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Acushnet launches Union Green golf ball brand

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You might expect the announcement of a new golf ball brand to fly under the radar. With the launch of Union Green from Acushnet, the parent company to entrenched golf brands Titleist and FootJoy among others, however, there’s no danger of that. This golf ball launch is different and signals a shift in consumer interaction for one of the largest companies in golf.

What is Union Green?

“Golf has the power to unite us all. With Union Green all are welcome.”

That single statement is the ethos of Union Green—to bring people together on the golf course, to be inclusive, inviting, and at the end of the day, to have fun.

Union Green seeks to represent the new age of the golfers that look to golf as a way to hang out with friends, relax, and have some fun along the way. From a branding standpoint, it’s the 9-hole muni down the street rather than the high initiation private club that you can’t see past the gate: both are great in their own way, but one is more relatable to the majority of the golf population than the other.

The new company will be largely direct-to-consumer, but considering Acushnet’s deep penetration in both on and off-course retail. you can expect to see the full lineup of lifestyle softgoods and accessories beyond the two new golf balls in shops around the country and beyond. Does that mean exclusive private clubs? Probably not. But at your local public course looking to offer a more value-priced golf ball, absolutely!

So, about the golf balls…

In the cluttered space that is direct-to-consumer golf ball brands, from a product standpoint alone, Union Green separates itself in a way that no other current company can. Its golf balls are made in the United States under the same strict quality control standards that other balls under the Acushnet brands are made, including Titleist TourSoft.

 

Union Green Pindrop

A three-piece ball built to offer greenside performance without giving up distance or trajectory—simple as that.

The tech details are light, but that’s OK. The golfers these are targeted at aren’t worried about the newest urethane mixtures being used to build the cover or some compound infused into the core to make them faster. It’s all about performance and value, and with Pindrop you get a three-piece (non-urethane covered ball) for $27.99 per dozen.

Union Green Teebird

A two-piece ball built for distance and designed to fly straighter. Once again simple and to the point. Plus, for only $19.99 per dozen, the Teebird offers great value for the golfer who might lose a few during a round. Not everyone can shrug off smashing a $6 ball into a pond, but at only $1.67 apiece, it’s an easier pill to swallow.

What does this mean for Acushnet?

This is the million-dollar question. Union Green is not Titleist Light or a Pinnacle replacement, it’s a totally new upstart to fill the void for golfers serious about having fun while playing golf—those who don’t relate to the stuffy atmosphere that is often associated with the sport.

Lifestyle brands in and out of golf tend to go in two directions: high-end and luxurious or more value and consumer-accessibility focused. The well-branded UnionGreen.com website, with long-haired, backward cap-wearing “dudes” and casually dressed legging-wearing women golfing, tells you everything you need to know about what they represent and who they are hoping to connect to.

Union Green has hit the nail on the head. As a millennial golfer myself who spends a lot of time playing public golf with people from all age demographics, this is a growing segment of the golfing population. Golfers, regardless of age or gender, who care less about what shaft is in their driver and more about making sure fun is had on the course with friends.

As an equipment-obsessed, fully tuned-in golfer, this might not relate to you, but I’m sure you know or play golf with someone that fits right into Union Green’s target market. Acushnet is hoping the brand messaging lands, like a high, soft wedge into three green.

It will be interesting to see if it does.

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Mike

    Feb 15, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Many of these ‘non-golfers’ now use range balls, which cost like 10 cents each when you pocket one. But I did hear you’ll get a free craft beer coupon w/ each dozen.

    Who on earth would order these balls when you can buy distance balls CHEAP at Walmart? And for ‘non-golfers’, DOES “DISTANCE” REALLY MATTER??? So, now, w/ this Union ‘distance’ ball, you’ll dribble your shot 18 yards off the tee instead of 15?

  2. ShortHitter

    Feb 13, 2020 at 7:42 am

    They’ll make good margins on the direct to consumer segment by cutting out retailers. If they charge for shipping, you could be paying $30+ for a surlyn cover ball. Makes complete sense for folks that pay $15 for a phone order $7 sandwich with delivery and service fees.

