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Should Fittings be Free?


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16 hours ago, rgk5 said:

I've known Ryan for many years as we worked for the same company in the golf business. He knows the golf industry as well as anyone BUT, I will not agree with the idea of totally free fittings.  

Do you mean Adam? Ryan wasn't pitching the idea of free fittings

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20 hours ago, KCO15 said:

They should charge for fittings, but apply part or all to the purchase of clubs. That way you don't get the goofs who just want a free fitting and by clubs somewhere else wasting time...

In an ideal world that would be great. But there are plenty of places that do this already, and the quality of the fitters is generally inferior to paid fitters (obviously there are exceptions on both sides, but they can be very hard to spot in advance).

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12 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Are they charging just in certain areas? I was fit by Titleist a few months ago for free. Im saving my pennies to purchase what I was fit for. He spent time with different heads and shafts. Interpeting the track man data to get the best fit for me. He emailed me and my local golf shop the specs from my fitting so I could order at my convenience.

I talked to my fitter and they charged for titleist Thursdays again this year. He told me they charge the shop for it and the shop collects the money from the customer. The fee is waived if you buy clubs.

Im waiting for a response from a sales buddy who works at a club to see if they did any demo days with titleist. When they started titleist Thursdays they only did a couple locations in the region. Not sure if they changed that this year

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I'll throw out another barrier...

If fittings were overwhelming successful, it would probably be a lot more likely fittings could be "free" - actually meaning absorbed in the cost of club and equipment sales. 

The reality is most people who get fit, paid or big box free, don't get results they can point to. Sure there are better players, with a lot of personal knowledge, who know quality fitters - and can improve their results through fitting. But in the entire spectrum of people who play golf, those who are confident they benefit are relatively small.

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40 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

I talked to my fitter and they charged for titleist Thursdays again this year. He told me they charge the shop for it and the shop collects the money from the customer. The fee is waived if you buy clubs.

Im waiting for a response from a sales buddy who works at a club to see if they did any demo days with titleist. When they started titleist Thursdays they only did a couple locations in the region. Not sure if they changed that this year

I just spoke with our golf shop in town that sponsors our demo day at our club. They did not charge him this year. Our next one is scheduled for May and they have not mentioned a fee.

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6 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

I just spoke with our golf shop in town that sponsors our demo day at our club. They did not charge him this year. Our next one is scheduled for May and they have not mentioned a fee.

What I’ve heard from my buddy they are doing fittings at private clubs and aren’t charging, but for their titleist Thursday events there is a fee.

The way it works is crazy and confusing. But basically for their Titleist Thursdays which replaced them doing a bunch of demo days during the week they wanted to make sure they were getting serious customers and not people just looking to smash balls on a monitor 

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Just now, RickyBobby_PR said:

What I’ve heard from my buddy they are doing fittings at private clubs and aren’t charging, but for their titleist Thursday events there is a fee.

Ok, that makes sense as our demo day is at a private club. 

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Most stores like Golf Galaxy do refund the fitting cost if a club is purchased. You are paying for the time and expertise of the fitters. There are good qualified fitters in these stores. Do your research like you would with any other big purchase. Be honest most of the people getting fit in this environment are going to fit into the OEM’s offerings. If you are looking for the best fitting you would be doing it outdoors on real grass.

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Just now, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Ok, that makes sense as our demo day is at a private club. 

Yeah. I just edited the previous post on why they are charging for titleist Thursday 

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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

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

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

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

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4 hours ago, Fenix said:

Do you mean Adam? Ryan wasn't pitching the idea of free fittings

Sorry, my context was not clear.  I did not view the entire video. I'm sure Ryan was in favour of some fair charges for fittings.

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Given the expense incurred in overhead, equipment, salaries for the "expert" fitters, I think the TXGs, the Club Champions, the True Specs, the Cool Stix, etc. are entitled to charge for their fitting service. IMO, what's missing in the contractual framework is a written quality control process on the fitting to include a checklist and screenshots of the basis for the club selection. This will spotlight weak fitters, missing parts of the process like gapping and clear remedies for fixing any problem. Also, there should be a great deal more transparency in the actual costs of building the club or the set recommended.

 

 

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Is this some sort of a socialism question? If you want someone to provide you with a service, why in the world would you think you shouldn't have to pay for it? Maybe I'm just ignorant and have no idea what the question even means. That was just my initial thought after reading this question. 

Nothing is truly "free." If it's someone's job to provide a service, then someone is paying for it. If the person receiving the service isn't paying for it, then someone else is, or it's built into the cost of clubs, which means people who may not want or need the service are helping to pay for it for those who do get it. 

