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Wishon: The way golf clubs are being sold has harmed golf

tom wishon clubmakers clubfitters

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#1 zakkozuchowski

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

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Wishon: The way golf clubs are being sold has harmed golf

By Tom Wishon

GolfWRX Contributor

Tom Wishon served as Vice President of GolfWorks from 1980 to 1986. From 1986 to 1993, he was president of Dynacraft Golf Products, and from 1993 to 2002 he was Vice President and Chief Technical Officer for Golfsmith International. Wishon started his own company, Tom Wishon Golf Technology, in 2003.  

I read with great interest the article by Kevin Crook, The Focus on Equipment has Hurt Golf,in which he basically said it’s almost a waste of time to go buy new golf clubs because you have no way of knowing if what you buy is going to help or harm your ability to play the game.

The main thing I took away from Kevin’s article is that he is yet one more confused and frustrated victim of the longtime business model of the golf equipment industry. If anything from the golf equipment industry has harmed golf, it is the way that golf clubs are being sold to golfers in a market that is fiercely competitive for sales.

Many golf club companies exist to sell their clubs to millions of golfers through thousands of retail golf outlets and websites. The top-5 golf equipment manufacturers now control about 80 percent of the premium golf equipment market with combined annual revenues north of $3 billion. Four out of five of these companies are publicly traded, each with the accompanying pressures from shareholders and financial institutions to grow in revenue, profits and stock price.

The only way large golf companies can sell the volume of clubs they must to meet forecasts and satisfy shareholders and executives is to pre-build their clubs to a series of standard specifications so they can be shipped to the thousands of retailers to be put on display and sold off the rack. Demand is driven by massive marketing campaigns that promise improvement and an increase in status upon buying the clubs. Credibility is established by paying professional golfers to play their equipment.

After three decades of such fierce competition, the golf equipment industry has become a commodity business. Most retailers are selling the same exact products, so consumers hunt for the best price. Retailers have to discount to get the sale, which results in them making less profit. Making less profit means they do not have the money to hire and retain quality sales people. And retailers can’t afford to allow the sales staff to take more than a few minutes to make each sale, because making money requires that they sell a high volume of products.

This is precisely what Kevin has encountered in his frustration with trying to do nothing more than to find the best golf equipment with which to play and enjoy this great game. He’s frustrated because he believes that whoever sells him his clubs should really know what they are doing. Unfortunately, the shortcomings in the current golf equipment business model means the people selling him his clubs do not know much more about golf clubs than he does, and may actually know less.

Launch monitors are placed in golf retail outlets to give golfers the impression they are being properly fit for their clubs. Yet little to no training exists to teach sales people how to properly turn the outputs of the launch monitors into the best prescription for clubs for the golfer. Retailers also have inventory to worry about, so it is very common for them to pay a “spiff” to their sales staff to get them to make more of an effort to sell what they need to get rid of.

Add to that the effects of the fierce competition among the golf equipment companies. At the wholesale level, it has resulted in drivers and woods that are far too long for the vast majority of golfers to ever hit consistently, which may or may not actually have the loft that is imprinted on the head.
Lofts in irons have been decreasing as well, as a way of impressing golfers with more distance in their short irons. But this comes at the expense of  golfer's not being able to hit their mid and long irons as well.

Shafts are a problem, too. Average golfers have no idea how stiff the shafts they purchase actually are because of poor quality control and a lack of industry standards. Add it all up, and it’s no wonder that golfers like Kevin Cook are confused and often end up with the wrong equipment.

In truth, the best solution for golfers is to return to the original business model for golf equipment sales prior to the early 1900s, back when the only place a golfer could buy a set of golf clubs was to go see a clubmaker. Back then, golfers visited the clubmaker’s shop, where the clubs were built one club at a time, one set at a time, for one golfer at a time.

It’s critical to be honest and tell you that some of today’s clubmakers do not have the fitting knowledge to be able to properly match a golfer with clubs that allow him or her to play to the best of their ability. Just because someone can build and repair golf clubs does not mean they know how to analyze a golfer and choose the best fitting specs to match to the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.

So golfers who decide to visit a clubmaker to end their equipment frustration MUST DO THEIR HOMEWORK to be sure the clubmaker they choose is a good, experienced and knowledgeable. Such clubmaker/clubfitters do exist and they are without question the very best sources for golf equipment and knowledge. They can truly help a golfer improve and play to the best of the golfer’s ability.

