Where do you shop? The amount of golf products for us all to choose from is insane! The 62nd PGA Merchandise Show held earlier this year had over 1,000 companies alone in attendance.
Not nearly as overwhelming, but as important is where we players can buy all this good golf stuff. From in-store to online, determining how to make a smart purchase is an integral step in the buying process.
Let’s look at the options to help determine what’s right for you:
1. In-Store Retailers
Whether it’s a new set of sticks, apparel or just a sleeve of balls you’re on the market for, brick and mortar stores give you the opportunity to feel out the items on your wish list. Walking around these specialty and big box stores gives you the chance to actually see the items you’ve been dreaming about in person. They usually carry almost every brand and have hitting bays to test out the products you’ve been researching online.
Here are the biggest retailers across the country:
2. Online Stores
Many of the stores above, now let you buy products right from their website. Welcome to the 21st century. But while this may be more convenient than having to schlep to the store, is it smarter? That depends on you, and what you’re buying. For example, if you have two Cleveland Golf RTX 2.0 wedges that you really enjoy playing with and you want a third, then it’s fine to buy one online. However, if shopping for a new pair of golf shoes or a new driver, you might be better served to head to the store.
Some stores are online retailers only. One of the best is TGW – The Golf Warehouse. These guys literally have everything you could ever want for your next round.
Convenient? Yes. Smart? Depends.
3. Local Golf/Country Club
Your local pro shop is a great place to purchase new equipment. Why? Because if the pro/assistant pro already knows your swing he/she will be able to recommend the items best suited for your game. Depending on what you are buying, that 1-on-1 customer experience is key.
There are two main drawbacks to shopping at your local pro shop. First, they don’t carry as much as the big retailers. Second, pro’s at golf shops tend to be aligned with certain brands and rewarded for selling the product which means they may try to squeeze you into their brand’s product.
4. Consumer to Consumer
Ever use sites like E-Bay or Craigslist to buy your golf clubs? If you have, then you already know that you’re probably going to get a great deal. The downside is of course that this options present the most risk. What if the clubs you buy are in worse shape than the ad says? What if you get ripped off? These are all legitimate questions and concerns, and if you’re a first-time buyer on one of these sites be careful, and do your homework.
Check out this poor sap who recently posted this Craigslist ad, and the reason why he has to sell his clubs. Online ads like this make it easy to browse and purchase. While you may be getting a great deal, just be smart about it – and poor Tim.
This is a less common place to purchase but well worth the unique experience. Whether it’s at the PGA Merchandise Show in Florida or your local golf expo, buying clubs and golf products here is not a bad way to go. If you’re looking to buy the hottest new products, then the big trade shows are better. However if you’re looking for a bargain, then you want check out an expo.
Often times you can find clubs a year or two old that are selling for a fraction of what you would have had to get them for the year before. That’s because new clubs come out every year, and the old models become yesterday’s news. You can get an entire set of clubs/woods/driver for just a couple hundred dollars if you’re smart. Keep in mind that you’re probably going to be purchasing from local vendors, so don’t expect a ton of great one-on-one fitting service. But do expect a bargain.
6. Direct From the Source
Like TaylorMade clubs? Then head to the TaylorMade website. There, you can buy their products directly while getting all the specs and information you could ever need. You can also chat live with a sales rep and trade in your old clubs while you’re at it.
TaylorMade is just one example – most major brands let you shop directly on their sites. You’re going to be paying full value, but you can erase any doubts about getting the real thing like you might on Craigslist. You’re also going to be getting lots of good R&D info – but keep in mind the source – the brand is trying to sell you their product. Do your best to find some unbiased product reviews ahead of making your purchase.
There you have it. These are the different places to make your next golf toy purchases. Now it’s up to you to decide where to shop. All six of these options have their pros/cons. We recommend a combo approach of researching online, visiting a large retailer to test out products and also consulting your teaching professional. This way you are fully informed on what will work best for you game and price point. If you’re new to golf, hopefully you found this article helpful. If you’re a veteran to the game, then you probably already have a system.
Where do you usually purchase your golf equipment? Do you split it up – meaning you might buy your clubs one place but your balls/bag/apparel at another place? Let us know in the comments below or shout to us on Facebook or Twitter!