Costco Sues Acushnet (Titleist) in Response to Letter
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Costco Sues Acushnet (Titleist) in Response to Letter

Costco Sues Acushnet (Titleist) in Response to Letter

As first reported by Dave Dawsey over at GolfPatents.com, Costco is suing Titleist’s parent company, Acushnet, for wrongfully accusing Costco of patent infringement and false advertising.

Costco has asked for a declaratory judgment that states, for unwant of more delicate language, Acushnet’s claims are total bullshit.

I highly recommend you read Dawsey’s post, but here’s what we see as the key points.

Acushnet Sent A Letter

As we discussed in an earlier story, Acushnet’s legal counsel did, in fact, send Costco a letter accusing Costco of infringing on 11 of its patents and engaging in false advertising based on the Kirkland Signature guarantee that such products meet or exceed the quality of leading national brands.

This is significant for a number of reasons. First, it unequivocally dismisses any suggestion that Titleist sells so many balls it isn’t concerned about Costco’s market penetration. It’s been clear from day one that golf companies are watching the K-Sig closely, and here’s your proof that the biggest of them all is feeling the impact.

Titleist’s ball business was down nearly 5% last year, and while the company was content to blame the decline on the second year of a Pro V1 release cycle and the closures of Golfsmith and Sports Authority, the reality is that competitors, including Costco, are starting to chip away at Titleist’s dominance in the category.

Presumably, Acushnet thought the threat of legal action might be enough to end the K-Sig as it did Monsta, 3-Up, and some of the other smaller ball companies it sued a couple of years ago. While it’s rumored that Acushnet’s letter played a role in the K-Sig’s sudden disappearance from store shelves, it appears Costco has been busy readying its response. Unlike those smaller brands, Costco is refusing to be bullied.

Golf clap.

The fact that Acushnet sent Costco a letter shouldn’t surprise anyone. Golf companies bounce letters around all the time, and Acushnet is particularly notorious for its participation in the tradition. It’s not the least bit surprising it targeted Costco. Costco’s response, however, is a bit of a surprise.

My early sense of things is that bulk of the golf industry will be quietly supportive of Costco’s pushback.

Patent Infringement

In its complaint, Costco states that its ball “does not infringe any valid patent rights owned by Acushnet, including any valid patent claims identified by Acushnet in its correspondence.” Patent infringement is used as a catch-all for these types of cases. That doesn’t mean it’s true. As we’ve said in the past, we support any company’s efforts to protect its intellectual property, but if this proves to be nothing more than posturing to protect market position, the declaratory judgment Costco is seeking would be warranted.

Quality is a Central Issue

As you may recall, as the K-Sig was gaining momentum, Titleist launched a marketing campaign focused on its superior quality assurance standards. While Titleist didn’t question the quality of the K-Sig directly, some of its surrogates definitely did.

The question the judge will have to consider is how does one define quality?

If it’s performance, the tests performed by MyGolfSpy and others support the Costco cause.

If it’s durability, well…that’s fair, but it’s a function of the type of urethane cover used in the Costco ball, and it’s hardly unique within the industry. What’s true of Costco’s durability is inherently true for many other premium balls. One could argue, and easily so, that Costco’s ball meets any industry durability standard.

If it’s something else entirely, roundness, manufacturing consistency, etc., then it’s potentially interesting, but given that the same factory manufacturers balls for TaylorMade, Snell, and other reputable ball brands, I suspect proving any quality issues will be difficult for Titleist.

False Advertising

Additionally, Acushnet has claimed that Costco falsely advertised the K-Sig. As noted above, this stems from the Kirkland Signature guarantee which states that Kirkland Signature products “meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands.” It goes without saying that the guarantee isn’t unique to the golf ball, but Titleist has questioned its application specifically as it relates to the K-Sig golf ball.

Apparently, Acushnet has asserted that, because of the above-mentioned quality issues, any statements that the K-Sig is of the same or better quality than the Pro V1 (quality again) amount to false advertising. Part of Costco’s counter argument stems from the fact that it has never publicly compared the K-Sig to the Pro V1. The company further argues that “a reasonable consumer would not interpret the Kirkland Signature guarantee as intended to convey a statement of fact about any specific comparisons of quality between the KS ball and any specific manufacturer or ball, including Acushnet and its Pro V1 ball.”

Costco’s complaint goes on to state that “many individual golfers and golf ball testers and experts have used and/or tested the KS ball and concluded that it is at least comparable to balls sold by other leading national brands, including Acushnet.”

Presumably, the tests done by MyGolfSpy and others are central to that argument.

In the hopes of putting this all to bed, Costco’s complaint claims that it “is entitled to a declaratory judgment that it has not engaged in any false advertising in connection with the KS golf ball.”

Simply put, like many others in the golf industry have done at one time or another, Costco is taking a position that a letter from Acushnet’s legal department has no basis in reality.

What Happens Next

First, we need to wait and see if the court will agree with Costco, and issues the declaratory judgment. That would presumably end this, though it could drag out for quite some time.

How will Acushnet respond? What about the other ball manufacturers?

The longer this drags on, the more it will raise awareness of the Costco ball. As the news spreads, Acushnet risks being painted as a desperate bully trying to protect its space, and that’s a space where the consumer pays $50/dozen for a product similar to what Costco delivers for $15.

That’s not going to cast Acushnet in a positive light – especially if the court rules in Costco’s favor.

The legal wrangling comes at a time when sources are telling us that Costco is ready to begin shipping K-Sig balls to its retail stores. Coupled with the lawsuit, the clear suggestion is that, letters be damned, Costco is going to sell its golf balls and make Acushnet fight publicly to stop it.

To reiterate what Dave Dawsey said, “This should get real interesting real fast.”

 

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





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      Ben Lee

      7 years ago

      How did everyone get the K-Sig balls? It seems virtually impossible since their always sold out. You can get them on eBay but they cost more than ProV1s right now. So, I don’t see a point in buying the K-Sig at that price. I still wanna try the K-Sig but not expecting them to be phenomenal.

      Reply

      Rodney Rodgers

      7 years ago

      Costco’s website back in November 2016 said when they were be available again. I believe it was the 21st so I set my alarm for midnight and ordered 4 dozen then had my girlfriend ordered 4 dozen m

      ore. A few hours after midnight they were sold out. So now I go around golf courses selling sleeves for $20. Mind you I paid a $1.25 per ball. I love Costco and it may be because I have a lifetime membership for free but I love golfers willing to pay through the nose for the Ksig even more.

      Reply

      Jerry Ruelle

      7 years ago

      Was in my local Dicks Sporting Goods today and someone came in asking for the Kirkland ball. The guy behind the counter said they don’t carry Costco stuff. The customer looked sad. The guy also told me they have moved Titlest balls to the middle of the rack. He said Calloway and Bridgestone are paying Dicks for premium space.

      Reply

      David Adler

      7 years ago

      Our society has officially become to litigious

      Reply

      David Adler

      7 years ago

      Craziness

      Reply

      jfpga

      7 years ago

      yep

      “Costco has no idea what they’re getting into with Acushnet,” said one veteran of the golf ball industry familiar with ball patents and litigation.

      http://www.golfdigest.com/story/costco-vs-acushnet-who-has-the-upper-hand?mbid=nl_032217_golfworld&CNDID=22025147&spMailingID=10670903&spUserID=MTMyNjM1NzAyMjk2S0&spJobID=1121763319&spReportId=MTEyMTc2MzMxOQS2

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      This is an interesting side discussion. Titleist has a long and well-documented history of litigation. Given how much time transpired between when we first heard that Costco had received a letter and the time it took Costco to file suit, we can make a reasonable inference that Costco’s legal team did plenty of homework. They have a pretty good idea of what Acushnet’s game plan will be. In that respect, I believe Costco at least *thinks* it knows what it’s getting into.

      It’s also equally possible that Acushnet has no idea what it’s getting into. While not specific to the golf ball, Costco also has a long history of litigation.

      Acushnet will attempt to overwhelm the court with data. If the dimplegate litigation is a blueprint, they will try and obfuscate specific details of how they obtained the data, and potentially try and limit Costco’s access to independent experts as well as the few public facilities where similar testing can be done. I’ve read through a good bit of the filings in the dimplegate suit, and it’s eye-opening to say the least.

      In that particular case it appears that part of the Acushnet strategy was to run out the clock. That is to say that, regardless of the actual facts (I’m not sure those were ever determined), it held strong advantages in both the financial and resource (facilities, experts) columns. Complaints were quietly dismissed with confidentiality attached, but we can assume a settlement (one that favors Acushnet) was reached.

      Against Costco, it would maintain that resource advantage, but to the best of my knowledge, it has never been at a financial disadvantage of this magnitude. It’s easy to say you won’t blink/veer in a game of chicken when you know the other guy will go broke long before you have to make that decision.

      I think how this plays out will be determined by how far Costco wants to take it. If it decides that the ability to sell golf balls at $15 a dozen is worth pursuing, this could drag out for quite some time. Unlike the dimplegate situation, Acushnet has more to lose than Costco.

      My hunch is that this case has the potential to be a tipping point for the industry. Acushnet’s recent history suggests they will go after almost anybody who tries to undercut its position in the US market. Maybe its claims are valid, maybe they’re not, but the long-term threat to its business from a viable $15 a dozen tour ball is real. It will fight.

      If Costo ultimately backs down, we start over again. We wait for the next dirt cheap tour ball and we can be reasonably sure that if/when it surfaces, this entire process will start all over again.

      Reply

      Regis

      7 years ago

      I’ve handled a few Antitrust cases and I’m less than comfortable giving opinions on them much less giving any type of expert insight. That being said a lot turns on the uniqueness of the design being protected as opposed to similar but not necessarily exact duplication of the design. By way of example think where TMAG would be if it held an absolutely​ protected patent on the metal wood. But when Accushnet sent Costco a cease and desist letter it put the ball ,(no pun intended) in play. In theory they could sit back and wait exposing Costco to potentially exemplary damages should the Costco ball become a huge success. By filing a DJ action Costco is really litigating the issue sooner as opposed to later

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      I will be in Florida next week on a golf junket and if I can find a KSig will promise to a/b it against the new Pro V. I do trial balls every year and occasionally I find one that goes further or sounds good or spins better or less, yadda yadda. And every year I seem to come back to Pro V. There are so many nuances in golf beyond the 3-yard gain on a 259 yd tee shot. For instance, did hitting a Bridgestone allow me to drop to a 7-iron instead of a 6-iron on a typical 150 yd approach? Nope. Did I putt better? Did I stop 50 yd pitch shots closer to the hole? In all your testing and conversation here I don’t see that. I know this is purely personal and highly anecdotal. I do have maybe 15 close golf friends who have all done this same thing. Some are very cost conscious and always hunt for deals. Many have tried Snells and Vice. The best golfer in this circle of golf acquaintances is 73 years old and last year won a State Senior Am and shot below his age 7 times! The worst golfer didn’t break 90 all year and will play a ball he found in a stream. For me, my biggest issue is usually putting. I hit fairways consistently and hit greens most of the time. Distance isn’t my problem nor is getting it on the dance floor. Every round I played last year and even the last few years has come down to either shooting in the 70’s or low 80’s. It’s making putts. Now obviously hitting greens to inside 20′ makes for easier 2-putts than from 40′. But most golfers recognize that getting old means the driver-wedge days are over. Now, at least for me and my contemporaries it’s hitting fairways and greens and getting down in 2. Making birds is harder from 20′ than it used to be. If you’ve read this far and this describes your game you know the ball is just one piece of your game and price isn’t what’s on your mind. You want to shoot your goal score. For me unless the day is crappy weather or I’m on a tough track I’m trying to break 80. I want my ball to be consistent. Number 1, the same on every hole. I went a month playing Bridgestone but came back to Pro V. 20 years ago I went a Summer hitting “Top Flights”! They were long but I couldn’t spin them around the greens. But if I can find a KSig next week I’ll give them a shot and report back. Frankly I like what I hear about the TM 5-piece and will trial as well.

      Reply

      Jim

      7 years ago

      Gerry, you really kill me. You’re an old man just like me, totally irrelevant and you keep posting all this 500 word crap.

      Reply

      Douglas Millar

      7 years ago

      Titleist needs to be knocked down a peg or two, or start selling their golf balls at Costco for $19.99

      Reply

      Jeff Bahry

      7 years ago

      Fantastic!
      I can’t wait to play the K-Sig and hope it’s a comparable ball to their first release.

      Reply

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      Michael-
      Please accept my apology. Somehow I am continuing to offend you. I’m sorry. I love Costco. I don’t shop there for practical reasons. Much of Costco’s stuff has to be purchased in large quantities, i.e. 10 lb bags of kale or 3 LB blocks of Vermont Cheddar. So I shop my local grocer who breaks down stuff in more practical and usable sizes. Now Michael let’s also be reasonable here. If I can’t find a KSig how can I play one? And if Costco cannot be a reliable supplier what’s the point of all this? I do not know a single golfer playing this ball? for all you know Costco may have as much success creating them as Trump will with coal jobs. And while you didn’t refute my other point I’ll repeat it. Costco won’t save golf with discount balls. But if the big box golf stores shut down only people with money will hit balls in Winter.

      Reply

      Chuck DiSalvo

      7 years ago

      Screw Titleist. Overpriced and overhyped. There are cheaper alternatives that play just as good if not better than the Pro V series.

      Reply

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      Tony-
      I believe you are saying that the KSig ball is a “Best Buy” similar to how various rating mags evaluate toasters or Cabernet wines or outdoor house paint. But like any of those commodities people have preferences and price points. I don’t have any issues with anyone playing KSigs or Snells or Pro V’s. I don’t judge golfers by the color of their ball’s cover. If a playing partner in my group is suddenly hitting it past me and it’s because he switched to a KSig I’ll take notice. If he hits to the same spot he usually does but then buys me a hot dog at the turn and says “I saved $15 bucks on balls at Costco, I can afford it” then WooHoo! It all comes down to preference and math. My game is just peachy keen with Pro V’s. As I’ve said several times here I trial everything so I am ball agnostic. But I also do the math. The number of rounds I play factoring in ball usage (turnover, lost balls, wear etc) and ball performance doesn’t warrant paying a $75 membership and driving across town to save a few bucks or buy that 3 lb bag of Stacy’s Pita Chips that go stale anyway. I am not a rich guy nor extravagant with my money and I think I am fairly pragmatic. The golf industry is hurting and frankly if another big box golf chain goes out of business or another course closes we golfers all suffer. Golfers who want to hold their wife’s purse while she tries on expando denims and eat free imitation crab dip samples should continue to support Costco.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      On some points I agree, and others I don’t.

      First, worth mentioning in the context of this discussion. You don’t need a Costco membership to buy the balls. Without it there’s a $2 or $3 surcharge, but it still keeps costs well below OEM levels.

      I’m not really buying into the idea that we need to support the golf industry by overpaying for golf balls. On 2 dozen balls, the cost difference is $70. What do I do with that extra money? Do I play a round of nice golf (or two rounds of ok golf)? That’s supporting the golf industry.

      Do put the money towards a new driver, or some other piece of equipment? That’s supporting the golf industry.

      Do I take a lesson? That’s supporting the golf industry.

      Do I donate the difference to The First Tee? That’s supporting the game.

      My point is, there are plenty of ways to support the game of golf and the industry without spending $50 on a dozen golf balls.

      As far as the damage to the industry. It’s two-fold, first – find me one retail industry that doesn’t need to adapt to a changing consumer? The golf industry, in general, has to date, been especially poor at adapting. This may sound heartless from a guy inside the industry, but I believe for the overall health of the industry more companies will need to fold. With fewer dollars being spent, we need an environment where the best companies can succeed. According to an article published just this morning, 4 companies (Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, and PING) already control 80% of the market. TaylorMade and Callaway are over 60% of the driver market on their own. And while that sounds like we’re inching closer to monopolization, even with that type of share, at least 3 of the companies are just better than even (Callaway) or losing money. PING is privately held, so we don’t know exactly how they’re fairing at the moment.

