[by Michael Lowe, Sr. Interactive Marketing Manager]
FootJoy is truly a global brand with sales teams all over the world. I recently traveled to Australia to assist with the 2008 Australia / New Zealand sales meeting. The event was held at the Moonah Links Golf Resort in the state of Victoria. Victoria is in the southeast portion of the country and is known for lovely seaside views and wineries. It also happens to be where the Acushnet Australia headquarters is located (approximately 1 hour north of the host site). Moonah Links has two courses on site, the Open Course (designed by Aussie golf legend Peter Thomson) and the Legends Course (designed by Ross Perret). The Open Course has hosted two Australian Opens (2003, 2005) and plays annual host to the Nationwide Tour's Moonah Classic.
There are lots of great stories from my trip, so make sure to read the full text by clicking the [Read more -->] below the slideshow.
Click here to begin the slideshow.:
The meeting brought the full Aus/NZ sales teams (numbering around 20) as well as the internal sales, product and marketing teams together. The large majority of the Aus/NZ reps are what we refer to as "triple-combo", meaning they carry Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra products, however there are two FJ focused reps that service the metro areas surrounding Sydney and Melbourne.
The meeting went off without a hitch, as we introduced new shoe, glove and sock products. Australia's seasons are opposite of the U.S., so they're actually readying for their winter season. The products introduced at the meeting will be shown to their customers shortly after they leave Moonah Links, with the shipment scheduled for their Spring timeframe.
The meeting wasn't all business as we did get a chance to tee it on the Legends Course, a very naturally hilly and rugged track requiring a straight tee ball and pinpoint irons shots to elevated greens. My team included Andrew Reed (sales/mkt), Jamie Stickland (FJ Rep Melbourne), and my partner for the two-man best ball Daniel Butler (Triple-Combo Rep Queensland). One of the fun unexpected challenges I ran into in Australia is that EVERYONE has a nickname, which makes it really tough to fully match a face to a name (or names). The team I mentioned above quickly became Reedie, Sticks, Butts, and me...nicknameless. I have to have a really good nickname for my return trip, so submit your recommendations.
I'm sorry to say that the round was hampered by sideways rain more resembling a round in Ireland or Scotland rather than sunny Australia. When all seemed lost, the rain actually let up allowing for a very pleasant (but windy) back nine. I learned a valuable lesson...no matter where you're going, NEVER forget your DryJoys rain pants and RainGrip gloves!
I would have been a lot soggier had I not been able to get my MyJoys into Australia. Turns out Australia has VERY strict regulations on agriculture. They require you to declare "sport shoes" because they may carry traces of grass or pests they do not want in their country...sounds logical. Though I carefully cleaned my shoes before leaving, the outsole still had traces of grass which resulted in a trip to the agriculture quarantine line and a professional shoe cleaning (45 minutes). Note to self, always bring a brand new pair of shoes next time!
Following the event, we headed north to the Acushnet Australia offices (safely navigating a right-hand drive Camry on the left-hand side of the road!). We were given the full tour, which included sales/marketing/customer service, club assembly and distribution...very similar to U.S. operations, just on a smaller scale. After the tour, we headed off for a few days in Melbourne.
There are tons of things to do in Melbourne. I stopped by the annual Jazz Festival in Federation Square and even took in an Australian Rules football game. Aussie Football (or "Footy" as they call it) is a fantastic game that is the combination of the best parts of Soccer (non-stop action) and American Football (tackling and scoring). This particular day, the Hawthorn Hawks defeated the Collingwood Magpies by a score of 154 to 89. The attendance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG was over 76,000, though the stadium can hold over 30,000 more fans comfortably. The game was great, but if you ever get a chance to attend a footy match, you can't leave without trying the famous meat pies!
The remainder of my trip was spent in Sydney (an hour + flight north) where I spent the day with one of Sydney's finest, Glen Feast. Feastie (see, another nickname) is a Titleist focused rep in Sydney and we had a great day visiting some of his premiere accounts. Our stops included both on and off course locations:
After the great day in the field (thanks Feastie), we spent the remaining part of our trip in Sydney taking in all the must-sees tourist destinations in Sydney. Stops included the Harbour Bridge Climb, the Opera House, a harbour cruise, and of course Bondi Beach. All in all, the trip was a wonderful experience for my first time 'Down Under'. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to participate in the meetings. I look forward to getting back real soon.
Australia/New Zealand is a fantastic golf and travel destination, so if you ever find yourself 'Down Under' having forgotten your trusty FJ gear, head to the nearest golf shop where you'll be sure to find the latest selection brought to you by our top-notch sales team from Acushnet Company.
Awesome stories Mike...here's my suggestion for your Australian golfing nickname : "Lowball" or "Lowe-ball"
Thanks Denis..great suggestion!
Great blog Mike..I like "Lowball" for you. It was an enjoyable day on the course, we will get them next time for sure. Cheers Butts. ( Daniel Butler, Qld)
Thanks Butts...I might actually regret asking for a nickname, though Lowball is pretty funny. Hope to see you next year in Queensland!
Just wanted to let you know that from an aussie's perspective your story and photos from your trip down here were enjoyable.Glad you enjoyed the visit.Australia is full of great golf courses so if you have a little more time on your next visit be sure to sample a few more.
If you haven't settled on a nickname yet then how about "Lowie"
Stuart (AKA Stuie or Macca)