The best way to find a good clubmaker is from the following resources:

The AGCP (Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals):  http://www.agcpgolf.com/locator/

The ICG (International Clubmakers’ Guild): http://www.clubmaker...uild-google-map

If you find a clubmaker from any of these sources, call him/her, visit, and ask how he/she conducts a fitting analysis. Ask for names of other golfers in the area he/she has fit. Call these golfers and ask them about their fitting experience.

Do NOT just blindly go see a clubmaker who you have not vetted. The good clubmakers will never mind golfers doing an investigation, because they are confident of their skills and experience.

Do this for your next equipment purchase and you will avoid Kevin Cook’s frustration with modern golf equipment. If you do, you will end up with golf clubs that are far better for your game than what you can buy within the golf industry’s current business model.

Tom Wishon is a contributing writer for GolfWRX.com. is His views do not necessarily represent the views of GolfWRX.


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#2 aadamoni

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

amen

#3 td_proV_UNO

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

Some one beat me too it...AMEN!
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#4 bcflyguy1

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

Great stuff, as always, from Mr. Wishon!  Thank you, Sir!
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#5 eldog-in-the-hizouse

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:43 PM

I love to read your stuff Mr. Wishon! I have learned so much from you!

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#6 Bobc910

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:47 PM

So true.  Unfortunately, this is not just the golf industry.  Consumers tend to place low price above good and knowledgeable service.

#7 captainjimbob

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

Thought of the day boys.........


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#8 kloyd0306

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:15 PM

Whether the AGCP or ICG are answers to the post's content, is perhaps worthy of debate. Certainly, going to a clubfitter vs going to a club seller is probably preferable given that we humans are all different in some way despite the fact that most manufacturers hope that we all fall into their "standard".

If, indeed, we are all the same, why buy a car with adjustable steering wheels, adjustable mirrors and adjustable seats?

If we are all the same, why are clothes and shoes manufactured in many different sizes?

On that very note - golf shops carry a larger size range of clothes and shoes than golf clubs. Weird huh?

One size fits all does NOT work with golf. The reason is that the ball is sitting on the ground and our physical dimensions (leg length, arm length, shoulder-to-ground length, shoulder width, etc) all have an effect on the appropriate distance spacing from the ball. Add physical strength, flexibility, body and arm speed and hand-eye coordination - the permutations are in the thousands. Manufacturers want none of it. It's too hard. Too many variations.

While manufacturers focus on technological advances re materials, they have largely left the fitting to retailers. The first company that provides a solution to fitting accurately yet simply, will win a nice slice of the market and will be rewarded with brand loyalty.

What about Ping?

There's is a good attempt and better than doing nothing but their system is such that very tall players actually stand closer to the ball (toes to ball spacing) than very short players. Their focus leans heavily towards lie angles and thus creates the scenario of the previous sentence.

Their reliance on lie board fitting is also questionable because such reliance assumes that golfers will swing the same most of the time. That may be true for single-digit handicappers but not even close for novices, beginners and higher handicappers - the majority of golfers. Which swing do you fit? While some golfers' swings change from day to day, others' change from swing to swing!

Before anyone attacks me re my comments on Ping - I firmly believe that Ping's attention to detail and quality is as good as it gets. As a large manufacturer, they are the benchmark. My comments have to do with their fitting method only - which is better than nothing but far from perfect.

The manufacturer that provides a simple, effective yet superior static-fit system and fitting method to what Ping provides, will grab a significant chunk of the market.

Such a system exists and is available on-line. If associated with one of the major brands, it has the potential to alter the way clubs are sold and could propel that brand to being the leader in the market.

In closing, Mr Wishon is SO right about the shaft length of drivers. The industry has done a very poor job in this regard. Golfers have been duped into believing that added (mostly uncontrollable) shaft length will add distance. It's a sham.

#9 RJRJRJ

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:37 PM

Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point.

Off the rack is close enough for everyone else.