      Look, I actively encourage golfers to play what’s best for their game, but there’s always a cost/benefit decision. It comes into play with nearly everything we buy. If a Titleist ball is demonstrably better for you, play it (hell, personally, I swear by the Pro V1x), but if by spending less on the ball you’re not losing performance, and you’re able to do more with your money – especially more golf-related things – why wouldn’t you want to do that?

      Reply

      MIchael

      7 years ago

      Tony – thanks for the well thought out response.

      I would add that many of the companies, especially ball companies where the IP field is tight, that have attempted to enter the market have failed or been destroyed by litigation or threat of litigation (Titleist is pretty known for doing so).

      The golf industry as a whole has been pretty stagnant, or declining, for the past two decades. The number of club manufactures has decreased, as as the year-to-year innovation leaps. Most new club purchases these days are not driven by statistical performance improvements, but by marketing campaigns and paying the touring pros to play the latest equipment.

      There still also exists a VERY high entry barrier to the golf world. While this barrier was brought down slightly by the Tiger bump of 10 years ago, I have seen it rise again. Not every family has an extra $1,000 laying around for their kid to get a set of clubs, some access to a course, and a series of lessons.

      Jerry – you keep showing just how hypocritical you are. You have complained about the amount of vitriol in other posts, yet you end your post saying that those who shop at Costco are down-beaten men who have fat wives and enjoy fake free food… Seriously??? (“Golfers who want to hold their wife’s purse while she tries on expando denims and eat free imitation crab dip samples should continue to support Costco.”)

      Please stop it. You admit you’ve never hit a KSig. Why does it bother you so much that some people like it? Hell, you may even LOVE the ball once you get the chance to hit them. Why does it bother you so much that a ball that is as good or better than a ProV to some players is selling for $15/doz? I just don’t get the hate that you’re showing.

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      There’s really two points here. First let’s clear up the “cost” issue. I think I maybe bought 3 doz balls last year. Two dozen were Pro V “Practice” at $28 each. The 3rd doz were Pro V “X-Outs” also at $28. I bought sleeves of Pro V’s several times at the Pro Shops simply because I wanted fresh balls prior to rounds at good tracks. So in total I required maybe 48 balls for my year of golf. At an average added cost of double or $60 for the year or an extra $5/month to have the convenience and ease of availability for a tour ball. I also spent additional cash to trial Bridgestones/Callaways and Srixons last year and gave them away after not finding any gains or simply didn’t like them.
      Second point; I don’t exactly feel beholden to Golf Galaxy or other big box golf stores but I will say that it’s pretty nice to anonymously hit balls into a pretty screen utilizing launch monitors and other cool tech while A/B’ing the latest new clubs from Mizuno, Cally, TM et all. Now can I do that at Costco?? Can I speak with a young gun who’s on a college golf squad with a scratch handicap what he thinks of the latest Fugi shaft or how he and the other staff compare the M1 to the Epic? Do I simply read Golf Digest and MGS to discern golf gear or do I go to Costco and use their hitting booth? Oh wait, today they are demoing the VitaMix 500 Pro series making strawberry smoothies. Is it worth a few bucks to “patronize” the golf shop that I use as my winter golf course and storefront for the tools of my favorite hobby? I visit Costco every so often. But I don’t shop there because I don’t own a pallet lift and in 6 months I can’t find KSigs and have no idea where their hitting booth is. Sorry for being such a pesky wabbit.

      Michael

      7 years ago

      Jerry – I’m done arguing with you. You consistently fail to address the question of why you have such a problem with people, besides yourself, liking the KSig. I’m sorry to inform you that this conversation was not about your bubble of the golfing world, but the overarching ball market (i.e., not “Jerry’s golf ball needs”). I get that you have beef with Costco for some reason, but I still cannot explain why (nor can you, apparently) you have taken such a dislike to the KSig without, admittedly, ever even hitting one.

      Chuck

      7 years ago

      Shouldn’t Taylormade be concerned about this more than Titleist? The same company that makes their balls is making the ‘same’ ball at half the price. If I play taylormade balls (not sure anyone does) don’t I have every reason imaginable to start playing the Costco ball? I would imagine more people will switch from Taylormade to Costco than Titleist.

      Lastly, everyone is talking about the Costco ball being ‘sold out’. Does anyone know how many they sold? Haven’t seen that number but I would guess its underwhelming.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      The TaylorMade story, at least publicly is that it has a demonstrably better ball.

      For whatever it’s worth, TM is in a unique position right now as the only company offering a 5-piece ball. We can go back and forth over whether or not that offers any real advantage, but it is a real point of distinction.

      The other consideration is that TaylorMade’s market share is significantly less than Titleists, which suggests it has much less to lose.

      One of your observations was at one time correct, and may to a degree still be true. What’s traditionally happened in the ball market is that Titleist guys were loyal. Bridgestone guys might switch to the new Callaway, Callaway guys to the new TaylorMade, TaylorMade to Srixon, and around and around we go. Titleist largely immune while the others stole from each other.

      I believe that’s changing. Callaway’s ascent to a clear number two position, I believe, has created more flexibility among Titleist buyers, so while still in great shape, the company is less bulletproof than its been in the past.

      Take it as little more than rumor, but at one point we heard 30,000 sold. Whether that’s dozen or double dozen I can’t say. Big ballpark, probably somewhere between 500K and million bucks worth.

      Reply

      Danny Lewitzke

      7 years ago

      I knew it. Get em COSTCO!

      Reply

      Robbie Stassi

      7 years ago

      The number one selling ball (Titleist) now has company at half the price. Its a good performing golf ball. But wait, try the new Taylor Made TP &TPX, the ball performs just as good if not better than the Pro V’s,

      Reply

      Michael Ohaneson

      7 years ago

      Seems obvious to me that Acushnet is already seen as a big bully, and I can’t imagine any neutral party supporting their weak claims! Clearly, they see Costco (and other balls) as being a serious threat to their business. No doubt! I think the days of Titleist dominance may be waning. This lawsuit isn’t helping them any, imo. The bully is threatening one of the most likable kids in the neighborhood. (Good luck with that!) No way this ends well for Titleist.

      Reply

      Dean Narahara

      7 years ago

      With that being said, they are expensive for alot of golfers, me included. So, I experiment with different urethane covered balls, and while some are good, others do not have similar characteristics or quality standards of the ProVs. Before the KSig ball firestorm, I purchased a few dozen to try out, and was pleasantly surprised. For my index (12), they work fine !

      Reply

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      This is getting both stupid and silly. Who gives a crap about Costco?? They want to sell mass quantities of low margin stuff. I cannot imagine they really want to go to court for something as insignificant to their bottom line as KSigs. Their cost to litigate will be multiple times more costly than any profit they make on balls. Furthermore it appears their supply chain on this item is shaky and subject to change. Second point; I play Pro V’s not because I’m a snob. Every year I try to trial new balls but usually hitting them in a practice round where on different holes hitting real world shots to see ball characteristics,feel, distance, spin etc. I will go to Golf Galaxy and while there buy sleeves of balls I want to trial and hit them into a screen paying attention to monitor data. Pretty anecdotal stuff but relevant to me. I have hit Snells and Vice and even some Titleists prototype balls. They are all good. But I play all over the US and often need a fresh sleeve in a distant city. As I’ve mentioned earlier it’s dam inconvenient to hunt for a Costco ball and for what? To save how much? I don’t lose balls as a rule so I rotate 3 balls over 18 holes. I will scuff a ball or nick one and even boink one off a cartpath once in while. But a dozen balls is good for a month for me and saving $20 while always a good thing is not worth it. Sorry.
      Last thing; I keep hearing Titleists pays the pros to play their balls. In reality would a tour pro risk winning a tournament or miss qualifying for the FedEx Cup or US Open to play an inferior golf ball? Titleist couldn’t pay these guys enough money. Yes they take it and they also wear all the goofy sponsor logo’s on their clothes because they are paid to. But these guys are out there to finish high and do try to win. I doubt they would play a ball they didn’t like or doesn’t perform.

      Reply

      Golfnutter

      7 years ago

      I compare ProVs to a Mercedes in terms of quality that sets the standard. And pros can afford to play these at any cost. However, not every tournament is won with Titleist balls.
      Lexus and Acuras make pretty good cars too!

      Reply

      Eljay

      7 years ago

      Titleist just gave a marketing gift to Costco they never could, or would have paid for themselves.

      We golf blog readers know all about the K-Sig, but there are plenty of golfers who will be hearing for the 1st time about the $15 ball that has been favorably compared to the “#1 ball in golf”.

      Banned in Boston is the kind of publicity you get for free that you couldn’t buy at any price.

      Reply

      Chuck Dietz

      7 years ago

      Absolutely right……Bully tactics by the “industry leader”

      And they are probably “smarting” with Tiger switching to Bridgestone, and making ball commercials. And Phil Mickelson using a Callaway ball other than their top dollar ball.

      This will be interesting to see how it plays out.
      Your thoughts? Waiting to buy the new Costco balls and try them out.

      Reply

      Mike

      7 years ago

      Why has there been no follow-up on the lawsuit with the smaller companies from a few years ago? Did Titleist lose?

      Reply

      Michael

      7 years ago

      Mike – my guess is that those who are still around (e.g., Snell) took a license to TItleist’s patent portfolio (they pay a royalty on every ball they sell). The companies that are no longer around probably closed over the litigation threat (paying a couple million to defend a patent suit, without financial backing, is too much for small/new companies to take on).

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Snell wasn’t named in the “dimplegate” suit. All of the companies named had their balls produced by Foremost in Taiwan. 3UP and Monsta and Lightning folded up shop rather than fight. Not sure what happened from a legal standpoint, but Vice, KickX, and Dixon are still around and selling balls.

      Chuck

      7 years ago

      The tagline of this article is hilarious: “Costco won’t be bullied”. Yeah, the $73.33 billion company won’t be bullied by the $1.34 billion company. Ironic how this site makes Titleist out to be the bad guy when they’re trying to make high quality golf ball and Costco is trying to shove licensed product down our throats. Can’t wait for that $5,000 Costco car that performs ‘just like’ a Mercedes. Can’t we all agree that if TaylorMade brought back the Inergel ball back this would all be a moot point?

      Reply

      Marty

      7 years ago

      You mean the high quality ball Titleist stole from Callaway ?
      Titleist had no problem stealing or infringing when it benefitted them.

      Reply

      Neil

      7 years ago

      Callaway and Bridgestone. Remember the price hikes on the ProV1/V1x when the lawsuits were lost or settled. We are the people paying for whatever royalties that are being paid out.

      Chuck

      7 years ago

      If I’m reading between the lines correctly here Marty, and I think I am, you want that Inergel ball back just as much as I do.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      That speaks to Titleist’s history of going after smaller brands using exactly the types of threats and lawsuits it/s now facing. It’s a turnabout is fair play situation.

      Call this observational, take it for what it’s worth, and do your own research if you’re so inclined, but if you look at recent history, Titleist has chosen its legal targets not on the merits of patents, but rather the retail price point. Consider the so-called dimplegate lawsuit targeting the direct to consumer brands. An industry source has told me that are other companies (brands whose products are on store shelves all over the country) who use the same dimple pattern targeted in the suit. The difference is that the brands targeted sold their product at a price below industry standards, while the brands it ignored weren’t attempting to disrupt the industry’s pricing model.

      It’s fair to question the legitimacy of the K-Sig and its potential to totally disrupt the market, but when an industry leader goes after companies offering the consumer a better deal…you could make a case that it’s the consumer that’s being bullied by extension.

      Reply

      Bob DeLellis

      7 years ago

      The reality is, Costco already HAS disrupted the market by showing that the markup on golf balls approaches that of jewelry. In the past, Acushnet has been the company with deep pockets and bullied smaller companies out of business. I suspect that Costco’s feeling is that Acushnet’s claim of false advertising goes WAY beyond just this golf ball and that it impugns their integrity and potentially tarnishes the reputation of their entire Kirkland brand. I’m sure Costco has deep enough pockets to take the fight to Acushnet. My feeling it that it exposes Acushnet as a company that could charge less for their premium golf ball, which would help a struggling industry that is too expensive for many to play. A company has every right to make a profit, but I’m sure they could trim some fat in the business model and still find a way to be profitable without gouging golfers with their overpriced golf balls. Costco has already confirmed this and that damage can not be undone. Greed can come back to bite you, and consumers have a long memory. I used to have a bag full of Titleist clubs and I played with Pro V1’s. I won’t buy another Acushnet product.

      Madison

      7 years ago

      I work in a golf shop and the Pro V1 will continue to lose sales to colored balls.
      Srixon zstar yellow
      Chrome soft yellow
      Chrome soft truvis
      fairways & greens

      Reply

      Leigh Bresnahan

      7 years ago

      When will the K-Sig be hitting the UK?

      Reply

      Leigh Bresnahan

      7 years ago

      I think its about time these smaller companies started fighting back against the bigger companies. Hopefully in time this will drive down the price of equipment making it all more affordable. I would love some shiny new clubs but there is no way on earth I would be paying £1000+ for a set (plus my wife would castrate me) So for now I will stick with my 10 year old Adams Ebay specials!! ha ha

      Reply

      Rodney Medeiros Jr.

      7 years ago

      Also Costco’s customer service is great. I took the empty box back and told them that the ball didn’t float in the water, and the box didn’t say it either. So they gave my money back. Just so I could by more. That’s why there still in business.

      Reply

      Justin Garver

      7 years ago

      Honestly, the K Sig is not a threat to the Pro V1 because the Pro V1 guys are obviously sold on it, or they’d already be hitting Bridestone 330s. The 330-series is already a significantly less expensive, high performance ball, but Pro V1s are still everywhere. However, the weekend golfer that might be buying Titleist NXT and similar balls are probably going to choose the K Sig over their normal mid-range ball choice.

      Reply

      David Cavarretta

      7 years ago

      Costco isn’t suing titleist… Costco is asking a judge to formally declare that they did not violate any of Titleist’s patents that they have been alleged of doing. If the court sides with Costco, then they will have gained an affirmative defense should Titleist pursue legal action against Costco. It’s a defensive chess move in retail litigation.

      Reply

      Michael

      7 years ago

      David – technically, Costco is suing Titleist – its called a declaratory judgment action. Once Costco recieved the C&D letter from Titleist, they had a perceived threat that they would be sued (i.e., “injured”). Thus they have standing to sue Titleist to show that either a) Costco’s balls do not infringe any of the patents, or b) that even if Costco’s balls do infringe, the patents are themselves invalid and not enforceable. If successful, Costco will either get a judgement saying that they do not infringe the patents, or Titleist will lose their patents.

      Reply

      jfpga

      7 years ago

      Let this go thru the legal process. If i could get some good odds i would bet on Titleist.

      Reply

      MCoz

      7 years ago

      At the end of the day in a case like this the reality is “most money wins”. That’s the way it works as much as we all would like to believe in justice, the truth is the one willing to spend the most money will win.
      I don’t think Acushnet has a chance here. They are in essense “promoting” the Costco ball through expanded world wide publicity. Costco wouldn’t really advertise this product. Acushnet is essentially doing that for them.

      Reply

      Bill

      7 years ago

      I think several of you miss the point, like TA! A good ball for a substantially more affordable price is ideal for the vast majority of golfers. Pros play what they want (or paid to play) we have a choice also. I like Pro Vs, Taylormade etc and buy them on sale instead of full price or found/won. Call me stupid, cheap, whatever; keeping more of my money is important to me, unless someone wants to supply or pay me…..
      Remember most of us have a handicap, paying for Pro level equipment is a choice not mandatory. After all most of it can’t hit them well or consistently enough so play what you like.
      Basically advertising is the same, money spent to influence you what to buy…………to keep up with those you might want to copy.

      Reply

      Jacko

      7 years ago

      What’s so essential about the ProV for the amateur anyway? Likely 95% of the golfers commenting here, using a ball at half the price wouldn’t make an iota of difference to their scores. Me, I win two or three times as many (non-ProV) balls as I use, so my problem is recycling old stock. It’s also not an issue for the top golfers (scratch and better) as they will never use an unknown quantity for a ball. This whole business has given unwarranted publicity to Pro-V’s.

