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Opinion & Analysis

Rickie Fowler’s impact on Cobra-Puma Golf

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Aside from Tiger Woods’ Sunday red, nobody had created a signature look quite like Rickie Fowler’s all-orange attire, which commemorated his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. That signature style and his rise to his current stardom has coincided with a boom to Cobra-Puma Golf.

In 2012, Cobra-Puma Golf had already been formed for about two years and was still in the process of revitalizing its brand globally. Then came along Fowler, who agreed to sign a complete sponsorship deal with Cobra-Puma Golf. Fowler became the company’s lead spokesman, filled his bag with Cobra clubs and continued to sport his unique Puma attire on and off the course.

Every time Fowler played well in a tournament, Cobra-Puma Golf saw a drastic increase in sales. The company issued 500 limited edition orange shoes in honor of Fowler’s Sunday all-orange attire, and they sold out instantly. Later that year, Fowler finally broke through and got his first Tour victory at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.

Fowler already had a deal in place with Puma, when in 2009 — his rookie year — he signed a deal with the clothing company and made a big splash that season. In 2010, the hobbyist motor cross racer was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and was picked for the Ryder Cup. Fowler’s first professional win came in 2011 at the OneAsia Tour’s Kolon Korea Open. At this point, Fowler’s popularity had been skyrocketing among golf fans. His clothing style and aggressive play was catching the eyes of golf fans across the world.

All of Fowler’s success helped raise the profile of Cobra-Puma Golf. Cobra’s well-known equipment and Puma’s stylish apparel were a perfect match for one another. Its goal from the start was to be the most desirable golf brand by players of all abilities and styles. Prior to the merger, Cobra Golf was represented by the likes of Ian Poulter, Camilo Villegas and J.B. Holmes. But even though Cobra Golf had always produced premium golf equipment, it was never considered the fun or exciting brand that it is today. That all changed when Puma bought Cobra and Cobra-Puma Golf was formed.

Rickie Fowler won the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2012.

Rickie Fowler won the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2012.

Fowler has capitalized on his popularity with other endorsements. He went on to sign a deal with Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts to appear in print, TV and online advertisements. Crowne, like Cobra-Puma Golf, was thrilled to not only leverage Fowler’s fun and colorful personality, but also his new-found star power. In 2013, Fowler joined Tiger Woods on the cover of the 2013 edition of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game. Fowler received this honor by winning a fan-voted online popularity contest. In essence, he had become the most popular player in the game besides Woods.

Through all this excitement and quick rise to fame, Fowler has remained humble and genuine. Part of Fowler’s popularity comes from his combination of an outgoing and non-traditional style with a grounded and relaxed demeanor. Cobra-Puma Golf could not be more thrilled about the influence Fowler has had on young golfers. It is almost guaranteed that whenever you see Fowler at a Tour event, you will also see a handful of kids dressed like him in all orange. Fowler has made it clear that he wishes to be a role model that parents allow their kids to look up to.

Fowler is a member of the “Golf Boys,” which is a music group that also includes Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson and Ben Crane. He and his team are very connected in this age of social media, and Fowler currently has more than 450,000 followers on Twitter and over 100,000 “likes” on his Facebook page.

For the 23-year-old Fowler and Cobra-Puma Golf, this is only the beginning. It is evident that his marketability is through the roof and there seems to be no limits on what he can accomplish off the course. However, a golfer’s success off the course only manifests through his success on the course.

If Fowler’s game ever does take a turn for the worse, we might see his success off the course do the same. But for now, Fowler continues to shine and it seems as if he will for a very long time.

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Matthew is a sports business professional with experience working in athlete marketing, consulting and business development. He has played and watched golf for most of his life. In addition to being a passionate golf fan, he is an avid NY Knicks, NY Giants, NY Mets and IU basketball fan. Matthew looks forward to growing his career in the sports industry.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Lloyd

    May 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    We are very fortunate to have a role model like Rickey for the young players to follow his path to success.

  2. Gus Terranova

    Mar 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Fowler’s alma mater isn’t Oklahoma State as much as he would like us to believe. He only took classes there for two years. He can wear orange all day long but that won’t make him an alum. And it won’t make him a top tier golf pro either. He needs less show and more go.

