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Should Fittings be Free?


GolfSpy MPR
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Should all fittings be free, absolutely not.  Should all golfers have access to a certain caliber of fitting at no charge, yes.  

- Adam seemed to continually ignore the business side of the argument saying that he is only looking out for the golfer.  If we want to go further down that line- all practice facilities should be free and club manufacturers should allow trade in their clubs when a new product fits them better because- It's best for the golfer!

- I am guilty of what Ryan said would happen if fittings were free.  I have gone into a big box golf store, spent 30 minutes getting fit for a driver and then left and ordered it through my pro shop or online.

- Adam suggested that doing free fittings would lead to increased club sales.  According to a previous My Golf Spy article a driver sold at retail for $500 costs $350 for the store to buy leaving them with $150 of profit.  If two stores both fit every customer for their clubs but one charges $75 for the fitting, the store that doesn't charge has to sell 50% more drivers to make the same margin.  I am very skeptical that free fittings would lead to a 50% increase in sales.  

- In a scenario where all fittings are free, options are going to be limited- 50 shafts in the fitting cart vs 300 for example.  Every fitter isn't going to carry the AutoFlex shaft in their fitting cart for the chance someone is willing to pay for that upgrade.  This is why TXG exist: to provide customers, who are willing to pay, access to more options and better expertise.

I believe all golfers should have access to free fittings, but all fittings should not be free.  There is a difference.      

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I guess I have a question since I’ve never had a fitting. I and Ryan on NPG made a comparison to getting glasses. I consider the optometrist to be the fitter, giving me the proper lenses. When I do get my glasses they fit them to my face for free. To those of you that have had fittings. Let’s say I get fitted for irons with stock shafts, so no upgrade but they need to be bent for lie and/or loft, it’s there a charge for that if you buy from them? Seems to me that if you do everything in house they shouldn’t charge you for the adjustments. 

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5 hours ago, bens197 said:

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. 

Well you don’t need to make veterans seem like beggars and if they offer the discount then they are showing support to whom ever they support. So if you decline it good for you and be the proud person you are but don’t take others down your self centered self. 

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Even Titleist is charging for fittings, but the cost goes towards the cost of the clubs to the fitting centers.   It is a modest fee.  In the past some came to Titleist for a fitting, get their numbers, go elsewhere and order their clubs.  Did not hardly seem fair to Titleist, the club or to the fitting center.  If these brand "certified fitters" spend their time and knowledge, I feel a nominal fee such as some charge is not an unreasonable fee.   These fees also ensure that people actually show up for the fittings.  A registration fee is something I am onboard with.  

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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...

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2 hours ago, John Bachman said:

I guess I have a question since I’ve never had a fitting. I and Ryan on NPG made a comparison to getting glasses. I consider the optometrist to be the fitter, giving me the proper lenses. When I do get my glasses they fit them to my face for free. To those of you that have had fittings. Let’s say I get fitted for irons with stock shafts, so no upgrade but they need to be bent for lie and/or loft, it’s there a charge for that if you buy from them? Seems to me that if you do everything in house they shouldn’t charge you for the adjustments. 

There are no fees for ordering a non standard loft or lie. I think it depends on the store if they will charge you for bending a set off the rack but most cases I’ve seen is they order the clubs with the proper loft and lie in the fitting rather than bend their off the rack set. 
 

Keep in mind places dont carry every stock shaft offering in store and will have whatever of the stock shaft the oem offers. Example my shop has zx5 with modus 105 stiff and zx7 with modus 120 stiff. If someone fits into the regular flex which is stock it has to be ordered

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On 11/2/2021 at 12:41 PM, jlukes said:

Love MGS, but it’s foolish and irresponsible to make a blanket statement that all club fittings should be free 

I made it through less than half of the podcast before I had to shut it off. 
 

Kudos to Ryan for trying to explain his point thoughtfully. I wish I could say the same for the MGS side of things 

And a big eye roll to the Free Fitting T-shirt tweet sent out.  Not a good look 

So I thought the same and sent that as a tweet, then for my effort, Adam blocked me on Twitter 🤐

I didn't swear, did call anyone names, actually saw worse comments made so let's see if I last here.....

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1 hour ago, vagabon68 said:

Well you don’t need to make veterans seem like beggars and if they offer the discount then they are showing support to whom ever they support. So if you decline it good for you and be the proud person you are but don’t take others down your self centered self. 