      Reply

      Alexander Swartz

      7 years ago

      Can’t wait to get some ksig forged blades!!

      Reply

      Dan

      7 years ago

      Life is too short to argue about which ball is better and which one isn’t. I can play a Pinnacle as well as a Pro V1 because I’m that good. :) Play the ball you like and get on with life. I’d rather play a round of golf than argue about a golf ball.

      Reply

      Jaw Nuthin Duczak

      7 years ago

      Good luck Acushnet…….you’re about to lose this one in a huge fashion

      Reply

      John J.

      7 years ago

      I wonder if Titleist would have sent the desist letter if Costco had priced the ball at $ 45? Probably not, because no one would have bought it even if it was as good or slightly better than Titleist. The point being that Costco just proved that you can create a ball that plays as well or better than the ProV1 or ProV1X for a lot less money. This just put a great big WTF when it comes to paying $ 50 for a dozen golf balls just because they have the T name on them.

      Reply

      Not So

      7 years ago

      Costco has not proven they can make a ball equal to or better than a Pro V1 for cheaper. They have proven they can get someone else to make a good ball from scraps that average golfers will accept because the price is appealing to their budget. There is nothing wrong with that. Just don’t confuse the facts. Titleist obviously has expenses Costco does not. Some include R&D and quality control. Others include extensive market tests and research. Still others include huge advertising and promotion of the product through PGA tour contracts and sponsorships. Some of those are very important to developing their product. Consumers are less willing to be agreeable to pay for those costs related to advertising. However, don’t ass/u/me the products are equal. Any reasonable person would look at the indicators and tell you one is built to be the best and the other is built to be affordable. A Mercedes and a Plymouth each have an engine, 4 wheels and will likely get you to your destination but that’s the only way in which they are equal. They are dramatically different.

      Reply

      2ndShot

      7 years ago

      How big is the check you cash from Acushnet each month?

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      That’s one interpretation.

      One could also argue that one model is built to pay professionals while still maintaining significant margins for the manufacturer, while for the other the margin is of little consequence because it’s intended to be a loss leader to help drive membership.

      Point is, the actual quality bears little correlation to the retail price. Balls for TaylorMade, Snell and others are produced in the same factory. The next person to bring any actual evidence of a quality issue will be the first.

      The industry experts we’ve spoken with estimate Titleist’s cost at between $12-$14 a dozen to produce its tour balls. It’s true, it takes years for R&D and optimization to get to that point, but it is also true that Titleist is not the only company to make these investments.

      At the most basic level, Titleist sells a ball that costs ballpark $14 to produce for $54 a dozen. We’ve been told Costco is selling the K-Sig at cost…a little fluff in either direction and Costco is selling a ball that costs $15 to produce for $15 (again, potentially breaking even to help drive membership sales). If Titleist takes a reasonable margin that Costco doesnt…now we’re up into the Snell range. $30 dozen give or take.

      Where does the remaining $25 go? Titleist and some others use a softer, more durable cover. That’s a very small part of the cost difference. A small amount also supports retail margins (which ain’t great). The rest…it pays tour pros, and club pros, etc.. It’s a marketing fee passed to the consumer, and has nothing to do with quality.

      NOT SO

      7 years ago

      Tony- So paying American workers with benefits doesn’t cost more? R&D and corresponding patents don’t cost more? If I’m not mistaken, Titleist employs nearly 100 people in some form of R&D related to golf balls. Your statement about the other $25 going to marketing is total speculation….. unless you have some real data. Otherwise, you are fake news as well.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      I love how quickly the definition of Fake News has shifted from something somebody made up to something I don’t want to hear.

      The $14 a dozen price includes the cost of related R&D. And again, this is an approximate number based on sourced estimates and with the understanding that much of what goes into making a ball has variable pricing associated with it.

      Keep in mind, the Costco ball is not a zero R&D endeavor. Somebody did the work, somebody paid for the machines. It wasn’t’ Costco directly, but Costco has to pay its share of it.

      And yes…I can say with confidence based on sourced information from industry insiders that the bulk of the difference goes to pay for tour pros, club pro, promotion, bonus checks, and other marketing efforts. Winning the ball count costs a lot of money, and what not everyone understands is that playing a product without a contract is not the same as playing a product without compensation.

      Also, keep in mind that Titleist makes more on the ball than any other company in golf. The cost difference also feeds higher margins and greater profits.

      The Titleist story is R&D and quality, but the reality is that much like the golf club, the USGA has capped the ball. As with the club, barring a material breakthrough innovation is limited at best. This is precisely why small companies can compete on performance. There’s enough R&D/patents that’s are now part of the public domain that basically anybody can make a good golf ball.

      Also worth mentioning, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, at one time Titleist paid bonuses to employees whose names are on approved patents (I’m not positive this is still the practice). That’s great for the R&D guys (and others whose names find their way on to patents), but there’s little correlation to any actual breakthroughs in performance. It creates patents, but it certainly hasn’t yielded vastly superior product.

      NOT SO

      7 years ago

      Tony – Do you know the extra $25 goes to marketing or did you make it up? As you said, if you made it up…. it is fake news.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Let me be absolutely clear about something. We don’t make things up. Occasionally, we make mistakes, and we own up to those. But we have real sources, we get real information from insiders, and if I don’t know something, I’ll be the first to say I don’t know – often I offer to try and find out.

      So as I told you, I’ve been told by insiders (guys with solid track records of providing accurate information) that the difference in ball cost comes down to marketing and higher manufacturer margins. I’d also wager those higher costs helped cover the $7.5 million bonus paid to Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein last year.

      In the interest of completeness, marketing is a broad term that includes sponsorships at all levels, advertising, and probably (I’m not certain about this part) growth initiatives (juniors, etc.)) but the larger point is that the cost difference doesn’t go towards making a better golf ball. It’s money that goes to supporting sales of the ball.

      Marketing is the double-edged sword. Companies spend on tour to raise awareness, that awareness generates sales. It’s why marketing is such a huge part of every company’s budget.

      I’d be curious to hear what percentage of Titleist’s annual budget you believe is devoted to R&D. Whatever your guess, I’m all but certain I’ll take the under.

      NOT SO

      7 years ago

      From the Titleist website, “The Titleist Golf Ball R&D team, driven by a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, is made up of over 80 chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers and technicians, as well as PGA Professionals and turf management specialists. Due to their work, Titleist owns the industry’s largest portfolio of golf ball intellectual property with more than 1,000 patents. Since 2010, Titleist has been awarded nearly 50 percent of all golf ball patents issued in the United States.”

      I find it funny that so many seem to think it is easy to make such a great ball. It happens as a result of continued improvement in striving for perfection. Nike is a true marketing machine and they could never make a dent in the ball market. If it were all marketing and marketing dollars Nike would be #1. I don’t doubt Wally gets a nice bonus but based on the number of balls sold, his bonus might be like the guy at Nassau getting a Christmas turkey (partially kidding). I have seen so many angles taken in this thread it is hard to cover them all but the bottom line is this:

      Titleist is the most played premium golf ball in the world
      Titleist has a ridiculous amount of R&D and patents
      Titleist makes their ball in America & pays a premium to do so.
      Titleist quality control and tolerances are the tightest in golf
      Titleis markets to make people aware of the best ball in golf
      Costco is not any of that. Scrap materials from other companies leftovers… made overseas by cheap labor….. fewer patents and probably infringing on Titleist patents (total speculation) with far less quality control.

      The cost differences are significant. The quality and consistency differences are significant. People don’t like paying $50 for the best so they complain about Titleist being a bully. They are hoping Titleist will be “forced” to lower prices because “no ball is worth $50”. I will wait for the legal battle. I am confident Titleist will win when robotic testing concludes they are not the same.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Actually, it is relatively easy to make a high performing ball now. Open your mind man…Snell, Vice, Costo all making really good balls that hold their own against Titleist, Callaway, and TaylorMade. There haven’t been any truly groundbreaking advances since the switch to solid core.

      Do you seriously question Dean Snell’s ability to make a high-performance golf ball given his documented success in doing just that while at Titleist and TaylorMade?

      As I said, much on the info is in the public domain, plus Titleist, by a long shot, isn’t the only one doing real R&D in the golf ball space. So as far as your bottom line goes:

      Titleist is the most played premium golf ball in the world [Indisputably TRUE – Although it’s also indisputably true that at the professional level Titleist pays mightily for that privilege, and the consumer pays for it at retail]

      Titleist has a ridiculous amount of R&D and patents [Ridiculous would be an overstatement as least on any comparative basis. Titleist’s R&D budget is a lower percentage of its total budget than some of its competitors. Name any major golf company and you’ll have identified a company with significant volume of intellectual property.]

      Titleist makes their ball in America & pays a premium to do so. [True and False – Yes, Titleist makes their balls in the USA (as do Callaway and Bridgestone), but by nearly all accounts it also has the lowest production costs in the industry. Dollar for dollar, the K-Sig costs more to produce. The retail price difference is in the margins and the marketing costs.]

      -Not to get too far off track, there’s this perception that Asian labor is dirt cheap. That’s not the case anymore, and it’s a good bit of the reason why the costs of clubs is steadily rising. It’s partially why you’re seeing assembly shift to Mexico. Part of the reason why so much golf manufacturing is done in Asia is because they have facilities and manufacturing expertise that no longer exists in this country. To call into question the quality of the K-Sig on the basis that’s it’s produced by asian labor is to question the quality of TaylorMade, Srixon, Wilson, Volvik, Snell, Vice, and some Callaway balls…among many, many others.

      Titleist quality control and tolerances are the tightest in golf [This is what Titleist says. Other manufacturers would dispute that their QC is any way inferior to Titleist. In this case you appear to be accepting the manufacturer’s word without any additional supporting information. Can you provide any proof that Titleist balls are of superior quality to anybody else’s? If you can, can you also provide that any additional QC checks lead to a demonstrably better ball? My point is that while Titleist inarguably makes a high-quality golf ball, the same is true for the rest of the industry.]

      Titleist markets to make people aware of the best ball in golf [TRUE – and consumers pay more because of that heightened awareness (particularly the tour component) …again, circle of life. I don’t happen to believe consumers should pay a premium for the privilge of being made aware of something.]

      Costco is not any of that. Scrap materials from other companies leftovers… made overseas by cheap labor….. fewer patents and probably infringing on Titleist patents (total speculation) with far less quality control. [Semantics – Scrap/overruns are both means of describing unfinished parts. Overrun and quality are not mutually exclusive. You can have high-quality overruns, especially when those overruns are produced to an existing (high) quality standard. Regarding IP, that’s speculation on all of our parts, but it’s worth noting that for all of Titleist’s supposed mastery of the ball craft, they’ve been on the losing end of its fair share of IP disputes.]

      It’s clear you have a particular affinity for Titleist (likely a staff deal too), and that’s fine, but would you be willing to share how much you pay for your Pro V1s?

      Titleist makes an excellent golf ball, but so do many other companies. To say that Titleist is the best because of tour counts or marketing, or even history is a stretch. The best players in the world have won majors with every brand of ball on the market today. The current #1 is dominating with a TaylorMade ball.

      Your right, dollar for dollar, the cost difference are significant – Titleist spends LESS than its competitors to produce a golf ball. It seems you ignored this portion of my previous post because of the inconvenience. Dozen for dozen, I’m told Titleist has the lowest production costs in the industry.

      As far as what will happen on the legal side. I’ve read through a good bit of the documentation from the dimplegate stuff. Titleist sure made it difficult for the defendants to get full access to its supporting data, apparently contradictory data, and the facilities necessary to recreate the test environment. While all’s fair in love and war (court), what they didn’t do was prove a patent violation actually took place. It appears they dragged the process out long enough that it bled the other guys dry. It’s unlikely it will happen with Costco.

      My best guess this quietly goes away, Costco keeps selling balls, and we never hear another word about it.

      As for robot testing – it’s not relevant for the IP portion, but it might come into play under the false advertising scenario. I suspect Titleist will try to avoid that however, as literally every ball guy in the industry not wearing a white blazer will tell you that the Pro V1 is one of, if not THE shortest tour ball in golf. I’ll be the first to concede that distance is far from everything in a golf ball, but if you’re making a performance argument, it’s a large part of the equation, and in that scenario, the Pro V1 falls short.

      NOT SO

      7 years ago

      I just saw the May 2017 Golf Digest with Jason Day on the cover. The issue has a nice article on golf balls. Despite all the good things that are said about every ball, I looked for differences. LOOK AT THE COVER ON THE PRO V1 & PRO V1X BALLS CUT IN HALF. IT IS UNIFORM. LOOK AT THE COVER OF THE COSTCO KIRKLAND BALL. IT IS THICK AT THE TOP AND VERY THIN AT THE BOTTOM. I say again…. QUALITY CONTROL. The Titleist goal has always been to make the most consistent and best ball in golf. It has been and continues to be.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Hey Lyle,

      We get it. You LOVE Titleist balls.

      Question – Are you on staff with Titleist? Thus far you’ve tip-toed around this, but I suspect you’re compensated by the particular dog you have in this fight?

      Beyond that, what you say you saw, may or may not be telling. Speaking as a guy who has cut open about 100 golf balls in the last month, I can tell you that the appearance of uneven layers (covers) is anything but uncommon. Not sure what Golf Digest uses to cut balls, but I can tell you that when you use a PVC cutter, it’s quite common to get what looks like a high side and low side (thicker on one side than the other) on the cover. It happens more often with firmer cover balls – it’s more prevalent in two-piece, but I’ve seen it quite a bit in 3 and 4 piece balls as well. More often than not, tracing the boundary between the cover and outer mantle with a fingernail makes the supposed problem disappear. In those cases, it’s a cut issue, not a ball issue.

      To be clear, I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m saying is there could be an explanation as I’ve seen similar across multiple manufacturers.

      QUICK UPDATE: After responding I grabbed a Pro V1 from a pile in my office and cut it open. This isn’t the newest model, but it’s a Pro V1, presumably put through the entirety of Titleist’s quality checks.

      Note that it *appears* that the cover is thicker on the portion of the cover shown in the top part of the photo than it is on the bottom. Also note this is a 3 piece ball and yet there is an apparent inconsistency with the color in the center portion of the core. A closer examination also shows that the discolored center portion is not perfectly centered.

      Should we take this to mean there is a QC problem with this ball, or should we say that there’s not much to be gleaned about actual quality from a photograph?

      NOT SO

      7 years ago

      The photo is truly huge and I can see a variation in cover thickness at that size. I still think the small photo in Golf Digest demonstrated a much more significant difference regardless of how the cutting may effect the appearance. On a similar note, do you remember the Wilson “True” golf ball? Wilson made a claim that they had a process that could accurately center the core of the golf ball and thereby keep their product from being off center as a result of their method of production. One part I thought was interesting about their testing was that, other than their ball, the Titleist Pro V1 showed the best consistency in core centering and consistency in not having a “heavy side”.

      Finally, you have asked me more than once about a “staff deal” and my “compensation” from Titleist so I will respond. I have worked at golf courses for many years. I have been provided balls by many companies and have purchased many dozens as well. I have asked for and received staff deals to play Ben Hogan, Maxfli, Wilson, Slazenger, Srixon, Taylor Made and Titleist golf balls. I have purchased Bridgestone, Callaway, Srixon, and Taylor Made golf balls. I recently purchased old Ben Hogan Balata, MacGregor Muirfield Balata, and Maxfli HT Balata as well as Tour Edition Zinthane cover balls just for kicks. I regularly test and try new golf balls. I was likely one of the first to buy and test the Kirkland. I even gave some of my sleeves away. Its a nice ball. The price point is spectacular. I have never been paid to play a particular ball and my choice is based on my preference based on the ball I perceive has the greatest benefit (usually greenside spin) and consistency. I think Titleist has the most consistent golf ball and the best all around premium ball. I would rank the Srixon Z-Star a close 2nd and possibly the Wilson FG Tour or Taylor Made Tour Preferred a somewhat distant 3rd. I have not tried the new Taylor Made ball and next on my list is to try the Honma TW-6 golf ball which recently won on the US Tour. I hope that helps to clarify my position. If you have any access to the Honma ball, I would love to be tester. Sincerely.

