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Bridgestone Test Drive Program


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You guys said it was a great program based on what? Nothing. You didn't even read it.

So its time to call the one guy who DID read it and pass along the correct info a "conspiracy theorist?"

How's that work?

"Glute Activator"

 

*Please accept my contributions of participation and intellectual property sharing as substitute for monetary renumeration.

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Geez. Some guys just have to see a conspiracy in everything, can't just take it for what it is. It's a different idea/way to demo some clubs. If you want to try it fine, if not, fine. That's all there is to it. No "truth" to uncover here.

 

It is different - in the the sense that you are actually paying for "rental" of the clubs and that if you don't return them within the specified rental period you are legally obliged to pay the full retail price for them.

Yup - it's certainly a different way of what I call a "demo".

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Well boys, it seems the lines have been drawn...

 

There's the "Sunshine, Rainbows and Show Ponies" all is well with the world side, and there's the "King Jong Un Or Some Other Axis of Evil Is Behind It All" and this program will end the world as we know it side. (And if anyone is offended by those remarks, please - I mean no one any harm and am speaking with tongue firmly planted in cheek).

 

The debate has been talked out - it's time to break out the "Let's agree to disagree" card, shake hands like grown-ups and move on.

 

I'd actually be interested in hearing from someone who has actually tried the program and what they think of the clubs...

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What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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wbealsd posted this is another thread -- not sure if we've discussed it, but we should. 

 

LOL... until we shouldn't. I think this is the first time I've seen MGS "Staff" call for ending discussion because of different opinions. I haven't read anything offensive. Just opinions. And some facts too. Barbajo...  why don't you take the Bridgestone offer? I've seen many of your reviews and they are quite good.

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My Sun Mountain bag currently includes:   TWGTLogo2.png.06c802075f4d211691d88895b3f34b75.png 771CSI 5i - PW and TWGTLogo2.png.06c802075f4d211691d88895b3f34b75.png PFC Micro Tour-c 52°, 56°, 60 wedges

                                                                               :755178188_TourEdge: EXS 10.5*, TWGTLogo2.png.06c802075f4d211691d88895b3f34b75.png 929-HS FW4 16.5* 

                                                                                :edel-golf-1: Willimette w/GolfPride Contour

 

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Not ending Plaid - I don't have that kind of power!! Just asking for redirection. Like I said, all sides are heard from, next let's hear from

Someone who's actually done it.

 

What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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$700 hold? That's not bad. I would go for that if I was considering them.

I was up for it until I saw the $700 hold.  A $700 hold on a $500 driver and if they determine that you damaged it at all, they can refuse to release the hold and you dont get to keep the club.  No thanks.

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"I suppose its better to be a master of 7 than to be vaguely familiar with 14." - Chick Evans

Whats in my Sun Mountain 2.5+ stand bag?

Woods: Tommy Armour Atomic 10.5* 

Hybrid: Mizuno MP Fli-Hi 3H

Irons: Mizuno T-Zoid True 5, 7 and 9-irons

Wedge: Mizuno S18 blue ion 54*

Putter: Mizuno Bettinardi A-02

Ball: Maxfli Tour X

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To be clear: there is no reason this program can't "work." But, all the risk is on YOU as the consumer.

How much backlash was there when all the risk was on the seller on Ebay? A lot.

So I'm surprised when a similar scenario gets any amount of support.

Having lived in this world for a while now, not everything always runs just as planned, and if it means having a headache to then contend with, I think we can all agree there are enough headaches in life. The potential risk, to me, is not worth doing Bstone's job for them to get their product in my hands. They are a huge corporation. Tell them to cut loose with the purse strings already instead of championing their cheapskate end-around of the retail market. Granted, the retail market largely is dying on the vine, but its all about sending a message about what you will accept as a consumer.

 

Bstone irons are nice. They're forged. But others make forged irons too, and you can see them in person and maybe even be fit for them. I haven't any affiliation to Bstone so strong that I'll support this model over the more serious committment other OEMs have made to the American market. Bstone has needed to crap or get off the pot for a long time in the U.S. with respect to clubs.

