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Should Fittings be Free?


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Duration: 00:46:32

Special guest Ryan Barath (@RDSBarath) joins us for a head to head debate with MGS owner Adam Beach: Should fittings be free for all golfers?

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Some club and ball websites offer free fittings already.  Following the same thought process lessons should be free as well.

2ndSwing credits the fitting charge toward equipment already.

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I haven't listened to this, so I'll only answer the question as you asked it. 

You get what you pay for. Club champion, true fit, txg, etc. Those are fittings and if you want one, I see no reason they shouldn't charge you. 

If you just want to go swing away at new clubs, go to the big box /local option that will let you do that for free. 

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2 minutes ago, Thin2win said:

I haven't listened to this, so I'll only answer the question as you asked it. 

You get what you pay for. Club champion, true fit, txg, etc. Those are fittings and if you want one, I see no reason they shouldn't charge you. 

If you just want to go swing away at new clubs, go to the big box /local option that will let you do that for free. 

Not anymore. Golf Galaxy now charges you $100 for the “fitting” and you get the money rolled into the purchase cost if you buy from them. And they can only fit with whatever shafts they have in the OEM fitting carts

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20 hours ago, Thin2win said:

I haven't listened to this, so I'll only answer the question as you asked it. 

You get what you pay for. Club champion, true fit, txg, etc. Those are fittings and if you want one, I see no reason they shouldn't charge you. 

If you just want to go swing away at new clubs, go to the big box /local option that will let you do that for free. 

I think the point they are trying to make is that the cost of getting fit into the right club should be baked into the club purchase price itself.  Swinging away aimlessly at the big box stores for free doesn't benefit the golfer and leads to a lot of expensive club purchases that will never work for that person.  

The argument MGS (Adam) is making becomes a lot less relevant when you start looking at the fringes of skill level.  The number of single digit handicap golfers out there is pretty small compared to the 25 million golfers overall and for the vast majority of that 25 million, a free fitting would probably be very helpful.  It doesn't need to be an elite level fitting to make big improvements for the average player. Playing the wrong lengh/lie angle/just wrong style of club (blades) is probably holding back a very large number of mid to high handicap golfers so getting them fit into the right gear could help drop their scores dramatically.  For the remaining low handicap golfers, I can see how their swing/game is so dialed in that switching between various $3-400 aftermarket shafts helps them achieve exactly what they are looking for and in those cases, an elite level pro fitting is probably worth paying for.  

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2 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

If fittings should be free why do I have to pay for truegolffit??

Adam addressed that in the video.  It's going to be free next year and apparently will be expanding to cover irons and golf balls instead of just drivers.

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Just now, ChitownM2 said:

Adam addressed that in the video.  It's going to be free next year and apparently will be expanding to cover irons and golf balls instead of just drivers.

Cool. Haven't listened yet but will be this evening. 

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9 minutes ago, jlukes said:

Not anymore. Golf Galaxy now charges you $100 for the “fitting” and you get the money rolled into the purchase cost if you buy from them. And they can only fit with whatever shafts they have in the OEM fitting carts

Is it actually different than before though?  Do they actually have competent people doing the $100 fitting or is it just the same guy who normally works the register on a Wednesday but is doing "fittings" today because it's the weekend and they are busy?  The PGATSS guys will "fit" you into a club, but in my experience they are worthless.  If you want a real fitting then you need to pay for their "tour van fitting" and even then I'm not sure how good those guys are.  I just assumed that they were actual club fitters opposed to "regular" store employees.

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13 minutes ago, ChitownM2 said:

Is it actually different than before though?  Do they actually have competent people doing the $100 fitting or is it just the same guy who normally works the register on a Wednesday but is doing "fittings" today because it's the weekend and they are busy?  The PGATSS guys will "fit" you into a club, but in my experience they are worthless.  If you want a real fitting then you need to pay for their "tour van fitting" and even then I'm not sure how good those guys are.  I just assumed that they were actual club fitters opposed to "regular" store employees.

The fitting I did at pgatss was the tour van fitting and the guy was a legit fitter unlike the guys working the fitting bays. Samething at 2ndswing and their tour fitting.

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I see Adam's point in this, but it negates the realities of the world and how businesses operate and every time Ryan brought this up Adam would just say "hire more people", "open more stores". It doesn't work that way. I think it's something that businesses could experiment with and ultimately find a workable solution for, but I don't believe it's as easy as Adam makes it sound. It's one thing to play around with this idea at a retail store that does more than fit golf clubs, it's a different thing entirely for businesses like TXG which exist explicitly for the purpose of fitting; they aren't looking to increase foot traffic in hopes of making a sale. 

