Yesterday we briefly discussed some of the shortcomings of the modern fitting experience in Fittings: Placebo?. While aspects of a fitting are crucial to playing your best (loft, lie, length), unpredictable variables exist in golf that will greatly affect launch, carry, roll out, that you can’t prepare for in an hour session. Fittings may currently be an imperfect process, but nonetheless, the future of golf purchases will rely on fittings.
Ask any industry “insider,” legitimate or self described, and they will tell you the current big box retail approach to golf cannot continue. They’ll bore you to death with “release cycles ” and “manufacturer credits.” You can spend days studying these and how they relate to every company. However, the situation is a lot simpler than that. Logic tells you that the way we buy golf clubs has to change. Just look at the way we buy everything else.
We are already seeing golf catch up in online sales channels. All of the major companies now sell clubs direct over the Internet. However, golf clubs, like shoes, are something you just need to try before you buy and this leads us to the future of golf sales. The problem is obviously carrying the options for you to try. Manufactures have already made a dent in this with variable loft heads. BestGrips contributed by narrowing down the grip search to one of our fine leather grips. Shafts on the other hand don’t have that easy of a solution. There’s thousands of offerings. Far too many for a retailer to ever readily stock. So what happens?
The solution is already out there. A retailer will carry a few stock options for guys that don’t need anything special and the rest of us will place an order for our desired setup. Gone will be the days of 1000’s of clubs lining the aisles. Gone will be the days of unsold clubs from 3 seasons ago. Gone will be the days of great bargains on said dusty lingering clubs. The future of retail golf is almost guaranteed to go the way of the custom fit. There’s less inventory to hold, less risk to take, and more potential for mark ups in upgrades and fittings.
This series will complete tomorrow with Not All Fittings Are Created Equal.
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As part of a week long State of Golf event, I’ve covered the problem in golf and the solution. As part of the solution, golf needs more businesses focussing on the customer and their needs and less on inventory turnover and “to make last year’s product look old” (an actual quote by an actual golf exec). […]
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Yesterday, I painted a bleak picture of the golf industry. Some blame the ball and many blame rising costs but, no one sees the blatant dismissal and disrespect of the common golfer the entire industry shares. A coincidental example of this is, “Our goal is to make last year’s product look old,” a claim by a senior level member of […]
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