I don't know how many times people have come into my store with intentions of buying new clubs but they have no idea of where to start. Do I go with what my favourite PGA player uses? Maybe I get what my friend has. Wow.. those look shiny, what about them? It's my job to find you a set of clubs that will work, but it's your job to give me some tools to help in the search.
Knowing Your Game
I don't work for the F.B.I. but I can tell when you are lying about your game. I love the customers that come in, hit a few balls dead right, then chunk two, then top one, then pop one straight up, then tell me that they are a five handicap. So do you want me to go grab you a set of blades and send you out the door? I really want to help you improve but I can't help much when you flat out lie to me about your game. You don't need to impress me. I know what a good player looks like. I've played golf with lots and lots of local pros, I've stood ten feet away from Tiger Woods and watched him hit balls on the driving range… why lie to me? If you can't get the ball in the air, tell me. If you slice every second shot, tell me.
Not too sure of your game? Go to the driving range before you stop by the store and hit some balls. Start with a few wedges. Do they get up in the air? Do you thin more than you hit solid? Do they go straight? Move to a seven iron. Do they get up in the air? Does the ball look like it balloons or is the ball flight more penetrating? What kind of distance (in the air) do you get? A better player may want to get into hitting knock downs, can you knock the seven iron down or does it still go too high? Move to a five iron. Look for the same types of things with the five as you did with the seven. Move to the three iron. Can you get the ball in the air? Does it go straight? Which way does it go? Don't be too upset if the three iron is a tough one for you. Move to the woods. Can you hit your fairway woods off the ground and the tee? If not, what happens? Move to the driver. What is the ball flight like? Do you slice the ball? Does the ball go straight right or left off the face or does it go straight out and then curve? Do you balloon the ball or is the flight penetrating? Make some notes if you want, it will help me later!
I also ask golfers if they have had lessons before. A good teacher will tell you what you are doing wrong. Make a note of his/her findings. Someone telling you that you have an inside out swing and that you come through the ball toe-down might not mean much to you but it does to me. Are you taking lessons right now? What is the teacher teaching you right now? Anything you can tell me helps.
So what's your handicap? I love asking that question! It's not really the be all and end all for choosing a proper set of golf clubs but it is a nice way to start. If that is the only question you get when picking out a set of clubs, run! It is a good way to start the conversation and give me a very general idea of what we should look at. If you don't know, no problem. What did you shoot the last time you played? What is an average score for you? Be honest with me! If you are interested in getting a real handicap it is pretty easy to do. Any good professional can help you and there is a bunch of information and software available on the internet.
Knowing Your Existing Equipment
I am truly amazed at the number of avid golfers that can't tell me what kind of clubs they play. What kind of five wood do you use? It's a graphite, about four years old, and it was pretty expensive too. Gee, thanks for all the great info! Make it easy on me, bring a few clubs with you. Better yet, put some duct tape on the faces of your clubs that you take to the range and then bring them in. I can tell lots from the wear patterns, face markings and overall condition of your clubs. I can look at the types of shafts that you use, what they are made of, what flex they are, what kind of kick point they have. A good salesperson will take the time to explain how these factors can affect your game and we might even be able to solve some of your problems right then! Bringing your clubs with you is also good so that you have something to compare the new clubs to!
Knowing What You Want To Do With Your Game
Ok, bad title. Knowing What You Want To Do With Your Game BESIDES Playing On The Tour. You need to have some realistic goals in mind when looking at buying new equipment. Don't think that a new driver is going to hit it three hundred yards straight every time, because it won't. I can probably help you get the ball in the air. I can probably help you keep the ball straight. I can probably add a few yards here and there. Ask yourself some questions. How much are you going to be playing with these new clubs? If you play one course all the time, does it require you to hit certain shots that you can't hit right now? What are some things that you do really well? Where do you lose the majority of your strokes? Are there any shots that you use more than others? Again, anything you can tell me helps!
Knowing Your Stuff
Most customers have a general idea of what they want. I like to think that the internet has a lot to do with that. People can now sit at home, visit company websites, visit sites like ours and talk to golfers from around the world about equipment. Most people have an idea of what each company makes, although they usually don't know which club in the line is best for them. A lot of customers have hit new clubs in the past, whether they were a friend's, a co-worker's, or clubs at a demo day so they sometimes have a general idea of what they want. Tell me what you have hit, how they felt, what you liked and didn't like about each. We might be able to narrow down the choices right off the bat! When you are hitting clubs that don't belong to you, try to remember details like shaft type, shaft flex, grip size, etc. The more you know, the better you will be in the end!
Golf clubs are an investment, you should treat them like one! Would you go and buy stocks without doing some research? How about a car without getting more information? I have seen people drop thousands of dollars on wrong equipment, don't be one of these people!