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Should Fittings be Free?


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1 hour ago, Middler said:

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...

What happens when the government imposes a corporate tax? Who do,you,think ends up paying it in the end?

congrats, we now get free fittings. Also, drivers are now $700 which drives even more people to the secondary and online market and further away from retail

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59 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

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.

You keep assuming that just because Fitter's aren't directly charging a customer they can't monetize their skill.  That simply isn't true. 99% of people that paid to go to college or trade school or whatever aren't directly billing customers but still found a way to monetize their initial investment in training.  Just because fitters would no longer be independent contractors doesn't mean they wouldn't get paid.

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24 minutes ago, ChitownM2 said:

You keep assuming that just because Fitter's aren't directly charging a customer they can't monetize their skill.  That simply isn't true. 99% of people that paid to go to college or trade school or whatever aren't directly billing customers but still found a way to monetize their initial investment in training.  Just because fitters would no longer be independent contractors doesn't mean they wouldn't get paid.

Those people find jobs usually working for a company and that company is billing the customer and then pays the employee and the employee then it’s off any debt from the trade school or if they spent their own money they then pay themselves back what they spent.

If a fitter pays for his/her training at some academy or like some club builders who go somewhere to take a course they need to find a way to recoup that expense. That would usually be at a golf shop if some kind.

The golf shop is not charging for fittings so how is the fitter going to get paid? Is the owner of the golf shop going to cut into their small profit margins to pay the fitters salary? Doubt he/she will give up money to pay someone for a service rent aren’t charging for. The money has to come from somewhere. Either other services and good are going to increase and now all the consumers are paying the price for a small segment to get fit at the shop or the fitter and/or fitting service will go away

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Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

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1 hour ago, ChitownM2 said:

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.  

Yeah, give them their money back if they buy that Taurus lol. We are talking NEW, not used. And i know guys at dealerships, theres a lot more to be made selling a new car than new clubs. What percentage of buys buys a full set plus a bag at the same time? I'm sure they could work a discount.

 

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55 minutes ago, flyingwedges said:

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.

That’s great but what does that have to do with any grit unsaid about what an actual good fitter does and how they actually do swing analysis for their clients and that what you suggested is how fitters operate. Maybe that’s the approach CC fitters take and why we see so many complaints on here and other places about bad experiences at CC

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Adam's big point about making fittings free was about reaching more golfers with the fiiting experience and giving them the chance to become better, sooner, with better equipment.

There is a large (to very large) category of golfers out there whom a free fitting might not serve all that well. Nor would a $50 fitting, to use Adam's price point. That category is the flawed swingers. To an extent, until the golfers swing is at least fundamenetally correct (not flawless) the difference in equipment is going to be negligible, no matter what they spend on getting fit for it.

Those golfers would get much more return on their first $50 by seeking a lesson rather than a club fitting.

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18 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Those people find jobs usually working for a company and that company is billing the customer and then pays the employee and the employee then it’s off any debt from the trade school or if they spent their own money they then pay themselves back what they spent.

If a fitter pays for his/her training at some academy or like some club builders who go somewhere to take a course they need to find a way to recoup that expense. That would usually be at a golf shop if some kind.

The golf shop is not charging for fittings so how is the fitter going to get paid? Is the owner of the golf shop going to cut into their small profit margins to pay the fitters salary? Doubt he/she will give up money to pay someone for a service rent aren’t charging for. The money has to come from somewhere. Either other services and good are going to increase and now all the consumers are paying the price for a small segment to get fit at the shop or the fitter and/or fitting service will go away

I can't argue with you about how businesses are setup today,  in 99% of the situations it just won't work.  Most of us don't have a vision into future business models that could make this work.  As I said before,  people create business models that people say will never work and they end up being successful.   

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One thing Adam's idea overlooks is the club fitting customer also needs to be willing to wait for delivery of the end product.

Of course, one reason the MGS community endorses fittings is because many of us have learned their value through the experience. And, of course, most of us have at least one full set of clubs we can utilize in the intirim while waiting for freshly fit replacements.

The new golfer starting out may not want to wait 2 months for their new clubs and will get more initial satisfaction through purchase of a ready-in-the-box or off-the-rack set of clubs.

