Conversation with Snell Golf Canada

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

I am pleased to share my conversation with Snell Golf Canada President, Ron Stenzl.  Snell Golf Canada is celebrating it’s first year of operations in Canada and I wanted to catch up to learn how the first year went and if there’s anything new for people to learn about and look forward to.

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  1. You’ve just celebrated your one year anniversary of sales in Canada.  How would you categorize the past year?

In a word, educational.  There are many differences between operating in Canada and the US.  First, economies of scale play into decisions.  Shipping is much more expensive in Canada, so we’ve had to figure that out. We’ve experimented with free shipping and it looks like that really is one of the best ways we can create value for golfers across Canada so we likely will keep that in place.  Of course most of Canada has a much shorter season than in the USA, so we’ve had to deal with that.  We are finally launching a French language version of our website; that has been difficult to get right but it’s really important.  Quebec has many very avid golfers.  And we are refreshing the look of our site as well.  So basically the first years has been about getting systems in place and working out the kinks. And we’ve learned a lot about golf balls too!

2. You had a strong presence at the Toronto Golf and Travel Show this past winter,       including a visit and a couple talks from Dean Snell himself.  What has the feedback in Canada been to Dean’s messages on golf ball technology?

The Toronto Golf Show was a great weekend for us to launch the season and I know that those who attended really enjoyed meeting Dean and especially if they listened to his presentations on the main stage. Dean is so knowledgeable and cuts right through the marketing hype and makes it real.  To him it’s not that complicated, if you want to be serious about your golf, you should play a top line ball. The reason many people don’t is simply cost.  That’s why our model is attractive – we’ve stripped out all the marketing costs, player contracts, middlemen and agents and passed that savings onto the consumer. And the Canadian golf public gets it based on the social media following we’re getting and the many positive comments.  It does get back to the shipping though, people want to try the product and some hesitated when shipping charges were added, so offering free shipping gets people trying the ball, talking it up with playing partners and then re-ordering, usually multiple dozens at a time.

3.  While operating as a Canadian subsidiary to a global company based in the United States what are some of the challenges and opportunities this provides for you?

Every country has its own rules and regulations, so there are no unique challenges related to Snell USA. We do acquire our balls based on US Dollar pricing, so we do have to manage exchange rate. The benefit is our ability to utilize some of their marketing material and share ideas. Snell is now in 13 countries and we are able to get some ideas from around the globe from other independent distributors like ourselves. And as Dean Snell has grown his company, he gains more strength at the factory level to leverage his relationship and orders to get priority treatment and best pricing. So for example, even though exchange rates to buy US$ rose significantly since last year, with Dean’s help we were able to hold our pricing the same as last year and hope to be able to get through next year 2018 also without a price increase. We want to be consistent in our mandate to grow the game of golf and do what we can to make it affordable.

It’s often the case that Canada lags behind the US in certain trends. One trend that still exists in Canada, but has been abandoned in the USA is pro shops signing exclusive contracts with suppliers, usually Titleist but also TaylorMade.  Pro shops in the USA finally came to the conclusion that these agreements mostly just benefit the supplier and not them and certainly not their members who they cater to. It limits availability of certain products that golfers want.  And it drives them to places like GolfTown, which is one of the biggest complaints pro shops have about their members, yet it’s their actions that contribute to this.

  1. You are an active support for junior golf in Canada.  Please share more about this and why is this so important for Snell Golf Canada?

Mike, we need to applaud you for asking this question!  Supporting Junior Golf was an easy decision by the Snell Golf Canada team.  It really starts with Dean Snell wanting to grow the game.  All of us were fortunate to be exposed to golf and the majority of golfers actually do enjoy it, so why not expose the golf lifestyle to the younger generation?

Most adult golfers see the terrific kids that are now playing golf.  Playing competitive and recreational golf is an activity that exposes kids to so many challenges, opportunities and aspects of life. Paying forward the last 12 months has significantly elevated our awareness of the committed junior tour volunteers, golf clubs, golf professionals and the industry who actually get it.  Our company has a role and we want to ramp this up even more, so we hope your coverage gets more junior golf tours realizing that companies like us would like to help.