      NOT SO

      7 years ago

      I can actually say I think your last post was a much better and fairer description of the whole golf ball situation in its entirety. I still take exception with several points as follows:

      1. “Titleist’s R&D budget is a lower percentage of its total budget than some of its competitors”. (TRUE) and it is ALSO MUCH LARGER THAN THAT SPENT BY COMPETITORS. More is theoretically getting done.

      2. “by nearly all accounts it (Titleist) also has the lowest production costs in the industry”. (TRUE) and it incurs other costs in the development of better materials and technologies that also increase the ACTUAL cost of the ball.

      3. “there’s this perception that Asian labor is dirt cheap. That’s not the case anymore” (TRUE) but it is still cheaper when compared to US labor costs and is therefore just a portion of the reason Titleist balls cost more. That doesn’t necessarily equate to any additional benefit to the consumer but it is a valid reason why it costs more and it is a reason I consider in purchasing many products.

      4.”Other manufacturers would dispute that their QC is any way inferior to Titleist. In this case you appear to be accepting the manufacturer’s word without any additional supporting information. Can you provide any proof that Titleist balls are of superior quality to anybody else’s? If you can, can you also provide that any additional QC checks lead to a demonstrably better ball?” (Questionable) If the quality control checks never resulted in any defects being found, would they continue to spend money on this? If defects are being found, doesn’t that help find errors in production that need to be corrected so that the errors do not continue to produce a faulty product? The answer is yes and this adds to the cost of the ball.

      5. “Overrun and quality are not mutually exclusive” (TRUE) However, when your ball is based on some overrun material and possibly scrap or quality control rejected material, you are not producing a consistent, premium product that will ever be reliably available.

      6. “Dozen for dozen, I’m told Titleist has the lowest production costs in the industry”. (TRUE) However, production cost is only a portion of the picture as I have already stated.

      7. “literally every ball guy in the industry not wearing a white blazer will tell you that the Pro V1 is one of, if not THE shortest tour ball in golf.” (DOUBTFUL AT BEST). I would really like to see some robotic testing to support this claim from “every ball guy”. I prefer robotic testing in order to get apples to apples testing. I know you do not. Therefore I find it particularly interesting that I have literally NEVER heard a single player in the 15-17 year history of PRO V1 say the ball is short. Never. Never. Never. That speaks volumes.

      In short, I think the discussion has been adequately discussed. A much more complete summary has been put out for the masses to read. I think largely it hinges on people simply wanting a nice affordable alternative and I can understand that. I just don’t believe they are virtually the same.

      Thanks for the debate.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      A polite debate. A rarity in today’s world, so thanks for that.

      I think we’ve both put out plenty for the readers to consider, but I did want to add a few quick notes on your last reply.

      Regarding dollars spent. I can state with a high degree of confidence that nobody in the industry spends more (both on percentage and actual dollars) than Callaway. So when you say that Titleist’s R&D budget is much larger than its competitors, you’re making a factually inaccurate statement. It is likely that Titleist spends a greater percentage of its R&D budget on the ball, but I think most everyone would be shocked by how minimal the percentage spent on R&D actually is. It’s not double-digits..it’s not close to double-digits.

      Again, you speculate without any evidence whatsoever that Titleist is using superior materials, but you present to actual evidence. Uou also say better performance, and yet there are countless people who say that a given ball (be it Kirkland, Callaway, TaylorMade, etc.) outperforms the Pro V1 and/or Pro V1x. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve found that the Pro V1x is the best ball for my game, but that has nothing to do with superior materials and its certainly not because Titleist iterated its patents again. It’s because the decision Titleist engineers made (effectively what’s called the spin curve or spin slope) gels with my game. For others the decisions made by Callaway or TaylorMade work better. For others, the K-Sig will outperform all of the above. It’s not that one ball is better or worse, much like drivers or irons, it’s because the design spec better fits the individual golfer. The rest…whether it’s Titleist or anybody else, is all about how it’s marketed.

      Regarding QC – everything you said is based on assumptions. Consider how much money the industry as a whole spends for the sole purpose of being able to make a claim. For example, TaylorMade spends big to maintain their claim as #1 driver in golf (based on tour usage), that claim does not play a role in a creating a demonstrably better product. The same could be true of Titleist QC…does the claim of more QC checks actually lead to a better ball, or is it basically a marketing expense? Do they do it for the purpose of claiming the highest QC standard in golf? I’m not saying that’s 100% what’s going on, but it’s clearly a tightly integrated piece of the marketing message.

      Regarding the overrun discussion – we’ve spent a significant amount of time looking into the origins of the Kirkland ball. There is absolutely ZERO evidence to suggest the K-Sig was made from poor quality or otherwise rejected material. Agian, ZERO. That’s a dubious accusation for sure.

      If you need me to track down the links for you, but both Vice and Srixon have published independent test reports (conducted at Golf Labs) that show their tour balls are appreciably longer than the Pro V1. I’m not positive Srixon specifically names the Pro V1 (might call it ‘Leading Ball A’ or something like that, but I assure you it’s in there, and it’s shorter). That’s what’s public off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are others. I’ve never heard anyone say a TaylorMade ball is short, or a Srixon ball is short either. Golfers find a ball that works well for them, and my experience is that once they have, they tend to ignore (or not notice) shortcomings. Besides, how many golfers do you know who have actually done side by side, hole by hole golf ball testing?

      Gary Sheppard

      7 years ago

      I can attest personally to being on the receiving end of an Acushnet letter saying our company was engaging in false advertising by stating our kangaroo leather golf glove was 3-5 times more effective on grip and durability than so-called leading brands. Our research proved we were right. I hope Costco gets the outcome they seek and re-stocks their golf balls so that all golfers can have a choice and can decide if a Pro V is worth paying three times more for. On Tour, players using the Pro V’s have to sign a three-way contract with Acushnet, meaning that if they play their ball, they also have to wear a FootJoy shoe and have to wear a FootJoy or Titleist branded glove, so don’t expect any Tour player using the Costco ball anytime soon.

      Reply

      Gary Rosenthal

      7 years ago

      Gary Sheppard, is the kangaroo golf glove you mention HERZL?
      If so, completely agree about their grip and durability. But I can no longer find a place to buy them. Can you help?

      Reply

      RYAN

      7 years ago

      So here we go again, people complaining about jobs in the US, well we might have to pay a little more to buy something that is “made in America”. I doubt Costco will manufacture the balls in the US. I have no ties to either, but we have to keep jobs in the US, it just sucks that a lawsuit might be involved. All else fails…. SUE! Not my method….

      Reply

      Matt W

      7 years ago

      Which balls ARE made in the US? Think the same facility making the k-sig are making others as well.

      Reply

      Kanoito

      7 years ago

      LOL @Ryan

      Reply

      Made in the USA

      7 years ago

      “For over 80 years, Titleist golf balls have been manufactured in the greater New Bedford, Massachusetts area.” People who want made in America need to put their money where their mouth is. K-Sig…. made in Asia with cheap labor, scrap materials and sold as “meeting or exceeding the quality standards of leading national brands”….. Hmmmmm.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Frankly, the Made in the USA argument is myopic at best.

      Yes, the Costco balls is made overseas (as our TaylorMade, Snell, and Srixon). It’s also true that a good bit of what Costco sells is produced in the USA.

      Yes, the Pro V1 is made in the USA. It’s also true that a good bit of what Acushnet (Titleist/Footjoy) sells is produced overseas.

      Both companies deal in more than golf balls. What’s the deciding metric for this argument?

      At the end of the day, Acushnet, a company for which Korean company FILA still retains a controlling majority of shares, employs ~3000 workers, while Costco, a US company, employs ~126,000.

      Hmmmmm indeed.

      Made in the USA

      7 years ago

      When discussing the golf ball, it really doesn’t matter what other items Costco makes in the US. The golf ball we are discussing is made in the far east with scrap materials by low paid laborers. The ball we are comparing it to is made in the USA by US workers. IF that is a factor in making a purchasing decision the answer is cut and dry. THEN, to say Costco is a US company is nice but so is Acushnet… it is just owned by a larger foreign conglomerate (which was not previously so.) They have been doing business in the same location for the better part of 100 years which is ore than Costco. Costco buys many cheap products from foreign companies capitalizing on low labor and import costs. This is legal. There is nothing wrong with that, but they are effectively putting american manufacturing companies out of business in order to help there own american company profit. I’m not sure I’m doing a great job of putting this into words, but if I purchase cheap plastic dolls from china and make a business out of re-selling them, am I really an “American Company”? Kinda but not in the truest sense.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      It does matter. Your argument is Titleist good; it makes balls in America, Costco bad; its balls are made overseas.

      By that measure, Titleist is also bad because its clubs are made overseas by foreign companies. Using your argument, is Titleist really an American company if its clubs are made in China? Plastic dolls, golf clubs…doesn’t matter, not made in America is not made in America. My point is we shouldn’t ignore the totality of the business just because we’re talking about the golf ball.

      In an America first argument, how can you discount that lots of Acushnet goods are made overseas and a substantial portion of Acushnet profits are shipped overseas?

      Both companies sell American made products. Both companies sell foreign made products.

      mike

      7 years ago

      Do your homework not all Titleist balls are American made including v1’s and v1x’s.

      Jimmy Tester

      7 years ago

      Way to go Costco. Maybe now you will put the squeeze back on to make it affordable

      Reply

      Richad

      7 years ago

      ProV rushed to market 1 year early because “someone” won with a multi layer ball the Nike TA. Existing tour players were leveraged into trying ProV.
      Just like sheeple.
      Perhaps the sheeple are developing grey matter???

      Reply

      Mr. Top Flite

      7 years ago

      Hal Sutton and Mark O’Meara were just a couple of the players winning with a solid core, multi layered ball (The Strata) long before Nike ever hoped to make a golf ball.

      Reply

      Billy Walker

      7 years ago

      MyGolf Spy, just get them to call everybody hitting K-Sig’s into the courtroom. Job done.

      Reply

      Terry Wittek

      7 years ago

      Costco is proving that golf equipment prices are in fact over inflated

      Reply

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      Let’s think about all this for a moment. I’m all for innovation and giving the little his due. Titleist doesn’t need me as their spokesman but I will say they support one of the best engineering development staff in the business. I really question much of what is being said here. Do I dispute all of MGS tests? I don’t know until I play a KSig. I was just at Costco and didn’t see any. I was just also at Dicks and Golf Galaxy and will be traveling to Florida for a week of golf at some nice courses. Did I see Titleists and TM’s and other tour balls? Sure did and sure will. Not trying to be snobby but over the past few years I’ve hit some of the balls mentioned including Snell and I’m not impressed. I play plenty of golf and a doz Pro V’s last at a rate of 3 per 18 holes and unless I lose them those 3 balls are usually good to play another 18. If I plunked down $100 to play on a nice course I want a good dependable ball I am familiar with. The cost differential between 3 Pro V’s and 3 Snells or KSigs is what? So unless you lose a lot of balls I just don’t get it guys? And lastly I would ask this….Do you suppose Titleist has to respect USGA rules closer than the other guys? Will anyone play a KSig in a tour event or a USGA event?

      Reply

      Michael

      7 years ago

      Jerry – unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 4 months, you’d be aware that the KSigs have been off the “shelves” (I only ever saw them online) of Costco since November/December. Of course you didn’t see them at Costco.

      I was lucky enough to be handed a sleeve of KSigs during my last round, and played them side by side with my ProV1s, and I liked both balls. Until and unless you get to try out a KSig, your post doesn’t have much meaning or weight to it.

      Also, the cost difference between 3 ProVs and 3 KSigs is about $9. True, its not much in the long run of things, but I think what everyone was so excited about was that the KSig opened up the premium ball market to so many more golfers than the ProV1 was ever open to. Although you might get a sleeve of three balls to last an entire round, many players wont, and the difference between $15/doz vs. $50/doz becomes much more apparent when you step back and take a look at how disruptive this ball was to the market in general. This was a shake up that no major ball manufacturer ever considered would happen, and I think many of them took a huge sigh of relief when Costco sold out and haven’t, of yet, restocked.

      Also, I do not supposed that Titleist has to respect the USGA rules more than Costco. Costco’s new ball(s) showed up on the new testing sheets just like everyone other ball.

      And if Costco wants to sponsor someone on tour, I’m sure that player would happily play a KSig. I know a few people in my city championship right now that are playing a KSig.

      Reply

      Jim

      7 years ago

      Gerry, MGS tests show the KSig to be a good ball just like Snell. If it’s 1/3 the price of the ProV1 I think you have to be an idiot not to use them. If you are a pro and can tell the difference then fine, use the Pro V1’s. The Snell feels better to me than a Pro V1 and it’s a lot cheaper too. Pro V1’s are overpriced for sure and good it that someone at Costco has some game.

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      Michael-
      Well I have been under a rock for 4 months, Winter. I did play once in Texas in Dec but didn’t have time to run to Costco or 7-11 to look for balls so picked up a sleeve of Pro-V’s. again not to argue but anyone who needs more than 3 balls for 18 is playing on the wrong track for their skill set. And they are probably the guys that are slowing play for the rest of us. Wouldn’t any ball work for those guys? The point is if you can’t buy balls without waiting for UPS or the Costco supply semi and you lose them at an accelerated rate Target has a nylon bag of 30 balls for $19. Look in your own ball compartment. If you carry a ball salad in there why are you arguing with me? I take my game seriously and don’t want to switch balls every round let alone every hole. Until I “can” A/B the KSig I prefer to play a ball I can buy anywhere that is consistent and works for my game. I’m 70 and at my age breaking 80 is hard enough without screwing around with the least expensive but important piece of equipment.

      Jim

      7 years ago

      Gerry, ProV’s are good but they are not that important to have when I tee it up. Right now I like Snell. You can have your ProV’s and I’ll play Top Flights …. and without trying to be a smart ass I’ll play you for however much you want. I’m 69. Go Costco and KSig.

      Jim Basher

      7 years ago

      Jim- Jerry didn’t say anything about his game being better than anyone else’s. Said he struggles to break 80 which is still very solid at age 70. You seem to be extremely confident. Maybe you are really good. Maybe you just grade your papers high. Maybe you just like to troll. Either way, good luck finding a game… I can already tell you are a real peach to play with.

      Michael

      7 years ago

      Jerry – you complain about vitriol in one of your responses, but please keep in mind that your first post contained much vitriol as well (e.g., an aside that Costco somehow doesn’t have to respect the USGA rules as much as Titleist does).

      Your later argument really comes down to “to each their own,” which I’m all for. Look, I used to play, and still do play, Pro V1xs when I am able to find them on sale. I love the balls. And you’re correct that they are much easier to find than KSigs, and playing consistently does require consistent equipment – I’m in total agreement with you.

      What irked me about your post was the amount of scorn and pompousness that you conveyed, taking digs at a ball that you, admittedly, have never even tried, all the while trumpeting about ProVs and how a player who uses more than three balls in a round shouldn’t even really be engaging in this conversation.

      What I think you’re missing here is that the KSig, in addition to putting the fear of God into Titleist, opened up the premium ball market to those players who do use more than three balls in a round (which, I might add, I am not one of – I get a ball to last me an entire round or two, depending on how many scuffs my wedges put on the cover), something that was never done before. Even those playing off 20+ can see some benefit to their game by playing a premium ball.

      Remember that half of why Titleist is so successful is the amount of time and money they put into not only engineering, but marketing as well. They pay the top players in the world to be in advertisements (both TV and print media), and they make sure to quash any new player to the ball market quickly and efficiently.

      Your post comes off with a very anti-competitive slant. I hope that you’ll be open to trying out both of the new KSig balls when they come to market. You may like them, you may not, but at least then you could have an actual comparison.

      mike dempsey

      7 years ago

      3 balls in 18 holes. one pro v should last 2-3 rounds or more . 3 handicap here.

      Reply

      Billy T.

      7 years ago

      if we blind tested you between a ProV and a Snell you couldn’t possible tell the difference…LOL. You’re exactly the kind of suck…err, consumer Titleist mints money on.