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Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

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I think the notion of free fittings is good, but the bottom line is working with a fitter who has the expertise to maximize a customer's ability thru properly fit equipment.  The reality is that finding a quality fitter (free or not) is not an easy/simple proposition.  Skill/experience is one variable, but things like access to product (shafts, heads, grips) across a variety of brands and quality data (accurate trackman, GCQuad readings) are also important.  The idea of paying a fee (in theory) increases the likelihood of working with a quality fitter.  Obviously the value of that is up to the customer.

In regards to consumers being adverse to getting fit, cost could be one factor as well as feeling they're not "good enough" to get enough value.  But another factor is not wanting to hear about they're faults/imperfections.  This is the reason people don't go to the doctor or dentist.  It's the insecurity of feeling judged or the perception of being criticized.  This isn't unique to golf.

One other thing that Ryan sort of addressed is the notion that free fittings attract "tire kickers" or people only interested in using the fitting information to find the proper equipment online or elsewhere.  Asking a fitter to "giveaway" their expertise is likely demoralizing, not to mention not good for business.  

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40 minutes ago, cnosil said:

I can't argue with you about how businesses are setup today,  in 99% of the situations it just won't work.  Most of us don't have a vision into future business models that could make this work.  As I said before,  people create business models that people say will never work and they end up being successful.   

True but saying that a service should be free and that it will create more business thru sales doesn’t work now. Go to a demo day, watch the number of people that come thru, go thru a fitting and don’t buy. There’s a lot more that hit and don’t buy than there are that buy. Some brands may not even get anyone to come to their event…seen this first hand for several years with Cleveland/srixons, Mizuno and cobra. A few times even titleist would only get a handful in 4 hours.

4 minutes ago, Tongju said:

One other thing that Ryan sort of addressed is the notion that free fittings attract "tire kickers" or people only interested in using the fitting information to find the proper equipment online or elsewhere.  Asking a fitter to "giveaway" their expertise is likely demoralizing, not to mention not good for business.  

As I mention above this is very true. People come thru try a bunch did stuff and just want tit hit balls. The rep gets frustrated. If there’s two people and one shows more interest than the other they will spend more time with that person but that doesn’t always result in a sale. 

Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

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45 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

True but saying that a service should be free and that it will create more business thru sales doesn’t work now. Go to a demo day, watch the number of people that come thru, go thru a fitting and don’t buy. There’s a lot more that hit and don’t buy than there are that buy. Some brands may not even get anyone to come to their event…seen this first hand for several years with Cleveland/srixons, Mizuno and cobra. A few times even titleist would only get a handful in 4 hours.

Well demo days are specifically set up for people to come and try clubs and not buy.  Most of the people who attend them are "tire kickers", however I bet that the number of tire kickers would drop dramatically if getting fit at a store was just a normal thing you could walk in and do.  

Sure at first they would get a ton of people coming in to get fit that may not buy anything but once the novelty wore off I don't think you would get a ton of people coming in just for shits and giggles.  They may not buy every time but they wouldn't be coming in with no intention of buying at all like you get at a demo day.

 

Also, where are all of these people leaving fitters to go "find it cheaper" shopping at?  Other than buying counterfeits on eBay or hitting up the used market, what stores are offering worthwhile discounts on current gear?  I know some places will knock off $5 or 10 but am I missing the boat on some online stores that sell new TSi drivers for $450 instead of $550 or a set of ZX5 irons for $900?  Or is it just finding a place online in a different state so you don't have to pay sales tax?

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I’m was of the mindset that if you get an acceptable fitting and you purchase the clubs from the fitter it should be free or a severely reduced cost, but I’m slowly changing my views. It’s hard to make analogies, but I still pay for an eye exam even if I get my glasses in the place he works from. I just don’t try on a boatload of glasses, I have a professional fit me for whatever I buy. I can see a big box store absorbing the cost if you buy from them because it’s really not that thorough of a fitting from what I’ve read and been told. 

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9 minutes ago, ChitownM2 said:

Well demo days are specifically set up for people to come and try clubs and not buy.  Most of the people who attend them are "tire kickers", however I bet that the number of tire kickers would drop dramatically if getting fit at a store was just a normal thing you could walk in and do.  

Sure at first they would get a ton of people coming in to get fit that may not buy anything but once the novelty wore off I don't think you would get a ton of people coming in just for shits and giggles.  They may not buy every time but they wouldn't be coming in with no intention of buying at all like you get at a demo day.

 

Also, where are all of these people leaving fitters to go "find it cheaper" shopping at?  Other than buying counterfeits on eBay or hitting up the used market, what stores are offering worthwhile discounts on current gear?  I know some places will knock off $5 or 10 but am I missing the boat on some online stores that sell new TSi drivers for $450 instead of $550 or a set of ZX5 irons for $900?  Or is it just finding a place online in a different state so you don't have to pay sales tax?

