Golf News for Tuesday, March 4, 2008 | Equipment

New Titleist DT Carry and DT Roll golf balls for greater distance

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. -- Titleist, manufacturer of the #1 ball in golf and the industry leader in golf ball technology, introduces the new Titleist DT Carry and DT Roll golf balls, the most targeted and average player validated Titleist DT products in the microbrand’s 30 plus year history. Titleist enhances the performance for DT loyalists, average and recreational golfers, as well as competitive golf ball users, by providing two distinct approaches to distance – longer distance through greater carry and longer distance through greater roll - based on the average golfer’s varied and diverse launch characteristics.

“The positioning of the New DT Carry and DT Roll was derived from some of our most extensive product validation, target golfer feedback and consumer insights to date,” said George Sine, Vice President, Golf Ball Marketing and Strategic Planning - Worldwide, Acushnet Company. “A common thread throughout the research was that average and recreational golfers wanted the products to speak to their needs, with distance optimization serving as the most apparent, while still providing exceptional feel for greenside control and accuracy.”

History of the DT Golf Ball: The equity of and established loyalty to the Titleist DT microbrand is unprecedented in the golf ball category and is rivaled only by its flagship Pro V1 and aspirational NXT microbrands.

Since its inception in 1974 as the longest wound Surlyn golf ball which was supported by “just like the Pro’s favorite ball only tougher” positioning, the Titleist DT has stood for quality and consistency for over 30 years. Throughout its existence, the DT acronym has evolved from the Durable Titleist to the Distance Titleist, all the while remaining constant in delivering long distance, optimum performance and cut-proof durability for its designated target audience. More than three decades later and with over 1 billion golf balls sold, Titleist launches the next generation of the “red box” legacy in the tandem form of New DT Carry and New DT Roll.

“Respecting the needs and opportunities for average golfers, we involved the target audience throughout the New DT Carry and DT Roll development process from the initial concept stage through the product validation stage,” added Sine. “Presently, no golf ball brand has afforded attention to - nor committed the necessary research and consumer input - to determine what is best for the games of the moderate to slow swing speed golfer.”

Titleist consulted over 3,000 Titleist DT loyalists and/or average and recreational golfers before finalizing what ultimately became DT Carry and DT Roll golf balls.

“The New DT Carry and DT Roll are golf balls created by the average for the average golfer,’’ said Sine. “From product to naming and packaging to advertising, the average golfer will relate to and appreciate the New DT Carry and DT Roll products as they reflect their input, recommendations and cited requirements as to how we could add more distance and performance to their games.’’

Research and Concept Validation: Three major player tests were conducted toward determining the direction for the next generation DT golf ball models. An overwhelming majority of these golfers, those who typically hit their drives in the 200-yard range, said they could, in fact, discern a distinct difference between the two options. However, there was a clear split as to the best way they could achieve the distance and performance utopia they were seeking, with half citing a preference for the higher ball flight of the DT Carry and half for the lower ball flight of the DT Roll.

“The DT Carry and DT Roll two-model strategy addresses a sizeable opportunity for average golfers to optimize their distance and playabilty,” added Sine. “Most importantly and impressively, consumers embraced the benefits and value of having two distinct product options available. The ultimate credibility of our strategy was realized when several consumers cited that they genuinely felt that Titleist was the first brand to make such a dedicated effort on their behalf.”

Features and Benefits: Many golfers within the moderate to lower swing speed segment desire and require a shot shape, trajectory or visible point of difference toward achieving maximum distance. The objective for the Titleist DT Carry is to provide a higher flying DT product option suited for those that prefer or require more carry to achieve more distance. The objective for DT Roll is to provide a DT product option with a lower trajectory and more piercing ball flight suited for moderate to lower swing speed golfers that prefer or require more roll to achieve added distance. An additional benefit of the distinct performance attributes of the carry biased or roll biased offerings is the flexibility for golfers who encounter different course conditions during their travels or public venue play.

Bill Morgan, Senior Vice President, Golf Ball Research and Development, Acushnet Company, explained the technology behind the new products: “The cores of the DT Carry and DT Roll are vastly different and contribute to the distinctly different flight characteristics of each. The low density core of the DT Carry lowers the effect of gravity, and in combination with a softer Surlyn cover, contributes to the increased lift. Conversely, the high velocity core of the DT Roll lowers the launch and contributes to its penetrating ball flight and increased roll.”

DT Carry: Longer Distance Through Greater Carry
The New DT Carry golf ball combines new, large and soft core technology with a new, high lift 252 dimple design, delivering greater carry distance through a higher ball flight for golfers with low launch.
- Large 1.595” low density, soft polybutadiene core for longer distance.
- Large dimple, 252 icosahedron design aerodynamics in four different sizes for higher ball flight and greater carry.
- Soft, Surlyn cover for increased spin and greenside control.
- New, staggered wave parting line.
- New, A.I.M. (Alignment Integrated Marking) sidestamp.
- Cut-proof guarantee.

