Published on May 12th, 2012 | by Tony Portz1
How Important is Golf Club-fitting When Buying? According to Golf Digest Editor Stina Sternberg, VERY
Last Wednesday Bob Holman, sales manager of 2nd Swing’s Minneapolis location, handed me a dog-eared Golf Digest issue from March 2012. The article was titled, ‘Frustration For Sale: What happens when an equipment-savvy editor goes undercover to buy clubs.’ The title says it all. For those of you who may not be familiar with her, Stina Sternberg, author of the article and one of Golf Digest’s senior editors, is also one of the four editors of the seminal GD Hot List.
First thing I thought was, ‘This article is too old to cover now, it’s already mid-May!’ Then I read it and thought it was too good to pass up, here’s why: At The Swing we are very concerned with offering best in class service, much of the emphasis being on our club-fitting and the tireless certification process our sales staff endures, just to don the 2-S name tag. That said, we try to stay abreast with news related to that aspect of the industry, so I hope you can forgive me for the belated review of this article.
In the article, Sternberg and a male colleague visit three large Manhattan golf retailers as prospective customers looking to buy their very first “good” set of golf clubs. The first two stores Sternberg and her colleague investigate separately, the third as a couple.
After visiting the three golf retailers, Sternberg makes an interesting conclusion about the technique of all three salesmen:
“The most striking offense committed by all three salesmen was their reluctance to even broach the subject of a proper fitting. My clubhead speed is about 20 miles per hour faster than average for a woman. Because women’s clubs come in only one shaft flex (though men’s clubs come in four), I have no business playing them. All three sales guys saw me swing, but none offered me a fitting. When I suggested it, all three said they could “tell” that I needed L-flex clubs. One told me “only really tall ladies” play with men’s clubs; I’m 5-foot-7 but have a short torso and long legs. I know from multiple fittings that A-flex men’s shafts at the standard men’s length are right for me…” READ MORE
Within the context of her article, I believe Sternberg’s emphasis is on the way women golfers in particular are condescended to by golf retail sales staff, most notably when she mentions how they ignore her suggestions and question her own experience with her swing. I dare say this phenomenon extends beyond women golfers and happens to many golfers that are new to the game or even the occasional golfer whose been playing for years, regardless of gender (which, by the way, makes up the majority of the golf market).
Sternberg also highlights another common frustration I’ve noticed among golfers and not just women golfers—yes, I’m talking about looking around at the massive selection that fills the retailer’s walls and having only two or three models pushed on me:
“Read up on what’s new, and bring a list of brands and models you want to try. In all three stores, I was handed the same two brands of clubs; only when I asked to demo others were they even acknowledged. Test as many models as you want–at least five or six–in the hitting bay, then demand a dynamic fitting that includes measurements for set makeup, shaft length and flex, grip size and clubhead lie angle. (Even if it costs $75 to $150 or so, it’s worth it.) Don’t take no for an answer. If they won’t give you a proper fitting, keep your money and move along…” READ MORE
What did I take away from Sternberg’s article? A lot, but I think she sums it up perfectly, only I would add that all golfers should look for the same thing, no matter if male or female:
“The lesson: Women golfers stand a much better chance of getting the right clubs if they visit a store armed with some knowledge and a strong backbone.”
For knowledge and a strong backbone visit 2ndSwing.com’s Club-Fitting Info
To Read More from Stina visit: http://www.golfdigest.com/contributors/stina-sternberg