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Should Fittings be Free?


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22 minutes ago, woodman said:

No.  As a fitter who spends over an hour with EACH customer and does it right, I cannot afford to fit for free.  Should fittings be free if you go to a place like Dick's Sporting Goods and get a "fitter" who knows nothing about fitting? yes, they should be free, because they generally do not do a true fitting, but mostly hand clubs to the customer and tell them to try them

The expression, " You get what you pay for" rings true when it comes to fittings

So...If you want a real fitting, you should expect to pay for it

Are you charging full retail for whatever they buy, yet not giving them the 'original' shafts so they can sell them to recover some cost?  How deep is your shaft inventory, enough to do true weight sorting and flex sorting?  How deep is your head inventory, enough to do weight sorting, lie sorting, and face angle sorting?

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23 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

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.

You took a few swings with wedge, driver and 7 iron, they grabbed swing speed, attack angle, face angle at address vs strike, and where you released the club. They then looked at a matrix of shafts that have been profiled and the algorithm used selected 3-4 shafts. What else is any fitter doing?  They aren't doing swing training and analysis.

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17 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.

Those 'exotic shafts' aren't that costly at wholesale

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As a fitter, I'm glad to answer a question or two, but if someone is making a purchase, no. But without a purchase, yes. Collect the fee up front, credit it when the sale is completed. Bring your car in for a squeak or rattle, and it's $150 just to look at it. Time is money.

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Personally I think a basic fitting should be free for the recreational level golfer. With paying a fee to actually take what you've fitted into on the course to see how it performs when it counts. If your a high level amateur I can see paying for a very detailed fitting process because your probably looking to fine tune every aspect of your ball flight. 

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I've seen this from both ends. And there are far too many people, especially newbies, who would go into a brick and mortar store and get a free fitting. Leave, and buy nothing, go online looking for the cheapest price for the same equipment. Meanwhile the guy who fit them makes nothing, pays for all the inventory, and equipment to fit (a GC4 is over $20,000 alone), and a store to do that in. Then he becomes unable to compete on price with a guy who sells from a warehouse. 

I wouldn't hire a guy to paint my house for free, because if he is that cheap, what are you getting? If I pay for a fitting, there should be a guarantee of improvement, dispersion, spin, or distance. If not no charge. If i paid for a fitting and came away with nothing, I'd argue that the job was incomplete. And like many fitters do here in MI, they kick you back a percentage of the fitting fee, if you buy from them. But if they can make improvements I'd gladly pay for that.

If MGS feels that fittings should be free why does https://truegolffit.com/ charge to use their tool online? Why not give it away for free to donors, and let them kick back money if they go out and buy the recommended equipment and it outperforms their current equipment? 

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A lot of the comments in this thread are analyzing this from the perspective of how a fitter makes his money now and saying that this couldn't work.  I'm not saying it definitely would work, but Adam is basically talking about a fundamental shift in the way retail golf operations work.  No one is proposing that fitters would be working for free or wouldn't be compensated for their time.  They would all get paid and it would have to be a wage that is competitive with what their skill set dictates.  

To get the proper context of the type of fundamental change he is talking about you need to stop assuming that the fitter is making money the same we he is currently.  This would be a huge shift.

Since I made the car analogy before, I'll stick with it.  Imagine if the car buying process completely changed from what it is now.  Imagine that when you went into a dealer to buy a car you sat down with the salesman and told him the basic parameters of what you were looking for in your next vehicle and he came back and said he had 3 or 4 options that might work for you.  He then proceeded to tell you that if you wanted to go sit in the car to see if it was a good fit for you and that you liked it, you had to pay $75.  Test drives were $150.  I can guarantee that almost everyone would be up in arms about this and say it was total BS, etc. but it's exactly the same thing.  Why is it OK to spend 2 hours at the car dealership to figure out if you want the Explorer with the tech package or sport package or if you want Honda instead?  Plus when it comes to buying a car I bet even a larger percentage of people get up and walk out to buy it somewhere cheaper compared to buying golf clubs. 

The only difference is in the way we interpret each buying scenario and apply what we're already accustomed to the alternative scenario.  You have to disassociate the proposal from the way you expect them to be.  Why should a fitter be compensated for his time in helping me find the right golf club to buy but other people shouldn't be compensated for their time when helping us find a different product?

