2001: Business - New Top-Flite XL 3000 series backed by $8.5 million ad plan

By John Steinbreder

Another week, another new ball introduction for Spalding Sports Worldwide. Only this time, the company is adding to its Top-Flite line with the debut of the Top-Flite XL 3000 Super Series.

According to Mike Ferris, executive director of golf balls and public relations for Spalding, the XL 3000 balls, which come in four models, deliver more distance and performance than previous Top-Flite products.

He attributed the improvements to a larger, Tungsten-enhanced core and a different cover material, known as Beta Titanium. Perhaps most important, Spalding has applied different dimple technologies for each new ball model.

“We call those technologies SOAR,” said Vincent J. Simonds, director of engineering research for Spalding. “That stands for Scientifically Optimized Aerodynamic Reaction, and it allows us to improve dimple efficiencies. By generating more surface turbulence with these designs, we are able to reduce drag, which results in greater distance.” Simonds said tests show that each of the Top-Flite XL 3000 models is 7 yards longer than its comparable Top-Flite XL 2000 model.

The four XL 3000 models, all of which are solid-core construction, are named to identify their primary attributes.

According to Spalding officials:

• Super Long has a firmer cover that results in a higher launch angle and trajectory with low spin.

• Super Feel, which is designed largely to compete with the Precept MC Lady, has a very low compression core intended to provide good feel and distance to golfers with lower swing speeds.

• Super Straight is coated with Teflon in an effort to reduce side spin off the driver.

• Super Spin features a softer cover that produces greater spin rates off the irons for shot-making control without sacrificing distance.

The XL 3000 models will begin shipping Sept. 15 and suggested retail price is $25 per dozen. The company plans to support the introduction with an $8.5 million advertising campaign that will begin in October. Also, Spalding will give away approximately 4 million of the new balls as samples during the next year, primarily through sample days at about 6,000 courses as well as via trade-ups on packages of XL 2000, where single sleeves of XL 3000 soon will be attached to dozen boxes and 15-packs.

The company does not plan to phase out the XL 2000 line.

The announcement came one week after the company unveiled its Strata Tour Ultimate 2, an addition to the Strata line. The Tour Ultimate 2, with a suggested retail price of $54 per dozen, also was to begin shipping Sept. 15.



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