You’re new here. 
 

We shy away from grievance theatre on this forum. Save that for your Facebook page. 
 

Good luck man see ya around ✌🏼 

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3 hours ago, Laker_Long said:

I believe all golfers should have access to free fittings, but all fittings should not be free.  There is a difference.      

Agreed.

Currently there are plenty of free fitting options for every golfer so that argument should be done. But Adam mentioned it would be great to have 500+ TXG type fittings available for every golfer. That's great in theory but practically it's no feasible nor will it work in a business model. In my experience, the free option doesn't equate to better sales as he mentioned and like you mentioned, people go in and get that free fitting, then go shop online or elsewhere.  People don't ultimately value free things. If they pay for it, they will be invested and value it. 

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I told myself I wasn't going to jump in, but here I am.

I'm going to come at this from the perspective of using my current line of work as an example. As some of you know, I'm a legal aid attorney. We have contracts with governmental entities to assist those who can't hire an attorney at cost, instead getting paid through grants and stipends for our time, usually at salary and not billable hour rates. In that way, we are working "for free" for our clients.

Now, I mention this not to say that the quality of representation depends on the amount people pay for it, but that the perception is held by some that this is the way it works. Therefore, people who need the help are sometimes less gracious with my time because they feel like I'm a 'public pretender' or not a real attorney. Nothing is further from the truth, but it can be disheartening in dealing with people who treat you as a means to an end and not someone who is investing their time in to seeing them through a difficult situation. It's why I didn't understand when I was starting out why my old boss used to charge a fee for a simple consultation, $50 for 30 minutes (rolling back into the cost for the retainer for her to take the case if you chose to), but now it makes all the sense in the world to me. Present your value and eliminate those who want to take advantage of it for selfish needs.

In my opinion, the same goes if all fittings were free. These professionals are taking their time, lending their expertise and skills to you. I worked at a big box store during law school as I mentioned here many a time and was very straight with how limited our fitting process was and our options and where to go to get a fit. I told those people they may have to pay for the fitting, but that the options they would have to chose from would be well beyond our means. I've been fit twice this year for clubs and have paid twice and will be paying a third time in 2022 when I got get new woods at the end of the season. My fitter respects me, knows me, and works with me and he should get my money for cultivating that relationship and taking the time to get me right.

I mean, that's my .02 on the thing. Not all fittings should be free and making a blanket statement to paint everyone with a wide brush is never a successful way to actually engage in a meaningful conversation around actual important points in the future of an industry we all love.

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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.  

In my 17 years a a Certified Custom Fitter at Golf Town I saw the pendulum swing in several directions regarding fittings.  At one time I was doing $100, full bag fittings,  and then the company promoted free fittings for 60 days.  It was then that the vampires appeared.

What is a golf vampire?  It is someone who will suck every last drop of information from the free fitting and then rush home to scour the 'net for the best deal on what I recommended based on the hundreds of hours spent on PK's, video sessions and product seminars I attended put on by the OEMs.  So in one swoop, fittings had no value as I could have sold $500-$1000 of gear in that hour to a customer who was ready to buy.  To be sure, many customers honestly took my advice and bought from our store and that was much appreciated. When something becomes "free", it has little or no value.

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1 hour ago, Berg Ryman said:

 

I mean, that's my .02 on the thing. Not all fittings should be free and making a blanket statement to paint everyone with a wide brush is never a successful way to actually engage in a meaningful conversation around actual important points in the future of an industry we all love.

Something tells me that Adam never intended this to be about having a meaningful conversation - and he did everything in his power to prevent a meaningful conversation from happening on that podcast

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@GolfSpy MPR is this what you envisioned? 🤣

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I keep checking to see if we've reached a decision on this question... it looks like we're getting close 😁.

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Even MGS own 2021 fitting survey results the number 1 reason people didn't get fitted was they didn't believe it would benefit their game. TXG is educating people on the benefits of fitting through their youtube channel. If anything, education is the issue, and even if it was free, if people don't see the benefit, they won't try it regardless of cost.

Additionally cost didn't rank in the top 5 of ways people voted that fittings could be improved. I think cost is way less prohibitive than Adam is leading on and MGS own vote shows that. 

I also don't think quality fitters are looking to sell a new driver to the same guy every year. I think they take pride in fitting someone so well to something they don't comeback to buy another one next year, but they tell their friends who then come and get fit by the same guy.

