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Downsized Callaway Exec Goes Up in Size With Massive Club Heads

NAPLES, FLA. ( — The market for oversized, offensively-named golf clubs, once dominated by Callaway Golf's "Big Bertha" line, is expanding in more ways than one with the introduction of "Way Fat Ugly Bitch®" titanium woods from ParSix Golf.

Analysts estimate the Bitches, with club heads the size of room air conditioners, will present a major challenge to Callaway and other equipment makers.

"I think it's just a horrible, horrible name for a golf club," said Goldman Sachs analyst Patricia Trent-Jones. "But the thing's got a sweet spot as big as my head, and frankly I think that's going to attract a lot of consumers."

Golf Pro Holds His Best Bitch

Grabbing market share from Callaway would be "sweet irony" for ParSix CEO Peyton Hollings, a former Callaway executive. Once the industry's top-selling club, Big Bertha sales fell sharply in the late 1990s as competitors matched its girth. Hollings suggested the company regain market share by producing a monstrously large club head, but he was rebuffed. When Callaway restructured in 1998, Hollings was let go.

The next year, while Callaway made incremental increases in both size and sales with its Great Big Bertha and Biggest Big Bertha lines, Hollings formed ParSix and began building his Bitches, which are noted for their low center of gravity and relatively light weight.

"Big Bertha heads were big, about the size of a softball, and Great Big Bertha's were also huge, but they weren't willing to go all the way," said Hollings. "We are. Our Way Fat Ugly Bitch woods, as the name implies, are outrageously big, yet competitively priced."

A set of four (driver, 3, 5, and 7), will carry a suggested retail price of about $700, said Hollings, who added major retailers will initially be offered incentives to discount the Bitches up to 20 percent.

ParSix said it has been testing the Bitches since June, and claims that 92 percent of golfers who used the clubs preferred them over their previous brands. One tester, Andrew Johnson, the touring pro at Largo Lakes Country Club in Key Largo, Fla., was among those impressed.

"I liked all them Bitches," said Johnson. "I mean, I did have problems with my No. 5 Bitch, know what I'm saying? But I bagged that Bitch and switched to my No. 7, and now that's my best Bitch."

A.G. Edwards retail analyst Paul Wellstones, however, said he expects golfers will be more interested in Callaway's new line of Trucker Butt Putters®, due out in the spring, which have a titanium head the shape and size of a loaf of bread.

"The Way Fat line basically just ups the ante for oversized woods, but the Trucker Butts are the first abhorrently oversized putter heads, and I think that's a niche no one has even thought of," said Wellstones.


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