Wilson Staff President Tim Clarke is at it again!
Well, actually he’s at it with us again, this time talking with us at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show’s Demo Day about the upcoming TV series, “Driver vs Driver” show
Clarke and Wilson are offering the opportunity to submit your greatest driver design, with the possibility of working with the company to have the club mass-manufactured.
The winner gets $500,000 and the driver will go to market for Wilson.
The contest will become a seven-episode show on Golf Channel entitled Driver vs. Driver, which will feature eight finalists battling to have their idea become a widely distributed driver.
Check out our interview with Clarke below, along with Frank Simonutti who discusses the new Wilson Duo Golf Ball and National Account Specialist Alessandra Bollero filling us on on the Duo Nation launch.
Tom Brassell: We are at Demo Day at the PGA merchandise show. Joining us just on the podcast-
Tim Clarke: Welcome back, right? In person.
Tom Brassell: Yeah.
Tim Clarke: It’s nice to do things in person.
Tom Brassell: After you left us, something big started hitting. Tell us about Driver vs. Driver.
Tim Clarke: The release came out on the judges. There was a non-disclosure date, but yeah, we’re going to be doing a crowd-source driver TV show that’ll air 7 episodes on Golf Channel. It basically is outside minds, brilliant kids from college. It was an open call, 300-plus entries. We had to whittle that to 11. That’ll actually end up being to 1 final winner who will-
Tom Brassell: Who’s designing a driver, right?
Tim Clarke: Designing the driver that we are actually tooling and testing. The final 3 will all get tooled. We’ll make the investment to get them all tooled. We’ll be testing them with tour players, with consumers, and obviously on Iron Byron. Then when the winner comes out, it’ll be a half million dollar prize to the winning individual or team, so life-changing money. Then we will actually launch that driver, and that’ll be a driver that we will have Kevin Streelman put into play on the PGA Tour, so it’s pretty cool.
Tom Brassell: Yeah. Brian Urlacher’s in on a little bit of this, isn’t he?
Tim Clarke: Brian’s a judge. The judges are Brian Urlacher, who obviously is the former technical director for the USGA, and has probably forgotten more about golf equipment than I’ll ever know. We have Brian Urlacher, obviously legendary. He’ll be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in the NFL and just a great guy. He is the ultimate golf consumer, Tom. He plays golf 36 holes a day every chance he can, so he probably plays 200 days of 36 holes a day. He’s the absolute perfect driver consumer because we know how fickle they are.
Tom Brassell: Oh, yeah.
Tim Clarke: Then you have Kevin Streelman, PGA tour player, on the judging panel. Then by just my position, I’m the final judge, so it’s pretty exciting. Like I said, it’ll air, premier October 4th, Tuesday night after the Ryder Cup. It’ll be a 7-series episode, and the drivers will hit the market Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Tom Brassell: October 4th weekly?
Tim Clarke: It’ll be a weekly episode, yeah, on the Golf Channel, so it’ll be a Tuesday night prime time. It basically takes over the Big Break slot. It’s my first endeavor into the TV world, which I never planned on doing, but it’s going to be exciting for the brand. I think the consumers are going to love the back stories of seeing how drivers are produced because the thing that keeps people out of making drivers is the cost to develop them.
Tom Brassell: Oh, R&D is incredible, yeah.
Tim Clarke: Yeah, and tooling a head is about $150,000 in tooling, so to do 3 or 4 or 5 heads you’re talking substantial money. We always have seen people submit ideas in putters and wedges and things like that, but this is really going to be in the meat of the market.
Tom Brassell: We’re looking forward to it.
Tim Clarke: Should be fun, Tom.
Tom Brassell: We’re into Demo Day 6 hours. What’s the buzz so far?
Tim Clarke: We’ll tell you. We’ve been swamped, so my voice is starting to go south. The C200 has been the home run for us, the new iron with FLX Face technology through hole perimeters. The F5 has been great, the drivers. I mean it’s just been a great day so far. Obviously, we get over to the merchandise show tomorrow, and we’ll get to hear more feedback. It’s exciting times at Wilson Golf. The DUO franchise with the addition of urethane, I mean I’ve been in the business 19 years at Wilson Golf, and we have never had a line so world class from top to bottom.
Tom Brassell: That’s awesome. Thanks for the time, Tim. We’ll see you around.
Tim Clarke: Thanks, Tom. Always good to see you, my friend.
Tom Brassell: All right, man. Take care.
Tom Brassell: We are here with Frank Simonutti, Global Director of Innovation – Golf Balls. Frank, the DUO’s come out, the new DUO. Talk about what’s going on. This is amazing.
Frank Simonutti The new DUO Urethane ball, we’re completing the line in having a low compression, soft feel for every player. In addition to the DUO 2-piece and the DUO Spin 3-piece, we’ve introduced a DUO Urethane. It’s a 55-compression ball, and it’s the softest urethane ball out there. It’s going to work as well. You can work it left to right. This is for the better player. It has higher spin than the other DUO balls off the tee. It’s going to have the spin rate that you expect from a urethane as you approach the green.
Tom Brassell: That’s awesome. It’s hard to believe back when you and I were younger we were playing 100 compression golf balls. What compressed that? Was it the [Persimmon 00:04:14] it compressed because certainly 100 compression didn’t back then.
Frank Simonutti Well, 90 and 100 compression originally was based on wound golf balls. The thread, you couldn’t keep it consistent, so it would be thicker in some areas and thinner in others. When they stretched the thread, there was a difference in the tension, and lower tension produced a lower compression ball. At the time, a 90 compression was shorter than 100 compression. Now with advances in solid core technology and rubber technology as well as some low-modulus plastics, we can design balls much softer than they ever were in the past and still have excellent distance performance.
Tom Brassell: Let’s move over to marketing and launching, and let’s talk with Alessandra Bollero about what’s going to be happening in those Edwin Watts stores in the southeast with the launch of the new DUO ball.
Alessandra Bollero: In the southeast stores of Worldwide Golf, we’re actually doing a really exciting event called DUO Nation. What DUO Nation is is you can come in any store across the United States and pick up a free 2-ball sample of the new DUO Urethane or the DUO and DUO Spin golf balls. One exciting piece to the puzzle is we’re putting a gold golf ball in 1 of the 2 ball packs, and whoever finds that gold golf ball will be getting a free DUO Urethane dozen that day, so come on out.
Tom Brassell: Well, there’s no reason not to go out there. That date again?
Alessandra Bollero: February 6th on a Saturday.
Alessandra Bollero: Thank you.
Frank Simonutti: Thank you.