5.  Many golfers are active on social media.  How about Snell Golf Canada?

Snell Golf Canada embraces social media with open arms. From the very beginning we have made considerable efforts to ensure we publish great content on a regular basis as well as respond to any inquiries in a timely manner.  People seem to love our profiles as our follower base is growing more and more every day. We are on Twitter @SnellGolfCanada, Facebook @Snell Golf Canada and Instagram @SnellGolfCan we do promotions, contests, weekly spots on products features, and lots more on the way.

6. In my conversation with Dean this winter, he mentioned opportunity for courses to buy direct for their members/customers.  Is this something you offer?

We launched a pro shop re-seller program and have had quite a few folks join us.  We offer them a discount that provides them enough (profit) margin to make it worthwhile.  For us it helps build the brand and provides some convenience to members of participating courses.

7.  I’m not expecting you to share company secrets but I’m curious about new product development.  Are you engaged with Dean around this?  Can Canadians expect quick access to any new product?

Dean is always thinking ahead and does have a ball in the design and test stage.  It will be a high end ball, probably 4 piece that will align more closely with the Pro V1x.  What Dean won’t do is create a whole range of balls. He sees this as confusing to the golfer (“What ball should I play?”) and says creating that confusion is part of most ball makers strategy.  He keeps it simple, a high end ball that is playable across a broad spectrum (My Tour Ball), and a low spin, low price ball (Get Sum).  Both balls are made with only the best materials.  The new ball, when launched will likely be positioned at the very top of the Tour Performance scale so will be best suited to the low single digit handicappers.

8.  MTB or Get Sum?

My original introduction to Snell was in Florida playing the MTB. But I started playing the Get Sum a bit last summer, I wasn’t happy with my swing and thought a low spin ball would help. It didn’t really.

This winter I went back to the MTB full-time and with practice my swing improved but my short game improved leaps and bounds!  I’m pitching the ball better than I have in years, I have confidence in my chips because run out is consistent which is what you don’t get with any 2 piece ball, and my putting is better too!  I even had a hole in one in April.  My index dropped from 9.3 to 6.1 by the time I came back north!  Getting used to northern grass, long rough and it’s been wet so I must confess my index has risen some, but will go back down soon as it dries out.

So I now adhere to Dean’s basic philosophy, play the best quality ball you can! It will make you a better player.

  1. Outside of your home course in Cataraqui in Kingston, where would you love to tee up your Snell golf balls in Canada?  What courses top your Canadian bucket list?

I’ve been fortunate to play many great courses.  Deerhurst is a favourite; Lora Bay and Georgian Bay Club in Collingwood are spectacular, as are many of the top Toronto courses. I played Credit Valley last summer and loved it! Brantford Golf & CC is an old favourite. Glencoe in Calgary is special.  If you want to play a hidden gem, play Innerkip Highlands, near Woodstock. I want to play Vancouver Golf Club where the LPGA played a few years ago. I was there watching Brooke Henderson in her first Canadian Open when she was still amateur.  I’ve played in PEI and want to go back and play more of those courses.

36aday – An impressive list.  Thanks for your time Ron and best wishes to you and the team at Snell Golf Canada for the 2017 season.

Conversation with Dean Snell – Part 3

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

This is the third of this three-part conversation with Dean Snell, owner and inventor of Snell Golf balls.  In this segment Dean discusses his approach to ball fitting, his upcoming visit to Canada at the Toronto Golf and Travel Show and his dream foursome.

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7. Golf ball companies are getting aggressive in their marketing of ball fitting approaches. What is your response to this and what would you suggest for someone who would like to determine what Snell golf ball is best for them?