 

Would you rather see annoying David Feherty commercials, or see them use money for getting product out there for people to actually demo? You know my vote.

"Glute Activator"

 

*Please accept my contributions of participation and intellectual property sharing as substitute for monetary renumeration.

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In the terms it says if you use the Bridgestone pre-paid shipping label you just have to have it dropped off to the shipper by 5pm on the 21st day.  It only has to be back to their warehouse by 5pm if you choose to use an alternate shipping method.  For me this alleviates some of the shipping concerns.

 

Are there risks to choosing to participate in this program?  Sure, but there are risks to everything.  If I was in the market for a Bridgestone club and nobody around here offered them I would absolutely take a shot with this program. 

 

One of the biggest complaints with any OEM that isn't widely available is that we can't hit the clubs before we buy.  I don't see this as replacing demo days, or getting product into retail (harder than it sounds sometimes) or having reps or fitting carts.  I look at this as another option in addition to all of those things. 

 

There are a few other retailers and OEM's out there that offer some sort of playability guarantee.  If you don't like it or it doesn't work you can send it back.  With all of those others I've seen though if you alter the clubs in any way you own it.  Bridgestone at least allows you to bend a lie if you want to and no issues.  It's a unique out of the box program to allow people who wouldn't normally get a chance to hit their clubs to do so. 

 

Whether you agree with the program or not I think we should be applauding Bridgestone for coming up with a unique program to make their clubs more available.  Just like in Rev's fitting thread, there are days where your swing just isn't quite on par.  This type of testing would allow you to get a few different sessions in and really give the clubs a fair shot. 

 

I'd love to see more OEM's offer something like this instead of hitting 5 shots with a stock shaft offering into a jacked up monitor in a big box store while 30 people wait in line and the sales person gives you the stink eye for taking too much time.

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Driver: :taylormade-small: SLDR w/ Fujikura Ventus Black

3w: :taylormade-small:'16 M2 hl w/ Diamana D+ 82

5w: :cleveland-small: Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Yellow

Hybrid: :cleveland-small: 22 deg. Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Black

Irons: :cleveland-small: 5i - gap Launcher CBX w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Wedges: :cleveland-small: 54 CBX & 58 Zipcore w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Putter: :odyssey-small: Red 7s

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Clearly, there are two sides of the fence in this debate. On the one side, some are giving kudos to Bridgestone for reaching out to consumers who don't (or won't) have the opportunity to trial their clubs at a locale near to them. Nothing wrong with that at all IMO.

The problem I foresee is when you look at Bridgestones net worth and then compare it to (1) their marketing budget and (2) the market share they intend to compete with.

The numbers are so laughable, it's little wonder they want the consumer to do the vast majority of the legwork in finding their products. I've always championed the role of the consumer in taking the lead in finding the correct solution for their game, but I'm afraid Bridgestone have taken this one step further.

Rather than setting up "normal" demo days across the country and putting not only their products on display but some professional advice in selecting the correct equipment, they would rather the consumer does this task for themselves and whilst doing so underwrite their losses should they occur.

Not only does this come across as "cheap", it also comes across as insulting given the aforementioned company profile and marketing budget.

For my money, Bridgestone really need to try a LOT harder in connecting their product with the consumer if they have any aspirations of taking a profitable slice of the market share - which seems unlikely because Mizuno are WAY ahead of them in these stakes and yet still struggle to compete with the other big 4 brands (TM, Callaway, Ping, Titleist) when it comes to demo availability and custom fitting.

So what we have is a case of classic golf marketing gone wrong - "here's our product, come and get it" doesn't have any virtues when the market leaders have it duly covered at a fraction of the cost and effort.

Other than blind brand loyalty to Bridgestone, what reason does anyone have to trial their clubs when they have to pay upfront and have money on hold as insurance? Sure their clubs are decent quality but they are certainly not any cheaper, better, or more adaptable than any other brand widely available to the consumer. "Exclusivity" I hear you say? Give me break - there are literally hundreds of other JDM niche brands which are equally as delusional in terms of of marketing and sales aspirations based on their own efforts. 

