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At long last: TaylorMade introduces personalized golf ball numbers

OK “ say youre one of the worlds most successful golf equipment brands, but youre still working on winning an exceptional product more market share in the lucrative high-end ball market.

Your arch-rival absolutely owns the golf-ball segment, thanks in part to a ludicrously successful product and a brilliant marketing campaign that taps into golfs unique character as a game that lets amateurs emulate their professional heroes.

Your product is just as good. What do you do on the marketing side? Come up with something even better.

Behold: an idea thats been a long time coming. TaylorMade is making it possible to order custom-printed golf balls that feature any two-digit combination of numbers you like.

It was introduced earlier this month in the U.S., but the arrival of the news release in Canadian e-mail inboxes herald’s the service’s availability in Canada.

No more surreptitious stacking of boxes with sleeves of your fave number in the ball-section at Golf Town (not that Ive ever done this myself, of course . . .). Now you can custom-order balls with the number of your favourite hockey player, football fullback, NBA point guard, Nascar driver _ whatever.

Just go to www.mytpball.com, fill out the form and take it to Golf Town. Minimum order is three dozen balls.

From a marketing standpoint, this is brilliant “ just the thing to do battle with Titleist and its ridiculously successful How do you mark your Titleist campaign.

Richard Sullivan, director of marketing for TaylorMade-adidas Golf Canada, said the LDP version of the TP ball was already digging into Titleist’s market share before this latest marketing device came along.

“Based on our marketshare data and sell thru, I would suggest that our advertising is working and more people are beginning to mark TaylorMade TP as an alternative,” he said in an e-mail.

I’m betting that being able to customize your number is going to appeal to a lot of better golfers, who by nature are a nitpicky and superstitious bunch, and allow TM to carve out even more of a niche among high-end golf ball users.

Sign me up “ Ill be first in line.

TaylorMade Golf Launches “My TP Ball”
Golfers Can Now Order TaylorMade® TP Red„¢ and TP Black„¢ Golf Balls
with their Choice of 110 Two-Digit Number Options
CARLSBAD, Calif. (August 6th, 2008) “ In a world of personalization, TaylorMade Golf now gives golfers the opportunity to customize their own TaylorMade TP Red and TP Black golf balls by emblazoning a two-digit number of their choosing, anything from 00 to 99. Called “My TP Ball,” the program allows golfers to design their own golf balls in a new and individualized way.
“Everyone has a favorite number and usually there’s a personal story behind it,” said Mike Ferris, vice president of TaylorMade’s golf ball division. “My TP Ball allows golfers to connect with their number and make their golf ball an extension of themselves. For example, Justin Rose plays 99 because his wifes lucky number is 9 and hes hoping for twice the luck. Were inviting golfers to put their number on their ball and to share their story with us starting this fall on myTPball.com.”
Golfers can create and view their own TaylorMade TP Red or TP Black balls by visiting myTPball.com. After selecting a ball and one of 110 possible two-digit number combinations, the golfer will preview what his or her ball will look like. Any number from 00 to 99 is possible. Single digits from 0 to 9 are OK, too.
When you decide on a number, fill out the online order form, print it and bring it to a participating retailer, who will place your order with TaylorMade. Your balls will be shipped to you within seven days of TaylorMade’s receipt of the order form. The minimum order of TaylorMade TP balls with personalized number is three dozen, and My TP balls can also be logoed at additional cost. Visit myTPball.com for complete details.
My TP Ball is being officially launched this week at the PGA Championship, where TaylorMade TP balls used on the practice range are all numbered 90, for the 90th PGA Championship, being held this week at Oakland Hills. Six TaylorMade Tour Staff professionals and six TaylorMade Club professionals competing will play TaylorMade TP balls with their favorite number, and will have their number embroidered prominently on the front of their staff bag.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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