DS – So when I mentioned before being a hockey player there are certain pet peeves that make me want to pull the jersey over their heads and start throwing uppercuts.  This is one of them.  Having someone fit for a golf ball by hitting three golf balls into a net with a driver is absolutely wrong.  Today we’ve done so much work in getting the spin rates and ball speed and launch angles correct.  And off the tee they all go about the same distance.  Hitting a few balls and judging a bad shot compared to a good shot and then say, ‘this is the ball for you, you gained six yards’; it’s just the wrong way to do it.  Over time those golf balls will be about the same distance.  But where you’ll notice it is in the short game.  That’s where you’ll notice a difference.  So a two piece golf ball and a tour golf ball, from 100 yards and in are completely different in performance.  One flies high with less spin, one flies low with more spin.  You’re going to experience the fliers and the jumpers, the bump and runs, or the low hit knock downs with the check; they’re different.  So my recommendation for fitting – you spend so much fitting for your clubs and fine tuning them at a range but the ball counts for every shot.  So take maybe an hour and a half and go out on a course and take all the clubs you’d use inside of 100 yards.  Take the My Tour Ball (MTB) and the Get Sum 2 piece ball and whatever models you play and go and hit balls from 100 yards, 70, 50, 30, chip, putt, and once a group catches you go to the next hole and keep doing the same thing.  Just play a lot of shots from inside 100 yards.  And after the 4th of 5th hole something in there is going to say I like the way it flew high, flew low, checked, bumped and ran, felt soft or hard, whatever it is you like.  Fit the ball to what you prefer there and trust off the tee they’ll all be the same.    Because if you can’t tell the differences inside of 100 yards your game is not ready yet for it and just buy the cheapest one.

MJ – Following up, you mentioned this around the time of the PGA Show in Orlando that the My Tour Ball may be better suited for mid to high handicap players who could benefit more from tour ball performance around the greens.  Could you please elaborate on this?

DS – If you take price out of it, tour golf balls are going to be better for everybody.  The 18 handicap misses 17 greens.  That’s 17 par 3’s the player has to play effectively.  If you play low compression, low spin golf balls you have the worst possible performance the closer you get to the greens.  So that’s where most of your golf is played, it’s where most of your scores happen.  A higher handicap who shoots 90 versus a guy who shoots 72, you have a lot more shots which you play around the greens which you could get better at than the guy shooting 72.  You’re never going to be able to hit a ball that hits and sucks back the way the pros do but you may be able to add some spin on a full wedge which may and roll out 5 feet instead of 15 feet.  You stopped it 10 feet closer.  Maybe your chip stops 5 feet closer that could eliminate one or two 3 putts.  Having an advantage of performance around the greens is what tour golf balls have.  If you can get that you will only perform better the closer you get to the green and that’s going to help you lower scores.

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8. I understand you’re going to be coming to Toronto for the Golf and Travel Show in February. Snell Golf Canada will be present and showcasing your product offerings.  What is your schedule there and when can people come by and talk with you?

DS – My understanding is I will be in the Snell Golf Canada booth on Friday.  I will be speaking on Friday mid-afternoon and also Saturday around noon.  I’ll do a little presentation for everybody and the rest of the time I’ll be in the booth so if anybody has any technical questions or wants to come by and say hi I will be at the Snell Golf Canada booth.

I believe the team will have balls available to sell to people attending the show.  We’ve done this before and it creates a real buzz with golf show participants.

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9. Lastly, what is your dream foursome and what course tops your own Bucket List? Is there a course(s) in Canada you’d like to experience?

DS – Boy, that’s a good question.  My dream foursome would probably include Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Bobby Orr and myself.  Those guys to me were the best in their sports during their time.  They are all golfers and I think it would be so cool to listen to some of their stories both on and off the field of play.  I’d love to get some pictures too, it would be great memorabilia.

MJ – That’s a strong list, how about courses?

DS – You’ll have to help me with courses in Canada; I’ve spent much time in Canada in the winter time but not enough in the summer.  Being in the industry so long I haven’t played much golf, things have been busy.  I’d love to play Augusta National, or Pebble Beach.  I’ve been to Pebble and worked there and walked the course but have never been there with my clubs.  Augusta is my first choice just because it is Augusta.

MJ – When you get there, and I hope you’re able to play Augusta one day, take a picture of your My Tour Ball when you stick the green on 12.

DS – (Laughs) I will.

MJ – Thank you for your time Dean.  Continued success.

DS – My pleasure.  Thank you.

Click here to access Part 1 of my conversation with Dean.

Click here to access Part 2 of my conversation with Dean.

 

 

 

Conversation with Dean Snell – Part 2

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

This is the second of a three-part conversation with Dean Snell, owner and inventor of Snell Golf balls.  In this segment Dean discusses Snell Golf’s value proposition, their focus on value through direct-to-consumer shipping and insight on his approach to product development.

