Written By: Tony Covey
The war for market share, and I suppose by extension the hearts (and dollars) of the golfing consumer, between TaylorMade and Callaway is heating up.
Get your angry fists ready.
We've been hearing rumors about accelerated product launches (which translates to decreased product life-cycles) since this spring's price wars began.
That driver you bought a month ago...it's quickly creeping closer towards obsolescence.
Today the first concrete evidence of a new Callaway driver surfaced.
Callaway filed for the Trademark on the name back on January 30th, and the rumblings are that the new driver is going to be released within the next several weeks.
We're told that stock shaft offerings for Callaway FT Optiforce Driver are the Project X Velocity 43 and Mitsubishi Diamana S+. The FT Optiforce will be available in a 460cc standard model, and what we assume is a 440cc Pro Model.
Retail price is expected to be $399 for the driver, and $229 for the non-adjustable (glued) fairway wood.
At first glace we think the FT Optiforce looks quite a bit like Callaway's Japanese Market Legacy series (above).
And speaking of the Legacy lineup, recently 3 distinct Legacy models were added to the USGA's conforming list.
Callaway looks to be cranking out drivers at a rate usually associated with...well...you know who.
But Wait There's More...
On June 18th Callaway filed for yet another Trademark on the name Big Bertha Alpha. Whether that driver will hit shelves this fall or early next year remains to be seen. I suspect that while Callaway has a plan, they're certainly reserving the right to change their mind should market conditions (competitor releases) make it in their best interest to get aggressive.
Let's call this the consequence of success. While TaylorMade still enjoys a comfortable lead in metalwoods market share, it's obvious that Callaway is going to do everything it possibly can to regain its spot on top of the industry.
Chip Brewer clearly means business.
It's Just the Beginning
This spring's discounts have reiterated the fact that price drops can move product. In fact the only thing that can move product better than a price drop is new product.
Despite all the grumblings about "new drivers every 2 weeks", the reality is that consumers are willing to replace, upgrade, or otherwise change their drivers with regularity. If I'm a golf company in a hyper-competitive market I'm going to keep releasing drivers so long as my pipeline is long enough to do so.
The consumer will always buy.
Regardless of what you might believe, it's actually been a while since we actually saw a golf company release 3 or 4 distinct models in a single season, but you better get used to it, those days are about to return.