Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) today introduced the new Big Bertha Golf Balls, the latest addition to the Company’s revamped line of high-performance golf balls. The first golf balls to carry the Big Bertha name feature a two-piece design engineered for maximum distance with the added benefit of Callaway Golf’s patented dimple-free HEX aerodynamics. The new Big Bertha Golf Balls will be available in Red for more distance and Blue for more spin, and are expected to ship to retail accounts next month at a suggested retail price of $25 per dozen.
“The Big Bertha name has always been about innovation, distance and making the game more fun,” said Ron Drapeau, Chairman and CEO of Callaway Golf. “The Big Bertha Golf Balls fit right into that philosophy of using technology to create products that make the game more fun for the average player. Along with the recently introduced Big Bertha Titanium Driver, Big Bertha Stainless Steel Fairway Woods and new Big Bertha Irons, the Big Bertha Golf Balls round out our exciting new family of Big Bertha clubs and balls for 2004.”
Callaway says that the Big Bertha Golf Balls have significant differences from other two-piece golf balls on the market. First and foremost is the patented HEX aerodynamic pattern. This proprietary pattern of rounded, crisscrossing tubes forms a series of hexagons and pentagons – a more efficient configuration than traditional dimple patterns that often leave excess flat space between dimples, thus increasing drag and decreasing lift. The Big Bertha Golf Balls achieve 100 percent surface coverage, which reduces drag at takeoff and increases lift at the end of the ball’s flight. This produces a high, strong trajectory with the potential for increased distance.
Each Big Bertha Golf Ball features a proprietary ionomer blend for a softer cover that is just as durable as that on a standard two-piece distance ball. The softer cover also provides better feel and performance around the green while still producing distance-enhancing ball speed and trajectory off the driver. The Big Bertha Golf Balls also have relatively soft, low-compression cores. This large rubber core is very resilient, which helps transfer energy more efficiently from club to ball.
The Big Bertha Red Golf Ball is a soft-feel distance ball, designed with a cover and core composition calibrated for more distance while still delivering responsive feel. Meanwhile, the Big Bertha Blue Golf Ball is a combination of distance feel and spin, with higher compression and a softer cover fine-tuned to deliver complete performance. Both models will be available at a suggested retail price of £17.99 a dozen.
All Big Bertha Golf Balls will feature the Old English Callaway Golf logo and chevron, and like the entire Callaway Golf line of golf balls, the Big Bertha Golf Balls conform to the Rules of Golf as administered by the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
The Company also announced that it expects consolidated net sales and fully diluted earnings per share for the year ending 31st December 2003 to be approximately $810 million and between $0.65 and $0.67, including a positive effect on earnings of about $0.05 per share attributable to a lower than usual effective tax rate in 2003.
This earnings estimate also includes a negative effect on earnings of approximately $0.23 per share attributable to charges, primarily non-cash, which are expected to be taken in the fourth quarter in connection with the integration of the Callaway Golf and Top-Flite operations. Excluding these integration charges, diluted earnings per share for 2003 are estimated to be between $0.88 and $0.90 per share.
For the full year 2004, the Company’s current guidance is that consolidated net sales will be approximately $1.03 billion (plus/minus 3%), a 27% increase compared to 2003 estimates. Fully diluted earnings per share for 2004 are estimated to be between $0.82 and $0.97, including additional charges, primarily non-cash, associated with the further integration of the Callaway Golf and Top-Flite operations.
These additional charges are projected to have a negative effect on earnings of approximately $0.33 per share. Excluding these additional integration charges, diluted earnings per share for 2004 are estimated to be between $1.15 and $1.30 per share.
“As our guidance reflects, we are cautiously optimistic about 2004,” said Ron Drapeau, Chairman and CEO. “We plan to capture some of the benefits of the Top-Flite acquisition next year by eliminating the losses in the Callaway Golf golf ball business. Meanwhile, our consolidated revenues are expected to increase both as the result of the acquisition and from organic growth.”
Callaway Golf www.callawaygolf.com