Thursday, July 19, 2018

We Got The (REBCX) Band Back Together

It’s hard to believe that the very first RE BarCamp was ten years ago. Looking back, it is one of the best conferences that I have ever attended. It created a movement. It created friendships, it made us think. Many of us that were there ten years ago are still thinking… And still doing cool things.

Sure, a LOT of things are different, but many are exactly the same. Relationships, the desire to be better at our craft, the desire to share information freely with people who make a difference in the lives of others. These are some of the things that bar camp stands for.

Thanks to the efforts of many of the people who put on the very first Real Estate Bar Camp, there was a REBCX this past Monday in San Francisco and it was glorious. Sure, much of the day felt like old home week. We laughed, we embraced, we talked about where we have been, where we are and where we will go. There was an amazing feeling to a day that is hard to explain.

REBCX – We Got The Band Back Together:

REBCX San Francisco

If you are not familiar with what a Real Estate Bar Camp is, this post will probably make absolutely NO sense to you. If you are a fan, you will hopefully appreciate what this 10 year anniversary tribute meant to so many people.

REBCX San Francisco REBCSF 2008

Personally, I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this happen and I’d like to thank everyone who attended. While it was awesome to see SO many great friends in attendance, it was also great to meet people from near and far. People from the east coast, hawaii, Australia and all over the US were in attendance! One of the most interesting conversations I had was with my new frend from Australia who explalined to me a lot of the differences in the US real estate business vs the Aussie real estate business. It was fascinating stuff, for sure!

OK, There WAS a Bar:


REBCX San Francisco

After REBCX, many of us did walk down the street and continued our conversations at an actual bar. Believe it or not, some of my very best friends in the real estate business are people I have met because of the RE Bar Camp that I attended 10 years ago this week. These people continue to be inspirational to me as well as being great sources of knowledge that I lean on quite often. Obviously, not all of the people i know from bar camps could make it to this 10 year reunion and that’s ok. They were missed but, they will continue to be a part of an amazing group of friends that I have made from North to South and from east to West.

Personally, I am already looking forward to REBCXX. Hopefully, I’ll see you there…


    Originally posted on Phoenix Real Estate Guy. If you are reading this anywhere but inside your RSS feed reader or your email client, the site you are on is guilty of stealing content.

    (c) Copyright Jay Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

    from The Phoenix Real Estate Guy

    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    The TRUE Cost of Making a Putter

    Milled putters. The term is often leveraged to imply some element of credibility or superior craftsmanship within the putter world. OEM taglines are littered with self-proclaimed superlatives..."premium, perfectly balanced, state of the art..." And as is often the case, a premium story is often coupled with steep, bordering on extravagant, price tags. Many OTR (off-the-rack) milled putters push the $400 threshold while custom, one-off, prototypes and limited-edition collectible milled putters can quickly push north of $1K.

    But what does it really cost to make a putter?

    So, MyGolfSpy did some digging to ascertain exactly where does your money go when it becomes time to reload the ol' flatstick because as Craig Stadler noted, sometimes "The last one didn't float too well."



    An unfinished, one-piece milled Anser style head from a first-tier milling operation will run $60-$75 per unit. Most begin with a billet of 303 stainless steel. The "303" version of stainless steel was developed specifically for use in milling and machining operations. As a point of reference, a 12-lb billet block can produce two, one-piece putters. Should a putter require separately milled pieces (e.g., neck and head) which then must be welded together, production costs can increase by $15-$30 depending on how much additional raw material and labor time is required. That said, a basic, one-piece milled head which doesn't require copious amounts of engraving or intricate milling operations, will typically fall into the bottom half of this range.

    Carbon steel is a natively softer metal than 303 stainless, and though the raw material cost is less than half that of stainless steel, the lack of chromium makes it more prone to rust, and thus it requires certain finishes which bump the cost back up to roughly the equivalent of a basic 303 stainless steel head.

    The most expensive putters to mill are those with multiple materials, intricate designs (including milled or machined grooves and face inserts) and adjustable weights. For example, interchangeable tungsten weights increase the cost by $4-$5 per weight. Assuming a design calls for the full complement of options, the per unit cost could exceed the aforementioned $75 threshold, though it wouldn't be representative of the majority of milled putters consumers see on the floor at the local big box store or green grass account. Most OEMs are looking to minimize costs of production, not increase them.

