When David Glod says Tour Edge Golf, the company he founded in his garage, is 29 years old, even he can hardly believe it. He rolled his eyes as he said it and a knowing smile graced his face. Arguably no equipment maker has defied the odds of a tough sales environment quite like Tour Edge.

After he pitched his latest and greatest products to a roomful of media on Jan. 19, one question from the audience seemed to address the elephant in the room: “How do you keep doing it as a lean, mean golf machine?”

Glod took a long thought-organizing pause before giving his answer. He agreed that the company benefits from being small and nimble while sticking to its conservative game. But to Glod, the chief reason his company has outlasted equipment makers with deeper pockets and glitzier marketing campaigns can be summarized in one word: product.

That, however, may be an over-simplification of the story. Establishing a reputation for value and affordability was a nearly 20-year process for Tour Edge. Glod displays unabashed pride when he explains that his company doesn’t pay endorsement contracts to pros and maintains a modest advertising budget. Increasingly, consumers looking for an alternative to higher-priced brands bought in. Tour Edge generated steady if not spectacular growth. But in the last decade, that model was severely tested as the bigger brands began a policy of introducing new products at break-neck speed. Consumers could suddenly buy discounted product that was touted as revolutionary just six months earlier. This took a toll on Tour Edge’s Bazooka franchise.

“The difficult side of value-priced clubs is the drop down in price with too much inventory in the field,” Glod explained.

Fortunately, Glod isn’t completely risk-averse and he took a big gamble in 2004. That’s when he informed his staff that the little company that could was going to slug it out with the industry behemoths in the super-premium category.

Glod’s decision put Tour Edge on its current path to become a multiple-brand company with the unusual pairing of super-premium and value. The Exotics name implies that the clubs are unique. so the company has been careful not to slap the moniker on just any product.

The new Exotics E8 adjustable Tour fairway wood is the first product in the U.S. marketplace to use a laser-beam bonding process to bond the cup face to the body and enhance the spring-like effect of the cup face to an unprecedented level.

The growth of TrackMan and other devices that measure ball speed have been a boon to the Exotics brand, allowing retailers to demonstrate to consumers some of the “invisible technology” in the product with numbers that validated retailers’ recommendations.

The success of the Exotics line along with high volume in boxed sets and golf bags (Glod’s brother, Gordon, the company’s vice president of sales, said Tour Edge was the top supplier in units for golf bags at PGA Tour Superstores) has kept Tour Edge trucking along in a down economy. Glod said his company’s business grew 5 percent in the U.S. last year. Better inventory management and less cascading down of prices by competitors could spark a turnaround for the Tour Edge side of the business.

“One more year of flush out of inventory,” Glod predicted.

If consumers searching for affordably priced clubs return to the Tour Edge name it won’t be under the Bazooka franchise this season. Glod said he’s giving that longtime stalwart “a rest,” and introduced an affordable line of easy-to-hit woods and irons called the Hot Launch.

With potentially its deepest and most complete launch of new equipment in years, the little company that could continues to show it still can.


From Golfweek.com