One of the better barometers of golf participation is golf ball sales. After all, you can’t play the game without a little white sphere.
As the first six months of this year comes to a close, Bridgestone Golf vice president of marketing Dan Murphy has liked what he’s seen – from his company and from the golf ball industry in general.
“Rounds are up double-digits year-to-date. Obviously people are playing more as a result of the weather being better and maybe the economy improving just a touch,” Murphy said. “Our brand continues to get stronger. Reaction to the new B330 ball line we introduced this past February has been very good.”
Bridgestone’s “e” Series ball line – the e5, e6, and e7 introduced last year – also remain strong sales performers, Murphy said.
“Usually you struggle in the second year in the life cycle of product to meet the first year numbers, but we’ve been able to meet and surpass a lot of the first-year numbers,” for the “e” Series, Murphy said.
That’s even more impressive given the fact that “e” Series – the e6 in particular – has a big-name challenger this year in the new Titleist Velocity ball. Each ball sells on shelves for around $26 per dozen. Not surprising, each is a good ball. The main difference between the two is that the e6 is softer at impact than the Velocity.
“We really haven’t suffered,” from the launch of the Velocity, Murphy said.
Bridgestone got one of its biggest victories in recent years when Matt Kuchar won the 2012 Players Championship with a Tour B330 ball. The company’s Tour staff also includes Fred Couples, Nick Price and Davis Love III. The ever-popular Couples is captain of U.S. team for next year’s President’s Cup team and Price is captain of the International team. Love is captain of the U.S. team at this year’s Ryder Cup matches.
“We’re kind of overachievers on Tour relative to the size of our team,” Murphy said. “We don’t go out there and buy all the players and we don’t chase ball count. We focus on quality over quantity and look at personalities who we can use in our brand message, which is ball fitting.”