a lot of us do play hockey up here. It was a natural transition for a lot of us to play hockey in the winter and golf in the summer. However, if you do happen to get a golf itch in the winter, you will have to get creative. It’s pretty easy to go to just an indoor simulator to practice. Sometimes I would go to Golf Town (our version of Golf Galaxy) to pretend to demo clubs in order to practice my swing. That can get you by for a while, but it’s not the same as hitting an actual golf ball and watching it fly through the air, you know? So when you get to that point, there’s a nice indoor/outdoor range near me with covered, heated hitting bays. Our golf season is from like April through October, so that leaves a lot of time in between. Golf vacations become necessary sometimes.

Before starting Uther, you alluded to your experience working at golf courses. First off, you must have some good stories. No need to mention any names, but what’s your favorite story from that stage of life? Also, what was it like to go from working at a club to having to court those golf clubs to become your customer, stock your products, etc? Was that really easy or really difficult?

Well, I have a bunch of stories involving golf carts. Just in case the old golf directors read this, I won’t give too many details. Working at a course is great. You can’t get a better “office” than going to the course every day. There’s nothing like watching the sunrise on a dew-covered golf course, especially when you’re being paid. Some of my best memories were after tournaments where three of us guys would clean like 80 golf carts. We would all have fun and get to know each other. It didn’t really feel like work.

In both instances (working for a course and now selling to them), it doesn’t really feel so much like work. It does take a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t feel like drudgery, that’s for sure. The difference is that there’s a lot more behind the scenes work that I’m doing now. We recently did a towel for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in collaboration with State Apparel. It took us a lot of back and forth to get that product right, but once we did, we came up with a custom, one-off product that our customers really loved. And watching them react to it was incredible. Stuff like that really keeps you going.

Bo Links, Co-Founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, holding custom towel developed with Uther Supply

This question is unabashedly inspired by (ahem…lifted from) one of Rick Shiels’ recent posts. (Giving credit where it’s due here). If you had to “Tin Cup” it (i.e. play a round of golf with only one club), what club would it be and how many extra strokes do you think it would take? So, if you were to play your home course, your normal score is what? And what would your “Tin Cup” score be, you think?

If I had to choose one club for a Tin Cup round, I think it would be a five iron. My home course (and the public golf course I worked for) is Richmond Hill Golf Club. It’s only like 6,000 yards, so I feel like I could totally get by with a five iron and get on any green in 3. I typically shoot like an 80-85. I don’t think I would be that far off the number honestly. I trust the five iron, but also, I know my course pretty well and I think that club would suit it nicely. Now that you ask, though, I feel like I’m dying to try it!

What tour pro would you most like to have a beer with? Not necessarily the guy you’d want to play golf with or pick his brain about the game. Who do you think is the most likeable guy on tour? Who would you most like to befriend, if you will?

I would definitely have to go with Rickie Fowler. He’s got a bold style for sure, but he owns it and I really dig that. I love that he congratulates the other guys on tour and is supportive of them when they win tournaments. He seems so humble. He’s also really adventurous. He’s into motocross. I’m not into motocross, but I love the adventurous spirit. He just seems like a really cool guy from what I can tell.

It’s almost hard to believe, but the PGA Merchandise Show is fast approaching (January 23-26, 2018 in Orlando, FL for those who don’t know). Will you be exhibiting? What are you most looking forward to? That question is, of course, about what steps you think Uther will take, but also, are you looking forward to anything specific from other manufacturers? What companies’ booths are you planning on going to?

We will definitely be at the show and we’re really looking forward to it. Come see us at booth 3988! I walked the show last year but wasn’t exhibiting, so I would go up to potential customers and pitch my products to them. That was a lot of work and it was quite stressful being out on a limb like that. We’ve been working on this year’s show since August and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. We’ve got some really cool stuff planned. You also get to meet so many people there, which is just a blast. As far as other stuff I’m looking forward to, Greyson Clothiers is definitely at the top of the list. Charlie’s story is so interesting and I just love their products.

Uther Supply plaid towel on the course

Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Are there any product releases forthcoming? Tell people how to find you on website, social media, etc.

So, the big news is that we will be expanding beyond golf towels. We will be launching some gloves and hats that I’m really excited about. We have six different golf gloves as well as bucket and baseball hats we’ll be rolling out in some very fun prints and colors (because that’s what we do). Definitely a good idea to check out our website, which is www.uthersupply.com. The website has a link to sign up for our email list which will send out some discount codes from time to time. There will also be some exclusive and limited-edition products on the website at times too. @Uthersupply is our handle on all social media platforms. Business customers can reach us at contact@uthersupply.com to collaborate with us on custom products. We’d love to have people come see what we’re about!