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4. My understanding is the golf ball market is highly competitive. What would you say distinguishes Snell from other golf ball companies; what is your value proposition?

DS – There’s a lot of direct-to-consumer on-line companies that are out there that offer good products.  For 25 years I have been fortunate to be in golf ball design, to pretty much understand the patent portfolio that’s out there – I hold many patents myself – and bring what is important to consumers with respect to performance.  Working with a tour player that has a problem keeping a 4 iron in the air and not knuckling and falling out of the sky is a lot different than working with an 18 handicap who doesn’t really hit a 4 iron anyway.  Having that knowledge and understanding of performance is important.  The credibility and authenticity of being able to work with tour players and design golf balls which they use and put their livelihood on the line and win major tournaments is a validation to the product side of it.  We can bring the performance and processes and best materials and keep the price affordable.  Our uniqueness is we have the best performance in golf that we can give and we don’t the high overhead costs like marketing and tour contracts.  We pass that savings along to the consumer.  So there’s a credibility side, a performance side and an affordability side.

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5. The business model for Snell Golf is unique with a focus on online access. What was the rationale for this and what has the feedback been on this distribution model?

DS – There’s a lot of people who like to go on computers today!  The rationale is the traditional approach is to go into a pro shop or a retailer and look at a wall of balls, not really understanding what they are.  A lot of times people are not there to explain them to you nor could they do it if they were there.  So, when you’re online you have greater access to information; we want to use education as part of our message.  We have a forum where people can ask questions and we can provide technical answers.  We have videos that explain how players can do testing and how to go about it.  The website offers an experience that helps give an understanding about what you’re looking at doing; how you should test, which ball you should use.  Those kinds of things you don’t get when you go into a lot of stores.

Also, online shopping is big.  We did our Christmas shopping on a Friday night from home with a nice glass of wine.  It was quick, easy and we were finished.  There’s an ease to online shopping now.  There’s delivery which we can offer and I acknowledge it can take a little time to get it but having these strong technical people who love the social media world get into golf and support it that is a unique niche we’re trying to target.

But things are starting to expand.  We have had a number of pro shops reach out to us and say, ‘Hey, our members want us to carry the ball, do you have a sales rep?’  We say no, if you’d like them we can sell you six dozen golf balls and we’ll ship them free to your shop.  We’ll sell them to you at a wholesale price and you can sell them for the same price we sell them online for.  Your customers still get the savings and you enjoy a nice margin.  We don’t do credit terms, payment terms, and have markups for sales reps so the process is very clean and easy.  It’s a minimum six dozen and if you don’t sell them we’ll take them back.   So that business is growing for us without the high costs that get passed back to consumers.

In the US, many shops make you take a minimum 48 dozen or 36 dozen and you pay the shipping.  You have them there and have to deal with them at the end of the season.  For us, minimum 6 dozen, we pay shipping and it’s much easier.  We process credit card orders and ship next day.  We have pro shops that started with 6 dozen – there’s some in California now who are ordering 24 dozen a week.  It’s working.

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6. You recently made a change, introducing an optic yellow Get Sum ball (my favourite and personal ball of choice, I might add). Are there any new products in the pipeline?

DS – Yes there are.  One of the best things I love about social media sites – and I get up early and I read them all – is that there are blogs and sites where people give us feedback.  My method is I review it all.  There are some who say, I love it, don’t change a thing.  And there are others who write, I’d like it softer or firmer; spin more, spin less; fly higher/lower; all the different attributes people can say.  And I fill in boxes around specific comments.  When boxes get full, there’s a voice there saying maybe there’s an opportunity here.  Everybody has feedback and ideas so we’re not at a place where people say, I love it and don’t change a thing.  I take all that feedback from consumers and it informs my product development.  So based on feedback so far we’re on our fourth iteration (of the ball) based on feedback from players who play them.  We’re looking to create a level of performance based on requests from people playing the ball.  So around something new, I don’t have a launch date yet, or the plans or how it will roll out.  But the specs are almost complete and we have some cool things coming this year.

MJ – So, I’ll allow myself a self-indulgent follow up.  Are there plans for a yellow My Tour Ball?

DS – That question is probably one of the big boxes that get filled in on my chart.  And it’s an interesting question.  The cast urethane yellow is the hardest process to do in golf.  When you make a cast urethane ball you have to pigment the cover to match the colour of the paint that goes on the balls as well.  (Currently) The urethane is pigmented and put a UV stabilizer so it doesn’t turn yellow when it hits the sun.  Then you have to put two white coats of paint to protect it and then you have to put a clear coat of paint over it.  So now, if you want to make a yellow urethane you have develop a yellow cast urethane system for the cover, develop two yellow paint coats to go over it, a clear coat over it and clean it out well so white balls made afterward are white and not yellow when you start to make them because it is a tough process to clean the system out.  So it’s not easy.  The paint system development is a lot of work because getting a white paint when you get the right viscosity when you add fillers and you add colours and you add the parameters of the paint; the dimples get flooded and the ball flies high.   It is very, very hard to do.

The market for yellow tour balls is extremely small.  So we hear the voice today of people asking for it but those are the people asking and don’t represent a large segment of the golfing population.  And I’m not saying we’re not working on it because we are, and having something in the future could happen, but it’s not easy to do.  The yellow golf ball market is only 10%.  That’s with everything, even 2 piece golf balls.  3 piece tour quality balls is only 1% and that is voice we hear a lot from people who want them.

MJ – We’re a vocal minority, thank you very much.

DS – Yellow golf ball sales, in the US market, increase in the fall.  Leaves come down, the grass isn’t as green, and it’s harder to see.  But in the summer time the sales drop quite a bit.  Our studies in our sales show we sell more yellow balls in August, September and October than we do during the rest of the year.  Having something to offer though is good for us, 10% is a decent market size.

Tomorrow – the third and final part of this conversation, including Dean Snell’s dream golf foursome.

Click Here to access Part 1 of my conversation with Dean Snell

Click Here to access Part 3 of my conversation with Dean Snell

Conversation with Dean Snell – Part 1

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

This is the first of a three-part conversation with Dean Snell, owner and inventor of Snell Golf balls.  In this segment Dean discusses his business philosophy, why he turned down Tour players seeking to play his ball, his love of Canada and hockey, and his support for Snell Golf Canada’s commitment to junior golf.

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  1. Dean, your story is well documented – your early history of work in the industry and how you hold numerous patents on golf ball technology. But for those who are not familiar, why did you choose to go out on your own and brand your own ball?

DS – I have been extremely fortunate to work for two of the best companies in the golf industry in Titleist and Taylor Made.  I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to develop products for the best players in the world.  I spent the last 25 years between those two companies designing golf balls and working with tour players and recreational players getting a lot of feedback from players on what they’re looking for in performance, especially the tour players.   I have a lot of good friends on tour and I spent of time with them.  So understanding golf balls and golf ball technology is something that I know very well.

The golf business was struggling a few years ago, with courses closing and people canceling memberships; it’s expensive, people aren’t playing.  What I thought I could do was see if there was a way I could give back.  First, I wanted to make sure my three children were finished with school before I did something on my own.  I wanted to give back through taking the best materials, the best process, and the best performances and create very high end golf balls but not have big overhead costs.  No big marketing budgets and definitely no big tour contracts.   So the cost to make the balls are the same as other manufacturers, the performance is outstanding, but all the savings that I don’t have to pay out I pass back to the consumer.  So the main focus was to keep the price affordable.  We sell direct to our customers, we sell in some pro shops, but we focus on providing performance for average golfers who may have found balls like this too expensive to try.  Maybe if they can have it they can enjoy the game more and maybe play better, play more and help grow the game.  For me it was the chance to give back by providing great performance at affordable pricing.

MJ – With tour pros, have any of them had an opportunity to try your ball and do you foresee a day when a pro may go, ‘No, the heck with it, I am going to be playing a Snell ball’?

DS – We have had that.  We have had five tour players approach us with their agents wanting to play the ball and we declined.  They obviously would be looking for some endorsement money and if I do that than someone has to pay that bill.  I want to make sure that everything that I do with this business that affordability and performance doesn’t change.  Having these things would add costs and that is not the goal.  If I do anything with retail or pro shops I’ll take the margin hit but I want to keep the price the same to continue to provide that level of performance at a price that is affordable.   We did have tour players’ call, they were interested in playing (Snell balls) and we respectfully declined.

We did have three guys on tour last year actually play the ball.  A couple of them got in trouble from their sponsors and they had to switch back.  We had a couple players qualify for the US Open that used the ball.  One player actually qualified for the Senior Tour this year and he used the golf ball for free because he likes the performance.  The tour players who did play it liked it – and I don’t want to give names and get anyone in trouble – but there has been an interest in it.  I think over the next couple years more and more people will be interested.  Some players are seeking contracts of $100,000 or $200,000 but they have putts on the 18th green for that amount.  That mindset is starting to change.  They can take money but if they think performance is better they could win that money back if the ball is better.  I hope that message will continue to get out and our growth on tour will take place that way and keep the price low.

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  1. How would you categorize the success of your work under Snell Golf?

DS – It’s been much better than expected.  It was a nice little project I wanted to start.  It was self-funded with some help from some friends.  What I thought I would do in sales in the first year I did in six months.  And we started direct on-line sales.  We ship free in the United States; it’s a little different system in Canada.  2016 was our first full year and our business was up 400%.  Having something grow 10-20% year over year is nice but we grew by 400%.  I wanted to do a nice crawl-walk-run approach and we went from crawling to sprinting pretty fast.  It’s all good, it’s moving in the right direction and we will continue to support access to affordable, quality product.

MJ – I know the interest the public has in a quality, value ball is high and the example of the interest in the Costco ball is a good example of how something can snowball pretty quickly.  So 400% is extremely impressive.  Is growth for Snell Golf something you see being able to sustain over time?

DS – I don’t see 400% year over year, if so this is a gold mine, but in this industry which I have been in for 28 years the targets are for 10% annual growth.  Our January (2017) was 2 ½ times over the year before and February has been strong too so far.  Now these are the slow months because so much of the country is cold and people are not playing golf.  We’re off to a good start; we have some new things coming in March and April.  Word of mouth and social media have been how we’ve been able to keep the price down on the marketing side and our customers help spread the word.  This is all helping keep our costs down.  Things are moving in a strong and very positive direction.

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  1. As I’m sure you’re aware, Canada is a golf-crazy market with over 5 million people participating in golf annually. Why is it important to have set up direct Snell outlets in countries outside the United States?

DS – I have a real passion for Canada.  I am a hockey player.  I love hockey and it’s my first favourite sport if I have to be honest.  I spent a lot of time in Canada growing up around the game of hockey.  I love the Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens rivalry.  The Canadian market for us is close to my heart.  Looking at our social media outlets I see so many passionate golfers from countries outside the US.  And if there’s a way where we can take what we’re doing here in the US to another country, like Canada or Japan or other places, if we can set it up then we will.  Now it was a struggle when we got started.  It was not easy to get balls from the US to Canada.  We shipped across the border and it was expensive and balls would get returned.  Being able to come up with a solution that fits and offer the product is a home run.  We started in the US and we’re now in 11 different countries today.  Of those 11, Canada is one of our biggest.  We’re excited about it.  Last year was our first in Canada and it started modestly but things are building and we’re excited for the growth and future success.

MJ – Following up, I know the Canadian office has been aggressive in promoting support of Snell Golf Canada for junior golf.  What are your thoughts on that?

DS – I think it’s outstanding.  The future for golf is not with people who play now and have played for 20 years.  It’s going to people with people who are learning it today and who will play it for 40 years.  We have to continue – through sponsorships of junior programs like the team at Snell Golf Canada are supporting – to do things different.  I share the excitement and energy of the Canadian team at Snell Golf for initiatives like this.  Identifying areas that can have a nice impact on the game that can hit a lot of players and help grow the game are things we will support.

MJ – The investment strategy of connecting your brand to junior golf in Canada is great to see.  Snell Golf Canada also piloted an ambassador program.  There are certainly options and working with countries around the world opens up unique opportunities in those areas.

DS – I agree.  We launched an ambassador program here in the US in August or September last year which identified key people in golf in the US.  This kind of effort which gets the word out and helps keep costs down are an important part of our business model.  Having ambassadors to the business is important to us.  If we got into the traditional golf way – endorsement contracts, magazines, TV commercials – which is what we’re trying to keep away from, it helps us manage our costs and we can continue to provide current products and explore future product options.

Click here for Part 2 – great insight on product development.

Click here for Part 3 – Dean’s approach to ball fitting

 

Snell Golf Balls -Welcome to Canada!

Snell Golf Balls – Canada, there’s a new ball you need to try.

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First try using the Snell Golf optic yellow Get Sum ball was a birdie at Glen Abbey’s 1st hole.

Golf balls are the one of the only pieces of equipment we use on all shots.  Ensuring you have the best ball for you is worth investigating.  I have read and heard much about Snell Golf Balls.  Dean Snell’s story is a fascinating one.  It did not go unnoticed to me when Snell opened up Canadian operations, essentially providing easier access to a new brand of ball built by one of the brains behind the Pro V1/V1x.  The opportunity to try these two different balls – I’ve played them for two rounds now – has me thinking it is time to make a commitment to something that is better aligned with my needs from a golf ball.

Overall, the performance was surprisingly high.  Snell has two ball options – their ‘tour’ ball model called My Tour Ball.  It is a three piece ball.  Their other ball, Get Sum, a two-piece design, is available in white or an optic yellow.  I tested the yellow version.  Both balls have a quality, clean look.  My testing also included sharing the My Tour Ball for test play with a mid-handicapper and a low-handicap player to get their feedback as well.

The name does not bring a level of recognition (yet) but having two others play the ball sight unseen, their impressions were both of surprise and pleasure.  The low handicap player was curious if this ball was more to specs of a Pro V1 or Pro V1x.  My answer was a bit of both.  My rationale for this is the softness and performance of the My Tour Ball around the greens.  They seem to mirror the quality of the Pro V1.  However, with added durability it may borrow from the strengths of the Pro V1x.  The mid handicapper noticed the durability and clean look.  One critique shared was the logo sizing and use of font, but I like to putt with the blank side of the ball showing and truthfully have never looked at a ball through this aesthetic lens before.  As a 10 handicap player myself, the only real difference was around the greens and on approach shots but these differences were negligible to me.  The balls performed extremely well and I would be pleased to put these into play on a regular basis.  I’ll review each ball in more detail:

Get Sum

This was an underrated performer.  As a two-piece ball it showed surprising and impressive feel around the greens and quite possibly the best feel with any ball I have putted with, ever.  The option of an optic yellow colour is something that really appeals to me as the colour helps me track the ball better off the club.  And to me, Snell has created the most vibrant yellow colour on the market.  The release on my approach shots (9 iron) was between 5-10 feet which is acceptable to me.  The ball is very durable, having played two over two rounds and they stand up well to the inconsistencies of my game.  The ball has one side which is branded GET SUM along with alignment arrows around the name.  The ball created a level of comfort and confidence for me which I valued and appreciated.

My Tour Ball

This ball comes in a pure white finish and like Get Sum, has the name on one side and the other blank allowing players options to aid in alignment on the greens.  There are two distinct aspects of this ball which I have noticed in two rounds; the durability is fantastic and is much better than Titleist.  Attacking this ball with wedges will not scuff the ball.  I regret to say, like all balls, it is not immune to a cart path kiss.  The second distinctive feature to this ball is how it felt softer the closer to the green I got.  Greenside chipping or pitch shots responded very well.  Off the tee and with approach shots, my efforts to shape the ball worked well.  On approach shots (8 iron) there was next to no release (2 feet).

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Left: Optic yellow Get Sum.  Right: My Tour Ball

Overall, I would grade these balls extremely high.  I plan to visit the Canadian team in person; to learn more about their growth plans in Canada and place my first order.  The combination of visibility, performance, durability and value make this hard to argue.  It is much easier for Canadian players to access Snell golf balls.  While it is true that these are not available at leading retailers, on-line order is easy and the Snell team in Canada is engaging and responsive.  Can’t decide what to order?  Don’t.  Order the testing pack – 6 balls each of My Tour Ball and Get Sum.  Are you a value conscious golfer?  Get their 6 dozen value packs to save the shipping costs.  Want to engage the team directly?  They’re active on social media and are very responsive in communications.  This is good because I’d like to make a request for My Tour Ball in optic yellow, please!

Snell golf balls are here Canada.  Based on their performance it won’t be a secret for much longer.

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