Dollar Driver Club: Final Review (4-12-22): “Move Fast and Break Things”
So, maybe those of you familiar with technology are familiar with that phrase above. You see, when asked about his now super-company known know as Meta, Mark Zuckerberg said that was the motto the company needed to abide by. Don’t wait, make mistakes and figure out how to catch up to those mistakes after the fact. A modern version of “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.” It’s easy to see for early adopters where that has gotten them and also where there are flaws in that thinking.
Personally, I remember the rise and subsequent bottoming out of Movie Pass, a service where for $9.95 a month, and later even cheaper, you could see 1 film a day, bringing people to films in droves. However, those wings built on dreams and Icarian belief later cratered into immeasurable financial difficulty and eventual bankruptcy.
So, why I am I saying these things in the lead in to my final review of the Dollar Driver Club? Well, it is a way to bring some historical context to the issues and praises I have to this business model, and since this is more a review of a service and not a particular equipment based a review, a way to edu-tain you without the usual pictures, statistical analysis, and pure numbers that a club or ball review may provide. We’re looking at 5 factors on which to grade DDC, they have the star ratings next to them at the top of the post, but I’ll list them here as well
Speed of Shipping
Selection of Equipment
Purchase Process (if applicable)
Speed of Shipping: 4.25 stars out of 5
There are benefits to being in a central local for service providers. You don’t need to harvest from different warehouses across the country to make shipments happen, and if you focus on one specific product you can make shipments happen very quickly. Luckily DDC has that going for them. The company is located in Texas and was able to ship me both drivers I requested for this review in about an average of a week’s time, which for someone in New York is very good, especially considering one of those exchanges was made in the winter where it was only delayed due to a bomb cyclone in the northeast by a day.
However, there is a drawback to favoring speed in some circumstances, and it comes with handling in care. As mentioned in my initial post when I received my Cobra, the box had taken some damage in transit and as mentioned when I received the current G425 Max, the driver was shipped in a box with the headcover and the tool, no extra packing materials to ensure the club made it in one piece. I appreciate the commitment to fast turn-around times, but if I had to wait a couple of extra days to make sure I could receive my driver in one piece, I’d take it.
Selection of Equipment: 3.5 Stars out of 5
If you see that star rating and think it a big harsh for this company, I’m not going to sugarcoat. The selection is decent, but nothing more. Sure, you get the major companies, your Callaway, Titleist, Taylormade, Cobra, Ping, and Srixon for something a little exotic. The shaft choices are pretty standard as to the non-upcharge stock options, but that’s about as big the selection gets. I know, you shouldn’t be going in expecting to get the latest from Oban, Accra, Autoflex, etc… but this is more about the late release of 2022 drivers.
As of right now, no 2022 drivers are available to order for testing purposes and it’s a bit of a disappointment. In talking to the folks in the DDC chat, they’ve indicated to me that there are supply chain issues in them getting clubs, and while I’m understanding of that, all the major 2022 releases so far I would have expected were released in store 6 weeks ago with preorders a month before that. It’s not a total deal breaker, but it’s a definite hit.
Return/Exchange Process: 3.5 Stars out of 5
Again, this is not a knock on the service here. So as either a yearly member, like we were for the test, or a monthly member, you are entitled to test and receive 3 drivers every 12 months. The actual process to go through for the returns and exchange are actually quite easy. You enter the driver you wish to exchange or “upgrade” for or the shaft you wish to swap, complete a few pages of drop down menus and get yourself a pre-printed shipping label to send the club back to Texas.
What drops a star and a half off this easy process? The fact that it costs you each time you do. For me to get my new Ping driver upgrade, it cost me $20, and the initial Cobra ran me $16.95. Again, for someone who ‘paid’ upfront $360, I should be able to send what I want for either a reduced price to a month to month member or get a few free switches, or at least have those funds used toward a potential purchase. Perhaps that’s me wanting the service to be something it’s not, but if the idea is to make it advantageous to be able to switch and try different set-ups, it should be more financially viable.
Customer Service: 4.75 Stars out of 5
Look, I loved dealing with the staff at DDC. The people they have with the chat function to be the up-front people for folks looking to answer questions are friendly enough, and they were helpful enough in answering some questions we had of the service. It’s also worth noting that the package we got in our initial drivers of the tees, the ball marker, and the letter from the head of the company was a very nice touch. It’s hard to be up front about supply chain issues and getting back to us with answers to our questions so that’s why it’s not a perfect five as we have gotten a bit of radio silence as a group recently, but they have good people that work there and they try to go that extra step for the customers, which is all you can ask for.
