I admit, despite writing for a blog, I’m very skeptical of the internet in general. There is simply so much information out there that you never know what and what not to believe. Combine that with identity theft, viruses and sites looking to rip you off, then suddenly misinformation is the least of your concerns. Even things as simple as online shopping can be questionable. For instance, I saw a pair of shoes I like on a “discount” website for $69.95. I didn’t purchase them, and I’m glad I didn’t – I found the same pair at a local department store for $39.95! So that leads me to my question about golf equipment. Where do you purchase yours? Golf shop? Pro shop? Big box sporting goods store? Online?
Myself, I’m partial to purchasing my golf-related equipment from a store as opposed to on-line. I’m the type of person who needs to touch, feel and try things before I purchase them. So for me, the on-line thing doesn’t work for golf stuff. I can’t buy a club or putter that I haven’t held in my hand, swung or tried out for a while, no matter the price. And shoes? Forget it! How do you buy shoes online without trying them on first? I can understand doing your research online (like this nicershoes.com golf shoe review), or even purchasing balls online. But that’s about it. Now I know some of you will say that you can go to the store, swing a club, play with the putters or try on the shoes, then just go home and buy the same stuff on-line for less money. But at that point, is it really less money? Not if you value your own time.
You can go to a golf shop or pro shop and get a fair amount of personal service. Someone who will spend time with you, maybe give you some advice and help you decide what’s best for your game. To a lesser extent, you can get that service at the big box stores such as Dick’s or Sports Authority as well. Granted you pay a little extra for that, but it’s a service the shops and stores can provide that a website can’t. So is it worth it to take that time then go home and buy online?
Let’s see…I just spent my time driving to the store, using my gas back and forth, spent who knows how long with the pro or salesman and then have the opportunity to buy what I want right then and there. But instead, I’m going to go back home, try to find the same driver I just settled on (with the assistance of the guy I was working with) from a site like Amazon or something to save what…10-15%? But then I have to pay a shipping cost – an increased one at that if I don’t want to wait 5-7 days or longer. If I asked the guy at the store if he could do anything on the price, I could probably have gotten 10% off right then without having to wait for my shipment to arrive! And not only that, once it’s being shipped, I get to be involved in the adventure of waiting to see if the package shows up undamaged or if the right product is even sent…trust me, that’s happened to me.
But further, coming from a sales background I find it to be a bit disrespectful to the salesman or pro (who may be working partially on commission) to spend time with him/her while they’re taking the time, doing all they can to help someone who has no intention of purchasing from them. It’s like if you were a car salesman and you answered every question the customer had, took them for a test drive and gave them all of the information they could possibly need, only for them to go and purchase the car from somewhere else because they were saving $5/month. You’re taking money out of a hard-working persons pocket and giving it to someone who didn’t earn it. That person could have been dealing with someone else who intended to make a purchase from them. But, if you think going through that effort to save a few bucks is worth it, then that’s your choice and that’s fine.
My point is, the internet is great for certain purchases. But think about it before you purchase something blindly, especially your golf equipment. Avoiding the hassle of returning something because you didn’t take the time to swing it or try it on could be well worth the additional money you spent to begin with. And the assistance you receive in person rather than online could prove invaluable when your brand new driver can’t place a ball anywhere near the fairway and your feet are killing you by the 7th hole.
Swing ’til you’re happy!