How’s this for a catchy sales technique?
Consumers walk into a golf shop or sporting goods store, and here”s one of the first things they see: A large glass bowl filled with golf balls. These balls appear to be very, very unusual.
They have a matte finish — not shiny, like other golf balls, but covered with the same matte look that can be seen on modern football helmets or cars that are custom painted.
These are the new Vivid balls from Volvik. In addition to their matte exterior, they also are very brightly colored. The biggest seller is neon green, followed by red, orange and pink. Who dares to sell a red golf ball? Volvik, naturally. The imaginative South Korean golf ball manufacturer shows no reluctance to be different.
The glass bowl has a sign attached: “Yes, they are real, and they are spectacular.”
Most people cannot resist the temptation to touch them. So they take one from the bowl and roll it around in their fingers.
The most common question from customers: “Do they glow in the dark?”
The answer, provided in advance for sales associates: “No, they glow in the day.”
Welcome to the world of Volvik, the golf ball company that pretty much singlehandedly made it acceptable for real men to use colored golf balls.
Long drive specialist Maurice Allen, who made the round of 16 in the 2016 World Long Drive Championship, looks tough enough to wrestle with a grizzly bear. Regardless, he plays golf with a pink Volvik.
“It’s easy to see the ball, and I just love the color,” Allen said. “Things have changed. White isn’t the only way to do it.”
Volvik is one of golf’s continuing success stories. In the 2016 World Long Drive Championship, contestants used the Volvik Vista IV ball. It is a sophisticated four-piece ball with a compression rating of 95 and a zirconium cover.
Known primarily for its two-piece Crystal golf ball, Volvik has expanded its line significantly. The new 3-piece, 80-compression Vivid has emerged as an all-star.
“Even the Crystal has taken a backseat to the Vivid,” said Jon Claffey, national director of sales and marketing for Volvik USA.
“The first time we saw it, we knew we had a winner, but we didn’t know how successful it would be,” Claffey admitted. “Our sales right now are about 65 percent Vivid and 25 percent Crystal. For the year (2016), we are going to double our sales (for all Volvik balls combined).”
Okay, let’s be honest. Volvik isn’t Titleist, the far-and-away king of golf ball marketshare. However, Volvik might be characterized as a brash, confident crown prince in the ball category. And, by the way, Volvik is not a brand new face in golf. The company was founded in South Korea in 1980 and has been manufacturing golf balls for 36 years.
Just a few seasons ago, who would have thought that Volvik would be winning tournaments on the LPGA Tour (twice so far) and attracting amateur golfers across the golf ball spectrum.
Who exactly is buying the Vivid?
Volvik has been aiming its advertising at golfers with driver clubhead speeds from 60 to 95 miles an hour. However, Claffey said “better players are migrating to the ball” and seniors have become a “mainstay” of the Vivid audience.
The Vivid has a Surlyn cover, which contributes to its reputation as a very long ball.
A Surlyn cover may not have the soft feel of urethane, but the Vivid is not a rock. Furthermore, informal testing among amateurs revealed a slightly higher trajectory for Vivid than for many other Surlyn balls. Obviously this is a good thing for golfers who want to minimize the rollout on iron shots.
The suggested retail price is $29.99 per dozen.
With the Vivid, it’s a brave new world out there for Volvik — colored balls with a matte finish. Who would have guessed?
Advice for golfers: That fish bowl full of eye-catching Vivid golf balls … go ahead … reach in and feel them.
It’s the Volvik way.
—Jim Achenbach, Senior Golf Insider