  3. mark

    Mar 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    So much so that our local store has binned a life size model of RF advertising some product (can’t be clubs as they got badly burned by last year’s Cobra flops) because the customers kept making derogatory comments!! He is a figure of fun and derision in the Uk but certainly not a face that shifts product. Did he go to Clown School for his style advice?

    • Per

      Mar 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      It is tough to grow old and realize that there is no longer Wolsey or Lyle & Scott who rules the world!

  4. Troy Vayanos

    Mar 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Nice post Matthew,

    From what I have seen Rickie is a very good role model off the golf course as well. He’s regularly seen signing autographs for kids and giving them free signed gloves and hats.

    Puma-Cobra have got themselves a winner!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Consistent setup is key to success

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In follow up to last week’s post, Top 4 reasons golfers don’t improve, I want to dive into what I believe to be the most common problem affecting mid- to high-handicap players. This is a big topic that will help nearly every golfer, regardless of your skill level, so it’s going to take two articles to cover it.

Here’s part 1.

We all tend to play golf in a constant cycle of swing-and-correction, swing-and-correction, but my observation is that most of the time our bad swings are caused by improper, or inconsistent setup.

I’m a firm believer that once you have played golf for a while, you have probably developed the ability to have a reasonably repeating and effective swing path and method. Even though it might not be textbook, it’s yours and has your fingerprints all over it. And the fact that you occasionally strike really good shots proves that your swing has the capability of producing results that are gratifying.

I certainly don’t suggest you shouldn’t work to improve your swing technique – the better the mechanics, the better and more consistent the results you are going to get. But my point is that your swing has produced good shots before, and it can do so more often if you just “fix” one thing – your starting position.

The single issue that troubles golfers of all skill levels, from tour player to 100-shooter, is the ability to be consistent. And I’m a firm believer that many – if not most – bad shots are the result of a bad starting position. Think of it this way: no matter how good your swing might be, if you start each shot with the ball in a different position in relation to your body core’s rotation axis, you simply cannot get the clubhead back on the ball consistently.

The ball is 1.68” in diameter, and the effective striking surface of an iron or fairway wood is only an inch or so across. That puts pretty tight demands on your ability to get the club behind your head and back on the ball with consistency.

Let’s compare golf to a baseball hitter. He’s standing in the box and the pitch can be anywhere in the strike zone. He’s got to have good technique, but is heavily reliant on his eye/hand coordination to get the bat on the ball. Darn difficult task, which is why the very best hitters only average .350 or so, shank off lots of fouls and completely whiff the ball at least 20% of the time! If you translated that to golf, no one would ever break 150!

The single thing that makes this game remotely playable . . . is that we get to start with the ball in the exact spot where we want it – every time.

I have a friend in the custom club business that did some research measuring the setup consistency of hundreds of golfers of all skill levels. What he found is simple, but revealing. His methodology was to have golfers address and hit a series of 6-iron shots, stepping away and taking a fresh setup for each one. He found that good players with low single-digit handicaps showed the ability to put themselves in almost the exact same position in relation to the ball every time. Measuring from the back of their heels to the ball showed an average deviation from shot to shot of less than 1/4 inch.

But he saw that the higher the handicap, the more shot-to-shot error in setup consistency the golfer exhibited – 20-plus handicap golfers exhibited an average shot-to-shot deviation in distance from the ball of up to two inches or even more! That’s the entire width of the clubhead! It’s a wonder they ever hit it at all!

This variance is a major reason why we can get “in the groove” on the practice range, but have difficulty taking it to the course.

So, think about that for a few days, and next week, I will share how you can quickly build a solid and repeating setup, so that you can give yourself the best chances of hitting good shots more often.

If there is any true “secret” to improving your ball-striking, shotmaking, and scoring, this is certainly it.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: High octane ball compression and artistic touch around the greens

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From the Olympics to taking out the glancing blows in your irons and chipping it close. Wisdom in Golf has your back.

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Podcasts

The 19th Hole (Ep. 165): One-on-one with Shane Bacon

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Host Michael Williams talks with the co-host of the Golf Channel’s Golf Today about the Open Championship and Collin Morikawa’s place in the history books.

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