    The $60-$75 range factors in larger production runs which take advantage of economies of scale but does not account for polishing, plating or other work which must be done by hand (stamping, paintfill, buffing) to finish the putter. While each of these steps varies in cost, it's rare for more than $15-$20 to the baseline production cost. Toss in those separately milled pieces (body, neck, inserts) and per unit costs could reach as high as $120-$130, though this is rare for most mass-produced models.


    As stated, the sole purpose of 303 stainless steel is to produce milled and machined parts and products.  Its element structure doesn't vary based on where the steel is manufactured or milled. To that end, the notion of a geographically superior product (GSS or German Stainless Steel) is what one industry insider told me is "more a (Scotty) marketing thing than anything else." Point being, labels like "GSS" and "DASS" (the proprietary process used by Bettinardi) describe a heat-treatment process, where the steel is heated and cooled several times to create a tighter grain structure and purportedly a softer feel – but fundamentally, it's still 303 stainless steel. The degree to which an OEM can make a stainless putter feel softer relies upon the assumption that a softer stainless steel putter is preferable to consumers and they are willing to pay a pretty steep premium for this process. It's also worth noting, several individuals inside the industry with whom I spoke offered the following assertions -  "there are much cheaper ways (than heat treatment processes) to make a stainless putter feel soft" and "carbon steel is the preferred material if you want to make a putter feel softer than stainless, but it doesn't have the same marketing buzz." Caveat Emptor.

    CAST et al.


    Milling is the most expensive way to produce a putter, but it doesn't unequivocally lead to better performance. Many OEMs also cast putters or use a combination of milled/machined components along with a cast head. The chief benefit of a cast putter, from a production standpoint, is cost. The same Anser style head which costs $60-$75 to mill barely reaches double digits ($10-$13) as a cast product. Additionally, because many consumers may see a milled face on top of a cast body (referred to as skim milling), it's easy to assume the entire putter is milled, when in fact it's not. It's effectively the difference between a solid cherry armoire and one constructed from composite wood and finished with cherry veneers.

    Skim-milling adds roughly $5 to the overall cost, bringing the total raw cost for a cast putter with skim-milled face to approximately $18.

    Shaft, Grip, Etc.

    The shaft ($3-$4), grip ($1-$1.50) and headcover ($5) add an additional $9-$10.50 to the final cost of each putter. Again, costs can vary based on the grip material (rubber, leather), headcover quality (velcro vs. magnet closure) and the size of the production run.

    • Sum total for the raw production cost of a one-piece milled putter: $84-$105.50
    • Sum total for the raw production cost of a cast putter: $19-$23.50



    Many putters carry an MSRP of roughly 4X the raw production cost.


    At times, OEMs might offer a limited run of putters made from brass, copper, Damascus or other exotic materials. Production costs in these scenarios can vary widely, and it would be entirely speculative to try and include such situations in this analysis.

    The way a putter feels and performs has little, if any, correlation to production cost. Milled putters are the most expensive to produce and thus far our testing shows no evidence that putters which cost more to manufacture perform any better than those which cost less to produce.

    Furthermore, how a putter feels is entirely subjective and is impacted by each factor present in a putting stroke. These factors include, but are not limited to type and depth of face milling (including grooves), face thickness, overall putter geometry, type of face insert, total putter weight and the golf ball.

    Because of this is far too simplistic to suggest that any type of metal or putter composition is preferable to any other, from a performance standpoint.

    Putters with labels such as Limited, Prototype, and Tour Only, whether available at retail or on the secondary market, can fetch 2x to 10x the cost of a standard, OTR putter. In general, limited runs of a particular model require a separate milling time or series of finishing processes, which does serve to increase the production cost, albeit marginally. The substantially higher price tag on such putters benefits the OEM to near exclusion.

    Necessary Disclaimer: Costs referenced are not intended to be exact, and while each OEM will vary within the ranges suggested, the numbers are representative of typical production costs across the industry.

    Does this information surprise you? What's your take? What should we look into next?

    from MyGolfSpy

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    First Look: Scotty Cameron Concept X Putters

    Premium Experimental Prototype Models Introduce Dual-Zone Vibration Dampening, Innovative Neck Configurations and Boundary-Pushing, High-MOI Design

    It’s time to gather that loose change and head to your nearest Coinstar machine. Some of you may be wondering what the spare cash is for, but the putter lover knows that a call to consolidate couch cash can only mean that new Scotty Camerons are on the way!