So no. If you want someone to fit you for clubs, then YOU should pay for it. 

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Golf Galaxy...Golf Galaxy...Golf Galaxy....For heaven's sake, with few exceptions these "Dick's Sporting Goods" employees have ZERO TRAINING. I worked there...I should know. When I was hired I was thrown out on the floor and told to sell-sell-sell! NO TRAINING! So I spent my own money and traveled to California and Arizona, went to the manufacturers and learned how to fit the right way. I'm certified, not by watching a 5 minute video, but hands on by professional fitters from four different manufacturers. I also visited a shaft manufacturer and putter designer's studio. PGA Members at local clubs, Club Champion...they are the professionals. Golf Galaxy, with few exceptions, are burger flippers. Check out the clubs at the big box stores, but get fitted by professionals.

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On 11/3/2021 at 5:21 PM, 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

LOL!  Thanks for posting this and tagging me.  I haven't watched the driver fitting in quite a while. It was great to see as it reminded me of some key things I need to be aware of in dynamic loft and my swing.  Also reminded me of how damn good of a driver that G400 and Fujui Pro 2.0 combo was.    I may have to go off to the classifieds to find one for sale 🙂

 

 

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So, listening to the podcast, and it was interesting to hear Ryan's defense of TXG's business model, however, at no time does he ever really address the core issue in Adam's statement. They are both right, but they are discussing completely different arguments.

Essentially, you have the 'you get what you pay for' argument, against the 'volume generates revenue to offset the cost' argument.

What both manage to miss in their arguments is this: ( remember your basic economics, there is no such thing as a free lunch )

Regardless of if the fit is free or not, the consumer is still paying for the fit.  It is either embedded into the cost of the clubs built and purchased, or it an upfront fee. The cost of the fit is still coming out of the consumer pocket, and even the best fitters, are limited to the products and brands they have ( and as I witnessed personally while trying a couple of different fitters in the area, often tend to drift towards higher margin products ). And therein lies the problem with Ryan's argument, that an upfront fee for a fit automatically means a better result. I had two fits at the bigger 'national' fitter companies, and bluntly, walked out unimpressed. They went through the motions.  Ran a LOT of numbers.  Both ended up pushing high margin builds, yet arguably neither offered enough gain to justify the cost. Both were upfront paid options.  

Meanwhile, what Adam correctly points out is this.  The average handicap in golf is in 16.4. That means that amongst the golfers serious enough to maintain a handicap are are out there playing to 17-20 over on most courses, and that is the average.  That puts the majority of golfers out there in then 12 or higher category, thinking that their game is not good enough warrant the cost of a TXG level fitting. To the point where a good friend of mine who plays to a 3 on his home course ( a Pete Dye track that is notoriously tricky ) frequently notes that even his game really cannot justify a fit, though 'if I was gonna be fit, I'd fly to Canada and have TXG do it.' is his exact phrasing.

Meaning, that much as Ryan did, so does this friend.  In arguing TXG's business model is the answer, they make Adam's case.  Only already good, and serious golfers are going to embrace the paid fit, and this in turn limits the both the market for, and the potential of the professional golf fit as a consistent and viable tool to expand the game of golf by producing more, better golfers quicker that might become serious golfers who end up spending more on the and in the game.

 

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6 minutes ago, VtheGNMan said:

TXG opted to keep this discussing going on their Live discussion today.  

 

I am heavily involved in another sport where this same discussion and model exist, and honestly, I think using it as an example works better than what they are.

Let's take a step away from Golf and TXG as specifics and abstract a bit. Let's talk about a completely different sport with many of the same dynamics.

Cycling.  High price tag, consumer goods products. Big box retailers, small retailers, broad internet offerings, paid and free fitters. 

Much like golf, anyone can walk into a store, throw a leg over a bike, pedal around the parking lot to see If it fits and how it feels, purchase it and go for a bike ride on.  Maybe adjust a saddle, or handlebars, but really that's all you need right?

But.  There is a quick upper limit to what you can achieve in the process, just like golf, and if you hit that upper limit too quickly, you will never progress from that truly casual use / play, because your success has an upper limit based upon your equipment, and its setup. 

From there, you get to the 'fit' process. You went to a big box retailer an bought what you thought you wanted. You can ride it 8-10 miles at 12 mph, and it's great, but at the end of the ride, your genitalia is numb, raw, and your back and shoulders are killing you.  This is your upper limit, and online forums tell you that you need a softer saddle, or some spandex padded shorts. Now you can go 12-15 miles at 13mph. But, you have hit your upper limit, and you will likely never progress further than that because your bike/skill/tolerance for discomfort 'is not good enough to warrant paying a $50 entry fee for a fitting'.

