Products Fore Promotions
IT IS DIFFICULT to think of a game as uncomplicated as golf: hit a ball into a hole with a stick. But simple rules do not an easy game make. Due to its international renown, the techniques of the game have been studied as a science. Even without the fast pace expected by a generation raised on MTV, golf's popularity is unfaltering. And, while the Super Bowl and NBA Finals promote some of the most highly paid athletes in the world, the number one earner is still Tiger Woods, a golfer.
Nearly any suburban town with enough green space will have a green. On any pleasant day, the course will be filled with players from middle school until well past retirement. The game caters to almost anyone, and physical dominance is not a qualification.
Obviously, the game is not a trend or a fad. For promotional products professionals, the stability of golf is a welcome reprieve from the whirlwind of new items and styles in the electronics and apparel segments of the market. There is no reason to think a golf product added to a product line will not be useful even years from now. But this same stability can create a frightening vacuum in front of the distributor who asks, “What can I offer clients to keep them satisfied?” It is a problem to offer the latest and greatest when the game hasn’t changed in more than 400 years.
Tom Meissner, owner of Tempe, Arizona-based Sedona Golf, warns distributors to focus on functional golf products, not on cute or novel items. “There are so many gimmicks in the market,” he said. “I’ve been to too many golf tournaments where, as you’re walking out, almost all the gifts are sitting in the trash can in the parking lot because whoever was the buyer was not a golfer and they had no idea what they were getting for people. And it was something no one would ever use.” For the distributor who has never picked up a club, it may seem an impossible task to discern a useful product for serious golfers from one that will inevitably be dropped in the circular file. So why bother?