Rickie Fowler to AMP up his golf gear?

Cobra-Puma Golf's AMP driver

LPGA Tour teen phenom Lexi Thompson will have them in her bag, and Ian Poulter has already added a 3-wood to his. But speculation abounds that Rickie Fowler will soon replace his Titleist gear with the new Cobra-Puma Golf AMP sticks that sport the former Oklahoma State golfer’s favorite colors.

With orange and black the color combo in the new AMP driver, fairway wood, irons, and hybrids for men (women’s clubs feature green and silver, though it might have made more sense to highlight Thompson’s favored Sunday blue), the hammers’ cast reflects the blazing couture that the popular Fowler brings to the tee. The official company line is that Fowler represents Puma’s stylish clothing line proudly but that he swings another manufacturer’s clubs.

“Rickie is endorsed by Puma Golf. He’s not using Cobra clubs up to this point,” Bob Philion, president of the Carlsbad, Calif., company told us recently. “Rumors are out there and we have some exciting announcements to make over the first quarter.

“We’re just really excited to have Rickie being part of the family,” Philion added. “He’s a Puma Golf athlete and we’ve got some juicy news we’ll be coming out with soon.”

Fowler adding the AMP (for Advanced Material Placement) bats to his bag would certainly bolster Cobra’s aim, which is to be the cool kid on the course who has the snazziest, most dished-about equipment. That is, to live up to its “Fresh. Juicy. Sweet technology” slogan.

“Whether it’s golf, cars, or computers,” said Philion, “anywhere you go you have to have a balance of stuff that works, and that coolness and wrap-around that makes it intriguing as an entire package.”
Cobra wants you to use the tools that help you play your best and that, just as importantly, are delightful to waggle and just admire. To that end, Cobra will roll out a number of non-traditional marketing initiatives to drill home the point that golf is fun.

“Our marketing will separate us from the pack based on weaving that ‘game-enjoyment’ message through there,” Philion said. “We’re getting very active on the social [media] side.”
The company, whose inflatable white cube packed with DJs, competitions, and sports celebrities was the place to hang at last year’s PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day, intends to offer the same “golf experience…infused with a big does of fun,” later this month in Orlando, according to Philion.

While declining to divulge specific figures, Philion claimed the company’s significant growth since Puma acquired Cobra from Acushnet in 2010 proved that consumers had embraced the firm’s vision of golf as an entertaining enterprise.

“We did significantly more golf business in 2011 than we did in 2010 and we’re expecting to grow again in 2012,” he said. “So we feel like our…message is resonating and translating into sales.”
Cobra’s deal with Thompson may have something to do with the supplier’s healthy financials as well. The newest and youngest member of the women’s tour (she’ll turn 17 in February) has become an instant fan favorite and her equipment provider expects to cash in on her cache.

“You’re going to see a lot of Lexi this year,” Philion said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that she has full LPGA status…and is representing both our brands.”


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