      “Will anyone play a KSig in a tour event or a USGA event?”

      What difference does it make and who cares?

      Bet you’d have extended long odds a multiple major winner wouldn’t play a pink Volvik ball on the PGA Tour…you’d have lost.

      Reply

      Jerry

      7 years ago

      You guys have such vitriol in your posts! I’m giving honest responses and so now I’m an idiot!? Let me re-state my feelings. I “have” tested Snells. A friend bought a dozen and gave me 3. So I play them and didn’t any. They were “ok”. I didn’t notice any gains. I hit the balls to similar places on the course I play regularly. I hit them to similar places on the greens. I putted from similar distances and didn’t notice any gain or loss. Little nuances of difference but I didn’t like the “sound” and feel. My brother who lives in Tx just coincidentally also played them. He related without prompting similar feelings. Our games are a couple of strokes apart with me longer off the tees and him a club longer with irons. The friend who gave me his Snells plays with two other groups never reordered Snells again. He now plays Callaway Chrome something’s. this is as anecdotal as it gets but for what it is we all tried Snells and we all came back to our original ball. Again if KSigs are great balls I haven’t seen any out here where I play. I don’t see any Snells either. As for being an idiot on price….I can buy a dozen Titleist “Practice ” or X-Outs for $28 that are just as good as first tier Pro V’s. I can walk into any big box golf store and find what I need and buy them. If I need to I can buy a sleeve of full price Pro V’s at any pro shop before I tee off. And I rarely shop Costco not because I dislike the store but because it’s inconvenient to me. Also gotta pay $75 for a membership so factor that in. I don’t know why all you guys are up in arms? I’m not a Titleist fanboy. I play Pro V’s and strangely love their WeatherSoft glove. Mizuno irons and TM woods with an old Scotty Cameron Futura putter. If I find a ball that works better for me I’ll play it.

      Pinkie Power

      7 years ago

      The color is not the issue, its the construction. Bubba won’t have a problem seeing pink. Someone will find it for him. As for playing it…. that’s a lot different than winning a major with it. He has a nice contract. Now, if he can win with it, he will REALLY have something. If not, he will forever question his choice and the effect on his career.

      Michael

      7 years ago

      Jerry – I still don’t get you. Part of your first post argues that you wont see a KSig being played by a tour pro, and how you are okay spending the $$ to buy Titleist at a premium price, then you say you can find a box of X-Outs for a reduced price. Keep in mind you’ll never see an X-Out on tour because they are not allowed in competition where the List of Conforming Golf Balls or the One Ball Condition is in effect.

      WayneN

      7 years ago

      In my opinion, Titleist / Acushnet is the “elitist” of the golf ball world, a position they have earned. Unfortunately I believe this attitude has affected the manner in which they address any threat to their domain. I presume TA predicted that they could submit a letter a “… accusing Costco of infringing on 11 of its patents and engaging in false advertising based on the Kirkland Signature guarantee that such products meet or exceed the quality of leading national brands.” TA had probably expected Costco would succumb and cease their efforts to bring back the KS private label offering. Well I get a feeling that regardless if you’re a large behemoth like Costco or a simple Costco shopper…we don’t like being bullied…seems to be going around lately :) Anyway, it would be interesting to really gain an deeper understanding on the profit margin that TA enjoys and is it really in their best interest to dig their heels in…perhaps it might be best to take the high road and promote the merits of their product versus the merits of going after of others (i.e. Costco KS)…patent infringement and false advertising? By the way, I’ve played the KS ball and what I really like is the way it plays in my short game and around the green. Specifically, I’ve hit some thin shots going into the green and thought for sure it was going thru the green…but it checked up and held on. Just saying…

      Reply

      Waldo

      7 years ago

      Strange one this. Over in the U.K. Costco sells a 4 piece Callaway Hex pro. This is a premium ball, 4 piece urethane cover and in my humble opinion as good as a pro v. All for half the price. Strange that Titleist had no issues with this ball yet when the own brand k-sig pops up then all hell breaks loose! I don’t think us folks in the uk will ever see a k-sig to be fair. Not till this little tiff is settled. Hopefully they will keep stocking the hex pro!

      Reply

      Charles Willcock

      7 years ago

      Chances are people will not see the k-sig in the UK but they can purchase the Nassau Quattro. If you buy 480 or more you can have whatever you like printed on the cover during the manufacturing process. Allow 9-10 weeks for delivery.

      Reply

      Michael Conners

      7 years ago

      Interesting how this site always bashes Titleist and they’re one of the few brands who don’t send you free stuff. Maybe they don’t believe their ball needs any further validation because already 5 of the top 9 ranking players use it and almost half of the top 50 do. Thats a few more than costco has playing theirs. I wonder how many advertising dollars mgs has taken from costco.
      This article also says, The company further argues that “a reasonable consumer would not interpret the Kirkland Signature guarantee as intended to convey a statement of fact about any specific comparisons of quality between the KS ball and any specific manufacturer or ball, including Acushnet and its Pro V1 ball.”
      But thats pretty much what I interpret their guarantee as. Since I work in retail, I would consider myself a “reasonable consumer”. That’s just my personal opinion though.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      You do understand that a majority, if not all, of the players you mentioned play the Pro V1 because Titleist pays them to, right?

      That’s not to say that Titleist doesn’t make a great ball. It does, but part and parcel of its identity is being the #1 Ball in Golf. It pays mightily to maintain that position, and as a consequence, the consumer pays mightily to help support the tour staff. And so round and round it goes. Circle of life stuff.

      The reasonable consumer stuff…that’s Costco’s position. Take it for what it is. What I will say is that between the variability in golf ball performance (no one ball is best for everyone) and the subjectivity of it all (not everybody agrees that the Pro V1 is the best), I would think it would be difficult to successfully make a case for false advertising based on the Kirkland Signature guarantee alone.

      Regarding your other comments, personally, I’ve always been respectful of Titleist’s decision not to send us equipment for testing. At one time or another nearly every manufacturer has done the same, and for whatever it’s worth, Titleist has been extremely consistent. There’s no ambiguity or what have you done for me lately approach, so there’s nothing I take issue with on the club side. We’ve even offered to have conversations with their team about our testing programs, even if they don’t wish to participate.

      As for “free stuff”…it’s such a ridiculous statement. You clearly have no idea the time and effort that went into developing the testing program nor the time and effort it takes to complete each test. Nothing, my friend, is free. Everything comes with justifiable expectations of coverage in one form or another. Our difference is that we don’t guarantee positive coverage, and for some that’s where the issue lies.

      Regarding the ball, as the recipient of a letter which took issue with our coverage of the Snell ball, while at the same time taking a position that diminished (if not erased) Dean Snell’s contribution to the design of the original Pro V1, I can certainly see why an entity like Costco would push back if it feels it’s in the right to do so.

      Reply

      Doug

      7 years ago

      Plenty of Nike guys are not on contract at the moment and I don’t see any of them playing k-sig, snell, vice or other minority ball… I get that not all of them are playing titleist either but the point is they are all playing a mainstream ball and not being paid for it, or at least not until they ink a deal. So let’s all stop with the pros only play it because they are paid to… they want the best stuff for their game too.

      Also found it ironic to see a Tiger Bridgestone advertisement as I scrolled through this article that infact goes after pro v1… on a site that doesn’t accept money from mainstream brands..

      Paul Smith

      7 years ago

      Tony, you did rebut Michael Conner’s statement “I wonder how many advertising dollars mgs has taken from costco.” Having never seen a Costco ad on your site, can I assume it is none?

      Abuntn

      7 years ago

      Pretty sure MSG has something against Titleist I never seen any company bashed like Titleist on this website Actually I’ve never seen any other company even bashed at all

      Ellis

      7 years ago

      You’re absolutely correct Michael. The top players do play the Pro V-1 and 1x because they are paid to play it. When one looks at what Titleist pays annually to protect their brand, it’s no wonder that Pro V-1’s sell in the $50/dozen range. In my opinion, there are several balls for the mid handicap players that are just as good with a lower price point. I worked in golf retail and used to have fun with consumers who tried to convince me that Pro V-1 is the ONLY ball for serious golfers.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Paul Smith – Sorry, just saw your question from a few weeks ago today. No, we have no arrangement (advertising or otherwise) with Costco. It is my understanding that Costco has no marketing budget, and does not do any sort of advertising anywhere. Doubters should google it. Just like everyone else reading this, we paid full retail price for every K-Sig ball we tested.

      Reply

      TJG

      7 years ago

      Acushnet (Titleist) invented the round white ball with dimples right?

      Reply

      Inventor

      7 years ago

      Not invented… virtually perfected.

      Reply

      Garret Stasi

      7 years ago

      Lmao and this sitting at the bottom * 44 percent straighter than prov1*. Watch out Bridgestone lol acushnet might sue you

      Reply

      Doug

      7 years ago

      Yeah, and mgs let them post it in this thread for free. I know because the site says no advertising money from a mainstream brand….

      Reply

      IBO

      7 years ago

      That’s Facebook ad platform, not MGS’.

      Jon

      7 years ago

      As a litigation PR specialist, I’d say to Acushnet that the upside of winning a case like this is really not worth the pursuit of the case. Win or lose: this will damage Titleist as a brand.

      To sue a competitor with a very different product, serving a different market, which is likely to have only a very limited impact on your sales, if any, makes no sense at all. Titleist should have risen above this and focussed on promoting the new ProV1 in the way they normally do. The only beneficiaries of this reputation mismanagement strategy will be the lawyers.

      Reply

      Ellis

      7 years ago

      Jon: Interesting comment. Has anyone researched the history of lawsuits involving Titleist and Bridgestone ? If my memory serves me correctly, there was a huge settlement in favor of Bridgestone over patent infringement. It’s not the first time Titleist has been sued over ball patents.

      Reply

      Billy T.

      7 years ago

      Good post Jon.

      Reply

      BigD

      7 years ago

      Jon. You’re right. Costco’ introduction of the KIRKLAND ball has frightened Titleist at an existential level. I’ve experienced that kind of fear in business and it’s terrifying. But unleashing a lawyer with baby teeth flashing will only assure the certainty that damage will be done. Not one golfer will stay loyal to Titleist for that reason – rather, Titleist has just made it a THING.

      Titleist has built a brand perception of quality. Everyone believes you have to pay more for quality. They should have stayed on the high road and hammered that message. With this idiot move, they’ve just educated their customers into checking it out for themselves, and hastened a huge loss of market share… real smart you guys

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Let me ask you this MyGolf Spy….if Costco hasn’t implied that this ball is a $15 ProV, then why have virtually every single commenter compared this ball only and directly to ProV? Why did MyGolf Spy compare this ball only and directly to ProV? I haven’t seen anyone compare this ball to any other premium ball. Comment threads on every major golf site are the same. If Titleist wants to prove that point, this comment thread and the ones on every other site will do that pretty easily.

      Reply

      Branden Lynch

      7 years ago

      Go on YouTube and search for comparisons of that KSig to other premium balls. If I recall correctly there are a number of independent reviewers who have done videos comparing them to other premium balls. That said, since the ProV is THE ball to compare everything else to, it is the benchmark that everyone seems to use and I think that is justified.

      Reply

      Branden Lynch

      7 years ago

      Point being, if you actually spend 2 minutes looking it up you’ll find that the ProV isn’t the only ball being compared to the Kirkland.

      Reply

      David Moore

      7 years ago

      Do you work for acuchnet Chris ? Because you seemed to comment on everyones post on this topic. If titleist didn’t approach every player on tour and offer them a contract to play their ball then they would never have the #1 ball in golf title. Any new ball is always going to be compared to the proV because of that title. It’s 2017 now and unfortunately the proV isn’t the best performing ball anymore and I’m not talking about just the Kirkland ball

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      No I don’t. But I was a club professional for 10 years and worked for Nike Golf for another 10 years as a territory manager. People have no clue what manufacturers spend on supporting club level programs, club pros, mini tours, players, promoting the game, advertising, junior programs, the young assistants that make no money but are “sponsored” by Titleist…a junior program in Sheboygan Wisconsin where every kid got a free Titleist hat…what the hell has Costco ever done for golf? Have you ever won a Costco gift certificate at a mens night? Ever seen a prize at a corporate event contributed by your local Costco? Ever seen Costco sponsor a junior event? Ever seen a tour pro sponsored by Costco? Ever seen Costco spend money on a TV commercial promoting golf? Ever wondered where Costco spends all their profits? Do you know who Moe Norman is? Do you know what Titleist did for him? If you don’t care about who is actually supporting the game of golf and it’s growth, then go ahead and but your golf balls at Costco….if you do, then consider the above.
      What’s your background? Do you work for Costco?

      Reply

      Alexander Swartz

      7 years ago

      Coscto hasn’t, the reviewers chose prov1 because that is the standard for a premium golf ball. I play Bridgestone b330s btw, didn’t like the k sig, don’t really love prov1. And honestly I wouldn’t have tried Bridgestone if I didn’t see tiger use it ?

      Reply

      David Moore

      7 years ago

      When did I say Costco ever did anything for golf? Where did I even mention Costco ?
      I didn’t ask for your C.V either. Your post refers to them comparing their ball directly to the proV and I’m telling you why they are. #1 ball in golf

      Reply

      Geoff Morrison

      7 years ago

      Where did Costco compare it to a ProV? If MGS or anyone else compares it that’s not Costco’s problem.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Geoff, if you’re not up to speed enough on the details of the letter and the subsequent lawsuit, than you should be.
      Acushnet is a big litigious company and I’m most confident that they know the laws of implication more than you and I…and that is not meant to be any personal sleight against you or myself.
      If you’re taking Costco’s side, that’s up to you. Ask your good buddy Scotty Cameron what he thinks about it.

      Reply

      James Feng

      7 years ago

      What’s ironic is that Auchnet stole the original prov1 as their own.

      Reply

      MyGolf Spy

      7 years ago

      First, the key point in the litigation is whether or not Costco ever compared the K-Sig to the Pro V1. It would be on Titleist to prove that Costco did, and we know of no case where that has happened. MyGolfSpy and others have compared the K-Sig to the Pro V1 independently from anything Costco has done. That wouldn’t be covered by the suit as media and individuals are free to make any comparisons they choose. To answer your other question, we compared against the Pro V1 because it is the market leader. In that respect it’s the baseline, the ball by which others should be judged. But again, that was our choice and isn’t relevant to the case. To reiterate, COSTCO has never compared the KSIG to the ProV1 or any other specific golf ball, for that matter. -TC

      Reply

      Ron Ladrido

      7 years ago

      If you are so sure about Titleist then why haven’t they sued the actual Korean golf ball company that Costco got the balls from? Nassau Golf has the exact same ball as the K-Sig on their website. The K-Sig balls were overruns of Nassau 4 piece balls. If Titleist thinks Costco infringed on their patents, then explain to me why they haven’t sued Nassau Golf?

