Viet Nam News
By Robert Bicknell
Well, it seems that NIKE decided that instead of “Just do it”, they would change it to “Just did it, now getting out.” That’s right, after all the hyperbole, NIKE Golf decided to call it a day. Perhaps the inevitable non-return of their major hypemeister Tiger Woods and their second major investment Rory McIlroy’s continuing slump was just too much.
Or it could be that NIKE equipment sucked and without Tiger and Rory touting it to the gullible public, weekend players finally realized it for themselves.
While I was always a fan of NIKE sports shoes – especially the old Red,White and Blue trainers, I was never a fan of their golf equipment and, yes, I tried it many times during “demo days” and concluded that it didn’t fit my game.
Or anyone else’s for that matter.
People can deceive themselves in a multitude of ways and golf equipment is one of the biggest cons on the planet. This is not to say that some brands are better than others, but not for the reasons you might think.
For example, with the amazing amount of money going into research and development (R&D), you would think that there are major breakthroughs every day, but it’s not the case. Technology is limited by the rules of golf and any questionable advancement usually has to be submitted to the USGA to ensure it is “conforming”.
For many years, I played Hogan Apex irons and thought they were the greatest things on the planet until a friend convinced me to try Titleist cavity backs, and I was very happy with the results. Thus, I played Titleist for quite a few years.
Then TaylorMade came calling and convinced me to join their ranks and, after some tweaking of the set, found I was very happy with them – especially the driver.
I also switched balls. I was a lifelong Titleist Balata guy (except for a brief stint with Tour Edition back in the 80’s), then fell in love with the ProV1. Great ball and has the Titleist quality we’ve all come to expect.
But… when I switched clubs, I also switched balls to TaylorMade as well. Now I play the Tour Preferred.
Some clubs I simply couldn’t play with if you put a gun to my head, such as the old PING Zing’s. For my money the ugliest club on the planet. They way they were set up I hooked everything.
The secret to a great iron, or driver, is appearance. If it looks good to you and is properly fitted (shaft flex and length) chances are you could play with it. Some clubs you’d play better than others, but mostly because of feel. To me, Titleist, Hogan Apex and TaylorMade looked good, felt good and gave me confidence. Without that, you will not play well with it.
NIKE, on the other hand, felt lousy to me. I never buy into the hype surrounding a club, or a phone for that matter. Any club manufacturer who would remove the back third of a driver head is reaching desperately for a market that doesn’t understand.
Yes, I know you’re saying “But Tiger Woods played NIKE and he can afford to play anything, so they must be great clubs” and you’d be wrong. Tiger played NIKE because they paid him $40 million dollars to do it. Without payment, Tiger would have stayed with Titleist and probably would have already eclipsed Nicklaus in majors won.
So, I shed no tears for NIKE Golf’s demise and actually applaud their move because they should focus on what made their company great in the first place – shoes.
There is also a difference between NIKE throwing in the towel and ADIDAS trying to sell of their TaylorMade brand.
TaylorMade remains a market leader, so it’s not about trying to limit financial loss, but rather also getting back to the core product – shoes and clothing. If they cannot sell TM, it doesn’t make a huge difference because they make money with the brand.
But NIKE Golf was dragging down the company and without Tiger and Rory performing at the top of their game, they had nothing to tout.
Bottom line: NIKE is a great shoe and companies stick with who brought them to the dance. VNS