To think otherwise is unrealistic.
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#10 esketores

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:16 PM

I'm a big Wishon fan. Even as a left hander have used his products. However in the truth the title should be: "The way golf clubs are bought has hurt golf".
The company that hosts this site does a terrible job of promoting getting fit for equipment. How many articles are writtien touting the benefits of proper fitting? The gospel is not being spread. But then who pays the advertising dollars?
IMO to blame the manufacturers for their marketing strategy is like blaming the drug dealers for our drug problem. The problem is the consumer.
We as knowledgeable golfers should not let our friends buy off the rack clubs and play golf. However the game is expensive. And many who like to play are willing to sacrifice top notch equipment to have the extra coin to play more golf. And that will never change.

Edited by esketores, 19 December 2012 - 07:16 PM.

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#11 Mikey Town

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:21 PM

 kloyd0306, on 19 December 2012 - 06:15 PM, said:

The manufacturer that provides a simple, effective yet superior static-fit system and fitting method to what Ping provides, will grab a significant chunk of the market.

I'm not so sure that this is true.

While all of us here on this forum are prime candidates to get custom fit for our next club purchase, we represent the vast minority of golf related consumers.

Think about the average guy... let's call him Bob.


Bob doesn't hit the range (other than 1-2 times a year to brush up for his company's scramble).  Bob might play 1-2 times every month.  Bob isn't a member of a men's club, country club, or any other club.  He doesn't keep his scorecards... or a handicap, but if he did, it would be a high one.  Bob plays the game to get away from it all, and to have fun.  Sure, he would like to do well, but at the end of the day, the scorecard isn't all that important.

One day, Bob makes his way into a big box store because he wants some new clubs.  The main two things he wants is to hit it farther and hit it straighter (just like everyone wants to).  Bob just got finished watching Buba win the Masters, and Ping clubs have piqued his interest.  He hits some balls into the net and the G20 driver and irons sure feel solid... and the launch monitor shows that he's hitting them farther and straigther than his 10-15 yr old Spaldings.

Now is the time when Bob seeks out an associate to custom fit him for those G20s, gets dialed in, and puts in his custom order for the green dots an hour or two later, right?

WRONG!

Are you crazy?!  Bob doesn't want to wait weeks for his clubs... he wants them now!  After all, the machine was just telling him that what he's holding in his hand is outperforming what he currently has in the bag by leaps and bounds.  Now is the time when Bob seeks out an associate to help him carry his new stick to the register.  That way he can get out of there and drive straight to the range (for the 3rd time this year) so he can mash those babies!


The reason I don't think that a new, simple, effective, fit system would translate into a good chunk of market share, is because custom fitting doesn't really matter to the average consumer.  Unfortunately, we live in a society of instant gratification... and to the average golf equipment buyer, it's not going to matter if their new clubs perform the best they possibly can... as long as they out-perform the old sticks, they will be happy... and they will want to walk out of the store with them NOW.

The golfer who will wait 1-2 months so they can have their C-Tapers soft stepped, spined and FLO'd properly is a rare bird... and thanks to GolfWRX for giving us all a place to nest.


Cheers,

Mike

Edited by Mikey Town, 19 December 2012 - 07:25 PM.

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#12 plus8

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

 RJRJRJ, on 19 December 2012 - 06:37 PM, said:

Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point.

Off the rack is close enough for everyone else.

To think otherwise is unrealistic.

That's probably true, but what does 'Get Fit' mean? I've seen GG put you on a trackman and have you in clubs for free (even thought your 'perfect' fit happens to be something on their shelf), and smaller golf shops do the same thing with trackman and lie board fittings, along with the Ping cart or the Mizuno analyzer.  On the other end of the spectrum, I've also spoken with fitting centers who charge $400.00 for a 'Complete and Expert Fitting" regardless of the brand.  In fact, one guy I talked to charges that much, but only sells major manufacturer clubs - Adams Mizuno, etc. His thing is he disassembles and reassembles with the 'right' shaft, 'right' frequency, etc, etc.  All for the outstanding value of $400.00, and that doesn't include the cost of any clubs or new shafts - that is extra.  And by the way, this particular 'wonder-fitter' refuses to fit anything like Hireko, or Wishon, or Miura, or KCG, or any of the other high-end component companies....he told me 'you get what you pay for and the component companies don't produce quality products'.

Well, once upon a time, I built and fitted clubs - did primarily Dynacraft when Tom was the Dynacraft guru.... I can say categorically that Dynacraft had very high quality products, and while they had some clones, they also had some brilliant original designs. I went thru the clubmaker's training got Wishon's book, and learned an awful lot about fitting (although I was more of a tinkerer for me and friends than a 'master fitter').  So I feel that I can smell bu!!$&@t a ways off, and the whole high-end custom fit cottage industry has taken on some pretty dubious aspects.

