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  1. This post was stimulated in part by Barbajo's recent super-fitting and also by some of my own research into the Cool Clubs franchise. It was also compounded by the changes I see happening this winter at the retail level in my area. Basically, all my local green grass shops have GIVEN UP selling clubs. The pros who work them don't have the technical expertise to fit anymore, they don't have launch monitors, and they do not keep fitting carts on the premises. They have dropped their on site inventory of non-perishable items (meaning clubs) down to basically zero. For them, 80% of equipment "sales" are only year-end cash ins of tournament winnings from guys who say "Order me a Scotty, I guess. I gotta spend the credit somehow." Likewise, the guys I know who work in B&M off course stores lament that they can't move product to serious golfers. They say that guys like me get a "fitting" with them and then go buy on-line. Of course, lots of guys like me only carp about these "six-swing, knucklehead-operator, jacked-monitor" mini-fittings that we get in B&M stores and we wonder, "Why bother? Either do it right or not at all." To be fit, or not to be fit, is no longer a question. It is de rigeur. To show your nose on a golf blog and admit you haven't been fit recently for every club in your bag is to stink the stank of rank amateur. You have to be fit these days, and so the question is what kind of fitting should you get? I think the new model will be "Pay to get Super-fit, then custom order directly from the manufacturer." Let's leave hacker and starter clubs out of the discussion for now. They'll continue to make their no-brainer purchases whereever they get them now. I'm talking about the way golf wonks will buy their HQ clubs. I think the trend has already changed and will get more entrenched in the new channel of buying by paying for an objective "super-fit" session that costs serious bucks, but does NOT expect you to buy clubs from them. These tour van sessions cost $350 or more and they last a half day AT LEAST. They use a battery of highly sophisticated sensors and software that take specialized training. Most teaching pros simply do not know how to run them. They are performed in specialized studios with walls of heads and shafts. Overhead that a green grass pro can't afford. These super-fittings are highly technical and very involved. They take a LONG time. When you complete such a fitting, you are handed a prescription of your specs and what worked best for you, but no one has an expectation that you will buy clubs from them. You can take those specs straight to an OEM like Mizuno Yoro craft, or the Ping WRX shop, and have the clubs built for you, or you can have someone else do it. Either way, you are probably going to end up with clubs that are highly customized to a degree that was not considered even 5 years ago. If this is true, and super-fittings are now necessary, I think we will see a move away from traditional B&M's (Golfsmith, Edwin Watts, Golf Galaxy etc.) and toward outlets like Cool Club franchises (http://coolclubs.com/) or the 2nd Swing facility Barbajo visited. One per city, not one in the next state, where we go NOT to window-shop product and walk away, but where we go for a paid service and only maybe place an order. I think we will stop looking at golf retail like a "clothing store" where we browse outfits and start looking at it like an "optometrist's office" where we pick up prescriptions. We will pay to do this once every few years, but probably not every year, and we will carry our prescriptions with us, reusing them several times until our bodies or situations change. Anyway, those are my thoughts, what do you think?
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