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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jack Nicklaus Introduces Golf Ball Line

Jack Nicklaus will introduce a new line of golf balls with a double mission: simplifying the game and giving to charity. The winner of 18 major championships says the balls will accommodate three skill levels of player through a color-code system designed to match the traditional tees from which they play. The three golf balls--Nicklaus Black, Nicklaus Blue, and Nicklaus White--will be available online and in golf pro shops and other retailers.

The balls are going into production this month and will begin shipping in November. In addition to online sales, they will be sold at the more than 200 Nicklaus Design courses nationwide. A percentage from every golf ball sold in those shops will be donated directly back to the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation to support pediatric programs and hospitals nationwide, while visitors to Nicklaus.com will have the ability to support the Foundation with voluntary contributions.

"We all know that the game of golf can be challenging enough, so we are trying to simplify the decision-making process of selecting the right golf ball and at the same time provide consumers the highest-quality golf balls and at a price that encourages charitable support," Jack Nicklaus said. "By buying these balls, players will get the added benefit of supporting these wonderful charities that help children in need as well as the families that dearly love them.

"The idea of creating three balls corresponds to the teeing areas golfers typically play. The Nicklaus White ball is designed for the players who might typically play the forward or white tees.  Nicklaus Blue is designed for players who would typically play the middle or blue tees.  And, finally, Nicklaus Black is designed for the single-digit or better golfer who generally plays from the back tees."

The introduction of a Nicklaus-designed and branded golf ball is the latest venture since Nicklaus partnered with Howard Milstein in 2007 to help further the growth of the company and to realize the full potential of the brands and branded businesses. Howard Milstein is Chairman and CEO of New York Private Bank & Trust, and is actively involved in the Nicklaus Companies as Co-Chairman along with Jack.

Nicklaus added, "For more than three years, we have contemplated entering the golf ball business, so over that time, I have been researching and testing golf balls. There are a lot of very good balls on the market, but I was not able to find a ball that fully met my expectations and hopes-not just for me or other professionals, but more important, for the everyday golfer. So I simply decided not to enter the business until I found that ball. Well, I found that ball. Actually, I found three.

"These golf balls are designed for every level of play, from the everyday or recreational golfer-be it men, women, children, or seniors-to the tour professional. No matter the age or ability, there is a golf ball to fit your game. Our strategy is based on a simple principle: skill level is an extremely important factor when selecting the right golf ball. From the tees you play, we know your swing speed; this is paramount when choosing a golf ball. But no matter the percentage of players who know their swing speed, 100 percent of them know the tees they play."

Over the decades spent fashioning his record-setting career-one that includes a record 18 professional major championships, 120 professional victories worldwide, including 73 on the PGA Tour, as well as four captaincies of The Presidents Cup-Jack has exhibited a passion for introducing and growing the game worldwide. Jack has been a Trustee and national co-chair for The First Tee, and this year he launched an initiative with SNAG (Starting New At Golf) called the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, which gives children ages 5 through 12 the opportunity to be introduced to the game at parks and recreation facilities nationwide. Jack was also a "Global Ambassador" for the game's unified campaign to have golf returned to the Olympic Games. In July, Jack received the Ambassador of Golf Award, presented annually to a person who fosters the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.

With accessibility and growth of the game paramount, the online model will save golfers money by reducing hidden distribution costs typically built into golf balls sold through traditional retail channels. For example, Nicklaus Black will sell in pro shops for $50 a dozen, but while that is the recommended price when sold through Nicklaus.com, visitors to the site will pay $32, plus a voluntary contribution of up to $20 for those who can afford a donation. Nicklaus Blue and Nicklaus White are priced somewhat lower at $46 in pro shops, but on Nicklaus.com, visitors only pay $28 a dozen plus the optional contribution. This distribution approach lets people buy the highest quality balls in a way that encourages them to support the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, which champions the health, safety and well-being of children nationwide. During a month-long pre-order period, customers can order the ball for discounted introductory prices of $30 (Nicklaus Black) and $26 (Nicklaus Blue and Nicklaus White).

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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