As much as it pains me to say it… the golf season is slowly coming to an end where I live. Sure we have another month or so of really good weather but cold winds and snow are not too far away.
The end of the golf season is a great time for bargain hunters… clubs are being discontinued, demos are available for sale and shops are looking to dump inventory before they close the doors. Looking for deals isn’t rocket science but there are a few things that you should know before racing down to your local shop.
Know Your Product – What’s going? What’s staying? What’s ready for a price reduction? Knowing about equipment trends is a good way to find deals… a bit of research can really pay off. The internet is a great way to find out about equipment… both what is coming and what is going. Equipment used to have an average two year life cycle and customers had a good idea of what was going to be discontinued each year. Equipment life cycles have really changed over the past few years and now it’s a lot harder to figure out when clubs are on the way out. Sites like SirShanksAlot.com and Golfwrx.com try to keep golfers informed about new equipment on the horizon and how this new stuff will affect the current line. Ask questions at your shop, talk to reps at demo days and visit websites… find out when clubs are on the way out and then seek them out.
Know Your Shop Staff – We can be your best friends at closeout time. We know when the shop is planning a sale, we know when demos are available for purchase and we might even have personal equipment that we are looking to dump. I like this time of year because it is a great time to help out some of my best customers. I have no problem putting something aside when it goes on sale… or yanking a demo out of the bag before the clubs go on the floor for purchase. Get to know someone at your local shop and give them an idea of what you’re after. If they like you, they’ll find you something at a great price… trust me. The best deals at my shop never make the sales floor because we put them aside for our best customers. Been eyeing that demo in the shop? Talk to the pro and see if he can put it aside for you when it goes on sale. Know a few people in the shop? See if they are selling off their own equipment. A lot of people like me are given equipment (or we buy it at a very reduced price) at the start of the year and we have the option of selling it off at the end of the season. Most industry people I know end up selling off their stuff… and why not? It’s some pocket money for the winter and there is more “staff” equipment available in the spring anyways.
Know How Demos Work – I have talked about demos in the past but let’s review. Golf courses and off course shops have the option of buying demo equipment in the spring. These clubs are available at a reduced rate and they allow shops to loan out clubs to potential buyers. Shops are allowed to sell their demos at the end of each season and shops usually sign a contract not allowing them to sell demos until a certain date. Demos are a bargin hunter’s dream… they’re brand name clubs at half the price. So what’s the catch? We only get so many demos every year and they go REALLY fast. Talk to your local shop and ask them about demo clubs. They don’t have any? Get them to contact the sales rep… most reps pay for their demos out of their own pockets so they are eager to dump them and get their money back! A quick note here… most demos are still covered under warranty too.
Know What Items Are “Gimmies” – There are some items that always seem to get discontinued. Clothes and footwear are usually pretty safe bets. Watch for racks of discontinued clothing… there are usually some pretty good deals to be found there. Who cares if you are wearing a shirt from last year… how many people are going to notice? Many shoe styles only last a year and the fall is an excellent time to pick up a pair or two. Visit your local course and watch for logoed clothing on sale. If the course closes for the winter they have no use for a stack of logoed shirts come January. They’ll be in “dumping” mode!
It’s like Christmas for the bargin hunter… there are lots of sales out there if you know where to look. It’s also a great time to go out and support your local shop… sales will start to get sluggish at many stores around the country so shops rely on end of season sales to keep the doors open. Help out your local pro and buy a shirt or two… you’ll get a great deal and he/she can lower their inventory before the snow flies.