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Opinion & Analysis

Tara Iti: A Golfer’s Paradise

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This trip couldn’t have started better. Tara Iti Golf Club is magic! No disrespect to the home of golf, but this course might be as special as it gets when it comes to playing links golf.

Catch Up: The Start of My Golf Adventure

Tara Iti is a masterpiece that opened late in 2015. It’s designed by the famous golf architect Tom Doak, and it’s located on a large piece of land on the North Island of New Zealand around 1.5 hours from Auckland. It’s well hidden from houses and traffic, so you can just focus on your game and the stunning property.

The course brings swift fairways and plenty of risk-reward opportunities, offering a bevy of challenging shots that you need to plan carefully in order to get close to the flag. I loved especially the shapes presented by the fairways and waste areas, which make it feel as though the entire course is seamlessly woven together. I also like the idea they’ve got here of playing the ball as it lies. No bunkers, just waste areas.

On a personal note, my match against Johan was halved. He played very well on the first nine while I did well on the back nine.

What’s key to success to Tara Iti is a polished short game in combination with the ability to hit the fairways. I found my favorite hole at No. 17, a strikingly beautiful short par-3 that pops up between the wild sand dunes. There are three iconic trees to the left with the sea and a beautiful island as a backdrop.

Up Next: Kauri Cliffs on the northern peak of New Zealand. It is said to be one of the most scenic courses in the world.

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Opinion & Analysis

Life as a left-handed golfer

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“My bad, forgot you were a lefty,” my cart partner says, driving to the wrong side of the ball for the third straight hole.

“All good. Let me just grab my wedge and putter and you can head over to your ball,” I say, realizing I left that wedge on No. 2.

“Too bad you can’t use one of mine!” my hilarious buddy jokes. And just like that, we’re off. The life as a lefty.

Saturday morning rounds usually start casually enough. Tees are thrown and partners drawn. As I approach the ball, my laser-like focus after a terrible range session is typically interrupted by everyone’s favorite knee-slapper.

“Did anyone ever tell you you stand on the wrong side of the ball?” ZING!

“Actually, I’m standing to the right of the ball if you really look at it,” a younger me once quipped, a joke that would confuse and embarrass all involved. And then, with the confidence of an awkward night at the improv, I dead block one that nestles next to a tree.

As we cruise down the rough, my chauffeur politely asks, “You pulled your drive, correct?”

“Yeah, missed left side,” I mumble, preferring not to get into that brain teaser.

Now, this ball may be perched to the right of the tree, giving me a lucky angle in. “Man, what a time to be left-handed, eh?” Or, to my chagrin, settled just to the left of it forcing me to play it sideways. “Ugh, what a tough break being left-handed, huh?”

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now, I don’t fault anyone for making these observations; even I think left-handed players look outrageous on the golf course. The most experienced golfer will still see a fellow lefty in the middle of their ensuing fairway and wonder, “Why is this guy hitting it toward us?”

We’ve been conditioned to think this way. I like to call it The Ugly Duckling Syndrome. Maybe someday, we too will turn into swans and have the beautiful swings that all right-handed golfers like to say we have (we don’t). The compliment usually comes in around No. 6 as he’s starting to get the hang of this cart thing and your wedge is still holes behind.

“You have a good swing there. You remind me of Phil Mickelson. I bet you are a big fan of his?”

Sure, why not. I also have a Mark Brunell jersey, Mike Vick fathead, and I exclusively watch James Harden play basketball.

Sarcasm aside, us lefties are a proud bunch and really do love playing with or seeing another lefty on the course. For many of us, it’s the only chance we have to try different equipment. We take full advantage.

Seeing another lefty at the club is like seeing a long-lost friend on Thanksgiving Eve. We might wave, give a head nod or take an air swing, but I promise you we are acknowledging each other. Have you ever been out on the lake and pulled off the friendly wave to a fellow boater? That’s being a lefty on the golf course.

Now, we like you righties; we know your charm. You provide us an endless supply of dad jokes and sometimes you have an original one. And when we finally have a second to go grab that wedge left on No. 2, we know you’ll return it with a smile. “Well, at least you knew I wasn’t going to keep this one, Mickelson!”

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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19th Hole

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