As spring nears and the 2011 golf gear hits the shelves are our local retailers I am noticing some interesting trends and I am wondering what the cause effect relationship is behind these trends. Here are my top 5 observed on the street and read about on the internet.
1. Women’s Golf Clubs – Outside of golf specific retailers (Golf Town, Nevada Bobs), it has always been hard to find a decent selection of mid to low end women’s golf clubs. A couple of years ago I was looking for a new set for my wife, not wanting to spend a lot of money I started with the Wal Marts and Canadian Tires. Each had 1 box set that for one reason or another didn’t meet what I was looking for (you know how hard it is to find a women’s set that has a 5 iron as opposed to a hybrid). In the end I settled a set from Golf Town that was a good blend of cheap, but decent quality. This past weekend I am making my weekly pilgrimage to Wal Mart and Canadian Tire (doesn’t everyone go at least once a week?) and noticed that the spring golf gear was out. Both CT and Wal Mart had upwards of 5 women’s box sets. What gives? I really have no theory on this one, are more women playing golf?, Is the idea of women’s specific golf gear only now making it’s way from the golf specific retailer to the mass market? I have no clue. But as one with an avid female player in the household it is nice to see.
2. Coloured Golf Balls – When I started playing golf in the earlier 90’s I was once in a while find an orange or yellow golf ball under a bush at my local muni. However, it was not, in any sense of all that is good, permissible to use an orange or yellow golf ball, unless you were prepared to be teased by all our friends for the rest of the summer. With that said, the mere fact that they existed at one point and time suggests that people were playing them. As with 80’s fashion, it appears coloured golf balls are making a come back. It started slow enough last year when Srixon introduced a yellow version of the Z-Star, which surprisingly enough is a top end golf ball. A quick search of Google website tells me that you can now get non novelty coloured golf balls from Srixon (Z-Star), Bridgestone (e6), Pinnacle (gold), Titliest (DT Solo, only in the UK right now), Top Flite (XL) and Wilson (Ultra). Gone is the time where the only acceptable colour of your golf ball is white. I am not sure if I am sold on this one yet. Maybe if someone sends me a free sleeve of their yellow or orange balls I will give them a try.
3. White Drivers – Exclusively black (and sometimes navy blue) driver heads are no more. Seems to be just Taylor Made and Cobra right now that have released white driver heads, but I would have to assume others will follow. Or, others are going to come out with a different coloured driver head, besides the traditional black and navy blue. This is a trend I am definitely not taking part in. I think I would find anything other than black (or at least a dark colour) very distracting.
4. Golf Fashion – Although I haven’t witnessed this with my own two eyes yet, what I am reading on the internet suggests that spikeless golf shoes and knits will be some of the big fashion trends for the male golfer this summer. I purchased a pair of etonic spikeless golf shoes last summer, ones that had been on the market for a few years and really liked them, except when the ground was wet. I have always been a sweater guy over a jacket guy and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
5. Golf Technology – As with everything else in life, technology is ever changing the way we do things. Golf GPS really hit the market last year and I am sure there will be more of it and with newer technology this year. I have also seen a few golf coaching apps pop up on apple and even saw a Golf Instruction “Game” for Wii that came out in 2010, now with Playstation and XBox in the controller less environment I would expect to see similar golf instruction “games” released on those platforms. It will also be interesting to see if the controller less environment can be incorporated into better golf simulator technology (as opposed to all the info being picked up from the golf ball when it hits the screen).
EDITORS NOTE: Speak of the devil, Tiger Woods just released a swing app through Apple.