Whatever happened to Top-Flite? Yes, the brand is still out there. No, it's not one of golf's most-popular ball brands anymore. Now, the Top-Flite brand is owned by Dick's Sporting Goods, which makes Top-Flite balls (also available on Amazon) a sort of "house brand."
But return with us now to some of the last glory days of Top-Flite. It's 2008. The brand is owned by Callaway. And marketers within Callaway - specifically Nate Randle, the national brand manager of Top-Flite at the time - come up with a viral marketing strategy: A rap video starring "golf's first superhero," D2 Man.
D2 Man dressed like Space Ghost and was accompanied by The Cart Girlz. Together they rapped and cooed about the joys of hitting it long - and the evils of wimping out and laying up.
Never lay up, gentlemen, never lay up. Sample lyrics:
Let me paint a picture so it’s real vivid
When we’re on the links and you go timid
I’ll be in your face getting crazy loco
Playing safe golf is like sipping cocoa.
If you ever lag a putt or play to lay up
I’ll be in your face yelling, 'Yo, wassup!'
No, it's not great rapping. But it was great marketing.
D2 Man was named for the Top-Flite D2 golf ball, which introduced the brands "dimple in dimple" technology. A 2008 press release by Callaway went all-in on the "never lay up" tone and ethos:
"Top-Flite announced today that it is tired of golfers being swept under by a wave of play-it-safe "wimptitude." To combat this cowardice, Top-Flite is insisting that all players who value opportunity over consequence tee up the balls to go for it and NEVER LAY UP! Leading the charge and saving the world from the evils of wuss golf is Top-Flite superhero and YouTube sensation, D2 Man.
"As golf's first Superhero, D2 Man has been taking the internet by storm, rapping and mercilessly calling out golfers who choose to lay up and lag putts. While Top-Flite's D2 golf balls are armed with cutting-edge Dimple in Dimple(TM) aerodynamics, D2 Man is equipped with superior trash talking skills and is spreading the word that a shot worthy of a story is worth far more than playing it safe."