Lastly, Mr. Wishon himself has said that he'd rather not custom fit a person of 10 hci or lower, since those golfers seem to be able to adapt themselves better to differing lofts/lies/etc - and he says the 20-plus are the prime target for fitting (unless I am completely mistaken).  Hmmmm.  So at under 10 hci, I guess custom fitting would NOT benefit me? Or would it?  Or what?

And I wonder----if you DO go thru that extensive fitting process, what are the odds that the results will pretty much follow the recommendations of the Mizuno analyzer or the Ping chart with lie board?

Here's what I think: Although customer fitting can be a very great asset and aide to the serious golfer (and I consider myself serious),  I also believe the concept of custom fits has grown up to be a pretty profitable cottage industry within the golf industry, and there are lots of self styled fitters who are charging alot of $$ and using 'snob appeal' to make $$ on the back end of the equipment revolution.  In other words, no way would I ever pay some dude $400.00 to tell me I need a 5.3 freq instead of a 5.5, especially when more streamlined methods are available for lots less money (like mfg demo days, etc).

#13 Thrillhouse

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:53 PM

Those who want custom fit clubs have no shortage of custom clubmakers to choose from.

Those who want the latest name brand driver and don't care if it fits them optimally have no shortage of retailers to choose from.

People pick what they like and the option that is preferred by the greatest number of people exhibits the highest degree of profitability and the highest degree of growth. This is an example of the market working as it is supposed to.

I respect mr wishon as I think we all do, but I think it is important to note that this article is in support of his business model. While his business model is great for him I think we should not ignore the fact that a healthy economy is one where people circulate the same dollar amongst themselves to a relatively high degree (im not saying to the highest degree), and one of the ways this is possible is through the availability of mass produced consumer goods, like golf clubs.

These large publicly traded golf companies employ a lot of people, and while it's great to support the little guy fighting for his share in the marketplace like mr wishon, I think we should remember that the employees of taylormade and callaway have a right to work and feed their families too.

So, in conclusion, while I hope people who want custom golf equipment continue to choose wishon, I don't think that this should be the sole model by which people purchase their golf equipment. The combination of big markets and a climate that allows successful companies to grow into large entities that employ a lot of people and benefit a lot of shareholders has created a lot of wealth for a lot of us in the western world. I think that we shouldn't get so excited over our perception of what free enterprise is that we forget everything that big business has to offer.

#14 Shambles

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:18 PM

 RJRJRJ, on 19 December 2012 - 06:37 PM, said:

Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point.

Off the rack is close enough for everyone else.

To think otherwise is unrealistic.


I agree.

There is a range involved in fitting for a set of clubs and there are limits as to the amount of skill, talent or practice a player is able or willing to invest in his game. Granted that most any set in a bag can be improved as to their fit to the player who uses them, the fit also requires the player to invest enough time and effort to make the superior fit apparent both to him and to his game. For those who cannot or will not invest the time and effort, off the rack is often close enough to good.


Shambles

#15 wetdogsmell

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:24 PM

I'm average size (black dot in Ping static guide) and I shoot in the mid 90's. I think that the best "bang for the buck" for me is to buy some impact tape and pound dirt until I get consistant strikes. I have a hard time believing that finding the "Perfect flex shaft" or anything else along those lines would be as helpful.


#16 jmvargas

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:31 PM

i have been playing golf for 55 years and have gone from a 3 hdcp in my peak to about a 12 now at 67( playing at least once a week)..

i can still carry my driver 200+ yds and in general enjoy the game as long as the course is shortish(less than 6500yds) and flatish..(will break 80 ocassionally)..

i also consider myself quite knowledgable about the game and what equipment fits me...

except for 1 or 2 experiments with single clubs,i have never really been professionally fitted for equipment and have always bought clubs off the rack as close to the specs i felt i need and just tweaked them as needed..

the first thing i always do after getting new clubs is change the grips to the undersized grips i keep plenty in stock of if the original ones are too big--except for japan spec clubs they normally are....

there are instances where i have re-shafted a set of irons as i now go for lighter shafts....or tweaked a driver ...or changed the lofts of my wedges..

i am also a big fan of lead tape..

i have a customfitter friend who does most of these modifications and we measure and weigh as needed...

i feel my present clubs will last me a long time but it was developed with a lot of effort and time too..

i'm not really sure if i saved some bucks with my method but i have thoroughly enjoyed the journey!!