Also, for the record, I'm an engineer so I don't have any tears to shed for car dealers or salesman, they're just an easy example.  I'm a huge car guy and I loathe the experience of visiting a dealer and I've found that most car salesman are about as knowledgeable as the guys working the "free" fitting bays at PGASS.

 

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5 hours ago, VtheGNMan said:

 Isn't there always a big difference between what is good for the consumer and what is good for the seller?

If all things were equal, a consumer would always choose free as his 1st choice.    Conversely, the seller always wants to sell the product and service for the most possible.   

This sparked two observations for me.

1) Adam is assuming way more people who get free fittings would then buy new clubs. I'd guess you'd get a lot of people taking advantage of free fittings with no intention of buying anything, or buying elsewhere - that's why some places will not charge for a "fitting" if you then buy clubs/whole bag from them or some stipulation. Lots of people think nothing of taking advantage of free services. Again, why didn't it work for Dicks SG and why hasn't whatever place Adam saw it work grow like mad? Who/where is this place Adam is referring to?

2) And for those who keep asking who would pay for the fitting equipment and labor - there aren't any possible choices except the club manufacturers and the retailers. And of course they will have to make up the difference on higher volume (see 1) and/or higher prices. So instead of those who are serious about paying for fittings continuing to pay, in Adam's ideal world everyone who plays golf will pay whether you're a scratch player or a 40 HI...

I know lots of serious/good players who won't even pay for golf balls, they use what they find...but they buy new clubs periodically, off the rack or a local free demo. They would never pay for a fitting.

And of course nothing is free as others have said, Adam just thinks it would be better if fittings were paid for by another cog in the golf retail chain. I usually enjoy Adam's POV, miss seeing him on NPG more often, and admire what he has done/is doing for golf - but I was surprised at him this episode...

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6 minutes ago, FWiater said:

I've seen this from both ends. And there are far too many people, especially newbies, who would go into a brick and mortar store and get a free fitting. Leave, and buy nothing, go online looking for the cheapest price for the same equipment. Meanwhile the guy who fit them makes nothing, pays for all the inventory, and equipment to fit (a GC4 is over $20,000 alone), and a store to do that in. Then he becomes unable to compete on price with a guy who sells from a warehouse. 


If MGS feels that fittings should be free why does https://truegolffit.com/ charge to use their tool online? Why not give it away for free to donors, and let them kick back money if they go out and buy the recommended equipment and it outperforms their current equipment? 

Your first point isn't unique to the golf industry at all.  That's everything in today's world.  Clothes, TVs,  toys, whatever.  That's a separate problem that the entire country is going to have to solve at some point or else we'll all be buying everything site un-seen and waiting a week for it to arrive from some warehouse halfway across the country.  Hell, it's already starting to happen with food.  I have several friends telling my wife and I about how great grocery delivery is.

 

On your latter point, that was addressed in the video and MGS is expanding true golf fit to include irons and balls and it will be free next year.

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7 minutes ago, ChitownM2 said:

Your first point isn't unique to the golf industry at all.  That's everything in today's world.  Clothes, TVs,  toys, whatever.  That's a separate problem that the entire country is going to have to solve at some point or else we'll all be buying everything site un-seen and waiting a week for it to arrive from some warehouse halfway across the country.  Hell, it's already starting to happen with food.  I have several friends telling my wife and I about how great grocery delivery is.

 

On your latter point, that was addressed in the video and MGS is expanding true golf fit to include irons and balls and it will be free next year.

That's great in hindsight, but I already paid to use it two years in a row, lol. I'm not complaining mind you, it was pretty accurate tool. But I don't see that penny lynching mindset changing anytime soon at brick and mortar stores. It started when Mom and Pop businesses were replaced by corporations. Too many people feel no remorse in ripping off corporations, regardless of the outcome. I personally always want to hit something and get fitted before buying. If there were no stores, and no competent fitters near me, then I'm done buying. Are people really that reluctant to invest their own money on self improvement, that they want free fittings, free education these days?

 

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1 hour ago, cnosil said:

So there is a business model where I provide the consumer content for free and companies pay for ads to provide reviewer to the content creators.  As the consumer I still get the information for free and the companies are still in business and making profits. 
 

Adam does TrueGolfFit which will become free again per the podcast.  Part of the data that is used in that system is data from most wanted testing which I volunteer my time to be part of.   So in a way I am helping people get free fittings.  
 

