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Clampett: Is confusion the leading cause of golfers quitting the game?

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It seems that lately I’ve had a run of golfers attending my two-day Signature School with similar stories.

“Bobby, I have too many swing thoughts! I don’t know what I should think about when I swing.” Nearly without exception, these golfers tell me that their increased frustration had led to a deterioration of their game. It’s really a shame, because many of these frustrated golfers were at one time low, single-digit handicap players that had fallen to bogey-level golf.

In these schools, I have the time to start peeling back the onion with each student, and I’m hearing the same story over and over. My first question is always, “How did you find out about us?” Usually, it’s through referral or the result of an internet search for instruction help. My second questions is, “What do you hope to accomplish in our two days together?” They almost always respond, “Bobby, my head is spinning with too many swing thoughts. I don’t know what to do. Your approach to impact makes the most sense I’ve seen. That’s why I’m here.”

Statistics indicate that 4 million golfers quit the game in the United States every year. And if you polled each of these 4 million golfers, you’d find confusion to be the common denominator in their decision to quit.

I googled “golf instruction” and received more than 33 million results. Then I went to “YouTube” and typed in “Golf Tip.” There were 932,000 results. Scores of golfers get emails everyday suggesting a new thought or idea to improve their game. They watch television and pick up some more advice. They subscribe to golf magazines suggesting all kinds of ideas. Then they go to the range or course and put as much of it into action as their memories and bodies will allow… only to find it just doesn’t work! They’re farther away from playing good golf than they were when they began seeking out these swing fixes.

Many of my students are avid golfers who come to my schools on the brink of quitting the game all together. One student’s story was so sad. He confessed that no one at his club wanted to play with him anymore because his game had declined so sharply. He was considering selling his membership. In tears, he shared with us that all of his friends were members of his club.

Why is there all this confusion around the golf swing? There are two simple reasons.

The first involves the idea that “style-based” teaching is still the most common approach to improving a golfer’s game, and in my opinion, this doesn’t work very well for most golfers. Style-based instruction centers around a certain look. These teachers ask golfers to set up to the ball this way, get in these backswing positions, make this move on the downswing, look like this at the finish… and so on. Meanwhile, the Dustin Johnsons, Jim Furyks, and Bubba Watsons of the golfing world don’t possess golf swings that look anything like the “style” being suggested. When swing tips are given for “style” reasons, they’re arbitrary, a visual preference, and can’t be measured.

The second reason golfers are more confused today than they’ve ever been is the climate of today’s golf instruction world. We live in a new age, the digital age, and golfers are being bombarded by countless forms of media suggesting how to improve their games. These tips have a very wide range of theories and suggestions, most of which are conflicting.

Set up with your weight on the left foot. No, on the right foot. No, in the middle.

Have a short, compact swing. No, get a big shoulder turn for more distance. No, just swing around your body.

Finish high. No, finish low and left.

You get the picture. Without the ability to discern fact from fiction when it comes to all of this information, golfers go to the driving range in search of that secret pill that’s going to make it all work. The truth is that a secret pill that’s “style-based” just doesn’t exist. The best golf teachers know that the “style” of swing really doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters in playing good golf is creating good impact. That’s what Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson all have in common, and that’s why they are all great golfers and great ball-strikers.

Good instructors understand what it is that these great players do to create that good impact, and they have the ability to offer clear remedies that might be built on only one or two simple thoughts. When a golfer is limited to thinking about only one or two key things, their mind is free and so is their swing. It’s not paralysis by analysis that ruins golfers, but rather paralysis by having too many needless and ineffective swing thoughts that ruins golfers.

Good instruction and good swing tips help golfers understand the impact their swing needs to create to be a good ball-striker. When a golfer’s impact isn’t good, a good instructor will help the student understand the specific element of their impact that wasn’t good and provide the appropriate remedy to fix it. Using today’s modern technology helps reveal precisely what was good or bad about a swing’s impact. After the remedy is given, technology will specifically be able to measure and show improvement in the various elements of impact. Game improvement can now be measured and verified by viewing the specific areas where impact is improved. When students see this measured improvement, hope is restored, confidence grows, scores drop and fewer golfers quit the game!