PS: for those interested:

1) Drivers: Adams UL9088 10.5* with original matrix radix 4.1 L shaft/ Giga XF 07 10* with original hxl mamiya S shaft
...both drivers have similar cpms in the 230 range and identical mass weights of 295 gms..
2) fairway woods:
..Taylormade V-steel 16.5* 4W with 48 gm reax R shaft / Tourstage Viq 17* 4W with original VD-50 SR shaft
..Taylormade V-steel  21* 7W with M.A.S.2 R ultralite shaft/ Mizuno F60 21* 7W with original EXSAR FS3 R shaft
..Taylormade V-steel  24* 9W with M.A.S.2 L ultralite shaft
3) Tourstage Viq 25* U5 hybrid with original VU-50 SR shaft(#6 iron replacement)
4) Adams V3 #7 mid-iron, forged 8-PW,GW with original misubishi bassara 60gm R shafts
5) Adams V3 55* SW, 60*LW with tt performance tech 75g wedge flex steel shafts..
6) Heavy Putter mid-weight K4 model..

all(except the putter) have been regripped with Lamkin undersize stingfree grips..
the drivers are both D1/D2 and all clubs are standard factory lengths..
i also have the Bridgestone Airmuscle #2 and #3 re-shafted with wishon interflexx HL A-flex WOOD shafts which i carry from time to time although the #2 is almost always in my bag..
...i do have many replacement wedges but the above is what you will see me gaming most of the time..
i also switch my drivers, 4W and 7W from time to time depending on who is behaving...

Edited by jmvargas, 19 December 2012 - 11:30 PM.

japan version SLDR 10.5* lofted up to 12
XCG5 15* 3W/ XCG6 18* 5W
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#17 smiley9929

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:53 PM

The game of golf is not easy.  There is a LOT that has to go 'right' for someone to play 'well'.

Major manufacturers are marketing their newest and most improved equipment and the largest segment of the golf market - those who don't necessarily have the time (but have the money) to improve their scores.

As such, just like any 'features and benefits' marketing / selling the newest and most advanced equipment is the most appealing.

Regardless of the fact that Hale Irwin could today use his 1980's Wilson Staff irons to beat the pants off of 99.99% of today's golfing public (playing the most advanced clubs) it's all about emotion and aspirational sales....

I could go on, but anyone who understands where I'm going gets it at this point - to play well it will always come down to talent, understanding the golf swing + hard work first, equipment last.

At least in my opinion...

#18 kloyd0306

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:21 AM

 RJRJRJ, on 19 December 2012 - 06:37 PM, said:

Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point.

Off the rack is close enough for everyone else.

To think otherwise is unrealistic.

Maybe you missed the entire point of Tom Wishon's article.

The fact that a large proportion of golfers have bought "off the rack" has been the reason that those same golfers get frustrated or, worse, give up, because they have been given poor static, dimensional fitting advice to begin with.

The manufacturers have been given a free ride and have relied on retailers to fit.

The first manufacturer that takes responsibility for fitting (not including Ping) will grab a good chunk of the market AND will grab some solid loyalty in the process. Ping have proved it is possible yet there is plenty of opportunity to do what they do - only better.

#19 dunn

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:23 AM

Lol this is true beyond belief

But then again I think golfers themselves are
To blame...... We buy into this marketing

Just look at the 300 replies to new rocketbladez gear..... Big co come out with some new gimic and golfers flock to them like caged animals......

Many of these replies respond with product being sold sight unseen

Stop buying taylormade's newest offering and actually go test out this clubfitting theory and actually buy what fits!

I know of more golfers than not that would actually purchase a set that is popular over what fits....... Even having tested a club that they hit better and is more suited for them, they would choose the "popular" one over the one they hit better....... I hear and read it all the time here, mostly without the poster being even aware that he is doing it......

Humans are very predictable and these big manufacturers know how to get their equipment into people's bags full well knowing it doesn't belong into most of em............

