There is a fair chance that the average GolfWRX reader has a few drivers hidden in their closets.
Maybe they are tucked away so the wife doesn’t find them and then have the nerve to ask you why you have four different drivers that say “Superfast” on them, yet you still refuse to buy anything but discounted detergent while buying groceries. Or maybe that is just me. But if you have more Callaway Razr’s than disposable ones, GolfRedefined thinks it has the solution for you.
GolfRedefined.com is a new exchange-based website offering golfers the option of signing up, paying a monthly fee and then requesting and trading for their choice of a large selection of fairly current drivers (just drivers for now). The selection and monthly fees are dependent on one of the three different packages you choose.
The monthly pricing starts at $24.95 per month or $69.95 per quarter for what is called the “birdie” program, and this, like all membership levels, allows you to request any driver that falls into that package, and then trade it for others basically an unlimited amount of times as long as you are a member. There is a shipping fee of around $12 to $15 as well that gets tacked on for each new driver you receive, while sending them back included pre-paid shipping.
Stepping up a notch in terms of driver selection, there is a “hole in one” plan as well that will bill you just under $100 quarterly and give you access to the newest drivers on the market. Then there is the “eagle” plan that will set you back just under $40 a month and is targeted at seasonal golfers.
Annually, the “eagle plan” would cost more than the “hole in one plan,” while offering an older selection of drivers. But it gives golfers the option of paying monthly, while the “hole in one” plan mandates that golfers make a quarterly commitment.
Obviously the idea with this site is to capitalize on the fact that many golfers like to tinker with a lot of drivers. Its target market is likely the guy who is tired of buying a $399 driver and then seeing a commercial promising him more distance or forgiveness, and not really being able to afford shelling out more money to try it out. Or of course the guy who loves his driver one day, and then wants to wrap it around a tree the next when he misses 10 fairways.
With GolfRedefined, you could change your current driver for another without paying full retail. And with an “eagle” package, you’d have access to basically any big name driver on the market including the new ones. Sounds great on paper if you are an obsessive tinkerer, and the website touts its merits in its FAQ section. But the math does make for some interesting things to ponder.
First off, there are a couple of reasons I couldn’t join. The service is only offered to the continental U.S. and it currently does not offer left-handed clubs. So while GolfRedefined is not a possibility for me right now, I wonder if it would be if I happened to be a right-handed golfer from say, Minnesota (I like people from Minnesota, they pronounce their “o” like we do, and thus they are all honorary Canadians in my book), would this service interest me?
Well, the “birdie” package costs roughly $300 a year and the drivers offered to those consumers is a mix of relatively new but not current models (Ping G15, Cleveland TL310, Taylormade R11, Diablo Octane to name a few). The website’s FAQ also says the average client makes about four trades a year which would bring the total to roughly $360 if I factor in shipping charges. So would I pay $360 for this service, to use four drivers in 2013?
To be honest, probably not, as I actually already own three of the four drivers I listed above (a G15, Tl310 and Octane) and my local golf store still has all of them new for between $95 and $150 factoring in U.S. conversion. I just bought my Cleveland TL310 for $95. You could buy two or three brand-new drivers offered in the “birdie membership” for less than the price of a year’s payments. And they are yours, you own them and can trade them in later for credit. You can’t do that if you have to return them to the site. So the price point of that program is maybe a bit of a concern.
The top-of-the-line “hole in one” program might make a bit more sense to a hardcore club-swapper. If you keep your membership for a year you’d pay roughly $400 plus the shipping dues. That would bring you to roughly $460 a year if you are an average member making about four trades. That is more expensive than almost any premium driver on the market but if you planned on using three or four a year, as well as upgrading every year, I could see how that might be appealing to someone who always wants to try something new, and maybe have a status club in the bag. But I could also see how if you ever found something you really liked and wanted to stick with it, you’d feel you were spending a lot to use it. Though I suppose people who stick with drivers is not really GolfRedefined’s target audience.
Speaking of target audience, I also wonder about whether the obsessive tinkerer has much use for a completely stock driver. For example, he site does not reference an ability to change the grip, adjust the length, or hot melt/lead tape the head for swing weight purposes. This might not be a problem for 99 percent of the golfers out there, but obsessive tinkerers seem to comprise the main target market of this website. I wonder how many players out there switch drivers four times a year but also want to play them all completely stock?
I would also be interested in hearing reviews of actual members. While the FAQ section seems to be geared heavily at customer satisfaction, it is also pretty vague in regards to stocking levels and damage policy. The site does promise to try to have all new drivers in stock at all times, but there is no guarantee of turnaround time. There is also no guarantee that the shaft flex of your choice will be available either. Do they stock more regular then stiff? Any X flex? These also might be concerns for the compulsive tinkerer. As far as the damage policy goes, you are covered for “everyday” wear and tear but I’m not sure what that is. What about skymarks? The site promises all clubs are in “new” or “new like” condition. If I skymark a driver do they throw it out? Do I get charged for it?
OK, I’ve been a bit tough on GolfRedefined, but in all fairness, with any program you are never tied in to anything long term (the longest commitment seems to be three months) and you can quit at any time. In the end, spending $25 to $40 a month to try out a bunch of drivers and see where it goes could be fun. The site does say that if you decide you want to keep a driver, they will sell it to you and allow you to cancel when your term is up. So there is that. I could also see this being of value to someone who only plays a few months a year, wants to use a $350 driver, but doesn’t want to pay for one. If you take the “hole in one” membership and pay $100 for three months, you could use a Ping G25 this golf season for only $100. That isn’t bad.
Feel free to check out the site for yourselves and form your own opinions (click here). Worst case you have another option of how to go about acquiring clubs, and for any golfer, that is a good thing.