      Reply

      Panda Slap-Face

      7 years ago

      The argument this guy brought up is obviously personal, which doesn’t merit anything in the litigation. Costco didn’t have to say anything because in the world of web pages there are an astronomical amount of reviewers for EVERYTHING. Something of interest comes out, it’s 2017, it’s going to be reviewed and guess what, K-Sigs for $15 shockingly performed well. What happens when something performs well? Test it against the standard, which is the Pro v. Go to Golfwrx, YouTube, etc. Word of mouth for a $15 “outperforming pro v” ball went across like wildfire. I didn’t see this on Costco’s website, it was on all the golf enthusiast web pages who review EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF NEW EQUIPMENT. I see your point of what Titleist does for the game buuuuuuuuuuuut, it’s 2017 and if players find a ball that’ll cut their cost by more than 50%, it’s going to happen. Look at the golf stores as a whole, your a former professional, you’ve seen prices sky rocket and players outsourcing for products at a discounted rate. eBay, classifieds, used equipment, to play the game in this low point of golf, for some people who want to play, cutting back on things is a must. For others, it’s just shear performance, and price (for Self proclaimed capitalist). So back to MGS’s point, did Costco compare anything? They didn’t have to. Your point is personal, which is totally fine, but it doesn’t suffice for Acushnets case.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      MyGolf Spy Thanks for your reply. Here is the statement, “A reasonable consumer would not interpret the Kirkland Signature guarantee as intended to convey a statement of fact about any specific comparisons of quality between the KS ball and any specific manufacturer or ball, including Acushnet and its Pro V1 ball.” Fine, YET, this discussion board and every other GOLF discussion board, compares this ball to ProV. Now, if you’re going to call “a reasonable consumer” to be an everyday Costco customer, shopping for basic sundries and groceries for the family that’s going to have to be your take. Acushnet, on the other hand, is actually in the golf business, and everyone else IN the golf business and knowledge of it, make the very logical connection. It’s like saying, “The most powerful man in the world has small hands and bad hair” and then when Trump’s people reply you say, “Whoa! I never said anything about Trump! Why would you think I was talking specifically about Trump?” You said it yourself, ProV is the benchmark, you tested this ball against ProV because Costco made it clear it was as good or better than the benchmark.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Panda Slap-Face My point is not personal. I never worked for Titleist, I was never “sponsored” by Titleist and I hardly ever played their ball. This is a $15 a dozen ball that has been very cleverly marketed to be comparable to the most popular ball on the market. This isn’t about MGS specifically…it’s about the golf industry and these discussion boards in general, it’s THOSE entities that will, do and have promoted this ball as an, “as good or better ProV”. Not an as good or better TP5. Not an as good or better B330 etc etc..so it is that promotion that Acushnet should be able to easily prove. Costco, (the bully here), is going to play the “dumb card”, “Oh gosh golly, we never meant to imply that! We’re just a big ol’ grocery store”, and that, in my humble opinion, isn’t fooling anyone, and shouldn’t be fooling anyone even remotely involved in the golf world either as a consumer, insider or casual player. Lastly, I do not understand why people take Costco’s side here and I made my case why above. You’ll say, “WE’VE BEEN OVERCHARGED ALL THESE YEARS!” Oh BS. There have always been $15 a dozen balls to be had. If it’s about price, then why hasn’t the consumer stopped buying premium balls? Why hasn’t the consumer made a point long before now that they will not stand for $50+ dozens? Why now? Question…I’m just curious, has MGS or other testing sites ever tested any OTHER $15 a dozen balls against a ProV? If they have, please let me know, but if they haven’t, hmmmm…I wonder why.

      Reply

      Mark

      7 years ago

      People act like a $50.00 ball is brand new.. uh, I sold professionals for $50, and Maxfli RM Balata for close to $50 in the 90’s. Costs of retail balls or equipment hasn’t skyrocketed like we are led to believe. in 99 you could buy a GBB driver for 399 and matching fairway woods for 399.99 and tungsten ti irons from Callaway for 1200 bucks. I have been in the industry 16 years and I can tell you from a retail perspective we don’t make tons of money on balls, if we get 25% margin we are doing well.

      And I love your point about what Titleist does for the game. We have a junior in our area that is really good, but comes from modest household, Titleist has done its best to give him top of the line equipment for basically nothing. I would imagine that the Tour is not 90% of the budget of the Pro V. People astound me. Does Titleist act like a bully, yes they do, margins are the worst for retailers and they dictate things that I believe are not in the best interest to our partnership with them. That is why their sales have dwindled compared to Chrome Soft and others. But to act like they have done nothing for the good of the game is crazy. But this sight is all about bashing the big guys. These companies work the cost of every rep, program, pro contract, materials, labor.. everything into the price of the ball. Maybe costco is greedy because they raised their price of the membership… They seem to have plenty of money, so why not just make it free? OH yeah, its about making money.. Or does every person on this message board want to work for free? If so, we will hire you at my golf shop after you have been properly educated on the industry.

      Michael Vogler

      7 years ago

      Titleist is the bully… Costco just called their bluff. Everyone except Costco compared it to the Pro V1 because 1) it is used by more PGA professionals than any other ball and 2) Titleist goes out of their way to and market it as “The number 1 ball in golf”. Titleist is just pissed because someone was able to produce a ball on par with them and charge less than half the price.

      Reply

      #1 Ball for a reason... EVERY SEASON.

      7 years ago

      Titleist doesn’t just market themselves as the #1 ball in golf. They are the #1 ball in golf by any measuring stick you choose to use.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      What if the measure I choose is off-course sales where inventory choices aren’t influenced by discounts related to exclusivity contracts?

      If you look at US off-course sales (which is compromised of retail locations, which unlike green grass/on-course, offer a full selection of choices), Titleist does not have the best selling ball.

      #1 Ball for a Reason..... Every Season!

      7 years ago

      Tony Covey- What is the single best selling ball at off course shops? Also, what is the single best selling ball at on course shops and what is the single best selling ball when all areas are included? Selection is only one reason people may play a particular ball. I have worked in a shop where they now carry Titleist exclusive. The reason was based solely on the fact that at the end of the season, there was a substantial amount of remaining inventory from other brands but Titleist was regularly sold out before Christmas. When the pro wanted to eliminate inventory, he had to place other balls on sale at less than cost while people came in and still requested Titleist. He had to order additional Titleist inventory at the end of the season when he was hoping to sell what he had in stock. He has since made a business decision to stop carrying other brands and only order them when requested. They are nearly never requested. Chrome Soft and Srixon Z Star were both requested on at least 2 occasions last year. Other than that…. very quiet.

      Mark

      7 years ago

      I can tell you at my retail location the best selling ball is the chrome soft for 2016, and so far this year its B330 models because of the buy 2 get 1 but taking that away it is chrome soft again. We sold 680 dozen chrome soft last yearand 612 Prov/vx balls. So by that measuring stick Chrome soft is #1

      Michael Vogler

      7 years ago

      it’s called greed

      Reply

      Michael Vogler

      7 years ago

      Neither… I need an obnoxious distance ball. Fluorescent Top Flite Bombs

      Reply

      Seth Hadley

      7 years ago

      It’s not Costcos fault the Titleist Pro V1 has been the leader in the golf ball market for 20 years..

      Every ball on the market is compared to The Pro V1- Costco is not responsible for what comes out of 3rd party’s mouths.. this is common sense in reality. ?

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Seth Hadley No, it’s not Costco’s fault for Titleist success, it may or may not be their fault, that they infringed on 11 patents and used verbiage in their ad that compares theri ball to ProV That’s what the courts or the two companies will settle. Take Costco’s side all you want that’s up to you…but what’s common sense is that you, me and anyone else who plays golf, could clearly see which ball Costco targeted through their ad. You’re simply saying what Costco is going to say. Yes, it’s “common sense” that the ad does not say Titleist ProV, that’s black and white, but as I said earlier, if I said one of the most powerful men in the world who has small hands and bad hair played at a private golf course where members wear green coats…you would know exactly who and where I am speaking about. Point being, very clear assumptions can be made without black and white details.

      Reply

      MIchael

      7 years ago

      Chris – before you continue to imply and suggest that Costco directly compared the KSig to a ProV1, please find a link where COSTCO did so. Actually, find me an actual ad that Costco published (BTW – pretty sure that Costco doesn’t publish ads).

      As far as I can tell, Costco did not sponsor or suggest any independent reviews of the KSig against the ProV1 or any other premium ball (I have seen reviews of the KSig against ProV1, Chrome Soft, Bridgestone, TaylorMade, and Nikes).

      Keep in mind that the actual wording of the Kirkland marketing statement ends with “brands” not “brand”. What is more, based upon the testing, the KSig does meet or exceed other brands, so its not really false advertising….

      Eric Plourde

      7 years ago

      How is Costco responsible for comparisons made by others????

      Reply

      Travis Faudree

      7 years ago

      This is the only argument that needs to be made in a hearing. The judge would LOL and award Costco a bunch of money.

      Reply

      Connor Miele

      7 years ago

      Hopefully this Costco lawsuit “turns the tide”, if you will. The ball industry could definitely use a change.

      Reply

      Mike Mueller

      7 years ago

      Sad part is, there isn’t much margin for a dozen ProV’s at store level. Maybe $5 give or take. All the margin is going directly to Titleist. Used to run a small golf store and the only real reason we carried them was to get people in the door. Titleist is terrible.

      Reply

      Connor Miele

      7 years ago

      I’ve played with others in college events who gamed Snell balls and they were awesome… Would be curious to see what they cost as I have no idea.

      Reply

      Vince

      7 years ago

      Connor – Snell’s premium ball, called My Tour Ball, is $31.99 per dozen – $157.99 for a six-dozen pack.

      Reply

      Mattie 5

      7 years ago

      See ya in Court!

      Reply

      TopPakRat

      7 years ago

      This is a total publicity no win situation for Titleist. Who ever decided to pursue this legal action has put the entire Titleist golf ball reputation on the line. If Costco prevails (which I think they will) how in the world will you ever be able to again justify a $50.00 a dozen Titleist golf ball when a $12.99 a dozen Costco ball performs just as well if not better? Just ask My Golf Spy.

      The management at Titleist who gave this scenario the green light better have their resume ready. They did not look at the most important aspect of protecting a BRAND. It’s called CAUSE AND EFFECT. If they do not prevail they will have destroyed the Titleist name in golf balls.

      I play the Costco golf ball. I find it just as good if not better than the Pro V1X I used to play. If Titleist does prevail I will tell you this I will never play a Titleist ball again.

      Like most of your readers I hope Costco KICKS THEIR ASS!

      Reply

      Joseph R Dreitler

      7 years ago

      I have no idea whether Acushnet’s patents are good or whether the Costco ball infringes them. That is why they have trials. It certainly would not be the first time a golf ball company got nailed for patent infringement if they are infringing. If memory serves me, Acushnet had problems with Spalding many years ago and paid more than a few dollars in damages. Companies spend billions of dollars on R&D for their products to create a better product, get more market share and protect their intellectual property. If anyone can simply knock off anyone else’s patented product, what incentive is there for anyone to develop a better product, medicine, golf ball, iPhone, etc? None. That’s what capitalism is all about. Everyone would still be playing tiny MacGregor forged blades as the latest and greatest if Karsten Solheim didn’t get patents to protect Ping irons.

      Reply

      TopPakRat

      7 years ago

      A great point about PING. How many lawsuits could PING have won with just the ANSER putter? Can you think of 1 major putter company that has not infringed in some way on their original design? Ping took the high road understanding that slight variances from the original design wasn’t worth the effort.

      Not Titleist. If the ball is round and white they will threaten to sue you.

      Vince

      7 years ago

      Maybe the ProV1 is better suited for your game?

      Reply

      Efren Lomboy

      7 years ago

      The only time I play with titleist balls when I find some in the bushes.they too expensive

      Reply

      2ndshot

      7 years ago

      I play Titleist, but have never bought one !! Some of the worst golfers lose a lot of Titleists. I contribute over a hundred Titleists to my local 1st Tee each year !!

      Reply

      Justin Blair

      7 years ago

      More than what Bridgestone (sells for ~$15 less/doz), Nike (when they were making gear, with balls about the same price as Bridgestone’s), Snell’s, Vice’s… People are paying for the Titleist name.

      Reply

      David Chidester

      7 years ago

      Not sure what golf balls they will be selling; the prior distributor already told Costco they will not sell them the same 4 piece Taylor Made over run balls they sold them last time. Who knows what ball you will actually be getting…

      Reply

      Will Jones

      7 years ago

      Do you guys remember when the PGA superstore got in a pissing match with Titleist over a pricing issue and they pulled all of their product from the PGA Superstore?

      Reply

      John LeBeane

      7 years ago

      I just read this after I ordered 4 dozen ProV1s’

      Reply

      Devin M. Harris

      7 years ago

      Yup. Could force some more competitive pricing across the board.

      Bigger picture, it could help everyone. Lower the price and you’ll get more volume. You also create an opportunity to steal some share back from the re-salers.

      Reply

      Harold W

      7 years ago

      All the major company’s are bullies and always will be. Even in other fields of manufacturing. The first I ran into was 3M. I was going to present something to them but their statement was “we can’t sign any disclaimer, because how do we know if our R&D has not been working on that” then I ran into it with 3 golf companys said same thing. What a load of BS. Until they found that I had a patent on it from 1975. And now I have another.

      Reply

      Mike Aiken

      7 years ago

      Costco must have the better ball. you never find one in the woods but you’ll find plenty of Titleist

      Reply

      Vince

      7 years ago

      Good one!

      Reply

      2ndShot

      7 years ago

      Mike, I can’t seem to buy one to lose !!!

      Reply

      Geoff

      7 years ago

      This article falls about short of the actual facts and legal circumstances. The declaratory judgment claims by Costco is a strategic tool for the accused infringer (Costco) to get into the Court/forum of its choice. It also calls Titleist’s bluff. What will happen next is Titleist will counterclaim against Costco for patent infringement and false advertisement, thereby beginning the extremely long, arduous, and expensive process of federal court discovery and litigation.

      Reply

      Martini

      7 years ago

      Geoff – Your analysis is spot on, the “Costco sues…” is confusing the situation. My knowledge of the Costco ball is very limited. As I read it, they bought surplus balls from a Chinese or Korean manufacturer that services premium brands, slapped on a logo, and sold them dirt cheap. I get the false advertising claim – true or not – but the patent infringement seems odd. Could they end up in litigation involving a manufacturer that produces one of their own lines?

      Say the court denies the petition, it green lights a suit by Acushnet. Costco did nothing but purchase the balls, so they third party the manufacturer/seller. No chance in hell they ever enter an appearance, but as you said, discovery commences so it would shed some light as to contracts Costco and Titleist entered into with foreign manufacturers. It seems likely to make both companies look bad due to some version of the following, credit to earlier poster, Chuck, because I knew Costco was bigger, but would have guessed 10x, not 40x: the “little guy” Costco (73B market cap) reaps the benefits of R&D of others – TM? – without paying a dime, and possibly uses the balls as a loss leader. Were this model to take over the world, it would retard progress, and golf balls would be stuck in 2016. The “bully” Titleist (1.73B market cap) is paying nothing for the manufacture of its balls, and once the hard numbers for R&D are put on the table, their costs are still almost nothing relative to retail. Consumers are provided with the easy math regarding the cost to subsidize the tour staff.

      Both could lose customers. Guys feel sleazy buying price club balls. Premium ball guys feel screwed at $50 once they see the hard numbers. Cui bono?

      Reply

      WTS

      7 years ago

      “Kirkland Signature products “meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands”.
      Well Costco/Kirkland says that of everyone of their Kirkland products and I’ve never heard of anyone else wanting to sue them. All I can say is good luck to Acusnet, it won’t be good PR for them. If their balls are that good why worry about some unknown brand like Costco.

      Reply

      2ndShot

      7 years ago

      If Costco makes a Signature brand for a product I am seeking,
      I buy it. Have you tried their Kirkland wines ? And, there is never a question if you decide to bring it back. 100% customer oriented !

      Reply

      Kenny B

      7 years ago

      Don’t get me wrong. I like the Ksig ball, and I will continue to play it if the quality of their new ball is equivalent to last years ball. However, Costco is also a bully.

      Let’s take the photo business for example. Remember not that many years ago, there were one-hour photo labs everywhere. Where are they now? Mostly gone, and mostly because of Costco if there is a Costco in the neighborhood. Costco undercut them all, and ran them out of business. Their photo business is not marketed to make money; it is a loss leader. The photo business is a convenience to get people into their stores.

      When companies can’t compete, they reduce their prices, which is good for us consumers for awhile, but when those companies go out of business, there are fewer options available to us. I’m not suggesting that Acushnet will stop making golf balls, but other small companies could feel the bite, and availability could become limited.

      Reply

      Jordon

      7 years ago

      Or, more logically, the decline of the “One-Hour Photo” business was more directly the result of the boom in digital cameras and personal use digital photo printers. Also sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where people store and share photos without having to print them. It just got to the point where a specialty photo-printing store isn’t profitable on it’s own. Every Walgreens, CVS, or Rite-Aid has photo centers as do most Wal-Marts. Technology made photo stores unprofitable, not CostCo.

