All the marketing in the world can't save a product if it's not very good. Conversely, sometimes a product proves itself so quickly and convincingly that all a company has to do is spread the word.
That's the happy situation Srixon finds itself in as it unveils its new generation of Z-STAR golf balls.
As you might be aware, two players have shot 59 on the Web.com Tour in the last month – Will Wilcox at the Utah Championship on July 14 and Russell Knox at the Albertsons Boise Open on July 26. You might not be aware, however, that both did so using a new Srixon ball. Wilcox used a Z-STAR XV Tour Yellow ball – making him the first player to card a 59 with a colored ball – while Knox used a Z-STAR Pure White model.
And presto – there's your marketing campaign!
OK, so maybe there's a bit more to marketing than that. And, in fact, the new balls already have amassed 40 tournament wins worldwide this year. In any case, Srixon is launching its new spheres on a nice wave of momentum.
These 2013 editions – the regular Z-STAR and a hotter Z-STAR XV – are, Srixon says, the most technically advanced tour-performance balls the company has ever produced. The new balls, the company adds, have been re-designed, re-calculated and re-formulated to produce the best balance of high-level performance across all clubs in the bag.
Both boast enhanced spin control and softness as well as improved flight characteristics. Their covers feature Srixon's new ''Spin Skin,'' a coating the company says is two times softer than any previous Srixon coating, which helps create a 20 percent increase in friction. That enables players to hit approach shots with plenty of backspin, while experiencing a softer feel as the clubface grips the ball.
The Z-STAR model is built around a new, large-diameter Energy Gradient Growth (EGG) core. Its characteristics help provide more contrast between inner softness and outer hardness, resulting in more lift, less spin and longer flight distances. By contrast, the Z-STAR XV features a two-layer Neo EGG core, which delivers more lift and less spin for a quicker launch and greater overall flight distances.
Both balls carry Srixon's new 344 Speed Dimple design, which helps reduce air resistance for a strong, long-carrying trajectory. The new design increases the ratio of dimples to surface area by more than 4 percent, which Srixon says makes it possible to play more aggressive golf under all conditions.
Both the Z-STAR and the Z-STAR XV carry a suggested retail price of $44.99, and are both available in Pure White or Tour Yellow.
For more information, click here.
I said a few days ago that one of my favorite parts of major championship weeks is the special products that some of the big golf equipment companies create.
Callaway, of course, outfits its staff players with limited-edition bags themed for each major, and you can see Phil Mickelson's oak leaf-adorned PGA Championship bag above.
Also above is something truly unique that Callaway creates – they're called ''challenge coins,'' and there's one for each major of 2013.
This year's designs include a magnolia blossom for the Masters, a star for the U.S. Open, the Union Jack for the Open Championship and, of course, an oak leaf for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Callaway mostly distributes to the coins to its employees and staff players, though a lucky few civilians have gotten a few as well.
Challenge coins have a long military history, and I've also seen them created for colleges and companies. Few of them, I have to say, look as distinctive as these.
In what has become one of my favorite traditions of each major championship week, some of the big equipment companies are rolling out limited-edition gear to mark the occasion. No one does it better than TaylorMade, which has created a special bag and headcover for the 2013 PGA Championship with an Oak Hill theme. The photo on the left is the headcover on the bag of Roberto Castro, and I included it here because it shows off the logo so well.
The logos on the TaylorMade gear are always intricate, and full of detailed iconography. Here, courtesy of TaylorMade, is the full explanation of every aspect of the 2013 PGA Championship logo:
--Oak Hill Country Club is located in Rochester, N.Y., the home of Frederick Douglass, the American social reformer, orator, writer, statesman and abolitionist who escaped slavery as a young man. Douglass lived in Rochester from 1847 to 1872 and is buried in Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery, and the logo's shape was inspired by a part of his tombstone. The star at the top of the logo represents The North Star, the famous anti-slavery newspaper Douglass founded in Rochester in 1847.
--The trophy image represents the Wanamaker Trophy, named for Rodman Wanamaker, a department store magnate who in 1916 hosted the exploratory meeting of the Professional Golfers Association, at which the idea for the PGA Championship was conceived. Wanamaker also provided the trophy for the first championship, which is still used today.