Be aware that it’s fine to read these articles and view these swing tips for their entertainment and educational value, but golfers should only apply the tips when they know they will help them improve a specific element of their impact. Then and only then will their game improve. One thing is for certain in golf, better impact equals better golf. That is where the “hope” of a good golf game is to be found.

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For students wanting to experience how improving their impact will improve their games, Bobby suggests coming to his next Signature Golf School, creating your own private school for your own group, and/or signing up for a private lesson. Simply go to: www.impactzonegolf.com or call 239-236-5536. For those instructors who want to learn "Impact-Based®" instruction, Bobby Clampett now has a fully developed Advanced Level One online training fully supported by the PGA and LPGA with continuing education credits. For those who complete, Bobby and Impact Zone Golf are developing a Certification Program and ultimately a masters Program. Impact Zone Golf is ready to build an army of good golf instructors and rid the epidemic of frustrated golfers victimized by "style-based" instruction methods. Bobby Clampett is a well-known PGA Tour Winner and Longtime CBS Golf Broadcaster, but perhaps he will be best known for his discovery of Impact-Based® Instruction. His two golf academies are in Naples, Florida: Indoor Performance Studio (1040 Collier Center Way, Unit 14, Naples, FL 34110) and at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Bobby is the first golf instructor in history to be a PGA Tour winner and earn PGA Master Professional in Teaching and Coaching. He and his team of Impact-Based® Academy Trained instructors offer year-round Golf Schools, Private Lessons, Women’s Programs, Annual and Seasonal Coaching Programs, Competitive Junior Training and much more. He now offers Instructor Training and Certification approved by the PGA and LPGA. Visit: https://impactzonegolf.com or call: 239-236-5536.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Warwick Weedon

    Mar 27, 2018 at 2:51 am

    I fully agree. I had a dreadful round. The next day I went to the range and asked the pro what aspect of the swing I should concentrate on. He replied, ” You have been playing the game for 30 years – just swing and hit the ball!” It worked like a charm!!!

  2. K Varnsen

    Mar 26, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Time & money have been and always will be the most important factors in golfers quitting the game.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

      No… most of them quit because they come to the realization they are non-athletic cruud and can’t drive the ball over 200 yards.

  3. Ron

    Mar 26, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    “One student’s story was so sad. He confessed that no one at his club wanted to play with him anymore because his game had declined so sharply. He was considering selling his membership. In tears, he shared with us that all of his friends were members of his club.”

    Cue the violins. If this ain’t a 1st world problem idk what is..

  4. Mike Cleland

    Mar 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    The reason people are leaving the game is COST.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      People also leave the game because nobody wants to play with them… they’re incompetent!!

  5. Tyler

    Mar 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    It’s pretty ridiculous to suggest confusion as the main reason why people are quitting the game. It’s finances and time but Bob should know that considering most of his articles always end up as a shameless plug for his teaching/amateur golf accomplishments. There is no other sport like golf where one much purchase so much over priced equipment, equipment that the equipment manufactures will tell you is obsolete in just a year or two. All the other majors sports require minimal equipment to purchase that hasn’t changed in years. Most companies now are targeting the high end market which will just continue to drive people away. What other major sports require dress codes? It’s just the way it is.

  6. dennis Clark

    Mar 26, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I’ve been writing about this topic for over 6 years in this site. “Impact teaching”, a concept I learned from John Jacobs 30+ years ago, is the ONLY way to approach instruction. Reference my 100+ articles, same theme…always was, always will be..

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      That’s because you are ignorant about the latest scientific revelations about the golf swing… like the Kinetic Chain… and Newtonian Physics… all beyond the brainlets of old dog teachers who can easily con gullible golfers looking for an instant fix.

  7. Speedy

    Mar 25, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Proper grip, stance, posture aren’t adhered to by most amateurs. They haven’t the “Basics” discipline to succeed.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Yup… every time they swing they invent a new swing… lol

    • Chad

      Mar 27, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Because grip stance and posture rarely cause issues. Your logic is precisely why people aren’t getting better.

  8. BarnRat

    Mar 25, 2018 at 11:58 am

    33.7% of Americans are obese and are totally unable to play golf. If they started golf when they were children and became obese as adults they can compensate… but those who start as obese adults they will fail utterly. I know because I’m obese and a 20 y.o. tour pro golfer.