However, a bike fit, can change that upper limit dramatically.  The seat is too low.  The saddle is too padded. The handlebars are too high. The seat and handlebars are probably too close together. The gearing might be wrong.  These are all things a fitter can correct, much like a fitter can correct a hook or a slice by addressing lie, grip selection, shaft length or shaft selection, increasing the upper limit, increasing the likelihood of retention, and the likelihood of buying bikes, and consumables, for the rest of a person active life.  

Which has more value?  $50 today.  or, $50 every year for a lifetime?  

Well, it depends right? If you do NOTHING but fit bikes or golf clubs, then that $50 today matters more, because that is your only stream of revenue.  However, if you are a store, a golf course, a mechanic, and you have revenue streams other than fitting, then that today money has a lesser value against opportunity cost.

And this becomes the conundrum.

For a company like TXG, GolfTec, Club Champion, etc, the fit *is* the revenue stream, even if it drives the purchase of custom clubs, it remains the primary *filter* point of contact, therefore, the other revenue streams have little value.

However, for a company that derives it's revenue from all of the ancillary services, (gloves, balls, grips, tees, head covers, clothing, bags, and services like replacing grips), the fit is a loss leader that pays for itself multiple times over ( assuming a vendor does not foul up the relationship subsequently ). 

In the bike world, this is why more and more shops have brought in professional bike fitters, often with electronic measuring tools to get people into bikes with much higher initial upper limits. Those fitters are also coaches, and they now tend to get people into the right bikes initially, and then once they discover the difference in those upper limits, they come back in for the coaching and consumables that lead to even higher upper limits, with 40-60 miles at 15-16 mph become the new norm for an upper limit. 

In golf, a properly fit bag of clubs is easily 3-4 strokes for most 'off the rack' buyers, but that isn't even the tangible. For the average new golfer, getting through a round without losing a ball is a major milestone, and improperly fit clubs and ball choices are major factors in that.

Being close to both sports, the similarities are a lot, but the biggest takeaway is that in both, there is the idea of needing to be 'better' to justify a fit, and that self defeating attitude absolutely kills both progression **and** growth of the sport.

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RH 13.1 Handicap in soggy Georgia 

WITB
* 1W 10.5* @ PXG 0211 ( HZRDUS Smoke Black X-Stiff )
* 3W PXG 0211 ( HZRDUS Smoke Black X-Stiff ) 
* 5W 18* Tailor-made AeroBurner ( Stock Stiff )
* 7W  Sub70 949x ( HZRDUS Smoke Black X-Stiff )
* 5i-PW @ PXG 0211 ( Gen 1 )
* 52 @ Hogan Equalizer
* 56 @ Sub70 
* 60 @ Hogan Equalizer
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Yes; do think should be part of the Deal!! Used to be a Whacker & Hacker off the rack. However, have stepped up my game after seeing The Princess get fitted & saw her improve because she "trusted" !!

Also, saw my Friend accomplish same. He started to keep it on the same course that we were playing!!

Now do 2 things after "Getting Fitted @ No Charge" & that is mentioning about "No Charge Fitting I had at The Golf Shoppe & you should try it" as I take "the $$" from these Legends!!

I have even Smiled as seeing Moth's Fly Out of some Wallets...... just sayin'

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No...they should not be free, and a credit towards the purchase of new equipment could be used to offset that cost.

It is a matter of placing value towards the service that is being provided to you.

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On 11/4/2021 at 7:05 PM, RickyBobby_PR said:

Don’t think this is true. theres new shafts and also advances that are made in designs that can potentially offer gains in distance and/or dispersion thru face design and head design. While it’s only potential I don’t think the fitter would discourage someone from coming in to see if they can find something better and if they are a quality fitter they will be honest with the client to let them know that there isn’t anything being gained and to keep what they have. 

Right, you are kind of touching on my point ( probably could have been clearer on my end) that the fitter is focusing on improvement and finding the best combination for a person.  Sometimes it's their current combo, sometimes it's not. My point is that a good fitter wants to find you whatever you hit best, however some fitters will absolutely push a person into something new regardless of if it performs better. I can only really speak for myself but I have experienced free fittings push for sales while paid fittings are more concerned with what works best for you and are perfectly ok with you walking away with nothing.  

I don't think fitting people for free based on the motivation of increasing store sales ( as adam was pushing) is really a good thing. 

