As the South Region content manager for The PGA I’m constantly speaking to golf professionals who run busy shops, stores and custom fitting centres. The unanimous consensus they give me is that it is hard to get their female consumers to part with money to buy golf equipment. One retailer recently told me that he had stopped stocking women’s golf equipment entirely because “The only time I sell it is when it’s in the sale.”
I’m definitely guilty of buying in the sales. I love a bargain and I am reluctant to part with my hard-earned cash to pay full price for something when I know that it will be cheaper in a few month’s time. I think that the high street, and increasingly the online outlets, has a big part to blame in this mentality.
There are continuous sales events throughout the year, whether it be Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the big Boxing Day sale, spring and summer end of season clearances – the list goes on. We are surrounded by messages that shout “come and grab a bargain” and “save”. So is it really any surprise that we apply the same mentality to our golf purchasing decision-making?
BUY THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT NOT THE CHEAPEST
By purchasing bargain clubs you could be harming your game. This is not a sport where you can guess the club that’s right for you. We are all unique in our swing type, style and ability and as such our clubs need to be carefully selected to reflect that.
There’s no denying that custom fit clubs can be expensive – you are looking at over a thousand pounds for a full set and that’s before any specialist shafts or grips come into the equation – but trust me, they are worth it. You should see this investment in your golf equipment as something that will contribute to your enjoyment of the game for years to come.
CUSTOM FITTING WORKS
The consistency in my own golf scores last year is proof that custom fitting works. Exactly a year ago I was flown out to Arizona, USA, to the home of PXG. I was treated like royalty and experienced a world-class custom fit service, with remarkable attention to detail to my game and ambitions as a player.
When I returned to the UK, armed with my new set of PXG clubs, I changed nothing else. No swing changes, I didn’t spend hours hitting balls on the range and yet my scoring was the most consistent it has been for years. I found fairways with regularity, hit precision approach shots and watched with wonder as my wedge shots had spin and stop. The miracle of using wedges with clever grooves. Thanks to my new gear, every time I played golf it was fun. Priceless in my opinion.\
DON’T LIMIT YOUR BELIEFS
It frustrates me when women who clearly have the financial means to afford new golf clubs won’t invest because they don’t think it’s worth it. I often play golf with women who are using a set of clubs that are 10 years or older. They still believe that they are perfectly ok and many simply don’t think they are good enough to justify the expense of upgrading.
These limiting beliefs are no doubt damaging your enjoyment of the game. Seriously, ask yourself, would you rather play badly using old clubs or invest in a new set that will genuinely boost your confidence, improve your game and your scores? The funny thing is that these very same women don’t think twice of having numerous beauty treatments every month.
I played golf with a lovely lady in her seventies last week who has just taken the plunge and ordered a new set of Ping clubs. She was almost embarrassed to tell me about her investment, saying: “I know I’m old and I’m not very good.” How ridiculous! You are never too old and it is never too late to improve!
The same mentality seems to apply to the golf ball. Be honest, do you have the limiting beliefs that you are not good enough to play a Titleist Pro VI? Of course you are! The Pro VI ball can perform exceptionally well when hit by any standard of player. It offers incredible feel and spin. You wouldn’t walk into a hair salon and question the price of the product the hairdresser is putting on your hair, asking for a cheap alternative, so don’t do it with your golf gear.
MALE VS FEMALE ATTITUDES
Interestingly, I find that men largely have the opposite spending attitude to women. For the majority, playing with the latest driver or new set of clubs is like a status symbol. It’s the same reason that they are more likely to drive a brand new sports car off the garage forecourt, they are equally the first to buy the must-have new driver that they see in action on the TV, being used by the world’s best players, to brag to their mates. Showboating.
WHY BUYING SECOND-HAND IS RISKY
A beginner can get a perfectly serviceable set of second-hand clubs from a golf professional’s store or online, but you can equally end up with a set of clubs that are totally wrong for you and that can contribute to swing faults that will be hard to rectify. The best decision you can make is to invest in a set of clubs that are right for you by being custom fit by an expert.
THE PATRONISING ‘PINK IT’ DAYS ARE GONE
For a long time, it felt as though every new golf club that was marketed at women was pink, or had a splash of sparkle or something. I read an interesting report about a dramatic change that the American National Football League (NFL) made to their women’s apparel offering last season. It switched from the team colour being pink and often adorned in sequins and sparkles to adding more apparel options that didn’t fall into the trope of the stereotypical woman. Guess what? The increase of women shoppers went up 40 per cent.
Bridget Brennan, author of the best-seller Why She Buys, said: “Pink is not a strategy unless you’re raising money for breast cancer research. Marketing to women is all about being inclusive.” She’s absolutely right. Women are diverse in their likes and interests. We want choices. This positive wave of change in attitude has definitely begun to filter down into golf, with the main manufacturers producing the best-looking and performing women’s golf equipment that I’ve tested in decades.
TaylorMade’s Kalea Premier, the Ping G Le3, Callaway’s REVA to name just a few. But if we want them to continue to invest and put their faith in us as serious consumers then we have to put our money where our mouth is and buy it. You won’t regret it.