As stated above by others, people will still learn the trade in the same way and get paid by the same people.  The revenue would come from places outside of the basic fitting.   Refer back to the ad revenue on YouTube and coaches posting video tips on online coaching platforms.   Companies pay for commercials on those platforms with the hope of generating revenue.  People give “free” shipping to try and get you business and we know the shipping isn’t “free”.  

Nothing is free. You may not pay for the use of a certain platform but we the consumer are paying for it. The ads are paid for by the profit that the brand makes Fromm consumer purchases. The company has an allocated marketing budget the money that goes into that marketing budget comes from sales profits. If a company loses money and has to drop marketing budget it drops where it advertises. If YouTube loses money they reduce the ad dollars that go to the content creators. The content creators lose money they stop creating content. They stop creating content the platform either starts charging fees for use to keep the content creators around or they close up shop and user no longer has a free service.

Trugilffit maybe free to use soon but again it’s not free. Adam is paying for the service to be hosted somewhere, he’s paying for the domain name. That money has to come from somewhere. That’s where the donations to MGS, whatever money they get from the small companies that advertise with MGS. So the money is coming from the members and golf companies. The golf companies are getting their money from the consumer. That money stops coming they stop giving money to mgs and other forums or platforms or they raise the price of goods.

If a golf shop currently doormat have a fitter and fitting carts they will have to pay the companies to get the fittings carts. They will have to hire fitters. That now cuts into the profit margin of the shop. There’s no guarantee that they recoup the money in sales because there’s not guarantee that customer buys from them. 
 

How do fitters learn the trade now? Some gi take a course. That course costs money. Nobody is going to pay for a course to learn a skill they can’t then monetize. Some Iike me learn hands on from another fitter and grow their knowledge to then do it without help. They don’t do that for free.
 

Fitters that are doing a job now and getting paid aren’t going to just give up that money and they aren’t going to spend time training someone to do fittings that is going to put them out of works 

But again if it’s such a game changer and can redefine the industry when is Adam going to lead the charge?

30 minutes ago, flyingwedges said:

You took a few swings with wedge, driver and 7 iron, they grabbed swing speed, attack angle, face angle at address vs strike, and where you released the club. They then looked at a matrix of shafts that have been profiled and the algorithm used selected 3-4 shafts. What else is any fitter doing?  They aren't doing swing training and analysis.

That is what everyone in here would walk away from and call a bad experience. 
 

you would be surprised on how much swing analysis a highly qualified reputable fitter does. I would suggest watching the TXG fitting videos. 
 

A couple good ones would be of @Golfspy_CG2

 

 

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Two totally separate thoughts from watching this whole thing (which was hard to do)...

1) Someone came off pretty badly in this whole episode... and it wasn't Ryan.

2) There is never enough emphasis placed on THE BUILD!!!  I'm a very knowledgeable low single digit.  I can go to a GC Quad facility and hit a million different irons.  I can basically fit myself to within 95% of what a great fitter can do.  I can also save over 50% cost by buying from GolfWrx or eBay... and I can even assemble everything myself.  Here's the catch... My irons aren't going to be perfectly built to spec in gram weights, swing weights, and exact loft and lies.  My ferrules aren't going to look perfect.  All of those things is what you should get from a professional builder... along with a complete spec sheet and maybe even a yearly loft/lie tune-up.  That should be and sometimes is part of the package deal.  It's still not going to be enough to make me spend $1200 on a driver that I can home-job for $500... but it would work for the vast majority of people.  Emphasize the build... not just the fitting.

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21 minutes ago, ChitownM2 said:

A lot of the comments in this thread are analyzing this from the perspective of how a fitter makes his money now and saying that this couldn't work.  I'm not saying it definitely would work, but Adam is basically talking about a fundamental shift in the way retail golf operations work.  No one is proposing that fitters would be working for free or wouldn't be compensated for their time.  They would all get paid and it would have to be a wage that is competitive with what their skill set dictates.  

To get the proper context of the type of fundamental change he is talking about you need to stop assuming that the fitter is making money the same we he is currently.  This would be a huge shift.