    • gino

      Mar 26, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      Fat men can’t wipe themselves cleanly… and can’t swing because their blubber resists rotation.

  9. Man

    Mar 25, 2018 at 10:22 am

    They quit the game because they suck at it. No matter how hard some people try, they just don’t have it, right? They get frustrated because they just aren’t athletes of any calibre, and they fail. So they quit. Good.

    • ogo

      Mar 25, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Correct… frustration, failure and finances to play the game. Also, the generational shifts from the sickly Baby Boomers (ages 6o and over) who are rich and privileged to the Generation X and now the Millenials who are too poor to play golf and prefer a sedentary lifestyle playing video games and Texas Holdem Poker. Every generation is either retiring from golf to quitting because golf is not a satisfying recreational experience. Golf is dying and is only for the super rich.

      • Bob Jones

        Mar 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        Come out to my Men’s Club day some Tuesday morning and show me where the super rich guys are among them. I sure don’t know.

        • gino

          Mar 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm

          That’s because you live in a little dream world with the other “Men’s Club” deluders….

  10. sebastian

    Mar 25, 2018 at 7:43 am

    not sure how this all fits, but in my experience, finally understanding concepts changed my game. the biggest game changer to me was the arm swing illusion thread here by Jim Waldron. For me, it had nothing to do with positions, but a concept. Arms move up and down, body turns. Then add bobby lopez, “no offsides” concept, and I dropped like 20 strokes off my game due to consistency and concepts. No positions, no checkpoints, but concepts and understanding.

    That was after wasting lots of money on lessons with instructors who taught radically different things. Hold the lag, stab the front leg, turn left, swing toward first base, etc…

  11. Jack

    Mar 25, 2018 at 1:17 am

    True indeed self diagnosis works just about as well as trying to self diagnose a complex disease. Not sure why golfers do it, but I do lol.

    • steve

      Mar 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Very astute observation…. and if you think of it, you cannot see nor feel what you are doing during the golfswing. You can’t see it because most of it is out of sight… and you can’t feel it in real time because there is a 500 millisecond delay between what happens and what you eventually feel. Even viewing your swing on video is unhelpful unless your swing error is egregious… and even then you don’t know what to do to fix the error.
      It’s a game of trial and error and error and error …. 😮

  12. Xavinoo

    Mar 24, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I’m reminded of this quote..,.

    “Swing Your Swing”
    “Not Some Idea of A Swing”
    “Not A Swing You Saw On TV”
    “Not That Swing You Wish You Had”
    “No! Swing Your Swing”
    “Capable of Greatness, Prized Only By You”
    “Perfect In Its Imperfection”
    “Swing Your Swing”
    “I Know I Did!”

    Arnold Palmer

    I enjoy golf the most when I let my swing happen the way it works for me. I play better, I’m more focused, It allows me to play to the course and it’s strategy not my swing and what I hope it will do.

    I got interested in navigating my way better around the course and using my brain not my brawn. Thereby playing to your strengths not the shot you hit 3 times a year. Being consistent from 150 yards in not 550 yards in was crucial for me.

    As boring as it is my score lowered when I chip with my hybrid, putt outside the green from tight lies, go for par 5’s in three, club up on approaches swinging easy, try to ‘chip’ out of bunkers whenever possible, hit fairway wood, hybrid’s, and long irons off the box more than I whip out the big stick keeping it in play. I can smash my 5 iron 215-225 and get a good 230-240 when I want with my 16.5 4 wood. With that distance when you play from your appropriate tee box you find the game more manageable and enjoyable.

    What really helped was practicing my putting on my kids playmat into a children sized cup repetively from 1-6 feet for 1/2 an hour a day. I found that I usually 2 put at least 6/9 holes when I play and can save par/bogey 75% of the time. I don’t think nearly as hard on those shorter putts plus I try to not play the break 95% of the time aiming for center cup only.

    With two kids a full time job I don’t have the time to dedicate myself to low digit play. I would love to play to high 70’s but I’m stuck in the 80’s. I have good rounds I have really nasty ones. It doesn’t matter no one is handing me my tour card tomorrow. I’ve learned to accept the game I have. Not the swing the golfing conglomerates think I should have. Seve, Daly, Couples, Watson & Furyk all good examples of not over thinking their swings.

