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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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Scott is a writer with a love for all things golf. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the US Air Force Academy and can be found on twitter @commishidente.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. ButchT

    Apr 21, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    No senior shafts available?

  2. steve

    Apr 21, 2019 at 10:18 am

    There is a retail shop in Sacramento, California that offers some pretty high-tech fitting technology at no charge, to get you into a club that fits your skill set. How about a golfer getting fitted for a club and learning to be consistent with it. That should last at least a couple of years (minimum) if he or she is any good and willing to make an effort. Chasing that elusive driver is nothing more than throwing money down The drain. However, the reality is that manufactures know consumer golfers are a bunch of suckers!

  3. genius man

    Apr 20, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    there’s no difference between the 913D2 and TS2 for 97% of golfers, the other 3% aren’t renting their goddamn clubs.

    moronic concept that i’m sure will steal millions from morons.

    • Genius Man 2.0

      Apr 23, 2019 at 11:43 am

      The core of your statement is true, for most golfers, there is no difference in performance for a wide span of years. However, I find the statement of “moronic concept” quite ridiculous. There is a large number of people, in fact, the majority of consumers, who would upgrade every year if they could. As a result for most of us paying $30 a month is going to mean we get three years with the newest product in the bag for the price the driver is currently retailing. As a result, there is a clear market at a reasonable price, resulting in a brilliant concept. But hey keep swinging that 913D2 if that’s what you want to do!

  4. Mark Brownell

    Apr 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Love the concept, but the have a couple of concerns. I wonder about the word “damaged outside of what the OEM manufacture warranty covers” Obviously we would all agree about structural damages, but paint blems are not covered in OEM warranties. Wondering if you had a paint chip or blem that they would put you on the hook for that?

    Also the shaft options that I can see are limited to 4 or 5 per club. That seems a far cry from the articles implications.

    My
    02

  5. Milo

    Apr 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Now can they do other clubs as well?

  6. BeachBum

    Apr 20, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Sounds like a great way to make golf more expensive!
    I love the latest and greatest equipment but any real golfer knows that changing your Driver every 6 months isn’t going to make you better. Unless you are playing 300 rounds a year, you should be able to keep a driver for 3-5 years.
    I’m still playing a Titleist 905S that I bought used for $100, and I still blow it by all my buddies by 20-30 yards, guys that are playing the latest and greatest.

  7. Tiger

    Apr 19, 2019 at 8:44 am

    I signed up nearly a month ago and to date still no driver. I keep getting excuses that they are back ordered. So if you’re going to sign you better check they have it in stock or you will be waiting….

  8. Wilymo

    Apr 19, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Seems like a decent idea that could benefit a large number of people. Especially those that live in areas where the golf season might only be 4-5 months and they aren’t into the whole buy/sell thing. Seems comparable to the camera lens rental market. Of course you could spend $1000 on a lens, use it and sell it and be better off than renting it for say $100 for a weekend. But not everyone wants to spend so much money up front and deal with selling it.

  9. Tiger Noods

    Apr 19, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Frankly, this is a good way to long-term-demo some things, assuming you can get them. I can’t see having this all the time, but if I wanted to try out some stuff, I’d call it money well spent.

    Basically, to make sense, you need to make a call on it within 2 months.

  10. Bryan Hopkins

    Apr 18, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    So let me get this straight… I can spend $500 and own my own driver, play with it for multiple (let’s say 3) years, and then sell it at the end for (let’s say $200). Total net cost of $300 for a 3 year driver.

    Or I could use this model and spend $371 per year to rent a driver that I never truly own. Total net cost for 3 years = $1,113.

    Sounds like a tough one…

    • Bryan

      Apr 19, 2019 at 1:13 am

      Nailed it haha

    • Samson

      Apr 19, 2019 at 9:20 am

      You must not have sold clubs in a while. No way are you getting 200 bucks on a 3 year old driver. Not too mention that you can purchase the driver from dollar driver club at anytime and your monthly payments go towards the purchase price.

    • David Brozenic

      Apr 20, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      Yeah right Bryan, good luck selling your 3 year old driver for $200.