So really it's the consumer taking responsibility for putting the proper clubs in his bag......this will never happen on a large scale....... People will always play what's " hot" and what's on PGA tour every week, it is same as any other sports hobby, look at their message boards and it's same thing..... People need to look good far more than they need proper equipment....... Been that way forever and will be long after were gone......

#20 RJRJRJ

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:42 AM

 kloyd0306, on 20 December 2012 - 01:21 AM, said:

 RJRJRJ, on 19 December 2012 - 06:37 PM, said:

Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point.

Off the rack is close enough for everyone else.

To think otherwise is unrealistic.

Maybe you missed the entire point of Tom Wishon's article.

The fact that a large proportion of golfers have bought "off the rack" has been the reason that those same golfers get frustrated or, worse, give up, because they have been given poor static, dimensional fitting advice to begin with.

The manufacturers have been given a free ride and have relied on retailers to fit.

The first manufacturer that takes responsibility for fitting (not including Ping) will grab a good chunk of the market AND will grab some solid loyalty in the process. Ping have proved it is possible yet there is plenty of opportunity to do what they do - only better.

No, I got the point.  I just dont truly believe that properly fit clubs will spare all of these golfers the pain and sorrow of being frustrated with their golf games.  Is fitting beneficial?  Of course.  Will it make a golfer who isnt completely dedicated to improving their game better?  Probably not.

Im no fitter, but id bet that the vast majority of typical golfers out there would be just as frustrated with their games whether or not their clubs were custom fit for them or not.  Fitting isnt a magic bullet.  The only way to get good at golf is to play and practice a ton.  And that goes back to my first point.  "Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point."  I just dont believe the typical guy who just goes out there and yucks it up once in a while just wont see any major benefits from being fit.

Take a good golfer and give him an off the rack set, and he'll still be good.  Give a poor golfer a custom set, and he'll still be a poor golfer.

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#21 jaskanski

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 05:05 AM

A well written piece. I agree and disagree with certain amount of points being made though.
Firstly, the most important thing to remember is choice - people are free to buy and choose what they like. Manufacturers can cater to anybody - at a price. If the only route to golf was a custom fit set to order, you can bet it would prohibitively expensive to some. Surely that's bad for golf?
And selling  golf equipment (badly fitting or otherwise) to consumers is not bad for golf in itself either. Bad for golf-ers performance perhaps, but not bad for the sport in general.
At the end of the day, the best you can offer someone is an informed opinion on what should be the most suitable option. To his credit, Tom does this better than most. But it remains a matter of choice. And choice is good for golf.

#22 Imp

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:26 AM

Great article Tom. Good read. I very much respect what you have said, and respect you. I'm just a nobody, a flea underfoot compared to most of the big dogs on this forum, learning new stuff every day as time goes by. Yep, I bought off the racks for the past 3 sets (Hogan Apex PC, Cleveland TA15, TM Burner 2.0), and the current set I have (TM RBZ) are standard off the rack too.

I plan on being fit for my next set. I've come to understand the importance of it, because of this forum, and because my approach/attitude towards golf has changed.

Before that, since circa 1984 when I started, I've never considered it. And I'll tell you why I never did before joining this forum. Cost. In the typical golfers mind, adding hundreds of dollars to get something that you can walk into a store and buy will save said golfer hundreds of dollars, especially those with tightening home budgets. Those few hundred dollars saved from the fitting equals 10 rounds at the $30 muni. Which is as many rounds as the typical big box buyer will play... 1-2 times a month, right?

Fitting, for me, has always been reserved for those that are 'serious' about golf, much like lessons. (i.e. more concerned with the outcome of their game).

Your occasional golfer, who is usually the typical big box buyer, fitting/lessons is just another cost barrier to enjoyment of something they only occasionally partake in, especially when costs to partake are being passed down from the course through increased green fees.

Want to improve? Get fitted, take lessons.

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#23 wfwp

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:48 AM

Great article Mr. Wishon.  

In any sport, properly fit equipment makes the difference for all levels.  After coaching 4 sports over 25 years my observation is that equipment effects confidence the most.

#24 Fourmyle of Ceres

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:06 AM

One thing I certainly agree with is Tom's observation that without anyone consciously setting out to screw us over, a consequence of the prevailing market direction has been to bake really, truly stupid club specs into every bit of equipment offered by the big companies.