    But the more than anything else I’ve tried to enjoy the game I love, Not contemplate the intricacies of my swinging technique. Life’s too stressful and short to not enjoy golf.

  13. steve

    Mar 24, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Why do adult men believe they can think their way through a golf swing using swing tips?
    Any athlete will tell you they don’t overthink their sport, they just do it automatically.
    Adult male golfers who are non-athletic or declining with age and are desperate, seek improvement from golf tips and new equipment. They don’t understand their decline is due to a deteriorating body. If they want to slow down the decline they must work daily to recondition their body. Nothing else works… believe it.

    • Mat

      Mar 25, 2018 at 1:08 am

      Because target-sport athletes are given specific thoughts by the best mental teachers. Unfortunately, instead of just one thing, it’s 10 for ams.

      • gino

        Mar 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        So it’s mind over matter… from the best mental teachers who scam gullible fat golfers?

  14. Sean Foster-Nolan

    Mar 24, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I have been saying for a long time, the swing is all about impact, and it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there. While golf instruction can be confusing, anything new a student learns takes time to master. It requires patience and hard work. Some folks are unwilling to commit to what needs to be done and opine that, “Golf instruction doesn’t work for me,” as they revert back to their old habits.

    • george

      Mar 24, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      Ball flight is all about impact, precisely…5-6 ten thousands of a second.

      Golf swing is determined from P6 to P8. That is where Furyk is perfect as was Ben Hogan, IMO

      • gino

        Mar 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        So just swing from P6 to P8 if that’s the secret to your swing. Btw… positions are just static snapshots and in no way describe the dynamics of the golf swing. Only scientific analysis can fully reveal how the golfswing functions.

  15. John B

    Mar 24, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I am a 56 year old lifetime golfer who has a good friend who is an excellent teaching pro and my age. On my good days I was breaking 80… Several years ago I went to him and I told him I wanted to get to scratch over lunch. He looked me in the eye and said we can rebuild your swing and try and fix your flaws, BUT it could be miserable for a couple of years and you may end up the same or worse. He told me there is a reason there is a senior tour and many of those guys disappear after 55-56. He suggested I enjoy and keep playing with “MY GAME” and that I practice pitching, chipping and and putting around the green. I took his advice play about 60 rounds a season in the northeast and work on my short game once or twice a week for about 30 minutes. Well my good days are in the mid 70s now. When I get my golf magazines I never read the instruction articles any more. I just play and enjoy the course, friends and the playing.

    • Acemandrake

      Mar 24, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      This. I’m like you only older (60) and everything you said (well written BTW) applies to my game.

      I particularly appreciate your pro’s advice: Play “MY GAME”…work on short game…enjoy the game you have from a lifetime of playing.

      It’s okay to seek improvement but we need to be smart & realistic about it.

      There are multiple ways to enjoy this great game.

      Me? I’m grateful to be out there soaking up the atmosphere 🙂

    • Warwick Weedon

      Mar 27, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Excellent!!

  16. Steve Wozeniak

    Mar 24, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I LOVE IT!!!!!! This coming from a guy that read the golfing machine cover to cover a hundred times and is to this day completely confused about what happens in the golf swing…..hey but keep trying Bob…..

    Steve Wozeniak PGA

    Watch Bill Mehlhorn giving a clinic to Florida State golfers on YouTube, it’s from the mid 70″s and you might get a clue. Now that’s simple baby……

    • steve

      Mar 24, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      In another WRX article by Bobby, he is in a photo with a lot of computer screens with the latest high tech golfswing data. It’s never too late to find truth and simplicity through the latest science… and burn TGM because it’s total rubbish.

  17. Brett Weir

    Mar 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Amen….I was ready to quit the game 4 years ago and decided to work on my swing from scratch with an emphasis on having the clubface square through impact with a lot of shaft lean. Since then, I’m been shooting from the 90s to the 70s. The game is fun again.

    • MuskieCy

      Mar 24, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      While I question a 20 improvement in handicap, I need to know one thing.

      If a square face to path is revelation, what were you thinking about before?