Not sure who you have talked to at demo day but the shops/clubs are definitely trying to get sales from them. Some even offer discounts if you buy that day. Every rep has order sheets with them so they aren’t there just to hang out and put together clubs and watch them hit balls for 4 hours.

My pro shop takes the price of the fitting off the sale of clubs. They actually do a good amount of sales but that’s also because they have always had good fitters, carry almost every brand and are one of the few places that do fittings and have outdoor range. But they have a lot of people who get fit and don’t buy. 
 

Go hangout at a 2nd swing or pgatss where fittings are happening all the time and count how many buy new from them that day and how many walk away. 
 

Yes it’s wherever they can find a deal. They are looking for the cheapest price. I’ve been in the pro shop talking to the fitter and a customer comes back into the shop and tells him he found the same clubs cheaper. One guy saved $50. Some Sometimes the fitter would match it and sometimes he would let the customer walk all depending on the customers attitude.

Some people will look for any savings. There’s people posting on golf forums that won’t buy Prov1 because they are expensive but they will buy new Callaway or bridgestone because they are $3 cheaper

 

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Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

Ball: Titleist Prov1

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Where I go in Michigan they run specials  you pay for you fitting  and they give you a gift card for same amount back to be you. No expiration on the card. But If I get fitted it

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65 year old in Michigan

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On 11/2/2021 at 5:26 PM, bens197 said:

We are a country that expects a deal or a discount on everything we buy.

"Where's my discount, my senior discount, my military discount, my coupon expired yesterday but I want to buy it today." Hard pass for me.

I paid for two fittings this summer and it was money well spent.  The shop space, launch monitor, inventory and most importantly, the PEOPLE spending their time and expertise with me was worth every penny.  If I choose to not purchase a club, the shop is still being reimbursed for THEIR time.  

 

 

And exactly what is wrong with a military discount?  Are you mad because the military didn’t want you? 

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7 hours ago, vagabon68 said:

And exactly what is wrong with a military discount?  Are you mad because the military didn’t want you? 

That’s my personal choice as a Professional Firefighter to refuse any first responder discount.
 

I shop small as much as possible. We are here discussing the topic of how free, hurts many of those small vendors. You do not need to sling insults about me not being worthy of serving this country. 
 

I decline 10% off discounts. Shopping small helps that business owner pay their mortgage, and their children’s college. It funds their summer vacation and more important, keeps business alive in our community. 10% discounts in a world with small margins does not help me as much as it hurts them. 

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On 11/2/2021 at 7:56 PM, DiscipleofPenick said:

I think fittings should be free, or at least highly discounted (>50%) IF the person buys a club. If I'm dropping $500+ on a Driver, or $1200+ on irons, that should save me roughly whatever a fitting will cost. FWIW the one fitting I've done was discounted almost to nothing because I bought the recommended driver that day. There are good places out here that already do this.

If you read Tom Wishon the fittings that most amateur players receive are basic to say the least and nowhere near the detailed standard that the professional game gets.

That said, you are right.  If you are paying a premium for new clubs then you deserve to have an expert custom fitting tailored to your own needs.

Gone are the days when you used to go buy a "set" of irons off the peg and just play with them.  The whole industry has herded everyone down the customised route.  You can't buy certain clubs, such as the Titleist utility irons without having them custom fit.  If this is the route that we are to be led down and the cost is going to be extortionately high then the manufacturers have to commit to making sure the product is wholly suitable.

When you buy a tailor made suit, you pay for the tailor to measure you and make sure the suit fits and looks good.  The same should go for golf clubs.

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I think so. 
I was fitted this summer at a small independent golf shop in Columbus Ohio. Their policy was we fit you for a charge of $50 but, if you buy your clubs from us we wave the fitting fee. Even if you find preowned clubs at their shop. 
I purchased new from them. They are great people. And busy. 

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1 hour ago, YamYam said:

You can't buy certain clubs, such as the Titleist utility irons without having them custom fit. 

What??? Where are you getting this information from? 
 

I can go on titieleist website right now and order the u505 or t200 utility without any fitting and can choose any of the available lofts and shafts in their matrix.

I don’t know if any brand that requires a fitting to order their clubs including XXIO.

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Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

Ball: Titleist Prov1

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