Since I made the car analogy before, I'll stick with it.  Imagine if the car buying process completely changed from what it is now.  Imagine that when you went into a dealer to buy a car you sat down with the salesman and told him the basic parameters of what you were looking for in your next vehicle and he came back and said he had 3 or 4 options that might work for you.  He then proceeded to tell you that if you wanted to go sit in the car to see if it was a good fit for you and that you liked it, you had to pay $75.  Test drives were $150.  I can guarantee that almost everyone would be up in arms about this and say it was total BS, etc. but it's exactly the same thing.  Why is it OK to spend 2 hours at the car dealership to figure out if you want the Explorer with the tech package or sport package or if you want Honda instead?  Plus when it comes to buying a car I bet even a larger percentage of people get up and walk out to buy it somewhere cheaper compared to buying golf clubs. 

The only difference is in the way we interpret each buying scenario and apply what we're already accustomed to the alternative scenario.  You have to disassociate the proposal from the way you expect them to be.  Why should a fitter be compensated for his time in helping me find the right golf club to buy but other people shouldn't be compensated for their time when helping us find a different product.

Also, for the record, I'm an engineer so I don't have any tears to shed for car dealers or salesman, they're just an easy example.  I'm a huge car guy and I loathe the experience of visiting a dealer and I've found that most car salesman are about as knowledgeable as the guys working the "free" fitting bays at PGASS.

 

"Using the car analogy", If I ever buy a $50,000 set of clubs, they should fit me for free. But there is far less margin on a set of clubs than a new car. 

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13 minutes ago, FWiater said:

"Using the car analogy", If I ever buy a $50,000 set of clubs, they should fit me for free. But there is far less margin on a set of clubs than a new car. 

I think you'd be quite surprised on what the margins are on cars.  Percentage wise it is substantially lower than golf equipment. Plus why should the rules be different for a $50k car vs. a $23k civic?  You're ok with paying for test drives on a used Ford Taurus?

And so where is your threshold for a free fitting?  A new bag of clubs costs $3k if you're buying average priced stuff (not the new i59 irons) and you stick with only no-upcharge shafts.  The costs only go up from there.  

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I don’t have a problem paying for a fitting. Whomever is doing the work should get paid because I am not obligated to buy clubs from my fitter. 
 

i do think a smart business model would be to charge for the fitting and credit back a portion, or all, of the fee if you buy clubs. The more you spend the more you are rebated. 

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35 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Nothing is free. You may not pay for the use of a certain platform but we the consumer are paying for it. The ads are paid for by the profit that the brand makes Fromm consumer purchases. The company has an allocated marketing budget the money that goes into that marketing budget comes from sales profits. If a company loses money and has to drop marketing budget it drops where it advertises. If YouTube loses money they reduce the ad dollars that go to the content creators. The content creators lose money they stop creating content. They stop creating content the platform either starts charging fees for use to keep the content creators around or they close up shop and user no longer has a free service.

Trugilffit maybe free to use soon but again it’s not free. Adam is paying for the service to be hosted somewhere, he’s paying for the domain name. That money has to come from somewhere. That’s where the donations to MGS, whatever money they get from the small companies that advertise with MGS. So the money is coming from the members and golf companies. The golf companies are getting their money from the consumer. That money stops coming they stop giving money to mgs and other forums or platforms or they raise the price of goods.

If a golf shop currently doormat have a fitter and fitting carts they will have to pay the companies to get the fittings carts. They will have to hire fitters. That now cuts into the profit margin of the shop. There’s no guarantee that they recoup the money in sales because there’s not guarantee that customer buys from them. 
 

How do fitters learn the trade now? Some gi take a course. That course costs money. Nobody is going to pay for a course to learn a skill they can’t then monetize. Some Iike me learn hands on from another fitter and grow their knowledge to then do it without help. They don’t do that for free.
 

Fitters that are doing a job now and getting paid aren’t going to just give up that money and they aren’t going to spend time training someone to do fittings that is going to put them out of works 

But again if it’s such a game changer and can redefine the industry when is Adam going to lead the charge?

That is what everyone in here would walk away from and call a bad experience. 
 

you would be surprised on how much swing analysis a highly qualified reputable fitter does. I would suggest watching the TXG fitting videos. 
 

A couple good ones would be of @Golfspy_CG2

 

 

https://youtu.be/iRfVQixG30k

I know the founder of CC,and I knew the predecessor owner that sold out to CC and knew him well. I understand the current business model and it has very high margins ( for a retail business).  That said, turning a local operation into a nationwide chain was a huge leap of faith.

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