      • TheCityGame

        Mar 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        Watch people on the range. They’re not focussing on square impact at all. They hit a bad shot, and they starting rehearsing moves with their right elbow halfway down, like if they just fix that, they’ll hit it straight. They think about weight distribution, transition, shortening the backswing, holding a finish. They generally seem to be thinking about everything except what was happening with the face and the path at the ball.

  18. WigerToods

    Mar 24, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    According to the tiger cubs, it’s tiger retiring that will kill golf

  19. Square

    Mar 24, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    100% correct! This is the truth. when I quit working about my back swing, positions, etc and focused on impact and a solid impact position, I dropped my handicap to +2. This is the holy grail of instruction and I’ve used a few drills from Bobby to help out. I met him at the PGA show a few years back and he couldn’t have been more passionate and was very accommodating. Keep up the good work!

    • 2putttom

      Mar 25, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      #Ditto. keep it simple is the new motto for amature golfers.

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Opinion & Analysis

When the data says line is more important than speed in putting

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In my recent article, Line vs. speed: What’s really more important in putting?, I pointed out that in my 30-plus years of studying putting performance, I’ve learned that there are two important skills to putting:

  1. Direction (line)
  2. Distance control (speed)

There’s no question that golfers need to possess both these skills, but contrary to popular belief, they are not equally important on all putts. Sometimes, speed should be the primary concern. In other situations, golfers should be focused almost entirely on line. To make this determination, we have to consider the distance range of a putt and a golfer’s putting skill.

In the above referenced article, I showed how important speed is in putting, as well as the distances from which golfers of each handicap level should become more focused on speed. As promised, I’m going to provide some tips on direction (LINE) for golfers of different handicap levels based on the data I’ve gathered over the years through my Strokes Gained analysis software, Shot by Shot.

When PGA Tour players focus on line 

On the PGA Tour, line is more critical than speed from distances inside 20 feet. Obviously, the closer a golfer is to the hole, the more important line becomes and the less need there is to focus on speed. Further, I have found that the six-to-10-foot range is a key distance for Tour players. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Six to 10 feet is one of the most frequently faced putt distances on the PGA Tour. It is the first putt distance on approximately one in every five greens.
  2. Smack in the middle of this range is eight feet, which is the distance from which the average PGA Tour player makes 50 percent of his putts.
  3. In my research, I have consistently found that one-putt success in the six-to-10-foot range separates good putters from the rest on the PGA Tour

What we should do

How does this analysis help the rest of us?  To answer that question, we must first know our one-putt distance.  Just as I showed the two-putt distance by handicap level here, I will now show the 50 percent make distance by handicap level. This is the distance from the hole where players at each handicap level make 50 percent of their putts.

My recommendation is for each of us to recognize exactly what our 50 percent distance is. Maybe you’re a 16 or 17 handicap and putting is one of your strengths. Your 50 percent make distance is six feet. Excellent!  From that distance and closer, you should focus on line and always give the ball a chance to go in the hole.  From distances of seven-plus feet, you should consider the circumstances (up or downhill, amount of break, etc.) and factor in the speed as appropriate. The goal is to make as many of these putts as possible, but more importantly, avoid those heart-breaking and costly three-putts.

For added perspective, I am including the percentage of one putts by distance for the PGA Tour and our average amateur 15-19 handicap. I’m able to offer this data from ShotbyShot.com because it provides golfers with their “relative handicap” in the five critical parts of the game: (1) Driving, (2) Approach Shots, (3) Chip/Pitch Shots, (4) Sand Shots, and (5) Putting.

Line control practice: The star drill 

Looking for a way to practice choosing better lines on the putting green?  Here’s a great exercise known as the “star drill.” Start by selecting a part of your practice green with a slight slope.  Place five tees in the shape of a star on the slope with the top of the star on the top side of the slope.  This will provide an equal share of right to left and left to right breaks.

I recommend starting with a distance of three feet – usually about the length of a standard putter.  See how many you can make out of 10 putts, which is two trips around the star.  Here are a few more helpful tips.

  • Place a ball next to each of the five tees.
  • Use your full pre-shot routine for each attempt.
  • Stay at the three-foot distance until you can make nine of 10. Then, move to four feet, five feet, and six feet as you’re able to make eight from four feet, seven from five feet, and six from six feet.