    Today, Scotty Cameron unveiled his two new Concept X models, the CX-01, and CX-02. The short story on these putters is that they are blades with wings. That’s right; I said blades with wings.

    With the Concept X, Scotty Cameron is seeking the perfect marriage between his traditional Newport 2 blade, and a high MOI mallet. The concept is a sound and noble one. Who wouldn’t want a nice and stable putter that retains the sleek design of a blade - as sleek as a blade with wings can be anyway. Cameron isn't the first to give this idea a shot, there have been other high MOI blade/mallet attempts in the past, I’m sure you can list a few, but to be blunt, most of those putters were so ugly that there was little real interest in gaming them.

    Will the Concept X putters be the first ones that truly get the blade and mallet marriage right, or will these too end up just waiting in the wings?

    Blades with Wings

    “Each model features high-MOI producing 'wings' that seemingly melt into the ground at address for added stability and forgiveness.”

    Cameron has never lacked for hyperbole. I love that they are out in front of those who would ridicule the non-traditional design, but “melt into the ground,” seriously?



    Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of Scotty's unconventional designs. His Futura X is still one of my favorite mallets, occasionally finding bag time to this day. That putter is rad, but it doesn’t melt into the ground.

    Apart from melting, the wings do what you'd expect they would. By using lighter materials in the center of the putter, and adding the wings, Cameron was able to increase the MOI of the putter. Conventional wisdom says that this boost in MOI will increase the stability of the putter during the swing, and that should then lead to more putts made or at least more consistent putting.

    If it does that, who cares if it melts?

    Other Features: Scotty Cameron Concept X

      • The CX-01 features a plumber-like Nuckle Neck that provides one shaft of offset and toe hang like a Newport 2.
      • The CX-02’s “Joint neck” will provide more toe hang for those with more of an arcing stroke.
    • DUAL-ZONE VIBRATION DAMPENING CHAMBERS: The aluminum insert not only removes weight from the body but also helps with tuning the putter for sound and vibration.
    • INDUSTRIAL DESIGN-INSPIRED COSMETICS: The body features a new “stealth gray” finish, and the insert is anodized black. An interesting departure is the lack of finish on the tour dots. Although the dots are milled in stainless steel, I wonder if their raw nature will be prone to rust.

    Concept X Lands Soon

    The new Scotty Cameron Concept X models will be landing in a North American golf shop near you on August 31 with a minimum advertised price of $599. And you wonder why I had you start hunting for coins. Those of you not in North America will need to wait until September 28th to try these at your local shop.

    The timing of this release along with the $600 price point is certainly interesting. We've been hearing for quite some time about a second generation Concept line from Titleist. In addition to drivers and irons, we've been told that the new lineup would likely include both wedges and putters. We've assumed that the putters would come in the form of a unique Cameron offering. The design, price, limited availability of this release, and of course, the name itself, suggests they were meant to be part of that lineup. The full Concept line will eventually come, and when it does, we suspect JP Wedges will figure prominently in the lineup as well.

    What are your first impressions? Has Scotty Cameron come up with the next big thing in putters? Will the wings really melt into the ground? More importantly, are you interested in trying one of these out?

    from MyGolfSpy


    Back in 1999, TaylorMade introduced its first rescue club. And while it wasn’t the first hybrid on the market, it was the first to blow up and achieve any degree of popularity. The impact was such that Rescue became more than just a brand, for many golfers it became the category name. Think about that for a second; drivers never got called Big Bertha's, but plenty of golfers referred to their hybrids as Rescues. That’s how significant TaylorMade is to the category. That was then. We’d wager that TaylorMade’s marketing department will not capture lightning in a bottle a second time with the release of its new GAPR line.

    GAPR: A series of clubs that gap the distances between your irons and your woods. You know…like hybrids (or rescues) but with a greater variety of options. The GAPR name may not quite be on the level of RocketBallz, and Jetspeed – the former a smashing success, the latter an unmitigated disaster, but was so wrong with Rescue?

    Marketing aside, hybrid clubs are an essential part of a modern set of golf clubs.