Frankly, Bridgestone are yanking your proverbial chain and to see that some of you actually feel they need to be applauded is quite baffling. It's not unique at all - it's JDM strategy personified. Sorry, but the "club in a box" concept does not work with it's current terms and conditions. I would say "nice try" to Bridgestone, but it seems like they're not trying at all.

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Clearly, there are two sides of the fence in this debate. On the one side, some are giving kudos to Bridgestone for reaching out to consumers who don't (or won't) have the opportunity to trial their clubs at a locale near to them. Nothing wrong with that at all IMO.

The problem I foresee is when you look at Bridgestones net worth and then compare it to (1) their marketing budget and (2) the market share they intend to compete with.

The numbers are so laughable, it's little wonder they want the consumer to do the vast majority of the legwork in finding their products. I've always championed the role of the consumer in taking the lead in finding the correct solution for their game, but I'm afraid Bridgestone have taken this one step further.

Rather than setting up "normal" demo days across the country and putting not only their products on display but some professional advice in selecting the correct equipment, they would rather the consumer does this task for themselves and whilst doing so underwrite their losses should they occur.

Not only does this come across as "cheap", it also comes across as insulting given the aforementioned company profile and marketing budget.

For my money, Bridgestone really need to try a LOT harder in connecting their product with the consumer if they have any aspirations of taking a profitable slice of the market share - which seems unlikely because Mizuno are WAY ahead of them in these stakes and yet still struggle to compete with the other big 4 brands (TM, Callaway, Ping, Titleist) when it comes to demo availability and custom fitting.

So what we have is a case of classic golf marketing gone wrong - "here's our product, come and get it" doesn't have any virtues when the market leaders have it duly covered at a fraction of the cost and effort.

Other than blind brand loyalty to Bridgestone, what reason does anyone have to trial their clubs when they have to pay upfront and have money on hold as insurance? Sure their clubs are decent quality but they are certainly not any cheaper, better, or more adaptable than any other brand widely available to the consumer. "Exclusivity" I hear you say? Give me break - there are literally hundreds of other JDM niche brands which are equally as delusional in terms of of marketing and sales aspirations based on their own efforts. 

Frankly, Bridgestone are yanking your proverbial chain and to see that some of you actually feel they need to be applauded is quite baffling. It's not unique at all - it's JDM strategy personified. Sorry, but the "club in a box" concept does not work with it's current terms and conditions. I would say "nice try" to Bridgestone, but it seems like they're not trying at all.

By that rational the only clubs ever sold should be the clubs readily available in big box stores?

 

I'm also curious where Bridgestone said they are using this in place of getting product into retail, or doing demo days? 

 

Bridgestone has never had a large presence in the US.  I've been under the assumption that this is the year they are going to start pushing into the US market.  This to me is just one aspect of that push and probably the easiest one to pull off the fastest.  Getting into retail, club fitters and setting up demo days takes time.  This is an easy way to allow consumers a chance to demo their product.  And not only to demo it, but to do so on their own schedule, at their own course, over a period of time rather than a 30 minute session on a launch monitor.

 

Look at it this way.  If I was to offer two ways to test out a product and pick a new set of irons.  Would you rather spend an hour on a launch monitor in one session, or play a few rounds with the set and see how they perform on a course?  And guess what, if you picked the launch monitor session you can still do that with this demo program.

 

If this program was the entirety of Bridgestones go-to-market strategy then I wouldn't think very much of that strategy,  It's not going to reach enough golfers to make a measurable difference in sales compared to the more traditional avenues of big box stores, club fitters, demo days and smaller shops.  But I just don't see this being the only thing they do.  It's another option for consumers to take advantage of and test out product they normally wouldn't have the ability hit.

 

I'm still baffled that an OEM giving you the option of testing out their clubs for 2 weeks on your own course, on your own time, is viewed in a negative light.