--The yellow-colored honeycomb pattern is a nod to the YellowJackets, the name of the University of Rochester's athletic teams. Oak Hill swapped the land it was originally located on with UR, giving the country club a piece of land large enough to eventually build two 18-hole courses, the East Course and West Course, the former of which has hosted U.S. Opens, a Ryder Cup and three PGA Championships (including 2013).
--The six oak leaves refer to the six different prominent tournaments that Oak Hill has hosted during the past 60+ years, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship.
--The plaque with 2013 on it is a nod to Oak Hill's ''Hill of Fame,'' a series of bronze plaques located on the hill leading up to the 13th green, which are emblazoned with the names and faces of numerous golf luminaries, including past winners at Oak Hill.
--''Gloria Ultimus'' is Latin for ''Glory's Last,'' a reference to the nickname the PGA of America has given to the PGA Championship, ''Glory's Last Shot,'' which alludes to the tournament's position in the schedule as the last Major Championship of the year.
--R stands for the last name of the East Course's highly respected architect, Donald Ross; W stands for the last name of Dr. John R. Williams, the member who, in 1926, planted tens of thousands of oak trees on the grounds.
If you're interested, you can buy the headcover directly from TaylorMade.
It might be the middle of the year, but to Adams Golf it's the perfect time for makeover. The company has unveiled a new logo, a new color palette and a new generation of its famous Tight Lies fairway woods.
All this effort is part of Adams' efforts to integrate its ''Make Golf Easy'' philosophy into every facet of its business. And to help it resonate with the golfing public, Adams is offering a money-back guarantee on those new Tight Lies fairway woods.
The deal is this: Any golfer who buys a Tight Lies fairway wood can return the club to Adams for a full refund within 30 days of purchase if he or she isn't completely satisfied. The offer begins on Aug. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. More information is available at www.adamsgolf.com/tightliesguarantee
"This promotion celebrates a legendary club whose hallmark is making the game easier to play, and reflects the start of a new era for Adams, where interacting with our company will be simpler for golfers, vendors, retail partners and pro shops," said Adams Golf President John Ward. "The entire industry will experience a new Adams that offers trouble-free purchase promotions, strategic expansion into international markets, an easy-going, fan-friendly Tour team, strategic business and marketing partnerships and a renewed commitment into our pursuit of product innovation – all with the mindset to 'Make Golf Easy.'"
Along with the money-back guarantee, Adams has unveiled a new logo – a script typeface "Adams" that will appear on clubs and accessories as well as marketing materials. And for the first time, Adams also has created a secondary mark – a standalone script "A'' that has a golf club on its left leg and is surrounded by a two-stripe oval that represents the golf swing path.
The company also is switching from its traditional red and black to a new palette of blue with red, white, black and silver as complements.
Adams staff players already have begun sporting the new look on their headwear and bags. The first product to feature the mark will be the new Tight Lies fairway wood.
Japanese clubmaker Miura Golf occupies a unique place at the very high end of the golf club spectrum. The company produces small amounts of clubs that are highly prized among a certain segment of golfers – and its prices reflect that.
Miura's latest development isn't a new line of clubs, but rather a new finish called Black Boron. It recently has begun producing a few sets of its CB-501 irons and Passing Point 9003 irons in the special finish instead of its usual nickel chrome finish.
"We've found black finishes so popular that we really had to look into making these, even though we can only manage small quantities and maintain Miura standards," said Miura President Adam Barr.
In fact, the company says it can produce only about 10 sets of clubs with the new finish every other month because its painstaking production process is further complicated by switching over the final part of the production line from its usual set-up.
Miura has produced its Limited Forged Black Blades and Black Wedges with a black finish, but those fade over time into a silvery-grey patina. By contrast, the company says, the density of the new Black Boron looks more deeply black than other black finishes, and the color is more durable as well.
The Black Boron irons carry a suggested retail price of $2,275 per set (4-iron through pitching wedge), or $325 per club.
For more information, visit www.MiuraGolf.com.