    With the modern golf ball there aren’t many golfers who should be using a traditional long iron. And with their long shafts and insanely high ball flights, clubs like 7 and 9-woods are largely reserved for slower swingers. Hybrids and driving irons were made to fill the gap(r), but neither is without its issues.

    Driving irons are not easy clubs to hit unless you have a ton of clubhead speed and some ball striking chops. The footprint of hybrids has expanded and many, from a size perspective, encroach on the fairway wood space. Frankly, we’re a long way removed from the nimble and versatile clubs hybrids were meant to be. And we still haven’t talked about how better players often struggle to keep from hooking them. As a group, the category is far from perfect.

    GAPR is intended to bridge the gap between your longest playable iron and your shortest metalwood – an idea, by the way, that’s been a documented and integral part of the Titleist fitting philosophy for years. This isn’t new thinking by any measure, though TaylorMade may argue that, with three models, it offers greater fitting flexibility.

    So why then should you be interested in the GAPR? TaylorMade will tell you it's because of SpeedFoam; one of the ingredients in its ongoing legal battle with PXG. TaylorMade uses SpeedFoam to help generate ball speed and dampen vibrations. You get a solid feel but with hot ball speeds. Those that have hit the P790 know they deliver on this promise.

    The GAPR line features three distinct models, and each offers some measure of SpeedFoam. Each is constructed with 450 stainless steel bodies and C300 steel faces. All three models feature Speed Slots and Loft Sleeve adjustable hosels, and all come stock with KBS Graphite hybrid shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grips.

    It’s also true that each features aquamarine accents, which while not matching perfectly, fit somewhere between Callaway’s choice for the Epic and Rogue lines. Even the font shares similarities. It’s a sudden departure for the BMW-inspired choice of the latest M-Series. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t happen by accident. Is TaylorMade trading on Callaway’s success or actively trolling its top competitor? Take your pick, but either way, it’s another example of once might TaylorMade following trends instead of setting them.


    In the lead up to the Open Championship, the GAPR LO has made it into a few TaylorMade tour bags. The GAPR Low is a low offset driving iron, a touch larger than the P790 UDI, and closer in size to the TP UDI. Its audience is the better player. Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson have both been seen testing these in practice at Carnoustie. While some of what’s appeared on tour is of the glued hosel variety, the retail GAPR LO offers an adjustable hosel, something we've only seen previously on Cobra driving irons. The GAPR LO comes in lofts of 17°, 19°, and 22° degree options.


    The GAPR MID is a larger iron style hybrid. Think along the lines of a Ping Crossover. A wider sole, an ultra-low center of gravity, and a small little alignment aid are hallmarks of the design. Oh and remember SpeedFoam. Lots of SpeedFoam. It comes in 18°, 21°, and 24° degree options.


    Rounding out the lineup is the GAPR HI. Featuring what TaylorMade calls ‘modern Rescue’ shaping. An ultra-low, but back center of gravity should help generate high flying, low spinning shots. It’s your requisite maximum distance kind of story. To keep the CG low, the TM team had to use a modified SpeedFoam as the original goo raised the CG and left the club feeling dead at impact. The unusual stepped crown design helps push the CG even lower. The design is reminiscent of the Yonex Tri-Principle and Element 23 hybrids from years gone by. The GAPR HI comes in lofts 19°, 22°, 25°, and 28° degree options.

    Adams Golf DNA?

    The encouraging thing about the GAPR range is how much the shaping of the MID and HI suggest they could have been designed by the now-defunct Adams Golf. Specialising in hybrid clubs, Adams was one of the first to produce true hybrid sets, and the GAPR Mid takes a lot of the club shaping from the mid irons in the Tech OS V3 irons from 2013. We’re not saying they haven’t been updated, but it’s clear to see a shared DNA from the brand TaylorMade swallowed up 2012.

    It’s fair to question the necessity of the GAPR line. It was only at the beginning of the year that TaylorMade released M3 and M4 Rescues. The P790 UDI is relatively new to the market as well. In a rush to add sales for their new investors, has TaylorMade attempted to create a category because a need exists, or is the need simply related to boosting revenue? We’re skeptical, as it has the makings of a mid-season cash grab from a company struggling to find any significantly innovative ideas to bring to market.

    For more information, visit

    from MyGolfSpy