  11. dat

    Apr 18, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Wasn’t there a shaft trial company that did a similar thing? Sounds stupid. I tried the dollar shave club, products weren’t very good and it sure wasn’t a dollar…

  12. BobbyLightGonnaDo.......

    Apr 18, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    After some poking around on thier site it kinda doesnt sound like a terrible way to finance a new driver if you really “need” a new one. They offer the option to buy out remaining balance at the end of the year and they are only charging industry standard prices. From what i understand its like a 0% loan and good luck finding money that cheep anywhere else. Then again im with the guys who buy the stuff 1-3 years old for a fraction of the price, play it for a year then hopefully get 1/2 my money back but usually it ends up in a pile that eventually goes to the kids at the first tee.
    Cool idea they have and hopefully it works (imagine it will to an extent) hopefully the other dollar club doesnt slap them with a copyright infringement lawsuit.

  13. Nick

    Apr 18, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    For the past few seasons I’ll buy a nice used driver head for about $175, use it for a season, sell it the following season for about $100, then repeat. That seems a heck of a lot cheaper than this.

    • constantine

      Apr 19, 2019 at 9:27 am

      if you like sloppy seconds have at it. Nothing like taking the plastic off a brand new driver. Every driver sent out is brand new.

  14. Rich Douglas

    Apr 18, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    If you purchase a $500 driver and sell it a year later, you’ll probably get around $200 for it. The numbers don’t make sense.

    I used to be such a club ho, chasing one drive (or set of irons, or putter) after another. But then I got fitted professionally for the driver and switched to single-length irons (also fitted professionally). I’ve held onto both for more than two years now–a personal record. I’ll switch only when there is an obvious advancement–really obvious. Like Ping bringing out a single-length set or some amazing advancement in drivers. (No, the TM twisty face thing or Callaway’s “jailbreak” doesn’t qualify.) Like give me a new driver I can fit at 43.5″ in graphite and not lose distance. Otherwise, I’ll just enjoy my best-fit equipment and continue chasing the perfect golf ball.

  15. Chris

    Apr 18, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    What a stupid idea. You could just buy the driver and still have at least $200-250 left in equity. Sell that, and boom, your driver cost you $250-300 to play for the season.

    • samson

      Apr 19, 2019 at 9:25 am

      you must not have read the part that the money you spend monthly goes towards the purchase price if you want to buy it. So you can do the exact same thing you are talking about but try it risk free before making that decision and if the driver you picked doesnt work for you, you upgrade to something else instad of having to spend a few trying to flip for the right price. . It is about performance and ease of access.

  16. IHL

    Apr 18, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    “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.”

    who the hell does this? most places will do a fitting at no charge if you’re buying from them. and very few people need a $400 shaft. most will fit into one of the many “stock” offerings from the manufacturer.

    this is like leasing a car, but much worse financially. most golfers don’t change drivers every year. so you’re paying over $700 over the course of 2 years for a driver that retails for $500.

  17. Wileyz

    Apr 18, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    So If I understand this correctly, you’re going to pay $371 to use a $550 product for a year (excluding upgraded shafts) and at the end of the year you own nothing. Personally, I’d pay the extra $175, own it and sell it for $300 at the end of the year. That way it only cost me $250 to use it for the year. The only way this works is if you must have an upgraded shaft.

    • Drew

      Apr 18, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      Great point. However, the website says you can buy it after paying for a year. I’m curious on what that price would be.

      • Chris Ewalt

        Apr 19, 2019 at 9:10 am

        Just normal retail, I was very skeptical of this too, but I researched it a lot, and found no sketchy details.

  18. Michael Gower

    Apr 18, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    I am a member and it’s works exactly how Dollar Drive Club states it does. I joined last year, got my driver, and just last month swapped it out for a newer model. You pay the shipping for them to send you the driver but they pay the return shipping for your old driver. Customer service is top notch.

    Not a shill and I was skeptical before I signed up. Try it for yourself and see if it suits you.

    • Jay

      Apr 18, 2019 at 11:27 pm

      I’m a member too, it’s awesome. I got fitted, purchased the shaft I needed and I just use the head from DDC… I want to upgrade to something form this year, but I’m very happy with the driver I have. I will probably purchase it from them, but the best part is I dont have to decide. It’s literally 1$ a day, and these guys are financing it.