DT Roll: Longer Distance Through Greater Roll
The New DT Roll golf ball combines new, soft and resilient core technology with a lower trajectory 392 dimple design, delivering longer distance via penetrating ball flight and greater roll.
- High velocity, 1.565” polybutadiene core for longer distance.
- Low trajectory, 392 icosahedron dimple design aerodynamics in five different sizes for lower ball flight and increased roll.
- New, staggered wave parting line.
- New, A.I.M. sidestamp.
- Soft, Surlyn cover with cut-proof guarantee.

Staggered Wave Parting Line: Among the improvements to the New DT Carry and DT Roll golf balls is the Staggered Wave Parting Line. First implemented by Titleist in the New Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls introduced in early 2007, followed by the NXT Tour and NXT Extreme last fall, the Staggered Wave design increases the dimple surface coverage which contributes to improved aerodynamics and a more consistent ball flight.

Packaging: While the new product packaging maintains the legendary dynamic red color that has been associated with the DT microbrand since its beginning, there is also a colorization strategy beyond making a statement as to the arrival of the new products. The DT Carry packaging will feature Red with Blue hues, representing higher ball flight and connoting increased carry, while the DT Roll will feature Red with Green hues, representing lower ball flight and connoting more roll, directly complementing the positioning of the products.

A.I.M. Sidestamp: Given the reception to the AIM sidestamp on the Titleist Pro V1 and NXT franchise offerings, and desire to align the entire Titleist golf ball product line, the model name and arrow treatment has also been integrated on the New DT Carry and DT Roll. With an added element of consistency and clarity, Titleist has color coded the DT Carry and DT Roll sidestamps. The DT Carry will feature a Blue sidestamp, while the DT Roll will feature a Green sidestamp, more directly connecting the product with the new packaging and positioning. The A.I.M. sidestamp provides a consistent focal point and instills additional confidence for golfers to better align their putts if they desire, as well as a unique point of difference versus the competition.

Advertising and Promotion: Titleist will strengthen its brand connection with DT players and competitive golf ball users via a significant national media campaign across television, print and internet outlets.

Television: Creative will consist of four 30 second commercials, two for DT Carry and two for DT Roll, featuring players sharing their stories of how the new golf balls have helped them to improve through longer distance due to longer carry or longer roll. All four spots will share the same end frames highlighting the ball flights of both models with a Jim Nantz voice-over. The first spots will launch during the PGA Tour’s FBR Open in February. Over 75 spots will air during the Golf Channel’s early season coverage of the PGA Tour, with additional spots to run during LPGA and Champions Tour majors. Additional broadcast support of more than 200 spots will air on other Golf Channel programming.

Print: “Two new ways to get the most out of your game.” is the tagline for the new DT Carry and DT Roll two-page spread that will begin running in the March issues of the major monthly golf publications (Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, PGA Tour Partners, Sports Illustrated Golf Plus, Golf for Women). Insertions will run through July. The ad features photos of real DT Carry and DT Roll players sharing their performance comments about how the new golf balls have provided benefits to their game.

Internet: The television and print message will be extended online to include DT Carry and DT Roll player video testimonials on Titleist.com via rotating home page features and DT product pages. Support will also be provided via banner ads and highly targeted e-newsletters and emails on PGA Tour.com, TheGolfChannel.com and Golf.com.

Pricing and Availability: The New DT Carry and DT Roll golf balls will be available in golf shops beginning February 1, 2008, with a suggested retail price of $28 per dozen and a MAP of $21.99. In addition, New DT Launch Display units consisting of 4-ball packs, inclusive of 2-ball sleeves of each model, will be available for a limited time allowing golfers to trial and experience the differences between the DT Carry and DT Roll. Among the Titleist DT Carry and DT Roll dedicated collateral material and promotional displays that will accompany the introduction is a billboarded 6 dozen sleeve display encouraging consumers to “Let It Fly or Let It Run” in their pursuit of longer distance.

Photography and Contact Information: To download hi-resolution images of the new DT Carry and/or DT Roll please visit us online at www.titleist.com. For additional information, please contact Joe Gomes, Director of Communications (508.979.3211) or joe.gomes@acushnetgolf.com.

Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra comprise the major golf brands of the Acushnet Company, an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE - FO). Titleist, Cobra, FootJoy, Pro V1, Pro V1x, NXT Tour, NXT Extreme, DT Carry, DT Roll and DT SoLo are trademarks owned or licensed by Acushnet Company. Surlyn® is a trademark of E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.