Garbedian: It'll be interesting to see what happens. What does this all mean to [wedgemaker] Bob Vokey and [puttermaker] Scotty Cameron? There have been rumblings that Cameron could go elsewhere—maybe TaylorMade, Nike, Mizuno or anywhere—or he might hang out his own shingle. There's no question that associating with Titleist, like Vokey and Cameron have done, gives you an awful lot of name recognition. Does breaking up make Titleist a better company? It probably makes them a more efficient and streamlined company, but I don't know if that makes them more viable or visible. Maybe revenues don't necessarily increase.
Van Sickle: A sale isn't going to affect Titleist's position as the industry leader in the ball category, is it?
Garbedian: Not at all. That's really what they're based on.
Clinton: I have to believe that people are going to continue to buy Titleist balls regardless of who owns the company.
Garbedian: People come into our store looking for the Pro V1 and Pro V1x, but to be honest, Titleist's new 910 driver is probably the best one they've ever done, at least since the 975. The hybrids and the fairway woods with the same adjustability are equally good. Everyone knows Vokey's reputation for wedges, and you wouldn't associate Cameron with anyone else but Titleist, so it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. The Cobra deal wasn't a shock. Long-term, I don't think a sale hurts Titleist at all.
Van Sickle: The game isn't growing, playerwise. Some key problems are that newcomers find golf too difficult, too expensive and too slow. What can we do?
Last: For years the untapped sector has been women. A year ago we did a large study and came up with some ideas to improve accessibility for women. For one, not enough courses have reasonably positioned forward tees. We have a lot of new players trying the product, but the game doesn't retain them and that's a shame.
Clinton: Exactly. For years we've been hard-pressed to change the number of golfers in America, and we have to do that in order to get any significant, lasting increase in rounds played or equipment sales.
Last: Ski resorts have had child-care facilities for years. If some golf courses had them, women might be more likely to play, and the child could possibly be introduced to the game there. Of the women who played golf but gave it up, our study showed that 62% had kids at home. The women with families had less opportunity to play.