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Will the trend of players without equipment contracts continue?

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Last year was full of surprises when it came down to equipment. We even saw players winning majors without having a contract with golf club manufacturers. Will this trend continue in the future? The simple answer is no.

Let me tell you why.

It doesn’t happen very often that a big equipment player like Nike leaves the stage. Due to this sudden exit, lots of players were “forced” to find a new sponsoring contract for financial reasons, since having a club contract generates income. Therefore, it’s only natural that many players switched to new equipment sooner rather than later. Whether these players really needed the extra pocket money or not is a different story to be told.

Of course, there are always certain players who don’t seem impressed by the big bucks sponsorships generate. However, you shouldn’t compare a Robert Rock or Ollie Schniederjans to one of the current major winners.

Whether you like those players or not, all three major winners of 2018 are top notch players. Yes, even Patrick Reed. Would I invite him for a brewski? Probably not. Would I bet money on him to win the Masters after rounds of 69, 66, 67? Hell yeah!

I don’t know if the general dislike of Patrick Reed is the main reason why he hasn’t had a big equipment contract in a while. What I do know is that golf brands, like every other sports brand, are not only looking for good athletes. What they need are outstanding brand ambassadors everybody loves. If this isn’t the case, they won’t let someone onto their payroll simply because bad press is a killer in today’s world of social media. Whether Patrick Reed, aka Captain America, ticks all the necessary boxes in order to be such an ambassador is something you can decide for yourself.

The remaining two major winners were both signed by Nike and must have had some pretty sweet deals. As a consequence, Francesco Molinari and Brooks Koepka won’t be cheap to sign. Whether one of the manufactures will allocate the appropriate money and sign one of them is something the future will tell us.

In this connection, it shouldn’t be forgotten that due to their recent achievements, neither of these players are currently in a financial predicament. Each and every one of them proved themselves to belong to the best golf players in the world. Therefore, it would be a very foolish move to change the winning formula: “I play whatever tickles my fancy.”

Last but not least, it is only fair to say that Nike must have made some pretty good irons. Although I never liked them, there is nothing more to say if one of today’s best ball strikers is desperately looking for certain irons from Nike. Now, before you say something, we’re not talking about Paul Casey or a set of Slingshots!

Instead of debating any further what will or will not happen in the future, we should better enjoy this very unique moment in time and watch what some of the best players in the world believe are the best clubs for them based on performance. At some point soon this will be over again for sure.

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I’m 29 years old, born in Switzerland and started playing golf when I was eleven years old. Back in the day, I won two national team championships. Besides being a passionate golfer, I do have a big interest in the industry itself. My favorite golf player is Angel Cabrera. I hate slow play and love a proper foursome with friends on a Sunday afternoon followed by a decent BBQ. Not long ago I founded my own company in Switzerland. Its purpose is to identify & develop new innovative services for the golf industry. Right now, we are working on different approaches on how customers can fully customize golf clubs & headcovers. Equipment: Driver: Titleist 905s (9.5, Graffaloy Blue S) 3 Wood: Callaway xHot Pro (15, Diamana Kai’li S70) Irons (3-p) Mizuno MP-37 (Dynamic Gold S300) Wedges: Cleveland RTX 588 (50, 54 & 58 Dynamic Gold S300) Putter: Odyssey TRI FORCE 1 Golf Ball: Pro V1

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Equipment deals are drying up except for the very top players, the industry is in trouble. Just a sigh of the current market….

    • Simms

      Feb 25, 2019 at 6:32 pm

      For the last 5 years or more all the equipment companies are putting more money into advertising it seems and boy are they getting good at turning heads…all my playing partners are in the 16 to 20 handicap range and NOTHING is any better for us then what we are using…sure nice and pretty (50% of that is just the new grip right?) Just today we played with a new guy as a dreaded 5 some…he let us all hit is new $550 driver a few times as no one was behind us….sure it was not fitted to our swings but we could all tell right away there was no magic going to come from a $550 driver…4 no sales here…

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Podcasts

TG2: Rory wins his “Fifth Major”! Plus, a discussion with a true golf junkie

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Of course we are talking about The Players and Rory’s win! Is The Players close to a 5th major or not? We have GolfWRX member mBiden2 on the show to talk about his golf junkie ways and the gear he is liking for 2019!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Opinion & Analysis

College golf recruiting: The system works

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Yesterday, one of the parents I consult with on college placement asked me what the lessons are from the recent college admissions scandal for her and her son. What are the takeaways?

Michael Young, who coined the phrase in 1956, writes, a meritocracy is “the society in which the gifted, the smart, the energetic, the ambitious and the ruthless are carefully sifted out and helped towards their destined positions of dominance.” For decades higher education has embraced the meritocracy, creating an effective system which it funnels students with amazing precision to school that matches their academic ability, courtesy of indicators like GPA, SAT and class rank. So why would people work to circumvent this system? Ignorance and entitlement; the members of this scandal were driven by having the right brand name to tell their friends at dinner parties, not the welfare of their children.

In my own experience, I have seen families put their kids into months of hardcore standardized prep, while signing up for six to eight sittings of the SAT under the guise of trying to get to a better school, all while balancing practice and tournament golf. The problem is that this does not make you a good parent, it makes you an asshole.

In my own examination of data in the college signing process over the past three years, I have found only three outliers in Division One Men’s Golf at major conference schools. Each of these outliers had a NJGS ranking outside of the top 1000 in their class with scoring differentials above 3.5. They also each had a direct and obvious connection with the school. They leveraged the relationship and had their children admitted and put on the roster. Success! Unfortunately, none of the players appeared on the roster their sophomore year. Why? By the numbers, these players are 6 shots worst than their peers. That’s 24 shots over a four-round qualifier.

Obviously, it needs to be said again; the best junior players (boys and girls) are excellent. Three years of data suggest that players who attend major conference schools have negative scoring differentials close to 2. This means that they average about 2 shots better than the course rating, or in lay terms; have a plus handicap in tournaments. This is outstanding golf and a result of a well thought out and funded plan, executed over several years.

There is no doubt that the best players have passed through top tier programs in recent years, however, they have entered these programs with accolades including negative scoring differentials and successful tournament careers, including a pattern of winning. In order to compete at the professional level, players must meticulously try and mirror these successes in college. The best way to do it? Attend a school where the prospective student-athlete can gain valuable experience playing and building their resume. For a lot of junior golfers, this might not be the most obvious choice. Instead, the process takes some thought and looking at different options. As someone who has visited over 800 campuses and seen the golf facilities, I can say that you will be surprised and impressed with just how good the options are! Happy searching.

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: World Long Drive Champ Maurice Allen

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In this episode of the Gear Dive brought to you by Fujikura Golf, Johnny chats with Remax World Long Drive Champion Maurice Allen on where he started, his crazy equipment specs and why he relies on his eyes over the numbers.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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