      Reply

      robin

      7 years ago

      All that came later

      Stephn Chn

      7 years ago

      Found a K-Sig and played it. It’s legit. Pro V prices are ridiculous.

      Reply

      tulsagolfer

      7 years ago

      This deal is almost comical, especially since you will NEVER see a Costco/Kirkland ball in a real players bag. What’s even more odd is that I’ve yet the read the real reason behind the Costco v. Titleist war (and it’s not about the quality of the Costco ball as you keep reading on this digest). Titleist refused to sell Costco the ProV1 line of balls. This angered Costco, so they quit selling the 2nd tier Titleist balls they had been selling for years. This was a big $$$ loss for Titleist. Costco also buys bootlegged ProV1’s and sells them in their stores at no profit just to piss Titleist off. – An eye for an eye often leads to blindness.

      Reply

      Chris

      7 years ago

      Can you provide your source for your “Titleist refused to sell them the Pro V1” claim? The story I heard from someone who sells wine to Costco (so this is certainly from a diff perspective) was that the two parties could not agree on a price for Pro V.

      Reply

      tulsagolfer

      7 years ago

      My source is from Titleist but that doesn’t bias the info. It doesn’t take a cia wiretapper to put it together. Costco always sold the 2nd tier Titleist balls – now they don’t. This was rumored to cost Titleist millions. Despite that CEO Wally Uhlein stuck to his guns not to sell premium product in non-golf outlets as it cheapens the brand. Titleist has also shut down numerous little retailers for finding ProV1’s sold to them that have been re-distributed to Costco. None of that is hard to figure out.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      This is one of the things we respect about Titleist. It understands the value and position of its brand, and for the most part, doesn’t do anything to compromise on that. Selling the Pro V1 in Costco would certainly go against SOP.

      That said, suggesting that Costco is going after Acushnet because of it doesn’t ring true to me. It’s not as is if Costco created the current situation. Acushnet was the instigator. It sent the threatening letter. The difference is that unlike most recipients of Acushnet’s certified mail, Costco has the means to push back.

      Mark

      7 years ago

      Yes, I remember this as well. That is why you saw the pink limited edition lettered Pro V1, they basically sold enough of these to make up for the loss of Titleist in the Costco. Costco basically told them give us Pro V or get out, and they left.

      Joepro

      7 years ago

      Tulsagolfer-Non Golf Outlet? You can buy Pro V’s at Target and Krogers (and I’ve seen them at Walmart) just name a few non golf outlets. Titleist doesn’t lend credibility to Costco, it’s the other way around. Golfers are a minute fraction of overall consumers, and the vast majority of golfers, at least the ones I’ve taught and played with, don’t care what brand name ball they play with. Costco is/was a gateway for Titleist, not the other way around. Simple business 101. I’m a low handicapper and I play the V, but for the masses that are a high single digit or more, the KS ball will be more performance than they will ever need. The V is a vanity ball for 99.5% of the people who buy it and Titleist knows it, and they’re about to draw way too much attention to it buy threatening Costco. Just my two cents.

      Reply

      David Luechauer

      7 years ago

      Sad – sad – SAD commentary on the mindset of typical consumer in USA. There is no conceivable way KSig or Costco can or did engage in the testing and development work that Titleist flowed. We have become a society that vales price over quality but then we turn around and act all mortified when the cheap generics / knockoffs don’t last or perform as well as the top brands. I say any golfer who wants to save a few $$&& and pretend his – her KSig balls are high quality PV’s ought to take up tennis or just stay at 19th hole.

      Reply

      Graham Riley

      7 years ago

      David it sounds very much like you are one of the privileged few who can actually pay for the ridiculous priced ProV’s by your pay to play attitude (Very Muirfield). By the way you are right Costco did not do any R&D or proving of anything but Nassau did (they supply the balls to Costco), so your argument falls a bit short on substance. At the price of KSig’s I can play 3.3 balls for every ProV1……… sounds like a good deal to me regardless of what the rich and famous think…… !!!

      Reply

      Robert

      7 years ago

      The fact that the case is styled a declaratory judgement won’t make it go any faster unless one of the parties can make the necessary demonstration to the Court for emergency relief; i.e., preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order. This could go on for years. Civil litigation is time consuming and expensive (involving various phases in advance of a trial, if any, e.g., pleadings, discovery (document requests, depositions, expert reports, expert depositions), motions to dismiss). Costco probably brought the suit in its back yard of Washington. That one reason to bring a DJ action rather than be sued. You can control the venue. It matters. Ask Mr. Trump.

      Reply

      Joe Howsley

      7 years ago

      Can you buy k sig balls now. I thought I read they were out in stores. I didn’t see them where I am at

      Reply

      D.C. Critch

      7 years ago

      I live by pro v but will be happy to give Costco a shot once I can get my hands on a few dozen balls:)

      Reply

      Richard C. Petryk

      7 years ago

      This will be good!

      Reply

      tulsagolfer

      7 years ago

      This whole thing is comical as we’ll never see the Costco ball in a real players bag. I am surprised that I’ve yet to read the real issue behind the Costco v. Titleist war – and it’s not the quality of the ball as mygolfspy keeps reporting. The reason is that Titleist wouldn’t sell Costco the ProV1 which steamed Costco. So in turn Costco stopped buying the 2nd tier Titleist ball they had been selling for years (a big hit to Titleist). An eye for an eye sometimes never ends.

      Reply

      Rob

      7 years ago

      Never say never. These pros sell out just like everyone else.

      Reply

      tulsagolfer

      7 years ago

      lol – Rob you are probably right. I can almost see the Costo logo on John Daley’s shirtsleeve (along with 7 others)!

      Billy T.

      7 years ago

      You need look no further than Bubba Watson and his pink Volivk golf ball as a perfect illustration of your point.

      Jimbo

      7 years ago

      Hot Dog!

      Reply

      Joseph R Dreitler

      7 years ago

      Funny, how all the comments are for Costco and against Acushnet. Have not seen anyone write that they are either a patent lawyer or an engineer skilled in the art of making golf balls. have studied the Acushnet patents, have examiner in great detail the Costco balls and can support their expert conclusion that the Costco ball does not infringe on the Acushnet patents. I have no dog in the fight, but I do know that Costco buys most of its hard goods from being manufactured outside the US, whereas Acushnet claims to make Titleist balls in US factories with American workers. So much for making America great again to the golf folks, I guess. Second, informal and non projectable and non scientific surveys will not be admissible as evidence. You can be sure that both companies will have experts who will conduct tests in accordance with the federal rules for expert evidence. Unless Acushnet counter claims (which they will for patent infringement) and seeks a preliminary injunction, this case will go on for a minimum of 2 years, most likely longer before it is decided

      Reply

      Frank Cruz

      7 years ago

      Exactly! I have a hard time siding with the Asian manufacturer who will invariably end up hurting Americans…. even if I have to pay more for balls. I hope that this fiasco will pressure Titlest to drop the prices a bit and I will stay with Titleist out of general principle.

      Reply

      Ian Splisgardt

      7 years ago

      What acushnet doesn’t realize is Costco is a bigger company with more revenue… Shouldnt have tried to bully the bigger kid

      Reply

      Ian Splisgardt

      7 years ago

      Costco didn’t infringe on any patents. All they said is their ball is as good as the nation’s best sellers and they have the data to back it up

      Reply

      Justin Hack

      7 years ago

      Acushnet is about to have their ass handed to them and frankly it’s about time!

      Reply

      jfpga

      7 years ago

      boggle, what do you think they can’t read financial statements?
      Asinine comment.

      Reply

      James Feng

      7 years ago

      They’re not protecting shit. Their simply trying to save some of their market share. Costco isn’t infringing anything. Get over it.

      Reply

      Kevin Unterreiner

      7 years ago

      More exposure and sales for the next wave of Costco ball. Love it. As a small business owner, love seeing big bully companies take it on the chin. Thank you MGS for sharing and helping expose the shady business practices of some of these companies. I am playing the Costco K-Sig and love it. Performs better than the ProV1x and at $1.25/ball a no brainer. I’m a 0.4 handicapper and going to be playing the K-Sig during my U.S. Open Qualifier attempt here in Minnesota.

      Reply

      Jason

      7 years ago

      As a small business owner, how could you not know that costco is the goliath here? I’m not taking sides but you’re seriously misinformed

      Reply

      tulsagolfer

      7 years ago

      Spot on Jason

      Graham Riley

      7 years ago

      Kevin give them hell in Minnesota, break a leg. Show the big dogs there what a K-Sig can do……… Hooha for the underdogs!!!

      Reply

      Shawn Newberry

      7 years ago

      Where are you finding them for sale?

      Reply

      Kevin Unterreiner

      7 years ago

      The CEO of Costco recently said they will be available again soon. Hope Titleist is preparing their “#2 Ball in Golf” campaign

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      It’s a $15 a dozen ball. Why is it that you think Titleist is going to be the one who take s the hit? The biggest consumer of this ball is going to be Costco shoppers who want to spend $15 a dozen. Not core golfers, and not members, Costco shoppers. Why isn’t Taylor Made worried? Why isn’t Bridgestone or Callaway worried? Because at the end of the day it’s a $15 a dozen ball being sold at Costco and nowhere else. Joe-Blow-three-Rounds-Year is going to buy this ball. Not because it’s good, but because it’s $15 a dozen and he can buy it at Costco while he’s stocking up on 50 pack of boneless chicken breasts. Titleist is simply protecting their patents. Why people don’t seem to understand that, is a mystery, and even more of a mystery is why people seem to think that Titleist SHOULDN’T protect their patents. What would you do?

      Reply

      Kevin Unterreiner

      7 years ago

      Chris Marcil Not true from my experience. I play with dozens of single digit handicappers who play competive golf and were previously Titliest loyalists and most who play the Costco ball are switching. Costco shoppers buy the $0.75 Callaway balls there

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      That doesn’t make a lot of sense. “Costco shoppers buy $0.75 Callaway balls”? So you’re saying they buy the $9 dollar a dozen balls instead of the $15 a dozen balls, but all the country club members and single digits you play with are now going out of their way to go to Costco to buy golf balls for the Club Championship weekend? I have seen no indication of that being the norm. Question…if you actually qualify for the US Open, will you play the K-Sig, or will you play ProV’s?

      Reply

      Geoff Morrison

      7 years ago

      Have you not seen the MGS tests? It has similar carry and spin #’s. You aren’t sacrificing any performance by playing the KSig. It performs just as well as the ProV at a 1/3rd of the price. Why would he switch back to ProV’s?

      Reply

      Leftienige

      7 years ago

      I think Titleist are only picking on the “little guys” because they don’t want a legal battle with Srixon , Taylormade , or Bridgestone , in case those companies have more powerful lawyers . Just like the school bully , only choose small kids for a fight .

      Reply

      JKC

      7 years ago

      Costco is far from being the “little guy”. They are much closer to the 800lb gorilla. Being a $75 billion market cap company with $15 billion in gross profits they can afford to take on Acushnet .

      Is is going to be interesting to see how the high end ball market evolves.

      Reply

      IBO

      7 years ago

      Costco is literally 75x the size of Acushnet. So much for a “little guy”.

      Ross Johnson

      7 years ago

      Good for Costco, love seeing a brand stick up to the fat park bully, Titleist. While you can’t not say the pro-v golf balls are top two in golf balls, the prices aren’t. If Costco can continue to deliver a ball with quality nearest to Titleist, I’d be curious to see if big golf brands, including Titleist drop prices to compete. Power to the player!

      Reply

      Aj Murray

      7 years ago

      Bet they don’t break in half like your titleist after 1 round

      Reply

      Hans

      7 years ago

      Try hitting the ball with the center of the club face instead of the bottom. You’ll even get better control of your distance. Do you hit 150 yard bunker shots from the green side bunker?

      Reply

      Bobby Griffith

      7 years ago

      Whist I recognized the quality of Titleist’s golf ball. They are not worth the asking price. This lawsuit probably won’t quell Titleist cost, but it will be great PR for CostCo. It would be great to see the K-sig distributed to other sales outlets (Academy, Dicks, etc). That would then put a sales hurt on Titleist.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      If you think that Kirkland Signature products is a brand that will be sold through other retail outlets, then you severely misunderstand what Kirkland Signature is.

      Reply

      Bobby Griffith

      7 years ago

      No, Chris. I fully understand. I said, “It would be great….”. I’m fully aware CostCo is a Membership outlet and won’t distribute to competitors. If you read that differently, then you severely misunderstand basic transformational grammar.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      So…then…what was your point?
      That’s like saying, “It sure would be great if McDonalds sold a Filet Mignon for $9….that would sure put a hurt on Ruth’s Chris.”

      Reply

      Bob

      7 years ago

      I think this is funny. Most matures can tell very little difference between balls except for the feel of hardness or softness. We don’t have the touch the pros have and very few of us don’t practice more than a hour a week. If we do more, we need to many power naps. I personally stopped using Titleist years ago a switch to other manufactures balls because I find my Titleist balls in the water, woods, tall grass and other places to undignified to mention.

      Reply

      Bill Gillam

      7 years ago

      Courts will side with the best interest of the consumer, which is Costco.

      Reply

      lord of the links

      7 years ago

      screw Costco. Arrogant retailer with terrible staffing. They are trying to sell a premium golf ball but do not have the supply. They sold seconds and leftovers as first quality and now can’t supply balls with exactly the same specs.

      Reply

      Alrighty Then

      7 years ago

      So Lord Of The Links, how long have you worked for Titleist? LOL

      Reply

      Timmy Tom Timsonite

      7 years ago

      Lol, OK man.

      Reply

      McaseyM

      7 years ago

      Angry that you didn’t get any more K-Sigs? As everyone who shops at Costco knows, not all products are always available all the time, they may score a sweet deal and have an item for a few weeks or months, then sell out and they’re gone forever. Were the first round of K-Sigs the Nassau Quattro ball left overs and run offs? Most likely, but they played comparable and in some cases better than the Pro V1 for 70% less cost. MGS has done quality control several times on several batches from different Costco locations.
      Will the Second round be the same? We’ll have to wait and see, but with the ridiculous popularity, I would imagine they are locking up a longer term deal with a ball manufacturer to maintain their consistency moving forward

      Reply

      JB

      7 years ago

      Screw Costco? Really? They sold a great ball for $15/dozen and you’re saying screw Costco? They had no idea the demand would be what it is and couldn’t stock the shelves fast enough. Have fun wasting money on your Pro V1.

      Reply

      JIM

      7 years ago

      Well, here we go. Costco is not backing down. Most likely this will go away very quietly by both sides. Titleist will apologize (maybe) and Costco will be back to making a pretty good ball at a substantially reduced price than just about anyone.

      I agree that the price of a Premium ball has become quite high/ridiculous. But, Titleist ProV and 1x are made here in the US (as are several other premium level balls by Bridgestone, Callaway) .

      They are always going to be more expensive than any ball made in Korea or China. I guess I am a bit partial to quality products made in the US vs foreign made especially in small towns (Titleist makes their premium balls in 3 towns in Mass. ) that support local economies.

      It is great for Costco to source to the lowest bidder a great ball.

      I played the KSig as did many of my playing buddies. They enjoyed the it when they lost their dozen KSigs to the rock, cactus, and ponds of Arizona, it only cost them a bit over a buck a piece.

      Whats funny is some of them Sunday were all ready talking about how they going to buy the 4 dozen Prov V for the price of 3 deal that they put out every year. Most of them generally agree , in their opinion , Titleist is still the best ball in golf.

      Personally there are some great balls and KSig’s possible return will certainly put a hurt on others including Titleist, Callaway, Bridgesone, and Srixon, but it will also hurt Snell, Vice, MG , encore, and others tying to compete.

      I will stick with the made in the USA Prov1 and hit a few of the KSigs when I find them behind a cactus at Papago :)

      Reply

      Buck Mayers

      7 years ago

      This fight will not last very long if you look at historical legal fights on ball companies/ TITLEIST IS A BALL COMPANY. Clubs are secondary/ not a profit center. COSTCO IS NOT WORRIED ONE BIT.. Follow the money and COSTCO HAS PLENTY✌

      Reply

      Henk Bronkinator Bronkhorst

      7 years ago

      Such a pity we in South Africa cant benefit from the cheaper equal K-Sig ball I’ve been reading so much about. Hopefully Costco wins this battle and we can benefit when Acushnet will be forced to reduce their pricing to maintain their market share.

