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Home Daily Golf Briefs Daily Pulse for January 3, 2018

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VOLUME 8, NUMBER 1                                                           
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “Do I wish (Tiger) well? Yeah, but I’m not interested in watching him. I’ve watched him play golf for 20-something years, why would I want to go watch more? I don’t watch anybody play golf.”

BRAIN TEASER: There are only two players in the modern era with 10 or more PGA TOUR wins before the age of 24. Can you name either of them?

TWO FACED: It’s been an interesting journey for TaylorMade in recent years. When 2017 began it found itself for sale. As 2018 begins, the company has raced out of the blocks by introducing the M3 & M4 metalwoods. By name alone, it is an extension of the M1 & M2 lines, which the company proudly reported were the winningest drivers on the PGA TOUR in 2017. However, TaylorMade is making an engineering departure from its M1 & M2 line with the inclusion of M3 & M4. New to consumers and the industry in 2018 is the phrase Twist Face technology.

TaylorMade’s Twist Face technology, featured in both the new M3 & M4 drivers, is the company’s solution to counteract golfers’ most common misses, more specifically, those resulting from the high toe and low heel impacts. “From the creation of the first metalwood in 1979, TaylorMade has established a legacy of breaking from tradition to reach new thresholds of performance. In 2018, we have once again uncovered a new frontier of driving potential with Twist Face Technology — a radical departure from traditional driver-face design, engineered to correct for inherent human swing tendencies in real-time, giving golfers a tangible competitive advantage,” stated Brian Bazzel, Vice President, Product Creation.

It would appear these two products are specifically intended for the paying public as opposed to the TOUR player, who doesn’t require this game improvement technology. It would seem to also have some risks associated with its introduction. The first being player validation, which the TOUR is counted on heavily to provide. If in fact the TOUR staff does embrace the M3 and M4 then it speaks volumes on a couple of fronts. First that today’s TOUR pro under contract with TaylorMade will play almost anything. How can anyone make that assertion? It’s elementary since previous TaylorMade products were performance driven, specific to generating greater distance. This can be made with M3 & M4, yet its premise is on counteracting high toe and low heel impacts. Does that suggest to anyone that Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm or Tiger Woods (all TM staff members) are the new poster children for this technology? No.

Another inherit risk is whether existing M1 or M2 owners “upgrade” to M3 or M4? TaylorMade loyalists, as with any brand, typical drift towards the newest products. But by TM’s own words the M3 & M4 represent a radical departure from traditional driver-face design! So it could be feast or famine when it comes to consumer acceptance. Retailers, once again will support the products initially with a pipeline fill in anticipation of consumer acceptance. But that would have happened no matter the case. For example, anyone remember the R15, which boasted a low and forward center of gravity? It was introduced back in November 2014. By March of 2015 TaylorMade announced David Abeles as its new CEO. Told you it’s been an interesting journey for TaylorMade in recent years. 2015 was also the year the company announced the opening of its first branded outlet stores in Myrtle Beach, SC, that would sell previous season’s TaylorMade products. How did that work out? But enough about the past and more about the future.

To counteract the high-toe miss (a hook), the driver face has been ‘twisted’ open (loft increased & face opened) on the high-toe to help straighten ball flight, TaylorMade reported. Similarly, to counteract the low-heel miss (a slice) the driver face has been twisted closed to de-loft and close the face in the low heel area. TaylorMade’s Twist Face technology delivers, it believes, a corrective face angle when hit off-center for longer, straighter shots.

M3TaylorMade loves its research and here is what it reported in deciding on going with Face Twist technology in 2018. Studying data captured from more than half a million shots that tracks head presentation (in-out path, angle of attack, loft, impact location), initial launch conditions and final landing location of the golf ball, TaylorMade engineers discovered there was a flaw in the traditional bulge and roll. Does that mean M1 & M2 have it wrong? By studying the performance of thousands of shots in each quadrant across the face of all golfers’ levels, TM researchers determined these shots were not averaging to be on the centerline. In fact, high face shots and high toe shots have a left tendency of the target line and spin significantly less. Similarly, low face and low heel shots tend to land right of the target line with a significantly more spin. In addition to Twist Face technology, the M3 driver features a new matte silver front section and a raised, aerodynamic five-layer carbon composite crown.

Exclusive to the M3 in both the 460cc & 440cc models (retailers always love multiple models!) is a new Y-Track adjustability system that allows for CG adjustment of the head to obtain desired flight parameters. Dissimilar to the T-Track on both the ’16 & ’17 M1 drivers, the heel to toe track and front to back track on the M3 are connected, allowing all 22 grams (two 11g weights) of moveable mass to be utilized for both the benefit of heel to toe control as well as front to back CG adjustment. The Y-track gives the golfer more CG adjustability, TM said, with more than double the number of positions in the 2017 M1. Add in TaylorMade’s 12 position, 4-degree ultra-lightweight aluminum Loft Sleeve (back sleeve compatible) and the result could leave the do-it-yourself player overwhelmed with options.