Nobody with any sense thinks s 46.5" driver is a good length for most golfers. Yet we have no option for off the rack drivers at a reasonable 43-44" length.

Likewise a typical pudgy middle aged 20 handicapper buys a driver marked "11" which is really a "12" when what he needs is more like "14".

And sets of irons with 2-3 degrees and 1/2" of length between clubs. That's about 5-6 yards spacing for midirons.

Or replace the irons with hybrids that are...you guessed it...3 degreescand 1/2" apart. Crazy.

#25 practicetee

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:34 AM

View PostThrillhouse, on 19 December 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Those who want custom fit clubs have no shortage of custom clubmakers to choose from.

Those who want the latest name brand driver and don't care if it fits them optimally have no shortage of retailers to choose from.

People pick what they like and the option that is preferred by the greatest number of people exhibits the highest degree of profitability and the highest degree of growth. This is an example of the market working as it is supposed to.

I respect mr wishon as I think we all do, but I think it is important to note that this article is in support of his business model. While his business model is great for him I think we should not ignore the fact that a healthy economy is one where people circulate the same dollar amongst themselves to a relatively high degree (im not saying to the highest degree), and one of the ways this is possible is through the availability of mass produced consumer goods, like golf clubs.

These large publicly traded golf companies employ a lot of people, and while it's great to support the little guy fighting for his share in the marketplace like mr wishon, I think we should remember that the employees of taylormade and callaway have a right to work and feed their families too.

So, in conclusion, while I hope people who want custom golf equipment continue to choose wishon, I don't think that this should be the sole model by which people purchase their golf equipment. The combination of big markets and a climate that allows successful companies to grow into large entities that employ a lot of people and benefit a lot of shareholders has created a lot of wealth for a lot of us in the western world. I think that we shouldn't get so excited over our perception of what free enterprise is that we forget everything that big business has to offer.


Completely agree with you here; while I agree with many of the points raised within the article, it also reads like an informercial for Wishon Golf.

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#26 jmvargas

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

View Postpracticetee, on 20 December 2012 - 09:34 AM, said:

View PostThrillhouse, on 19 December 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Those who want custom fit clubs have no shortage of custom clubmakers to choose from.

Those who want the latest name brand driver and don't care if it fits them optimally have no shortage of retailers to choose from.

People pick what they like and the option that is preferred by the greatest number of people exhibits the highest degree of profitability and the highest degree of growth. This is an example of the market working as it is supposed to.

I respect mr wishon as I think we all do, but I think it is important to note that this article is in support of his business model. While his business model is great for him I think we should not ignore the fact that a healthy economy is one where people circulate the same dollar amongst themselves to a relatively high degree (im not saying to the highest degree), and one of the ways this is possible is through the availability of mass produced consumer goods, like golf clubs.

These large publicly traded golf companies employ a lot of people, and while it's great to support the little guy fighting for his share in the marketplace like mr wishon, I think we should remember that the employees of taylormade and callaway have a right to work and feed their families too.

So, in conclusion, while I hope people who want custom golf equipment continue to choose wishon, I don't think that this should be the sole model by which people purchase their golf equipment. The combination of big markets and a climate that allows successful companies to grow into large entities that employ a lot of people and benefit a lot of shareholders has created a lot of wealth for a lot of us in the western world. I think that we shouldn't get so excited over our perception of what free enterprise is that we forget everything that big business has to offer.


Completely agree with you here; while I agree with many of the points raised within the article, it also reads like an informercial for Wishon Golf.

....now that you mentioned it----it does!!

BTW..when i started playing golf in 1958--i was 12--Kenneth Smith was the only custom clubmaker i could remember but in my home club i can remember only 2 members who had them and they were among the wealthiest members there---one of them owned the club property..

the rest of us had to be satisfied with our wilsons, macgregors or spauldings!!.....

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#27 HisAirness

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:06 AM

I believe that the OEM can do good fittings for their products. They let you use state of the art launch monitors and provide different kind of shafts and shaft length.

But the part where they fail is building the club to the exact same specs the demo club had. And this is where real custom club fitting and building has a big advantage and I suggest every golfer, no matter what his playing abilities are, to take this advantage .

Edited by HisAirness, 20 December 2012 - 10:11 AM.


#28 TomWishon

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

View Postpracticetee, on 20 December 2012 - 09:34 AM, said:


Completely agree with you here; while I agree with many of the points raised within the article, it also reads like an informercial for Wishon Golf.

