By John Steinbreder
In a move designed to grab a substantial share of the $20-per-dozen, “soft-and-long” ball segment dominated by the Precept Lady and Maxfli Noodle, Titleist is introducing the DT SoLo.
Due to ship in March, it replaces the two models sold most recently under the DT name – DT Spin and DT Distance. The SoLo is a two-piece, low-compression ball with a Surlyn-blend cover that is designed to provide distance, feel and lower spin – the attributes that have made these types of balls immensely popular in recent years.
“It is aimed at a very competitive product segment where superior performance is defined in the areas of feel, distance, durability and value,” says George Sine, vice president of golf ball marketing and strategic planning for Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist.
The Fairhaven, Mass.-based ball maker is a late entry to the burgeoning category, which generated sales of $50 million at on- and off-course retailers in 2002. But its measured arrival is actually business as usual for Titleist, company official say.
“Consistent with our strategy, we assessed the size of the opportunity for such a ball and the implications it would have on our existing products before developing and implementing a plan,” Sine says. “And we determined that users of the Lady and Noodle were indeed looking for an entrant from Titleist in that area. Hence DT SoLo.”
Though the segment is getting more crowded by the day – including new models from Precept (Lady Diamond) and Maxfli (Noodle Spin) – several retailers say Titleist’s move makes good sense.
“The company is hitting a key price point, and a volume price point at that,” says John Clouse, divisional hard lines manager for the Golf Galaxy retail chain. “The new red, white and blue packaging also looks promising. Plus, DT is still a good name, and this should really relaunch the brand.”
As of this spring, the SoLo will be the lone ball carrying the DT moniker, which Sine says is one reason for the name.
“We are also using SoLo to connote ‘so low’ in terms of compression and ‘so long’ in terms of distance as well as a sole solution for soft and long technology,” he says.
The SoLo addition completes a revamping of the entire Titleist ball line, which also includes newly introduced versions of Pro V1 and NXT.