Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rankmark's 2007 Best of the Best - GRIP OWT Wide Sole Irons!

Yesterday I promised myself that I would catch up on Quickbooks (Accounting) and some other administrative chores that I am behind on in the office. When I finally sat down to do it at about 3:00 PM I received an email from Larry Janis from forwarded me Charlie "The Bogeyman" Mandel's Rankmark newsletter with a note that said, "Just in case you haven't seen this...."

Rankmark is known as the "Consumer Reports" of the golf industry. However, they are better than Consumer Reports (CR). CR uses guys in white robes to test vacuum cleaners and crash test dummies to test SUVs. Rankmark uses real golfers with high and low handicaps, slices and duck hooks, to test clubs. They also do not accept any money for the test so you can't buy your way in. This is a great model for GRIP because we did not budget to buy much of anything besides golf clubs.

I encourage you to check out the test results at Rankmark. The official test was released in their newsletter but it is not on the list of tests on the site yet. You can follow this link:

We finished #4 overall behind Cleveland, Callaway, and Ping. We'll get the next time. Nike, Nicklaus, Cobra, Adams, Mizuno and others - I bet you had not heard of us! Who is your daddy now? It's time to Go Grip.

You can be sure that I will exploit this success as much as possible. There is no such thing as a bad winner...right? I still have not done my accounting work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Las Vegas PGA Fall Expo 2007

I was at the PGA Fall Expo yesterday. I actually had a pretty tough schedule. Flew in on Monday - left my house at 3:30 AM EST and arrived in Vegas about 12:00 PM western time. a 3 hour difference. Northwest airlines actually charged me to upgrade to the aisle. Yes, that is correct an UPGRADE TO THE AISLE! You probably think it was an exit row or something. Well, it wasn't. To move from my middle seat to the aisle was $30. Believe me, the leg space was horrible and I was on the wing.

When I arrived I was pretty tired but it was the middle of the day. I checked into Planet Hollywood Hotel (formerly Aladdin). The PGA show was at Mandalay Bay but El Presidente is a few Hot Steel fairway wood sales short of staying at the Mandalay. Expedia gave me a nice deal on a flight including a middle seat and a room at Planet Hollywood.

Planet Hollywood (PH) is undergoing a huge makeover while it converts from Aladdin to PH. Because of that I have to give them a break. The room was comfortable, the location is great. It is attached to a giant mall and across the street from Belagio, next to Paris, and close to a lot of other good attractions. PH is very far from Mandalay Bay.

After settling in, and grabbing a light lunch I went for a walk but it was about 100 degrees outside so I went back in and walked around the "Miracle Mile" mall for a while.

When I got back to the room I did my GRIP work for a while. The Planet Hollywood room is another work in progress. It is actually really nice but the days of the bedspread and the blanket are gone. They need to go to the Duvet/Down Comforter with all possible speed. Like I said, they get a break because they are a work in progress. My room featured a picture of Kevin Costner in "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves" and an alien prop weapon from the short lived television series Space Above and Beyond. I actually think it is a pretty cool idea for a hotel room. Unless you are staying at a 5 star resort, most hotel room art is crap and it never gets my attention. I definitely looked at the prop weapon for a bit.

I put a call into Charles Mandel from Rankmark, an independent, very respected golf club rating company. They put together huge test groups of golfers from 0 - infinite handicaps to test clubs and use a mathematical model to generate test results from the data they gather. They do not take any money for the service. However, your company may fall flat on a test and you can't buy your way to the top. It is a good company to work with for us. Charlie has had calls from Eli Callaway himself years back. Charlie started doing this as a hobby when he retired and now it is a big business.

When I showed up to meet Charlie I thought it was a meeting for a casual drink so I did not change into nicer clothes. I walked to meet him at the Mandalay Bay in 90+ degree heat.
After a very pleasant conversation with Charlie I learned that I was going to dinner with Sonartec Chairman Peter Pocklington and Andrew Birnbaum a very big wheel on the marketing side of the golf business. I should have known better than to show up looking like I just played 18 holes in the heat.

Andrew, Charlie, Andrew's wife, Peter and his wife as well as one of Peter's staff were a pleasure to dine with. Sonartec actually picked up the dinner bill which was very classy. We ate at Joe's Stone Crab and I enjoyed the food and the company. I learned a lot from everyone.

The show was great the next day. My concentration was on The Savvy Golfer, trying to identify new products for the site focusing on women's golf. I found at least a dozen new products that I am very excited about. My wife, Stacey is the new Savvy Golfer tech person who will add the new products and maintain the site. She has agreed to a generous salary of roughly what a fast food worker earns. It is nice to have a wife who believes in what you do.

During my lunch break the wheels came off like usual. DHL missed a pick up on Monday so orders were late, and our club builder in Hartford did not receive his thick envelope of custom orders to build and shipping labels. Somehow we rallied, recovered the orders emailed them to the warehouse and they will all go out today. Never a dull moment.

Last night was tame. I ate at the Sports Book in the hotel and watched the Red Sox game. I walked the Miracle mile and bought some little gifts for the family.

A final observation about Planet Hollywood Hotel. I know they are in transition and they did not draw too many events for the VMA awards the weekend before I arrived. Nothing made it more painfully obvious than the video of Sylvester Stallone's 60th Birthday that kept playing in the elevator. I hope things get better for them. Stallone's Birthday was attended by a lot of the original PH investors including Bruce Willis and the Governator. I am sure the video at Luxor and the Palms featured P Diddy, Britney Spears, 50 Cent and all the other VMA celebs who hit their popular night clubs during the weekend of the awards.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Can't get enough of that Geico Caveman

I love Geico commercials. The Gecko has been around since the 2000 Superbowl and his act is still great. The Caveman is a great follow up to the Gecko. Someone sent me a link to the Caveman playing golf with Phil Simms. Funny stuff. We looked into the Sock Puppet as a GRIP Spokesman but he was too expensive and he has no arms. An armless spokesperson for a Golf company is a difficult sell. Still, the puppet is one of the best living pitch men.