Last, really wish Adam would have let Ryan speak. This was really hard to watch and definitely didn't sit too well with me. You have a guy who represents a business that shows people the benefits of fitting and has probably led a lot of people to get fit yet he can't get a word in because Adam keeps beating on about "that one time my free fitting idea brought in more sales". Really disappointing. 

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1 hour ago, Flip4000 said:

I also don't think quality fitters are looking to sell a new driver to the same guy every year. I think they take pride in fitting someone so well to something they don't comeback to buy another one next year, but they tell their friends who then come and get fit by the same guy.

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. 

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No it shouldn't be free for a quality fit.

When I got fit, they charged for the fitting if you don't purchase the equipment from them.  If you did purchase the equipment from them, they took the fitting cost off of the cost of the equipment.  This is the perfect business model IMO because it protects the business from people getting the information and finding that product on eBay (as Ryan was trying to point out but couldn't) and the consumer gets valuable data.

Also just a couple things.   In the episode, Adam asked "well how does Titleist do it for free?" I think Titleist can do it for free because they are multi-billion dollar corporation that knows everyone at a club can't be fit, so when members sees Bob with new shiny Titleist irons or a driver, good chance that will inspire another member to upgrade their half season old bag.

Also, I agreed with Ryan when he said there are plenty of weekend warrior golfers that care more about drinking and camaraderie than getting better.

At the end of the day, although I understand what Adam is saying and wants to happen, I dont think its an industry problem and more of what people assume problem.  You hear it often, even on NPG, where people say "i didn't think i was 'good enough' to play prov1x" or "play mizuno irons" etc and perhaps in this case "im not good enough to get fit".

At the end of it, the player needs to take ownership and be accountable.  Get fit but do research before going to maximize the chance of a positive experience.

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25 minutes ago, Chizzle said:

Also just a couple things.   In the episode, Adam asked "well how does Titleist do it for free?" I think Titleist can do it for free because they are multi-billion dollar corporation that knows everyone at a club can't be fit, so when members sees Bob with new shiny Titleist irons or a driver, good chance that will inspire another member to upgrade their half season old bag.

The thing is titleist doesn’t do it for free anymore. They were like every other brand that did free demo days even when they started the titleist Thursday’s which was a way for them to do appt only fittings. Other brands did this to an extent at demo days to allow the fitters to focus on the more serious client. 
 

Titleist changed to a $100 per person fee for their fittings last year. It was kind of convuktied process for how the shops were to charge and my fitter decided not to host titleist Thursdays anymore. Titleist also brought in PGA Class A personnel to do the fittings. This is a great idea because you get a fitter who understands the swing along with the ball flight laws and how to interpret launch monitor numbers. The guy they had doing them here was really good. 

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

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8 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

The thing is titleist doesn’t do it for free anymore. They were like every other brand that did free demo days even when they started the titleist Thursday’s which was a way for them to do appt only fittings. Other brands did this to an extent at demo days to allow the fitters to focus on the more serious client. 
 

Titleist changed to a $100 per person fee for their fittings last year. It was kind of convuktied process for how the shops were to charge and my fitter decided not to host titleist Thursdays anymore. Titleist also brought in PGA Class A personnel to do the fittings. This is a great idea because you get a fitter who understands the swing along with the ball flight laws and how to interpret launch monitor numbers. The guy they had doing them here was really good. 

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.

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20 minutes 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 don’t know. I know here they were and a buddy of mine in the Midwest was charged last year. I haven’t been to the range much this year and didn’t look at the demo day schedule. I’ll ask my fitter at the shop if they changed that policy

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3 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

The thing is titleist doesn’t do it for free anymore. They were like every other brand that did free demo days even when they started the titleist Thursday’s which was a way for them to do appt only fittings. Other brands did this to an extent at demo days to allow the fitters to focus on the more serious client. 
 

Titleist changed to a $100 per person fee for their fittings last year. It was kind of convuktied process for how the shops were to charge and my fitter decided not to host titleist Thursdays anymore. Titleist also brought in PGA Class A personnel to do the fittings. This is a great idea because you get a fitter who understands the swing along with the ball flight laws and how to interpret launch monitor numbers. The guy they had doing them here was really good. 

Thank you for the insight.  It also sounds like that fitter is worth the $100. 

And either way, free or paid fitting, it is an answer to Adams question.

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