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Driver: :taylormade-small: SLDR w/ Fujikura Ventus Black

3w: :taylormade-small:'16 M2 hl w/ Diamana D+ 82

5w: :cleveland-small: Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Yellow

Hybrid: :cleveland-small: 22 deg. Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Black

Irons: :cleveland-small: 5i - gap Launcher CBX w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Wedges: :cleveland-small: 54 CBX & 58 Zipcore w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Putter: :odyssey-small: Red 7s

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I've got to agree with Hckymeyer - last year was the first year of this trial program, and this is still what it is. The fact that the majority of the sets that I'd like to try are out suggests that there are enough people interested for this to be a good idea as a supplement to their overall demo strategy - and I believe that that is what it is. 

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Look at it this way.  If I was to offer two ways to test out a product and pick a new set of irons.  Would you rather spend an hour on a launch monitor in one session, or play a few rounds with the set and see how they perform on a course?  And guess what, if you picked the launch monitor session you can still do that with this demo program.

 

 

 

Look at it this way: if you ordered a club with your own money and subsequently it doesn't fit or you don't like it - where does that leave you?

At least with a demo day you can put the club back in the rack and ask for something different - several times over. With the Bridgestone method, you pay for every club you order (new customers don't get multiple clubs) and are left to return them with the specified period or you pay the full retail (plus any shaft upgrade) price.

Seems like a long winded way of getting a taste of what Bridgestone has to offer, albeit they are using a pretty remote method of connecting their products with the consumer. 

TM tried this tack with some 6-irons (which they actually let you keep for free) and it didn't work. The last time I checked, most golf is played at golf courses (?) by people who have to to get there somehow - they do not send themselves to the 1st tee via priority shipping in a box. Likewise, the clubs with which they play this game are also used at the same location - usually not their mailbox or home front door.

Therefore, if you really feel that having a club (for a fee) posted to your door is a convenient way to evaluate them, then you must be exactly the kind of user the JDM fanbase appeals to. In other words, if you really need to trial a brand that badly that you need to pay for the privilege and leave your credit card on hold, then you might have missed the point.

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Look at it this way: if you ordered a club with your own money and subsequently it doesn't fit or you don't like it - where does that leave you?

At least with a demo day you can put the club back in the rack and ask for something different - several times over. With the Bridgestone method, you pay for every club you order (new customers don't get multiple clubs) and are left to return them with the specified period or you pay the full retail (plus any shaft upgrade) price.

Seems like a long winded way of getting a taste of what Bridgestone has to offer, albeit they are using a pretty remote method of connecting their products with the consumer. 

TM tried this tack with some 6-irons (which they actually let you keep for free) and it didn't work. The last time I checked, most golf is played at golf courses (?) by people who have to to get there somehow - they do not send themselves to the 1st tee via priority shipping in a box. Likewise, the clubs with which they play this game are also used at the same location - usually not their mailbox or home front door.

Therefore, if you really feel that having a club (for a fee) posted to your door is a convenient way to evaluate them, then you must be exactly the kind of user the JDM fanbase appeals to. In other words, if you really need to trial a brand that badly that you need to pay for the privilege and leave your credit card on hold, then you might have missed the point.

Talk about missing the point...

 

If you order a club with your own money and don't like, you are left trying to sell that club and usually at a loss.

 

If you want to use this program you pay a small shipping fee, try it out for a couple weeks and then send it back.  I'm not sure where my thinking this is a cool ancillary program to add to a companies go-to-market strategy makes me a JDM fanboy. 

 

Yeah, they put a hold on your credit card for the value of the clubs.  If you keep them, you bought them.  I don't see how this is a surprise.  They aren't charging your card, they are verifying you have the credit available to pay for said clubs if you happen to keep them (aka steal them)  They have to have some way to get the clubs back or the first 20 people to demo them would just keep them and get some free clubs.

 

When you test drive a car you have to leave a copy of your license at the dealership.  Do you not buy any cars because if you don't make it back to the dealer or get in an accident you are liable for the car?

 

Here's a great rule in sales.  Don't sell out of your own pocket.  I'm not going to take advantage of this program.  I don't want to pay the fee and I don't have a desire to hit the new Bridgestone stuff.  Just because you personally aren't going to take advantage of the program doesn't mean it's not a cool program.  Or an interesting way to allow more golfers to hit your product that wouldn't otherwise be able to.

