4:20 pm Update Experiment Idea
Day with a great round, Grillo not doing much in the afternoon, but still many holes to go. I should probably turn on the coverage to see how much airtime Grillo is getting, but I just can’t gin up the interest. If Grillo and Day are in the hunt come Sunday, I’ll watch for sure.
Idea For An Experiment: Get a low handicap player, say a 5-handicap or less. Give him a mixed partial bag of clubs. 2,4,6,8 irons, SW, driver, putter. Some with regular shafts, some with stiff. A mixed bag of balls, too. Have him play a round and see how he did. Of course, if the player were a TaylorMade rep, or a custom club fitter, or worked at a PGA Tour Superstore, he’d fake a bad round. However, my guess is that the player would have a decent round, maybe a couple strokes over his norm.
And it would still look like a round of golf. I was about an 18 most of my playing days (an honest 18, playing ball down, no outlandish gimmes), but I never felt like I played a round of golf. I never went, “Oh, man, I missed two greens in a row.” I was more like a guy on a runaway horse, hoping I’d get enough lucky breaks to break 90.
There’s so much darn money in the golf gear industry, no one want to admit it’s the Indian, not the arrows. I once bought a utility club and it came with a horrible duck hook. I never had a hook, but I did with that club. It was funny how consistently I hooked with it. I had good players hit it on practice ranges, after hearing of my woes, and, to a man, they would drill the ball long and straight. It had a regular shaft that seemed especially flexible to me, and many of them played stiffs. Didn’t matter. They hit it straight. They might say, Yeah, it feels whippy, but they didn’t hook.
11:15 am Update: What is the manufacturer’s actual cost to produce a golf ball, particularly, a Titleist Pro V1? This article from My Golf Spy has some darn interesting information.
More and more, I think that standard golf equipment is something we need. Thoughts:
- Put aside clubs for now and focus on balls. Consumers are paying $60 for a product costing $8 to manufacture. Want to bring down the cost of the game? Gee, I have an idea. (With a standard ball, there would be no need for further R&D.)
- Less profits for manufacturers means less advertising dollars. Okay by me. Also less endorsement money to multi-millionaire players. I can live with that.
- Less advertising dollars for golf broadcasts. Also okay by me. It’s not going to lead to less live coverage or anything. It’s becoming cheaper and cheaper to cover sports. It’s so easy that Stephanie Wei lost her credentials for doing it! And I’ve been watching live coverage of the running of the bulls from Pamplona every night on Esquire. Golf coverage is not going to decrease. (And if it did — and it won’t — would it even matter? Golf is a participation sport first and foremost.)
- Would golf purses go down? I don’t see why, and if they did, why would I care? Hunter Mahan has made $30 million for winning a grand total of six tournaments. That’s the perfect balance point?
- Players might lose endorsement money. See prior answer.
- Golf equipment manufacturers would struggle. Why do I care? It’s called creative destruction. See “Buggy Whip Manufacturers.” Do I watch a game of football or baseball and concern myself with Wilson or Rawlings or Louisville Slugger?
Those are just off-the-cuff thoughts, but I think it’s time to move on standardizing equipment.
First off, thanks to everyone who has helped me in my search for PGA Tour yearly total purses. I truly appreciate everyone’s effort. Second, if you haven’t seen the two articles that came up in Thursday’s comment section, you might want to check them out: this classic one circa 2009, and this one just out from Business Insider. The topic of both: the claim that “Tiger made golfers rich,” which is either, best case, highly overblown, or, worst case, totally bogus.
A Seriously Good Article: I stumbled across several articles worth mentioning this afternoon, but this one is by far the most interesting. It’s entitled, “In search of America’s next top black golfer,” but that’s only tangentially what it’s about. The piece is written by a black guy (Ishmael Sistrunk) who plays a handful of rounds a year, and his view of the game is, in my opinion, perfect:
Golf isn’t a cheap sport, but a skilled miser can make a way. Indian Mounds Golf Course on the Ill side [he’s referring to the Illinois side of the St. Louis metro area] isn’t the prettiest course in town, but it’s just $15 for 18 holes with a cart. There are Par 3 courses like Tower Tee with comparable pricing. Many lament the cost of clubs, but there’s a magical place called Craigslist where secondhand club sets can be purchased for the price of a basketball or a baseball glove. Let’s face it, a beginning golfer will hit the same stray balls with a $50 set of clubs as with a $500 set.
That’s poetic is what that is. I have nothing to add other than to say most of my golf has been played on courses that weren’t the prettiest in town! (And looking back, I believe that’s where I had the most fun.) Oh, and, Craigslist still being twenty-five years in the future, I once went with a friend to meet a man whose garage was filled with old clubs; there we put together a set consisting of a 4-iron, 6-iron, 8-iron, sand wedge, putter, and driver. Skilled misers.
Even though the article is not long, Sistrunk made several other interesting points you don’t often hear discussed. The corporate and media people who run around in circles trying to “grow the game” really need to give this guy a call.