Golf Datatech’s Serious Golfer Shopping & Purchasing Habits Study, published roughly every two years, is one of the industry’s most significant indicators of what’s going on at the heart of golf retail.

“Like most consumer shopping preferences in the United States, serious golfers’ choices about shopping for golf equipment or apparel have changed significantly over the past few years,” says John Krzynowek, a Partner in Golf Datatech LLC.

“The retail environment is rapidly evolving across all consumer products in the USA, and the purchasing of golf products is no exception. In fact, shopping for, and buying golf products is frequently a multi-step process. Gone are the days when golfers would buy without shopping for product features, as well as comparing prices. Today’s golfer is savvier about product life cycles and price/value relationships.”

Golf Datatech tapped over 2,500 golfers from its database, surveying multiple demographics, including: golf handicap, gender, facility played, geographic region, alpha consumers (those that buy products most frequently) and price points, along with a special investigation of online shopping habits.

The survey found online shopping for golf equipment is up more than 50 percent year-over-year. Just last year, a GPAU study found participants were most likely to make their next equipment purchase online just 13 percent of the time.

Interestingly, buying more equipment online hasn’t made consumers more impulsive: The average respondent said it takes him/her three months to pull the trigger on a new piece of equipment.

Also worth remembering in evaluating the increase in online sales: More than 100 brick and mortar golf shops have closed in the U.S. in the past year.

Krzynowek also says, “Purchase cycles in clubs have shortened slightly over the past few years, but still remain elongated from an historical point of view.”

Another tidbit: Here’s what Golf Datatech found with respect to average equipment purchase cycles.

  • Drivers: 4 years
  • Irons: 5 years
  • Wedges: 4 years
  • Putters: 6 years
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33 COMMENTS

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  1. Buying last year’s model or buying used = big’money savings.
    I got a used 917D2 from Globalgolf for $230. No way in heck I’m paying $450 for a new club that’s worth $250 after I play a few rounds.

  2. For all of you uniformed people saying all golf equipment sold on EBay is fake, get real. You have no idea the current state of how a very large portion of golf clubs are sold in the United States. And by the very manufacturers that also sell to brick and mortar. Callaway has a great preowned site, best trade-in prices, authentic certificates and there “like new clubs” are in a large number of cases, new. They have the number one selling driver now on there, Epic. And the prices are good but get really great when they have sales like ever other week. And guest were Callaway also sells clubs, right now they have 66,667 clubs listed on EBAY.. Mizuno is different they don’t have a preowned site but they sell clubs to lots of small internet dealers or brick and morter who sell on eBay, you place your order, it’s built by Mizuno and shipp d by them to you at a lower cost.

    Now if you play Pings or Titelest they are still trying to control pricing especially Ping. So you have to pay way more to get your shiny new clubs.

    And that’s the key lower cost, authentic clubs, faster. Retail stores are dead. The golf store is dead.

    Internet has enabled a new retail model. Get on board.

    • how do you know what lie angle you need? what shaft you need? what loft you need on drivers? keep acting in ways that will result in not being able to test clubs out. “the internet” isn’t selling clubs at 1/2 the price of a brick and mortar. that’s just not logical. most brick and mortars will price match if you give them the chance.

      • anyone can go to a reputable fitter, get fit, and then buy the clubs online new or used.

        no, we don’t need to go beat balls with random clubs at the closet golf galaxy to figure out what to buy. this is actually probably more detrimental as their launch monitors aren’t all that accurate to begin with.

  3. Why is it when eBay is mentioned I immediately think counterfeit? Maybe it’s because when the price of a set of irons is $1300 and you can get a new set on eBay for $600, something doesn’t seem correct. Some mfr’s are listing their authorized eBay Sellers. That’s a good thing for the buyer.

    • can’t help but laugh at those who think everything on ebay is fake. the joke is on you for paying retail prices when same clubs can be bought at a steep discount. your example is an exaggeration of course.

  4. Seems some people here are still in denial about the future of brick and mortar stores. Do we really need stats to tell us this? Amazon and other online retailers are growing quickly and so are the number of people buying from them. Sure it’s nice to support local from buying local, but it’s dumb to believe this is somehow going to stem the tide permanently. And a lot of people seem to believe they can stop the train.

    Like it or not, the future is a lot of empty retail stores (not just in golf) and almost everything you buy will be from online retailers. Toys R Us just became the next victim of Amazon. Who is next? Best Buy is on the brink. And it will take some time (10-15yrs) but eventually the sporting goods stores will go too and that will be that for the in-store golf buying experience. Send all thank you cards to Amazon and Walmart.

  5. I bought a set of brand new Wilson Staff v4 irons 4-GW on ebay for $330. Brand new, in the Wilson box with all the plastic head wrap and everything. Why the heck would I pay $900 in a store? Or even $650 when they get marked down after a product cycle?

    • because they are probably fake or stolen. how do you logic out that you can buy clubs for 1/3 or even 1/2 the price online? do you honestly think there is that much margin in golf clubs? if you do then you’re a moron.

    • This could very well be possible. I have made over 100 online purchases in the last 3 years buying used clubs, through various sites. I have been a club fitter so I know what my specs are and it is fun to try new equipment just to have something new in the bag. It doesn’t effect my scoring at all and I still go to lessons like any serious golfer.

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