2003: Titleist lineup simplified for golfers

The familiar names in Titleist’s 2003 ball line – Pro V1, NXT and DT – belie major changes in each model’s construction and performance attributes. With the recent introduction of its latest Pro V1 balls, Titleist has completed the rollout of a ball line that is top-to-bottom different from what it was selling last year.

“We have never concurrently reinvented the product line like this before,” says George Sine, vice president of golf ball marketing and strategic planning for Acushnet, Titleist’s parent company.

The obvious question after such a radical transformation: Why?

Sine says conversations with retailers and consumers convinced Titleist officials “that golf ball selection in general was far too complex.” That led Titleist to dramatically consolidate its line. “Twenty-four months ago, we had 13 models, and today only five,” says Sine.

The moves have made life simpler for Titleist’s customers.

“I like the fact that Titleist has cut back on the number of offerings,” says John Grothe, head professional at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. “It has cleaned up the line for us and made things less confusing for our customers.”

Some industry watchers have wondered whether the introduction of five new balls is a risky move for Titleist

considering the success it has enjoyed with its previous models in recent years. Others have questioned whether the rollouts would hurt retailers who had loaded up on last year’s models.

“I don’t think the risk is very great for Titleist because these are more upgrades to products that were already doing well for them,” says John Clouse, divisional hard lines manager for the Golf Galaxy retail chain. “As for any concerns about inventory, Titliest provided plenty of collaborative planning with us and enough advance warning to make it all work fine.”

Though the balls have barely made it to shelves in most shops around the country, early

TITLEIST, returns indicate they are doing well.

“The new NXTs have done better for us so far than the previous versions,” says Ken Morton Jr., director of retail for Haggin Oaks Golf Shop in Sacramento, Calif. “And both the Pro V1s and DT SoLo have sold very well.”

This year’s new lineup was led by the NXT and NXT Tour, revamped versions of the two-piece ball brand originally introduced in fall 2001 and targeted for midrange golfers at midrange prices ($34 per dozen). Then came DT SoLo, the company’s answer to those soft-and-long successes, Precept Lady and Maxfli Noodle. Packaged in red, white and blue foil, it retails for $20 per dozen and targets a key market segment.

Then there was the latest iteration of ProV1 and the introduction of its newest cousin, the ProV1x, which touring pros such as Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson have been using since the start of the 2003 PGA Tour campaign. The new Pro V1 is a three-piece ball that has a softer, faster core and a dimple pattern with five different sizes designed to improve distance and provide more controlled ball flight. The Pro V1x is a lower-spinning, four-piece ball with fewer dimples (332 compared with 392), geared toward players with higher swing speeds and high launch conditions.

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