This drill will give you confidence over these very important short putts. I do not recommend using it for any distance beyond six feet. It’s harder than you think to get there!

 

Exclusive for GolfWRX members: For a free, one-round trial of Shot by Shot, visit www.ShotByShot.com.

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TG2: Snell Golf founder Dean Snell talks golf balls and his life in the golf industry

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Snell Golf’s founder, Dean Snell, talks all about golf balls and his adventure through the industry. Dean fills us in on his transition from hockey player, to engineer, to golfer, and now business owner. He even tells you why he probably isn’t welcome back at a country club ever again.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Opinion & Analysis

Could Dollar Driver Club change the way we think about owning equipment?

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There’s something about golfers that draws the attention of, for lack of a better word, snake-oil salesmen. Whether it’s an as-seen-on-TV ad for a driver that promises pure distance and also fixes your power slice, or the subscription boxes that supposedly send hundreds of dollars worth of apparel for a fraction of the price, there always seems to be something out there that looks too good to be true.

Discerning golfers, who I would argue are more cynical than anything, understand that you get what you pay for. To get the newest driver that also works for your game, it may take a $150 club fitting, then a $400 head, and a shaft that can run anywhere from $100 up to $300-$400. After the fitting and buying process, you’ve made close to a thousand dollar investment in one golf club, and unless you’re playing money games with friends who have some deep pockets, it’s tough to say what the return on that investment actually is. When it’s all said and done, you have less than a year before that driver is considered old news by the standard of most manufacturers’ release schedules.

What makes a driver ‘good’ to most amateur golfers who take their game seriously is a cross section of performance, price, and hubris. As for that last metric, I think most people would be lying if they say it doesn’t feel good having the latest and greatest club in the bag. Being the envy of your group is fun, even if it only lasts until you snap hook your first drive out of bounds.

As prices of general release equipment have increased to nearly double what it was retailing at only 10 years ago, the ability to play the newest equipment is starting to become out of the question for many amateur golfers.

Enter Tyler Mycoskie, an avid, single digit handicap golfer (and the brother of Tom’s shoes founder, Blake Mycoskie). Tyler’s experience with purchasing golf equipment and his understanding of uniquely successful business models collided, which led him to start the Dollar Driver Club. With a name and logo that is a tongue in cheek allusion to the company that has shaken up the men’s skincare industry, the company seeks to offer a new way of thinking about purchasing golf equipment without completely reinventing the wheel of the model that has seen success in industries such as car leasing and purchasing razors.

The company does exactly what its name says. They offer the newest, top of the line driver and shaft combinations for lease at a cost of about a dollar per day.

The economics of the model seem too good to be true. When you purchase a driver, you are charged $30 plus $11 for shipping and it’s $30 per month from then on. You can upgrade your driver at no extra cost each year and your driver is eligible for upgrade or swap after 90 days of being a member. After a year, the total cost comes to $371 with shipping, which sounds a lot nicer than the $500 that it would cost to purchase, as an example, a Titleist TS3 with a Project X Evenflow T1100 today.

The major complaint most people would have is that you still don’t own the driver after that year, but as someone with a closet full of old golf clubs that diminish in value every day, which I have no realistic plans to sell, that doesn’t sound like a problem to me or my wife, who asks me almost weekly when I plan on thinning out my collection.

The model sounds like an obvious win for customers to me, and quite frankly, if you’re skeptical, then it’s probably just simply not for you. I contacted the team at the Dollar Driver Club to get some questions answered. Primarily, I want to know, what’s the catch?

I spoke with a Kevin Kirakossian, a Division I golfer who graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2013 and has spent virtually his entire young career working on the business side of golf, most recently with Nike Golf’s marketing team prior to joining Tyler at Dollar Driver Club. Here’s what he had to say about his company.

At risk to the detriment of our conversation, I have to find out first and foremost, what’s the catch?

K: There’s no catch. We’re all golfers and we want to offer a service that benefits all of our members. We got tired of the upfront cost of drivers. We’re trying to grow the game. Prior to us, there was no way to buy new golf clubs without paying full price. We take a lot of pride that players of all skill level, not just tour pros or people with the extra budget to drop that kind of money every year, can have access to the latest equipment.