      Reply

      Drew Paschal

      7 years ago

      The K-Sig is not equal to the ProV1. It’s a rejected Taylormade Project a design that was sold to Costco.

      Reply

      James Feng

      7 years ago

      Do your research. The Costco ball test numbers are similar if not better in some categories than the prov1

      Reply

      Rob Norris

      7 years ago

      Big well done to the little man as they say

      Reply

      Ronald Gray

      7 years ago

      I have played Top Flight for 50 years. To think that the price of a ball will add or detract from your game seems ridiculous to me. I will play the same ball as long as they are manufactured. Spend your money on new clubs which have greatly improved in the last 50 years.

      Reply

      Bill

      7 years ago

      Good job Tony. Good luck Costco.

      Reply

      Greg H

      7 years ago

      Let golfers decide, if the Costco product doesn’t perform word will spread quickly and the ball will be on the market for about two seasons. If Acushnet is really worried about losing market share then that just might be an endorsement of Costco’s ball.

      Reply

      Graham Riley

      7 years ago

      Good for Costco and may it long continue. For the next round is someone coming up with a full set of golf clubs for $250 to $300 that beats the big boys where distance and forgiveness is concerned…….. watch this space………. its time to make the game more accessible and less expensive so we can grow our game!!!

      Reply

      Berniez40

      7 years ago

      I hope Costco kicks their @$$ets but good. TItleist balls are very over rated. I prefer the Srixon Z-Star to the Pro V1, The TaylorMade Project (a) to the NXT Tour, and I’ll take the Callway Supersoft or Wilson Duo over the DT Solo any day of the week. If anyone needs to be sued for false advertising, it’s Titleist’s Marketing Team. On a dollar to performance ratio, they are obviously over-rated and extremely over-priced.

      Reply

      Steve Grimmer

      7 years ago

      The lawsuit will take awhile to be resolved by a Court (the parties can settle at any time on their own, though.) Asking for a declaratory judgment is just like asking for a judgment for money damages; it is NOT the same as asking for a Temporary Injunction, which is granted or denied very quickly.

      Reply

      Cale

      7 years ago

      Absolute no-win scenario for Acushnet. They look scared regardless of the outcome and this will get the K-sig more press than it already had.

      Someone in their legal department needs canned.

      Reply

      Rafael J Casas

      7 years ago

      It goes to show that Titleist is really worried about Cost Co’s product. If they come out with something equivalent to their prov1 at 1/2 the cost, it could spell disaster for their profit margins

      Reply

      Jeff Case

      7 years ago

      This will be the death of the Pro-V. Costco doesn’t like bullies.

      Reply

      Jeff Case

      7 years ago

      I’m a lover of the Pro-V but 3 dozen for the same price as 1 dozen of Pro-V’s……Simple math.

      Reply

      David Gies II

      7 years ago

      You’re not the entire golfing population. If that was the case companies like PXG wouldn’t exist. A lot of people are willing to pay a premium for what they view superior and Titleist has built that reputation

      Reply

      Jeff Case

      7 years ago

      I agree but for a ball that is testing better than Titleist for a 1/3 of the cost I’m giving them a try.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      If you can’t see that Costco is the bully here, you should probably just move on from this debate.

      Reply

      Brett Johnson

      7 years ago

      You would think they’d be a little more careful about protecting the Titleist name from negative publicity.

      Reply

      Frank Cruz

      7 years ago

      Exactly! I have a hard time siding with the Asian manufacturer who will invariably end up hurting Americans…. even if I have to pay more for balls. I hope that this fiasco will pressure Titlest to drop the prices a bit and I will stay with Titleist out of general principle.

      Reply

      ELO

      7 years ago

      I am all in favor of buying American. My putter has a B on it. But lots of money that Titleist makes from golf ball sales goes to international players, think Adam Scott, etc., not the American workers.

      Chad Mardesen

      7 years ago

      I love it.

      Reply

      GLFN2MCH

      7 years ago

      Titleist is wasting their time with this. I can’t see the Pros or low handicappers who are mentally attached to the Pro V product range switching over to “Kirkland”. The game is 90% mental and having a different name on your golf ball would throw off most golfers at the elite level. Costco is just providing an equivalent option for the guys that cant afford to be hacking $5.00 golf balls into the forest and water 5 or 6 times a round. You have nothing to worry about Titleist, your loyal followers with stick with you! I would be more worried about the consumers that were buying your lower range products switching over to Kirkland so they too can can play an equivalent performance ball for a lower price.

      Reply

      John

      7 years ago

      Costco may only be a ploy in this whole scenario. Maybe all Acushnet/Titleist wants to do is scare the bejesus out of anyone thinking of introducing a golf ball that performs as well as theirs. And perhaps they want to persuade the Snell’s, OnCore, and Vice users that the ball they are using may not be around much if their manufacturers get sued and choose to succumb rather than fight the suit. All in all, I will never buy an Acushnet/Titleist product again.

      Reply

      Jim Hicks

      7 years ago

      I hope Costco sticks it to them. I truly believe the reason titelist ball sales are down is because they ask too damn much for them ($47.99) a dozen plus tax and you are over $50.00 a dozen….why too much!!!

      Go COSTCO!!!!!!!!

      Reply

      Mike Rohr

      7 years ago

      LOL> COSTCO WILL DESTROY THEM. Buck Mayers

      Reply

      Tyler George

      7 years ago

      Oh buddy- let the fun begin. If this goes through, Titleist will not be the only company feeling the heat. This will put pressure on the industry, esp. the Big 3, in terms of pricing and advertisement. Things should get real interesting and I’m not sure a company like Costco is the one you want to get in this legal battle with.

      Reply

      Tim Peters

      7 years ago

      While I don’t play either ball, prefer Srixon or Wilson DUO, I can’t understand Acushnet targeting COSTCO when other companies, i.e. TaylorMade, Bridgestone, etc, are affecting their profits. I also don’t remember COSTCO making any claims such as the K-Sig is comparable to any of the Titleist line. Seems like much ado over nothing.

      Reply

      Frank Cruz

      7 years ago

      Titleist screwed up! Titleist has had it too good too long. They are used to bullying little guys and they DON”T KNOW how to fight a big gorilla! Their brand will be affected either way. Yes, the new ball is good and cheap but it is NOT Titleist. There is value on that; the Country Club guys want the name which stands for quality and “what the pros play”. The arrival of the new ball is a normal occurrence in all business, new and better players always come along. Titleist better learn or their business will drop by 50% to 60%.

      Reply

      Large chris

      7 years ago

      I wish Costco well, even though in the UK I’m never likely to see this ball made reasonably available, hopefully the days of the 4 dollar golf ball are coming to an end.
      However it seems specific phrases such as : ‘Kirkland Signature products “meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands.” ‘ although deliberately vague, are wide open to challenge, and Titleist, as the leading national ball brand, have probably surmised they have a reasonable chance of success challenging this assertion.
      All very arguable and as usual the only winners short term will be the lawyers. This is round 1 of a 27 round fight.

      Reply

      Jon

      7 years ago

      Achusnet the 800 lb gorilla in the golf ball business versus Costco the 800 lb gorilla in the warehouse store business. All 800 lb gorillas are not the same. Costco has revenue in the range of 100 times more.

      How this battle ends is probably of little import to most of us. However, it seems to indicate that Costco is not going to fade into the woodwork as far as golf ball business is concerned.

      Looking forward to the next round of K-Sigs. Hope K-Sig 2.0 turns out to be a worthy successor to K-Sig1.0. Also, nice if they could hit the store before Spring golf starts in earnest.

      Reply

      Gary Sohosky

      7 years ago

      Excellent article. There are many choices for consumers to make when it comes to golf and golf balls are one of the most important. If a golfer tries a different ball and sees no apparent difference or better performance than they get from a higher priced ball it’s their prerogative to change and save money. Golf is an expensive sport and I applaud the companies that are trying to make quality golf balls for a lower price. And we need more independent testing to verify the differences so consumers can make educated decisions.

      Reply

      Joe Gendron

      7 years ago

      See this is big. When Acushnet (Titleist) usually throws it’s weight around at the little guys they don’t have the means to fight back. Costco is worth more than Acushnet and can fight toe to toe with their lawyers. I hope Costco whips their ass.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Yeah…screw Titleist and all the patents they paid millions and millions for, and millions in R&D marketing testing, promotion advertising and Tour sponsorships. Screw all the support Titleist has given golf at every single level of play. Screw Titleist for their 100 plus years in the golf industry…Screw those guys. Let Costco come in and do none of that and just take it. Geezus, people just don’t get it.

      Reply

      Joe Gendron

      7 years ago

      No Chris you don’t get it. When they bully the little guys out it is to continue to drive their prices at ridiculous numbers. By someone fighting back and being able to sell a ball that is performing as well at a fraction of the cost, they get scared. Don’t for a second think this about anything other than Titleist making money.

      Reply

      John Bechtel

      7 years ago

      What you don’t get Chris is that I used to play Pro-V1, I tried the Costco Ball and found that in my opinion it is just as good. I would much rather pay 29.99 for two dozen than 47.99. I don’t owe Titleist a damn thing. Titleist doesn’t spend a dime supporting anything. The people who pay that outrageous price for Thierry ball are paying for that.

      Reply

      Joe Gendron

      7 years ago

      What patents? Titleist did what they did to 3Up and Monsta golf balls. Sent them letter to bully them. They threatened legal action and those companies were incapable of fighting. Costco got the same letter and said, nope we didn’t do anything wrong and is now fighting them. There is ZERO evidence that any parents were infringed upon. Let’s see how it plays out in court now.

      Reply

      Joe Gendron

      7 years ago

      I play Bridgestones.

      Reply

      Terry Wittek

      7 years ago

      Titleist bullied my dad when my dad could have put them out of business for selling a crappy product, so i hope costco whoops their ass.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Joe Gendron What patents? Acushnet claims there are 11 of them, and they are willing to go to court to defend them. What is your background in this industry to make the very bold claim that there is “ZERO evidence that any patents were infringed upon.” and assuming you are a basic golfing consumer why do you suppose Acushnet would waste money against a much larger company to protect patents that you say don’t exist? Acushnet is no stranger to going to court to protect patents.

      Reply

      Billy Walker

      7 years ago

      LOL…yeah, we owe Titleist SOOOO much for jacking up prices while they pay exorbitant prices to the pro’s. Yeah, we owe them a lot. After all, Breed and Haney kissing their butt in the media wouldn’t have ANYTHING to do with money now would it? Costco will bury them and I hope they can’t see daylight.

      Reply

      Joe Gendron

      7 years ago

      Chris, Titleist is being sued not the other way around. Costco is calling their bluff. This is Titliests M.O.

      They have no evidence, they have “claims” I can claim you are a transgender it doesn’t mean anything. Claims are just that, claims.

      You asked why I bought Titleist balls, I told you I don’t I buy Bridgestones.

      Reply

      Joe Gendron

      7 years ago

      It is on Titleist to price these claims of infringement not the other way around.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Joe Gendron I asked John Bechtel, not you. Titleist is being sued in response to the letter the sent saying that the Costco ball is infringing on 11 patents and misleading marketing about the K-Sig ball. In response, Costco is suing saying they aren’t doing either. Again, are you suggesting that Titleist is clueless about what patents they have and that they just pulled “11 patents” out of a hat just for fun, to engage in a lawsuit with much larger and much wealthier company? Care to explain why you think that would be? If you take a minute, the bully here is Coscto. They’re basically saying, “If you want to go to court about your pidly little 11 patents..then we will bury you in legal fees.” So, explain what Titleist is doing wrong? They feel that 11 patents are being infringed and they’re prepared to go to court to prove it. What the hell is wrong with that?

      Reply

      Buck Mayers

      7 years ago

      Chris, who is suing who here?!?! Titleist does support golf and pays for it. Patents are un believably hard to win/ almost never. As far as consumer/ GAME IS CHANGING.. So you drive a Ferrari and could care less. Unfortunately most might be Cadillacs or Hondas; THEY DO SHOP AROUND….. And 20.00 versus 48.00 needs no IQ TEST? Costco ball is very good… We will see.. But ball companies are losing shares hand over fist.. Except Callaway

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Buck…you sound like the guy who screams “Buy American!” And then buys based on price.
      So what’s it going to be? Support the company that created the actual ProV that you used and loved, or support the company that simply jumped in after all the real work has been done? If you think Costco has done anything other than copy someone and then dare them to take them to court…you’re wrong. Titleist cares about the game of golf and has a long history of supporting it. All Costco wants is $15 more of your dollars while you buy a 24 pack of toothbrushes.

      Reply

      Chris Marcil

      7 years ago

      Sure Terry….you remember that the next time you see Costco sponsoring junior programs, mens nights, club events, promoting golf through TV commercials and magazine ads. The next time you win a dozen K-Sigs for a KP or a long drive and when the pro at your local club hosts free lessons and Costco gives everyone a free sleeve of K-Sigs. Yeah….Good ‘ol Costco….doing everything they can to help grow the game.

      Reply

      Geoff Morrison

      7 years ago

      And to the buy American remark, yes Titleist is based in MA, but all of their balls are made in Thailand.

      Reply

      Mr. Titleist

      7 years ago

      The golf ball is made in New Bedford, Mass. where “quality standards are still paramount with Titleist golf balls. Each Pro V1 goes through more than 90 quality checks, and each Pro V1x, because of its dual core, undergoes over 120 quality checks. And, sticking to it’s roots, every Titleist ball passes through an X-ray machine before it’s retail-ready”. There is a nice article here:

      http://www.golfwrx.com/247385/inside-titleists-golf-ball-facilities/

      I will say again. Titleist is the best. Titleist is the best for NUMEROUS reasons. They will continue to be the best for those same reasons. There will be other nice golf balls. Other balls will be more affordable. Some people will buy based on price. Some people will buy based on quality and the desire to play the best. Titleist will have a market. If the market dictates Titleist should focus more on the lower end, they will…. and they will be the best. They have more patents for a reason. They develop technologies that require patents. Many other companies buy patents. There is a big difference. Costco is paying someone to make a good ball cheap. They are not paying someone to make the best ball for the players who want to play the best.

      Tony Covey

      7 years ago

      Your assessment as “the best” is a matter of opinion. Your not alone in that assessment, but you’re also a long way away from having universal agreement.

      And that’s the thing…there are enough people who believe that the Pro V1 isn’t the best. For example, one possible metric is distance. The Pro V1 loses nearly every distance battle off the tee, both human and robot testing. The competitors know it, Titleist knows it.

      General point being, best is difficult to quantify, and since the burden of proof would lie with Titleist to prove there ball is a universal best, I believe it’s a tough case to win.

      Leigh Bresnahan

      7 years ago

      Someone in Legal diddnt think Costco was as big as it is and would fold at the site of a legal letter. Turns out Costco has a $119 BILLION turnover a year, How big is there legal department?? ha ha

      Reply

      Rick Tjalma

      7 years ago

      Go Costco!!!!

      Reply

      Steve Villerot

      7 years ago

      Awesome!

      Reply

      Steve BigTazz Rayburn

      7 years ago

      Wow all the free press the Ksig 2 is gonna get from this will be great. Costco is gonna win big on this I bet.

      Reply

      KC

      7 years ago

      If there was any legitimate basis to Acushnet’s claims then I totally understand and support them wanting to protect their brand equity and IP. However, this looks to be the most desperate move I’ve ever seen from them and I don’t think they have a single leg to stand on. Good for Costco to not back down. Frankly, this already has started to sour the Titleist brand a bit for me.

      Reply

      Sharkhark

      7 years ago

      I’m mclovin it! Awesome! Go costco!

      Reply

      John Lindner

      7 years ago

      I hope Costco wins and I hope I causes the rest of the Big Boys to half to cut their prices in half compete

      Reply

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