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16 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

I see Adam's point in this, but it negates the realities of the world and how businesses operate and every time Ryan brought this up Adam would just say "hire more people", "open more stores". It doesn't work that way. I think it's something that businesses could experiment with and ultimately find a workable solution for, but I don't believe it's as easy as Adam makes it sound. It's one thing to play around with this idea at a retail store that does more than fit golf clubs, it's a different thing entirely for businesses like TXG which exist explicitly for the purpose of fitting; they aren't looking to increase foot traffic in hopes of making a sale. 

Exactly this.  I don't have any insider knowledge, but my guess is that TXG breaks even or close to it if they sell every single fitting slot available at a location.  Any club sales on top of that are profit.  This is the complete opposite of what Adam is envisioning because his dream scenario essentially turns every golf retailer into a big box store where volume of sales pays for the services they provide.  It's essentially the Amazon philosophy but since golf equipment prices are basically fixed, they use the volume to fund perks like free fittings as opposed to offering lower prices (margins).  

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I also think the price point of the custom work is an issue for places like TXG. If they fit you into a stock build how much do they make really, and the options to get spec from a free fitting then buy from the cheapest place, which many would do, makes that really not possible. On top of that Adam kept saying well the walk around buying balls, gloves, and such however a place like TXG doesn’t work that way they are not PGASS. I agree it turned into and argument that really only a big box retailer could make Adam’s model work. 

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I'll take Adam's position and tweak it a little.  For a top end fitting paying for a facility like TXG is probably fine.   For big box retailers,  if they had competent fitters that could educate people on what to look for in clubs and help them pick equipment it would probably benefit the store and the golfer.  It would benefit the store by building some loyalty from the golfer since they feel like they got some value in the fitting.   I look at many of the posts on this site where people are saying that they bought this club or that shaft and they think it is wrong.   Have them pay for the fitting and if they buy the shaft or clubs then the fitting is free.    

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Doesn’t this also fall in to the category of using a computer program for fitting like true golf fit where it really takes out the need for a competent fitter and reducing cost. Do I think you should have to pay for fittings sure, we pay for everything else. Should you have to pay if you are a member of a club, no. I think your dues or yearly fee should cover the fitting cost. If you go to a higher end place you are going to have to pay and it’s really only right that they would charge when they take on the risk and overhead, plus you are paying for the attention to detail with your build. It should be right the first time without excuses. 

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:

I'll take Adam's position and tweak it a little.  For a top end fitting paying for a facility like TXG is probably fine.   For big box retailers,  if they had competent fitters that could educate people on what to look for in clubs and help them pick equipment it would probably benefit the store and the golfer.  It would benefit the store by building some loyalty from the golfer since they feel like they got some value in the fitting.   I look at many of the posts on this site where people are saying that they bought this club or that shaft and they think it is wrong.   Have them pay for the fitting and if they buy the shaft or clubs then the fitting is free.    

 There are small pro shops that do this but there’s no way they could afford a fitter to do the work if they have any free fittings. Even with the price of the fitting put towards the purchase people still surf the Internet for the best price. I’ve seen it several times where a guy goes to his car, searches for the setup somewhere to see if they can find it cheaper, if they do they come back in several minutes or days later and tell the fitter they found it for x price elsewhere and can he match it

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14 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

 There are small pro shops that do this but there’s no way they could afford a fitter to do the work if they have any free fittings. Even with the price of the fitting put towards the purchase people still surf the Internet for the best price. I’ve seen it several times where a guy goes to his car, searches for the setup somewhere to see if they can find it cheaper, if they do they come back in several minutes or days later and tell the fitter they found it for x price elsewhere and can he match it

Don't disagree with anything you are saying.  The point of the podcast was to discuss that ideally fittings should be free to benefit inexperienced golfers to help them get more enjoyment from the game.  As discussed, perspectives also change when things are "free" vs. having to pay for something.   Fundamentally not a complete solution as players also need lessons to help with the improvement.  

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If you own a Porsche do you bring it to a certified Porsche mechanic to be fixed or your local garage mechanic? Its simple if you want the best fifting go to a certified professional and pay for it. If you want an ok fitting then hit up a big box store or another avenue. Your approach to golf and your budget should guide your path. Looking to play on a mini tour or at some other high level or do you want to play and have fun but play decent with somewhat proper fitted equipment?

I would have to drive 2 hours to get to a fitter and I don't know how good he is. I have to drive 2 hours in the opposite direction to get to a big box store. I can also wait for a demo day at my club and drive 5 minutes. This usually is once or twice a season. I opt for demo days. I schedule time with the 4 or 5 manufacturers. The attendance of golfers is not so massive that they won't spend quality time with you. My club has track man right next to the event. So you can use the reps track man or take it over to the clubs track man for comparison. Our local golf shop puts on the event (he doesn't fit or even have a net to hit into at his store).  At demo day all your data is recorded and you get a recommendation in paper hard copy. A duplicate goes to the golf store so he knows what to order for you when of if you choose to move forward. An email is also sent to you from the rep. So I can compare my results between manufacturers. I prefer an outdoor fitting experience because I can see the ball flight. I have had three different types. On line, big box store, and demo days. I have had positive results from all three. I have not done the high end fitter type of service and probably won't. That is due to accessibility to one and the price he charges.  