With that question out of the way, I delved into the specifics of the brand and model, but I maintained a skeptical edge, keeping an ear out for anything that I could find that would seem too good to be true.

How closely do you keep an eye on manufacturers and their pricing? It would seem that your service is more enticing as prices increase in equipment.

K: The manufacturers are free to create their own pricing. We work closely with manufacturers and have a great relationship with them. As prices increase, it helps us, even if they decrease, I still think it’s a no-brainer to use our service, purely for the fact that new equipment comes out every year. You don’t have a high upfront cost. You’re not stuck with the same driver for a year. It gives you flexibility and freedom to play the newest driver. If a manufacturer wants to get into the same business, we have the advantage of offering all brands. We’re a premium subscription brand, so we’re willing to offer services that other retailers aren’t. We’ll do shaft swaps, we’ll send heads only, we have fast shipping and delivery times. We’re really a one-stop shop for all brands.

What measures do you take to offer the most up to date equipment?

K: We will always have the newest products on the actual launch date. We take pride in offering the equipment right away. A lot of times, our members will receive their clubs on release day. We order direct from the manufacturers and keep inventory. There’s no drop shipping. We prefer shipping ourselves and being able to add a personal package.

The service is uniquely personal. Their drivers come with a ball marker stamped with your initials as well as a stylish valuables pouch. They also provide a hand signed welcome letter and some stickers.

Who makes up the team at Dollar Driver Club?

K: We’re a small team. We started accepting members to our service in 2018 and it has grown exponentially. We have four or five guys here and it’s all hands on deck. We handle customer inquiries and sending drivers out. It’s a small business nature that we want to grow a lot bigger.

When discussing the company, you have to concede that the model doesn’t appeal to everyone, especially traditionalists. There are golfers who have absolutely no problem spending whatever retailers are charging for their newest wares. There are also golfers who have no problem playing equipment with grips that haven’t been changed in years, much less worrying about buying new equipment. I wanted to know exactly who they’re targeting.

Who is your target demographic?

K: We want all golfers. We want any golfer with any income, any skill level, to be able to play the newest equipment. We want to reshape the way people think about obtaining golf equipment. We’re starting with drivers, but we’re looking into expanding into putters, wedges, and other woods. We’ve heard manufacturers keep an eye on us. There are going to be people who just want to pay that upfront cost so they can own it, but those people may be looking at it on the surface and they don’t see the other benefits. We’re also a service that offers shaft swaps and easily send in your driver after 3 months if you don’t like it.

At this point, it didn’t seem like my quest to find any drawbacks to the service was going well. However, any good business identifies threats to their model and I was really only able to think of one. They do require a photo ID to start your account, but there’s no credit check required like you may see from other ‘buy now, pay later’ programs. That sounds ripe for schemers that we see all the time on websites like eBay and Craigslist.

When you’re sending out a $500 piece of equipment and only taking $41 up front, you’re assuming some risk. How much do you rely on the integrity of golfers who use your service to keep everything running smoothly?

K: We do rely on the integrity of the golf community. When we send out a driver, we believe it’s going into the hands of a golfer. By collecting the ID, we have measures on our end that we can use in the event that the driver goes missing or an account goes delinquent, but we’re always going to side with our members.

The conversation I had with Kevin really opened my eyes to the fact that Dollar Driver Club is exactly what the company says it is. They want to grow and become a staple means of obtaining golf equipment in the current and future market. Kevin was very transparent that the idea is simple, they’re just the ones actually executing it. He acknowledged the importance of social media and how they will harness the power of applications like Instagram to reach new audiences.

Kevin was also adamant that even if you prefer owning your own driver and don’t mind the upfront cost, the flexibility to customize your driver cheaply with a plethora of high-quality shafts is what really makes it worth trying out their service. If for whatever reason, you don’t like their service, you can cancel the subscription and return the driver after 90 days, which means that you can play the newest driver for three months at a cost of $90.

In my personal opinion, I think there’s a huge growth opportunity for a service like this. The idea of playing the newest equipment and being able to tinker with it pretty much at-will really speaks to me. If you’re willing to spend $15 a month on Netflix to re-watch The Office for the 12th time in a row or $35 a month for a Barkbox subscription for your dog, it may be worth doing something nice for your golf bag.

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