  3. Will Johnston

    Feb 12, 2020 at 11:25 am

    The ball will be a huge success if they denounce toxic masculinity and only use gender neutral pronouns.

  4. golfraven

    Feb 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Some execs at Acushnet: so what are we doing about the Corona virus? Well, lets bring out a new ball brand and call it Union Green. Sounds Chinese to me and make us look like as we would care about next generation on this planet.

  5. Funkaholic

    Feb 10, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    This is “woke” capitalism in action, a bunch of old white haired guys sitting around the boardroom asking each other “how do we reach millennials?” Naturally the answer is to Bart Simpson up a brand of cheap balls. Everything about this is stupid. When will executive realize, you can’t brand “cool”. Most of the young people I see on the golf course are as serious as anybody. You aren’t going to win over the stoned Frisbee golfers and nobody wants them on the course anyway.

  6. jgpl001

    Feb 8, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I have heard some nonsense in my time but this is total BS.
    What are they talking about with this inclusive, eco rubbish???
    And a few cheap, non descript golf balls – Give me a break
    Anybody who buys these needs serious treatment and antipsychotic medication

  7. Marty

    Feb 8, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Completely incongruous. The logo doesn’t look like it belongs on a golf ball and the brand name sounds like some sort of house-brand one might find on sweatshirts and warmups at the GAP or some other big box store.

    Also, how people approach the game of golf is not a “Lifestyle” or a “Lifestyle Choice”.

  8. Chip2win

    Feb 8, 2020 at 6:23 am

    I’m going to make it my personal mission to avoid purchasing all Titleist/Footjoy products.

    • Brian

      Feb 8, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Ditto. Why buy these when high-performing urethane balls are available for just a few $ more?

  9. Chip2win

    Feb 8, 2020 at 5:14 am

    I’m going to make it my personal mission to avoid ALL Titleist/Footjoy products in the future.

  10. Daniel Whitehurst

    Feb 8, 2020 at 4:35 am

    So this is introduced for the basic player that isn’t interested in the balls makeup or materials at a lower cost than the $47 prov1 at $27. You can get a great ball like Wilson DUO at $20 or Callaway supersoft at $22. What the point of this. I thought it was a eco friendly ball with GREEN in the name. Or maybe a non conforming ball for distance.

    • JThunder

      Feb 10, 2020 at 2:52 am

      Yes – Duo, Supersoft and several others compete with Tour Soft, but all at lower price than Tour Soft or Onion Green.

      • Danny Boy

        Feb 10, 2020 at 9:26 pm

        Onion Green – Now that’s something I can get behind

    • Steve Sanders

      Feb 10, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Yeah Vice and Snell already offer high quality golf balls for less than this and even the big name brands already have plenty of products made of higher-quality materials in the $20-25 price point. Who in their right mind is looking for a “message” in their golf balls? I’ve never bought a 15-pack of cheap pinnacles at a course and thought to myself “But does pinnacle speak to my personal opinions on inclusivity and casual enjoyment of golf?”

  11. Rich Douglas

    Feb 8, 2020 at 1:10 am

    This is a press release, nothing more.

    How could these balls be any different from the rocks they sell under the Pinnacle line?

    How is it that these balls are some form of “lifestyle brand”? Seriously, what’s the lifestyle or the brand?

    If I’m running Callaway, I’m talking to the legal department about suing for infringement…on the TopFlite line!

    And if one of your selling points is that the ball is cheap to lose, well….

  12. MadMex

    Feb 8, 2020 at 12:55 am

    Good lord !!!!! All they needed was the race angle,,,,
    ” para todos ustedes que no pueden pagar el precio de las Pro-V1 les ofrecemos esta basura !!!”

    Translation: “For those of you who can’t afford the price of Pro-V1 balls, we offer you this garbage!”

