The Big Bertha Myth

The Big Bertha Myth

by kirkcoburn
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Read this blog and I promise that your golf game will improve…

Welcome to 2011! As I sit in the freezing cold, I crave being on the golf course. It occurred to me that the Social Media craze reminds me of the golf technology revolution. When the new metal driver came out and then the revolutionary Big Bertha Driver by Callaway appeared, Golf changed forever. But, did it actually make golfers better? More specifically, did golfers’ scores go down?

I assume that the new technologies did increase people’s drives off of the tee, (it extended reach), but did it lower scores? 

I wanted to pass along an interesting article about the top 10 B2B (Business to Business) Marketing Trends. Six of the top Ten revolve around social media. I will let you make your own conclusions from this article. The author does a great job of trying to explain the myths and expectations from it.  Social Media reminds me of Golf. There is a lot of hype and talks of Social Media saving strokes (meaning… at the end of the day increasing companies revenue and profitability and most importantly free cash flow), but does it?

The difference between the #1 PGA TOUR player in the world and the one who does not get invited back the next year is less than 2%. In 2007, the #1 PGA TOUR player in the world, Tiger Woods, stroke average per 18 holes was 67.79. The last player to make the cutoff, #120 Kent Jones, stroke average was 71.08. Less than 2% (3 Strokes) cost Kent Jones over $10.1M in earnings. The evidence suggests that we CANNOT leave any strokes out there.

BUT…does Social Media add or subtract strokes? Let’s look at the best golfers in the world and ask the same questions. Does new equipment and new tricks (LinkedIn, oversized clubs, blogs, tricky putters, facebook, better golf balls, SEO) lower golf scores?

Arguably, the greatest golf championship in the world is the Masters. Reviewing the scores that won the Masters over the past 40+ years tells an interesting story:

  • In 1964 – Arnold Palmer won by taking 276 strokes
  • In 1965 – Jack Nicklaus won by taking 271 strokes
  • Between 1965 – 2008 – the average winning score was 279
  • In 2008 – Trevor Immelman won by taking 280 strokes*
  • In 2009 – Angel Cabrera won by taking 276 strokes*

The reality is that to WIN, a golfer and a company must practice great marketing strategy. New clubs and new tactics just do not pay off by themselves.


* Besides Ray Floyd that matched 271 in 1976, no one else even came close to matching 271 until Tiger Woods shot a 270 in 1997. In all fairness, in 2001, Augusta National increased the distance of the course from 6,925 yards to 7,290 in 2002 and then 7,445 in 2006. What happened after the change? The scores went up. One might actually make an argument that PGA TOUR players skill went down (PGA TOUR players today do not use the longer irons that were absolutely necessary just a few years ago to reach the greens).

I promised that I would improve your game. The numbers don’t lie…

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