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1 hour ago, Flip4000 said:

Right, you are kind of touching on my point ( probably could have been clearer on my end) that the fitter is focusing on improvement and finding the best combination for a person.  Sometimes it's their current combo, sometimes it's not. My point is that a good fitter wants to find you whatever you hit best, however some fitters will absolutely push a person into something new regardless of if it performs better. I can only really speak for myself but I have experienced free fittings push for sales while paid fittings are more concerned with what works best for you and are perfectly ok with you walking away with nothing.  

I don't think fitting people for free based on the motivation of increasing store sales ( as adam was pushing) is really a good thing. 

I’ve seen guys gain 15 yards with driver from a free demo day fitting where the fitter spent 30 mins going thru different heads and lofts then a couple more shafts once he had the right head. The guy didn’t buy. Free fittings that show improvement don’t guarantee sales even with a 10% discount that day.

We agree on your take about fitters and finding the right fit

 

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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On 11/5/2021 at 6:01 PM, FXsr76 said:

Given the expense incurred in overhead, equipment, salaries for the "expert" fitters, I think the TXGs, the Club Champions, the True Specs, the Cool Stix, etc. are entitled to charge for their fitting service. IMO, what's missing in the contractual framework is a written quality control process on the fitting to include a checklist and screenshots of the basis for the club selection. This will spotlight weak fitters, missing parts of the process like gapping and clear remedies for fixing any problem. Also, there should be a great deal more transparency in the actual costs of building the club or the set recommended.

 

 

I've sold in the corporate world for a long time. Good luck with getting transparency in the cost model. Not likely to happen often.

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I did not listen to the podcast but to answer the question on whether fittings should be free…the answer is it depends. As a part time fitter, I’ve done hundreds of fittings at private clubs where there is no cost to the members. Although there’s no guarantee of sales, It’s rare we don’t sell thousands of dollars in equipment and it benefits the host club as all sales go through their account. Often times the pro-shop will offer a discount if purchases are made on those days. 
 

Fittings done at a Truespec, Club Champion, etc…you’re paying for a fitting from a trained fitter who typically knows what they’re talking about. You’re paying someone for their expertise. If someone has an issue paying for a fitting, these places are not for them. I would recommend they going to a big box store that carries inventory. They can hit the newest product in more of a demo day setting, where they can get help from a staff member who may or may not know what they’re talking about. If you’re going to go that route, you usually can make an appointment to get fitted for a fee $30-$100 depending on where you go and often they will give you 30-45 day To put that towards a purchase. 
 

If this is a yes or no question, my answer would be no…fittings should not be free. That’s what demo days are for. 

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The TXG video from today addressing free fittings was very well done.  I wish the original NPG episode would have gotten more in depth to touch on the items TXG brought up instead of Adam just saying that he'd done it before and free fittings "pay for themselves".  As I mentioned before, I think Adam may have a point for certain business models, but I'd like to have seen him address the specific points TXG makes instead of just shouting Ryan down saying "it works".

 

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First NPG I haven’t been able to finish. Yes some fittings should be free, but to say all should be free is completely ludicrous. I’m going to a high end fitter for their experience, the after market shaft options and quality of build. I don’t believe that’s feasible in a “free” scenario.

Let’s use Adams logic for golf courses…. None should be private and all would make more money because more rounds would be played. That’s a world I don’t want to live in.

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This is pretty silly. There are no free fittings, the cost has to land somewhere. Your actual choices are:

1) Pay for a fitting if you want it, and we all pay the same today prices for off the rack or custom clubs. The current model and pricing.

2) "Free fittings", and we pay the same higher prices for off the rack or custom clubs - as the labor and equipment costs of fittings will be buried in the cost of clubs. And we all pay for fittings whether we get them or not. The prices for clubs will go up (margins won't go down), the question is only by how much?

The corollary question is will increased club sales (volume) reduce the cost hit of fittings? But they'll never be free...

  • Titleist TSR2 11° HZRDUS Red CB 50 6.0 w Lamkin UTx Midsize
  • Titleist TSR2 16.5º HZRDUS Red 60 CB 6.0 & TSR2 21º HZRDUS Black 4G 70 6.0 w Lamkin UTx Midsize
  • Mizuno JPX923 HMP 4-GW, T22 54.12WS, T22 58.04DC w Lamkin ST+2 Hybrid Midsize
  • Evnroll EV5.3
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  • Payntr X 002 LE, Ecco Biom C4, FJ DryJoys
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On 11/8/2021 at 6:36 PM, Ed Young said:

You’re paying someone for their expertise.

This is where I believe most folks are misinformed.  The fitters are not recalling from memory, the metrics gathered from a few driver and iron swings is matched up with a database of profiled shafts that fit within those metrics. The 'art' comes from determining if someone should be, for irons, hard or soft stepped, or fit into a 370 shaft where we can trim to flex.

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