Purchase Process: N/A Stars out of 5
Simply put, I don’t know if I’m going to purchase whatever driver I finish with, so I can’t grade this part of the review. I am planning on a personal fitting for woods this fall, but I could be convinced by great performance by the G425 Max or any other potential driver.
If you guys ever heard of the saying format “X walked so Y could fly,” I think that’s what we’re in a case with Dollar Driver Club. Much like how Moviepass died and systems like Regal Unlimited, AMC Stubs A-List, and Cinemark Movie Club sprung up, I think you’ll see something similar if Dollar Driver Club falters in any fashion. You’re already seeing it with the Stealth Demo program attached to TaylorMade’s My TM+ service and if that proves popular, golf is one thing where it’s follow the leader. I could easily see Callaway and Cobra following suit soon after and potentially DDC might get played out of their own market.
I guess in summation, DDC is one heck of idea, a great proof of concept that it can and will work for some golfers. For Spies who tinker, I think you’ll find it a little threadbare for what it is we are looking for, but for the regular golfer with money to burn and a need to have the latest and greatest, Dollar Drive Club is one heck of a service.
FINAL SCORE: 77.5% (15 Stars out of 20)
Introduction for Posterity
"Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most" - Dostoevsky
I often wonder some times if famous people or thinkers were golfers or not in a past life. In a way, I want to believe that ol' Fyodor Dostoevsky would have been one, and would have been one hell of a tinkerer, always trying new things in the search to get better.
Oh yeah, me. I'm Ryan Bergman, aka forum member Berg Ryman, commissioner of fantasy leagues, seeker of putters, tester of products, and writer of really intricate reviews that make multiple pop culture references that range from explanative to bizarre.
In that above quote, Dostoevsky puts forth the thesis that the one thing that man fears most is change, and he has a point. We are creatures of habit or routine, and for something as cataclysmic as change to come in and be a constant is scary. The idea of "evolve or die" comes to mind. Again, the parallels are there for us a golfers. We have our old reliable, we have our own superstitions, we have our way of doing things and it's hard for some of us to get out of there.
Interestingly, the same can be said of business and the golf industry. This is where Dollar Driver Club comes into play here. It takes a change in the way business is done to shift the golf world forward and Dollar Driver Club is attempting to be that shot in the arm. For a new company to come in and offer a subscription model for drivers is a welcome change to the typical big box model or even green grass model.
So, what can you expect from my version of this test? Well, I'm going into this as a general golfer, not as a Spy, not as a former worker in the industry. I'm not going to get fit in a big box store or a fitter before making my orders. The reason for this is two fold. One, I feel like this is a service built for those of use who want tinker and try for ourselves, so I do plan on using the options available and the people that DDC have on staff as my resources, as well as info from the companies themselves to direct me toward things I know I like. Two, I feel like beside the tinkerer in us, this service also really appeals to that "basic golfer", the one who may not dabble in the finer points of equipment differences, exotic shaft selections, kickpoints, etc. So I'm going to try and take some information about these clubs to again, color the choices. Namely, I'm looking at the measurements from the MGS Most Wanted testing.
Now, I've already signed up for the service and made my first selection. First, I want to talk to you guys about early interactions with DDC. They had us all fill out an intake form that basically set us up a profile. They asked us your basics, name address and then we got into golf specific questions. We gave them our current driver set up, preferred ball flights, lofts, etc. So I entered my info about my Mizuno ST180 with my Kuro Kage Silver TiniDual Core in Stiff flex in 60 grams (net weight 69 grams)
So, then we get into the search and as noted the selection is not all-encompassing, but is substantial. You have the Main five driver companies on offer with the newest lines from Taylormade, Cobra, Callaway, Ping, and Titleist, as well as one generation old Callaway and Taylormade in limited offerings. Again, using the info in the Most Wanted testing for mid speed swings and current feelings about drivers, there was one club that caught my eye and checked all the boxes to be the first driver I requested... and I guess I need to find out if it truly does suck.
That's right, I have a RadSpeed coming my way, 10.5 in the Peacoat Blue with the MotoreX F1 60 in Stiff. It was the longest at midspeed testing and I'm all after bombs right now. It should be here Wednesday. I am psyched.
So that's where we start from, there will be change, there will be questions, and we'll be there for the better part of a year to answer them and help you guys understand what DDC can be for you. As always, thanks to the MGS Staff for the opportunity and for the community for putting it's trust in me, I'm going to give you everything I got.