    Yes, I am Mexican and do speak and write fluent Spanish,,,,,,,,,,

  13. hwt

    Feb 7, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    This is clearly an attempt to get into the vice/snell/tbc/sugarloaf sector. Too bad it looks like it was thought up by a heavy handed dumbo in the corporate office. Won’t be even testing these bc this is such a corporate facepalm moment.

    Also interesting they say that the ball get the same quality testing as…….the truesoft? Why in the hell would you promote that when you have the #1 ball in golf?

  14. JP

    Feb 7, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    Laughable

  15. 2putttom

    Feb 7, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    kewl, appealing to the millennial golfer.

  16. Michaele11111

    Feb 7, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Was that an advertorial?

    No matter what dog patch you play at or how high your handicap is, I hope you are enough of a golfer that you wanted to vomit after reading that article.

    Whoever sold the Acushnet CEO on this one better have their resume up to date.

  17. Alexander Schilling

    Feb 7, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    This is dumb

  18. SV

    Feb 7, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Bring back the Acushnet Club Special!!

    • Shallowface

      Feb 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      Nah. That name isn’t inclusive enough. “Club” implies exclusivity.

      Looking forward to the next decade when the children of these people turn on, tune in and drop out.

  19. James

    Feb 7, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    History has proven repeatedly that collectivist words like “inclusive” are dead ends and lead to complacency and laziness. Careful, Titleis… I mean Acushnet. The Ball is DOA.

    In other news, the Truvis already owns the cool-kid ball market.

  20. Moosejaw McWilligher

    Feb 7, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    By definition, something new from Acushnet – or sub-brand thereof – cannot be called an “upstart” (or startup).

    The “green” part of the name had me expecting something eco-friendly. That has been the near-exclusive connotation of “green” for decades now. Since that doesn’t seem to be the case, it feels like false advertising, which doesn’t endear Acushnet to me.

    • DL

      Feb 8, 2020 at 9:21 am

      Green means eco-friendly but it’s not so it’s false advertising hahhaha

      Maybe Union Green has to do with uniting people through golf which is played on a golf course that has greens… hence Union Green lol

      • Rascal

        Feb 8, 2020 at 11:42 am

        The green obviously relates to marijuana, come on guys.

        • Moosejaw McWilligher

          Feb 10, 2020 at 2:48 am

          In that case, $27.99 for a box that size is a good deal!

    • scooter

      Feb 8, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Yeah, probably the only way this ball has a chance in h*** is if Acushnet were to promise most of the profits go to true green (environmental) causes … ain’t gonna happen … just a $$$ marketing scheme

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Whats in the Bag

Dustin Johnson WITB 2020

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 @ 10 degrees, D4 swing weight)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.75 inches)

Fairway wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Alpha 90 X

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue (22 @ 19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 105 X

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09, 60-10 @ 62 degrees)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Mini
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

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Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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Today from the Forums: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums we delve into a subject dedicated to wedge fitting. Liquid_A_45 wants to know if wedge fitting is as essential for golfers as iron fitting, and our members weigh into the discussion saying why they feel it is just as imperative.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Z1ggy16: “Super important if you’re a serious golfer. Even better if you can get fit outdoors on real grass and even go into a bunker.”
  • ThunderBuzzworth: “The biggest part of wedge fitting is yardage gapping and sole grinds. If you have a grind that doesn’t interact with the turf in your favor, it can be nightmarish around the greens. When hitting them try a variety of short game shots with different face angles etc. with the different grinds to see which one works best for what you need.”
  • Hawkeye77: “Wedge fitting I had was extremely beneficial when I got my SM6s a few years ago. Mostly for working with the different grinds and how they interacted with my swing and on different shots and having an eye on my swing to help with the process and evaluate the results. My ideas of what grinds were right for me based on researching on Titleist, etc. just were not correct in 2/3 of the wedges I ended up with as far as the grinds were concerned. Good to have an experienced fitter available to answer questions, control variables, etc.”
  • cgasucks: “The better you get at this game, the more important wedges are.”

Entire Thread: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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