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2 hours ago, jtgavigan said:

MyGolfSpy took a hit in my eyes today. I was hoping for an actual discussion and not an "I am right and you aren't" diatribe. There are lots of shades of gray on this and it is not as black and white as what Adam tried to make it sound like. Also, let others speak. You invited them to be there. Quit cutting them off just because you disagree. 

Agree totally. It was as if they just invited him on there and set him up to be a punching bag. Pretty unprofessional.

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3 hours ago, PMookie said:

A fitter spends $20,000 right away on a new Trackman, then thousands and thousands more on shafts and club heads. Add-in rent, taxes, incomes, utilities, insurance, etc and it’s a ridiculous amount of money, and it’s not a ONE-TIME expenditure. You gotta get each new shaft, head, etc. 

Asking because I don't know, but I always assumed that golf retailers got the heads and "no cost" shaft options (basic fitting cart) for free or close to it from the manufacturer's (assuming you hit a certain sales threshold).  That was the reason why they only ever have current products available for fittings even though they may have older models available on the floor or still be able to purchase last gen equipment from the manufacturer.  Sending back the old stuff to the mfr or at least not making it available to the public was part of the deal having a retail account and getting the new equipment.

Club champion, True Spec etc would be the same scenario except that they have to need to also get all of those exotic shafts stocked too which is where a big chunk of money is spent on inventory.  Although I have to believe that at some point (sales threshold) they would start getting a lot of those for free too from the individual shaft manufacturers, which is why there are very few competitors to those 2 for truly custom fitting.  Starting off your own fitting studio with all of the major shaft brands would be prohibitively expensive.

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9 hours ago, ChitownM2 said:

Asking because I don't know, but I always assumed that golf retailers got the heads and "no cost" shaft options (basic fitting cart) for free or close to it from the manufacturer's (assuming you hit a certain sales threshold).  That was the reason why they only ever have current products available for fittings even though they may have older models available on the floor or still be able to purchase last gen equipment from the manufacturer.  Sending back the old stuff to the mfr or at least not making it available to the public was part of the deal having a retail account and getting the new equipment.

Club champion, True Spec etc would be the same scenario except that they have to need to also get all of those exotic shafts stocked too which is where a big chunk of money is spent on inventory.  Although I have to believe that at some point (sales threshold) they would start getting a lot of those for free too from the individual shaft manufacturers, which is why there are very few competitors to those 2 for truly custom fitting.  Starting off your own fitting studio with all of the major shaft brands would be prohibitively expensive.

I am sure it's changed since I've worked in golf but the business model was always tiered.  The amount of demo product was attached to how much shop inventory you would commit to at the beginning of a product cycle.  If you buy 6 new drivers and hybrids along with two sets of irons and some wedges, you get X.  More in shop meant more available for demo.

 

That didn't mean you get the demo for free, you're still paying for it, just at a reduced price.

 

Shop is still committed to the cost of demo as well as retail product.

 

This entire idea of free, especially in the golf business is terrible.  

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11 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Its simple if you want the best fifting go to a certified professional and pay for it. If you want an ok fitting then hit up a big box store or another avenue.

A certified fitter doesn’t guarantee a good or even ok fitting. The certification means they issued a course given by someone or some brand and nothing more. If they don’t understand the swing they will improperly fit a golfer. I’ve seen it with a titleist tech rep and two separate Ping reps who get trained at hq and learn on the job there, and in the last year plus the people brands are hiring to do demo days you are likely to find a tech rep that’s not that good and some on this forum would run curled around them.

Some of the best fitters I’ve been too have no formal training or certifications. However they understand the golf swing and how to fit to it.  

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Like others have said, that’s the first NPG episode I shut off (well) before the end. Adam really just kept hammering the same points, not really acknowledging the TXG angle. Too often he deflected TXGs POV by saying that’s not my problem, like a 12 year old. Adam was basically saying there would be no standalone fitters, every fitter would have retail club sales if not a full line of golf equipment- would have been nice if that had been made clear? At least in the 2/3rds that I watched, two questions came to my mind, maybe they came up later.

1) Is the place that Adam worked with free fittings still employing that model? Why haven’t we heard of them if it’s so successful, and why hasn’t that model appeared all over? One example doesn’t make the case anyway.

2) Isn’t that what GG/DSG did a ways back where they had golf pros in 560 of their stores? Evidently that didn’t translate to better store sales as I remember they terminated all the pros suddenly back in 2014…

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/11248733/dick-sporting-goods-fires-more-500-store-pga-professionals

 

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