The flat curvature of the front/back track, TM said, provides the lowest CG possible regardless of the weight setting. Getting confused? According to TaylorMade, the weight of the 2018 M3 CG is 36% further back versus M1 2017. This makes the moment of inertia (MOI/resistance to twisting) 10% larger without raising the CG projection on the face, TM said. TaylorMade has engineered a Hammerhead slot to work in combination with Twist Face and Inverted Cone technologies for maximum ballspeed across a larger area.

The M3 is available for pre-order starting on February 1 and at retail on February 16th with it priced at $499. The M3 fairway metals, boasting the same story/technology, are priced at $299. M3 Rescue goes for $249.

The M4 driver promises “unrivaled personalization.” It utilizes TaylorMade’s most ‘18 technologies (Twist Face & Hammerhead), but Geocoustic engineering. TM defines this as combining geometry and acoustical engineering to unlock more forgiveness and best-in-class sound. Not sure how sound equates to performance other than its pleasing to a players’ ear and somehow that inspires them to swing better?

Here’s the company line on Geocoustic technology. Driver heads with low back centers of gravity typically have low frequencies because they tend to have fairly flat soles. Geocoustic sole shapes allow for a low CG and larger head size, but with a more curved sole, which has inherently higher frequencies, leading to better sound and feel. The Geocoustic sole design of the M4 driver freed up discretionary volume that allowed engineers to increase the overall face size and also improved sound and feel. Anyone buying this? That might be the real question come April!

The M4 will be available on February 16, 2018 at $429. The M4 fairway is priced at $249 and the M4 Rescue is $219.

TaylorMade is also offering a higher-launching, more draw-biased driver model, the M4 D-Type (also 460cc). Why not? The M4 D-Type (D signifying draw or perhaps duh) combines multiple draw-biased design to help players who consistently fight fade-to-slice trajectories and perhaps find the Twist Face technology isn’t living up to its advanced billing! The M4 D can be yours for $429.

LIFE AFTER TAYLORMADE: Sergio Garcia has agreed to represent Callaway Golf starting in 2018. The 2017 Masters Champ, long associated with TaylorMade addias Golf, will play Callaway woods, irons and wedges, an Odyssey putter and a Callaway Chrome Soft ball. "I’m really excited to switch to Callaway," said Garcia. "After testing different brands I realized Callaway`s technology and innovation will help me maximize my game and perform to the best of my ability."

Callaway wasn’t afraid to send a flair to its rival TaylorMade with the signing.  "The launch monitor doesn't lie," reported Tim Reed, SVP, Global Sports Marketing, Callaway Golf. "Jailbreak driver technology has upped his distance off the tee. And the combination of Apex irons, Mack Daddy 4 wedges and our Chrome Soft ball has given him tremendous control on approach shots, and around the green."

MONEY BALL: Polara Golf, the maker of one of the most controversial products in the modern history of golf, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Merrifield company — whose legal name is Aero-X Golf Inc. — has less than $1 million in assets and nearly $3 million in liabilities, according to a Chapter 11 petition filed Dec. 13 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. READ MORE>>>

FOLLOW THE MONEY! Topgolf Entertainment Group (TEG) on December 26th, announced it has closed on another round of investment funding. In addition to the investment from Fidelity Management and Research Company, TEG's latest financing round included significant investments, according to the company, from existing major shareholders, including WestRiver Group, Thomas Dundon, Providence Equity Partners and Callaway Golf Company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

However, Callaway disclosed on December 26, 2017, it invested an additional $20.0 million. This increases Callaway’s investment in Topgolf to $70.5 million on a cost basis. After the Fidelity Investment, it estimates that it currently owns approximately 14% of Topgolf worth approximately $290 million, according to the company.

Callaway’s investment, after it cashed out shares in 2017, suggests/implies an initial public offering could be coming for Topgolf in 2018. Don’t take it to the bank, but don’t be surprised, should it happen either.

WEB GEMS:

HARD TO MAKE MONEY: Donald Trump has lost money for a third year in a row at his golf club in Ireland. Financial statements filed with the Irish government show the president’s resort on the island’s west coast lost about $2.6 million in 2016, the latest year available. The losses come amid signs of trouble at some of his other golf resorts. His two Scottish resorts, for instance, recently reported losses had doubled in 2016. READ MORE>>>

QUESTIONS FOR 2018: Tiger Woods turned 42 on Saturday. He's still not bigger than Jack Nicklaus when it comes to golf's ultimate yardstick, most majors won. But he's still Tiger, and that means a lot. He commands more attention than major champions nearly half his age. And that's why Woods, who makes golf must-see TV when he's playing, leads the list of five questions to consider for 2018. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “Do I wish (Tiger) well? Yeah, but I’m not interested in watching him. I’ve watched him play golf for 20-something years, why would I want to go watch more? I don’t watch anybody play golf.”--Jack Nicklaus

Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are the only players in the modern era with 10 or more PGA TOUR wins before the age of 24. Woods had 15 before he turned 24. Spieth picked up his 11th at the 2017 Open Championship, which was a week before he turned 24.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF