As many of you know I made a trip to FootJoy yesterday. It was great! Not only did I get my shoe fitting issues solved, but I had the chance to spend some time with the team.
I have attached a somewhat long write-up of the visit and hope that you all find it informative.
The only thing that I didn't put in was that it would be very nice if our members that become Ambassadors could update their profiles with a picture.
My FootJoy Visit
I was lucky enough to be able to visit FootJoy this week. Chris, Mike and the rest of the FJ Staff were very welcoming and it was a great experience. While the primary purpose of my visit was to have the FJ team help me with my ICON fitting, it also provided the chance to meet the team that supports our Community. Chris suggested that I ask the community members for some questions that they might want answers to, thanks to all of you that provided these to me.
The FootJoy team was also very good about letting me take a few pictures to share with the community.
I must thank the FootJoy team for the openness of our conversation. They were not the least bit evasive to any question and talked very openly about the products; past, current and future.
Let's get started.......
For those of you that have never been to the Headquarters, it is in Fairhaven Massachusetts. It is the home of the Acushnet Company, which is comprised of FootJoy, Titleist and Cobra.
When you go into this building, you immediately know where you are. The atrium of this building is FULL of golf equipment. There a stacks of Titleist golf balls, staff bags full of clubs, racks of hats and let's not forget the full wall display of all of the current FootJoy shoes! Golf nirvana!!!
Meet the Guys...
Although there are a number of people at FootJoy that support the community, the two people that work very hard to make the community what it is for us are Chris Garrett and Mike Lowe.
Chris is on the left, Mike is on the right and I am the short guy in between the giants. I really tried to get out of the picture, but they wouldn't let me. Sorry....
Questions from the Community
This is probably the most asked about topic in our community. We spent quite a bit of time talking about the MyJoy program.
When will we the MyJoy program be available for FJ ICONS?
The MyJoy ICON program is scheduled to launch at the end of September. The community members will be amoung the first to get notification of the launch of the program.
Will the BOA system be available on MyJoy ICONS?
Yes. In both golf and spikeless shoes.
Does FootJoy plan on releasing any exotic materials for MyJoy ICONS?
Unfortunately not. There are quite a number of reasons for this that include cost, skin availabilty and legal issues. They will however have have great looking calfskin prints that have the look of exotic skins. I saw a number of samples and they look great.
There are over 1.2 million possible combinations of shoe designs available in the MyJoy ICON program. Here are some pictures of some of the sample shoes that they have made and some of the leather colors that are available now.
As an extension of the MyJoy program, a number of community members have asked; What about a MyJoy program for belts so that we can design a belt to match our shoes?
This was an interesting discussion. As FootJoy was in the belt business, but did move away from this product line it is not currently in the plan for the MyJoy program. It has not been ruled out, but FootJoy needs to do a bit of market exploration and research before any decision can be made about the future of a belt or MyJoy belt program.
There have been a number of questions in different forums about the spikes used in the ICON shoe. The spike that is shipped in the ICON is the Champ Stinger, made by MacNiell Engineering. See http://www.champspikes.com/why.htm for more information.
I am told that some of the reasons for using these spikes are performance and some a cosmetic. Cosmetically they can easily be manufactured in a number of different colors. I guess that there have been a number of requests from Tour players for different color spikes. From the performance side, they are the closest performing spike to a metal spike. The grip levels are very high and they seem to last a bit longer than the competition. On the subject of life, there is an interesting thing about these spikes. If you look closely at them you will see a "C" in the center of the spike. It is black in color. When you can no longer see the "C", it is time to change then spikes.
A number of members have expressed an interest in FootJoy bringing a full line of clothing to the market. They have asked for Shorts, Trousers, Sweaters and compression garments.
They told me that at this time they do not plan to go into these clothing lines. That is not to say "never", but not right now. In order for this to happen, FootJoy believes that they would need to introduce a performance orientated line, not just a "fashion" based line. There are quite a few other clothing companies that provide shorts and trousers already and they seem reluctant to just be another "me too" product.
As far as sweaters go, although they do not make sweaters, they do have a very extensive Cold Weather line of performance outerwear (http://www.footjoy.com/catalog/mens.asp?c=164) and they also have a full line of Windy Weather outerwear (http://www.footjoy.com/catalog/mens.asp?c=257) available right now.
We did talk about compression garments. The FootJoy team personally likes them and wears them. Right now they are unsure of the direction that they will go with these as a company. If they do expand into this area it will most likely be compression tops and not bottoms. They are still investigating this market opportunity.
I asked about the short sleeve mock tops that they have stopped offering. When these were first introduced, they were very popular. The popularity seems to fall pretty quickly with this product line. They have not seen a lot of demand for these tops and have stopped offering them. They did say that if the market demand for this product changed, that they would look closely at bringing them back to the product line.
Community Web Page
From the comments in the forums, the FootJoy team is looking at adding some functionality to the Web Site.
Many of us have asked for a "Refer a Friend" button and they are looking into how to make this work.
Another comment many of us have made is that we are constantly being asked to login. They have just enabled a feature that keeps a cookie on your computer to keep you logged into the site. Well done, I find it works very well.
I asked if they planned to also port this to a mobile optimized site. It wasn't something that they planned to do, but will do some checking. Good news for those of use that use a BlackBerry. I am told that if you use an iPhone with Safari, this site works very well right now.
They also are looking for feedback on the Community in general. If you have any ideas, please start a post and I am sure that Chris and Mike will look into them.
Well we really surprised them with this one. When they got the Ambassador idea and though up the different levels and the points to achieve them, they never planned for anyone to reach the Ambassador level as quickly as it has happened. They thought that it would be at least 6 months before anyone got there. Because of this, they are still finalizing all of the benefits of becoming an Ambassador. All I can say is from what I was told, you won't be disappointed.
They do have some sample embroidery that they showed me. I was given the chance to photograph it, and of course I did!
Look closely at the small white and black patches. These are stitched into leather. Can anyone say MyJoy heel embroidery? Stay tuned to the community for breaking news!
Things to watch for....
To further show just how open the FootJoy team is, I was shown a couple of new products that will be launched soon.
One was as new glove. I can't say a lot just yet, but it looked and felt pretty nice.
They other product that I saw was a new shoe line. I was even allowed to photograph it for the community.
The samples that I saw were Black, White, Orange and this Blue.
Just a sneak peek at the future....