If my blog this week is short, it is because I was one of the record numbers of people watching my beloved Buckeyes on New Year’s Day and into the wee hours the following morning.
It goes down as the largest watched event in cable TV history. Hey, I guess I’m famous – I am part of history. However there were a number of potential viewers who could not watch the “upset” because they didn’t have access to cable or satellite TV; many of which were older Americans which is truly a shame.You see, bowls like the Rose, Sugar, Orange, etc. were mainstays on network TV until 2011 when they switched over to cable’s ESPN. This was the end of an era to free-loading football loving fans relying on rabbit ears and a rooftop antenna to cure their fix. By now you are wondering how does this relate to the golf industry? Simply things change and we adapt. What used to be readily available and taken for granted can be swiftly taken away as technology changes our way of life. Look at all the small Mom and Pop golf retailers today – they are nearly all gone. Repair shops? They are slowing dwindling away. Yet I reported last year there may be 5 million fewer golfers than there were a decade ago, but there are still 5 million more players than in 1986. So where are all of these golfers buying their goods and services?
If you are a golfer potentially looking for new equipment, where do you go? I bet if you are 40 or older, your first stop would not be the same as it was 10 years ago. Golfers seek the internet for product information, pricing, reviews and yes buying. If you are a custom golf and/or repair shop, your business model must change as you will need to look at different avenues to get your message across and reach potential new clients. The good news is fewer outlets, especially in rural or less populated area means there is opportunity. There will be people in the town 10 miles down the road or in the next county who do not know you exist. Get the message across of what you do and that you are the go-to place for new equipment, repair and retro-fitting of existing equipment.
The reality is there is no way to fit accurately on-line. Players serious about getting better know they have to seek someone or someplace where they can hit balls, watch ball flight and get real information on what type of components or custom specifications can make them a better golfer. New golfers looking for affordable and yet better quality clubs than box sets need to turn to someone who can give them basic fitting advise so they don’t quit the game before they every get started. This should be your New Year’s resolution for clubmaking shops and golfers alike. For clubmaker’s, they need to diversify. For regular golfers, there is a different and viable avenue to purchase equipment or services that is not your normal retail environment. If football fanatics can change their viewing habits, golfers can surely change their buying habits too.