I'm sorry if you get the impression that the reason I share what I know about golf clubs and choose to work in the custom fitting side of the industry chiefly to make money.  At the same time, sure, I can see in today's world how people could get that impression from reading my opinion article.  I wrote it because I could see that what Kevin Crook was saying in his frustration was something that tons of other golfers have come to believe about buying golf clubs too.

If making the most money and having solid career security in the golf industry were at the very top of my priority list, I would have taken one of the offers I was so fortunate to receive at different points in my working life from a few of the big OEM companies to design for them or to head up all of their club development.  It sure would be nice to have that strong six figure salary, stock options, a staff of numerous engineers at my bidding and the security that goes along with such a position.

But I ended up not accepting any of those opportunities because in my work over the years I learned that accurate full specs professional clubfitting IS BETTER FOR GOLFERS WHO WANT NOTHING MORE THAN TO HAVE THE CHANCE TO PLAY A LITTLE BETTER AND PLAY TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY.  It IS a better business model for GOLFERS, but in a few ways it has not been a better business model for me and my family personally.

Because the marketing of the large golf companies has convinced golfers that buying a heavily marketed brand club off the rack is better than going to a one man clubmaking shop, a company like mine struggles to grow because we find ourselves constantly swimming upstream against a very strong current.  We're paying all our bills on time but by no means are we even remotely thinking that we're going to be rich.  I'm 62 now and retirement is not in immediate sight because in choosing to work in this side of the business, I accept the fact that when retirement does come, I like many will hope that Social Security and Medicare will still be there.  There is no second home or 4 vacations to golf resorts each year on my retirement horizon because of the business model I have chosen to pursue.

I'm no different than most in wishing I had more money, more job security and no fears about retirement.  But I also know that no matter I was fortunate to have my work noticed to receive some opportunities to work for a big company, I knew down deep I just could not get excited doing what I do for a company with a business model to package up everything I might do into standard made clubs to be displayed on racks in thousands of retail stores so the company could sell the most volume of clubs possible.

I know that is a business model that cannot provide golfers with clubs that give them a better chance to play better, enjoy the game a little more and get the best value for their club buying money.

But you know what?  No matter that I encounter a lot of golfers who seem to not understand that the knowledge and experience I share is done to truly help golfers learn the facts about golf clubs and enjoy the game a little more, I really have enjoyed and do enjoy what I have been able to do in my working life.  In many ways I have been able to do things and learn things related to golf clubs that I probably would never have been able to do or learn had I accepted one of those opportunities to work for a big golf company.

So at the end of the day, I understand how some can think I am only out to make more money when I share what I know about golf clubs, but down deep inside me I know that I have a real passion for sharing what I know simply because it is better for golfers.

TOM

#29 Skaffa77

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

View PostRJRJRJ, on 20 December 2012 - 01:42 AM, said:

No, I got the point.  I just dont truly believe that properly fit clubs will spare all of these golfers the pain and sorrow of being frustrated with their golf games.  Is fitting beneficial?  Of course.  Will it make a golfer who isnt completely dedicated to improving their game better?  Probably not.

Im no fitter, but id bet that the vast majority of typical golfers out there would be just as frustrated with their games whether or not their clubs were custom fit for them or not.  Fitting isnt a magic bullet.  The only way to get good at golf is to play and practice a ton.  And that goes back to my first point.  "Most golfers who take the game seriously will choose the proper equipment or get fit at some point."  I just dont believe the typical guy who just goes out there and yucks it up once in a while just wont see any major benefits from being fit.

Take a good golfer and give him an off the rack set, and he'll still be good.  Give a poor golfer a custom set, and he'll still be a poor golfer.

I agree...buying a very nice fitted suit doesn't mean you can give a good sales speech.   But I've contemplated how sustainable the current sales model for golf clubs is.

Edited by Skaffa77, 20 December 2012 - 11:06 AM.


#30 nitram

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

View PostRJRJRJ, on 20 December 2012 - 01:42 AM, said:


Is fitting beneficial?  Of course.  Will it make a golfer who isnt completely dedicated to improving their game better?  Probably not.


Take a good golfer and give him an off the rack set, and he'll still be good.  Give a poor golfer a custom set, and he'll still be a poor golfer.


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