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5 most common golf injuries (and how to deal with them)

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You might not think about golf as a physically intensive game, but that doesn’t change the fact it is still a sport. And as with every sport, there’s a possibility you’ll sustain an injury while playing golf. Here’s a list of the five most common injuries you might sustain when playing the game, along with tips on how to deal with them in the best way possible so you heal quickly.

Sunburn

While not directly an injury, it’s paramount to talk about sunburns when talking about golf. A typical golf game is played outside in the open field, and it lasts for around four hours. This makes it extremely likely you’ll get sunburnt, especially if your skin is susceptible to it.

That’s why you should be quite careful when you play golf

Apply sunscreen every hour – since you’re moving around quite a lot on a golf course, sunscreen won’t last as long as it normally does.

Wear a golf hat – aside from making you look like a professional, the hat will provide additional protection for your face.

If you’re extra sensitive to the sun, you should check the weather and plan games when the weather is overcast.

Rotator Cuff Injury

A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. This group are the main muscles responsible for swing movements in your arms. It’s no surprise then that in golf, where the main activity consists of swinging your arms, there’s a real chance this muscle group might sustain an injury.

To avoid injuries to this group, it’s imperative you practice the correct form of swinging the club. Before playing, you should also consider some stretching.

If you get an injury, however, you can recover faster by following RICE:

Rest: resting is extremely important for recovery. After an injury, the muscles are extremely vulnerable to further injury, and that’s why you should immediately stop playing and try to get some rest.

Ice: applying ice to the injured area during the first day or two can help. It reduces inflammation and relaxes the muscles.

Compress: bandage the rotator cuff group muscle and compress the muscles. This speeds up the muscle healing process.

Elevate: elevate the muscles above your heart to help achieve better circulation of blood and minimize fluids from gathering.

Wrist Injuries

Wrist tendons can sustain injuries when playing golf. Especially if you enjoy playing with a heavy club, it can put some strain on the wrist and cause wrist tendonitis, which is characterized by inflammation and irritation.

You should start by putting your wrist in a splint or a cast – it is necessary to immobilize your wrist to facilitate healing.

Anti-inflammatory medicine can relieve some of the pain and swelling you’ll have to deal with during the healing process. While it might not help your wrist heal much quicker, it’ll increase your comfort.

A professional hand therapist knows about the complexities of the wrist and the hand and can help you heal quicker by inspecting and treating your hands.

Back Pain

A golf game is long, sometimes taking up to 6 hours. This long a period of standing upright, walking, swinging clubs, etc. can put stress on your back, especially in people who aren’t used to a lot of physical activities:

If you feel like you’re not up for it, you should take a break mid-game and then continue after a decent rest. A golf game doesn’t have any particular time constraints, so it should be simple to agree to a short break.

If you don’t, consider renting a golf cart, it makes movement much easier. If that’s not possible, you can always buy a pushcart, which you can easily store all the equipment in. Take a look at golf push cart reviews to know which of them best suits your needs.

Better posture – a good posture distributes physical strain throughout your body and not only on your back, which means a good posture will prevent back pain and help you deal with it better during a game.

Golfer’s Elbow

Medically known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow occurs due to strain on the tendons connecting the elbow and forearm. It can also occur if you overuse and over-exhaust the muscles in your forearm that allow you to grip and rotate your arm:

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is the way to go to alleviate the most severe symptoms of the injury at the beginning.

Lift the club properly, and if you think there’s a mismatch between your wrist and the weight of the club, you should get a lighter one.

Learn when you’ve reached your limit. Don’t overexert yourself – when you know your elbow is starting to cause you problems, take a short break!

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Rob picked Brooks to win the PGA and hit the nail on the head, while Knudson’s DJ pick was pretty close. Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball and we talk about some new clubs that are going to be tested in the next couple days.

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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In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with Titleist Tour Rep Aaron Dill on working under Bob Vokey, How he got the gig and working with names like JT, Jordan and Brooks.

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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