 

I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall in this thread.  I don't like the feeling so I'll just sit back and read from now on.  In Duck Dynasty terms "He gone"

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Driver: :taylormade-small: SLDR w/ Fujikura Ventus Black

3w: :taylormade-small:'16 M2 hl w/ Diamana D+ 82

5w: :cleveland-small: Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Yellow

Hybrid: :cleveland-small: 22 deg. Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Black

Irons: :cleveland-small: 5i - gap Launcher CBX w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Wedges: :cleveland-small: 54 CBX & 58 Zipcore w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Putter: :odyssey-small: Red 7s

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In duck dynasty terms, "free is better than cheap".

And since when has the fee for shipping golf clubs "small"? 

Either way, if you think the idea of getting a club via post is "cool" or that the marketing team at Bridgestone HQ took more than 5 seconds to come up with the concept, then I'm not surprised that the golf industry is in rapid decline.

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I'm not exactly sure where all the arguments are coming from, either you're going to do it or you aren't no reason, to bash the other side.  It's like me calling Barbajo an old petrified turd, because he likes Hogan and Wilson, while I like Tmag and Ping. :D   People don't have to share an opinion, but we can discuss it civilly.

 

About the $700 hold......... is this really an arguement???  It's a HOLD, you know, so people don't steal their clubs.  You want to talk about something on the decline?  How about good honest people.  The world is full of crooks looking to rip somebody off for a quick buck.  This is just ensuring that doesn't happen to them.  I tested a driver on the range, I had to leave a valid credit card at the golf store.........THE HUMANITY.  Btw, I wasn't charged anything when I decided I didn't want the driver.

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In duck dynasty terms, "free is better than cheap".

And since when has the fee for shipping golf clubs "small"? 

 

I wonder if part of the difference in viewpoint on this issue is urban vs rural?

 

I'm not particularly likely to take part in this program, at least anytime soon, but I live 50 miles from the nearest golf store and even then, there are a number of brands that aren't stocked.  

 

As to fitting and customization, we're limited there, as well.  I can have pretty much anything I want ordered for me, but aside from some major OEM Demo Days and their stock options, or the (somewhat limited) options at the ONE custom fitting shop  I don't have any convenient (let alone FREE) way to try a number of brands I have an interest in without traveling to the Twin Cities or Omaha.  If I'm going to travel that far to check out the equipment, then that's an overnight trip.

 

Compared to travel expense, having an item I'm interested in purchasing shipped to me for a trial period makes a lot of sense.

What's In The Bag

Driver :titelist-small:

Titleist 913 D2 10.5* (set to 9.75* / Neutral) 46" Paderson KINETIXX Kevlar Green - R

Fairway Wood

Tom Wishon 949 MC 16.5* Fujikura Speeder 569-A

Hybrid  :cleveland-small: Hibore 22* Aldila VS Proto Blue

Irons  :ping-small: G series 5-P

Wedges :ping-small:Glide 54* SS / 60* TS - SCOR 53*

Putter     :nike-small: Nike Method 001 / P2 Reflex grip 35"

Ball

Master Grip Tour C4

Bag

Datrek DG Lite  

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That is a valid point. Without taking into account the vast area of the Americas, then it does make getting the brand into the hands of the masses more of a logistical problem. However when you also take into account the amount of effort put in by the brand in question to make this happen, then consumers have every right to question how they provide a service - especially when a portion of this comes out of their own pocket. Postage may well be the only way for some brands, but if any of them are serious about making in-roads into the average joes buying habits, then they might want to reconsider their tactics IMHO. Free shipping maybe? Who knows. I wish Bridgestone every success in the program, but I see more flaws than advantages at this stage. 

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I've stayed out of this one, and will probably regret getting in now.  However, I think all sides of this have been represented and I agree with them all.  It's a marketing ploy by Bridgestone.  Yes.  Good or bad?  The jury is out.  Depends on whether people see it as an advantage to them for whatever reasons they have.  wbealsd is likely correct that people living in the middle of nowhere might see this as an advantage.  If this approach doesn't work, then maybe we will see Bridgestone try something different next year.  Personally, I won't be doing it.  I liked it better when TMaG offered a 30 day trail with a refund on the SLDR. 

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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