Study: 90% of U.S. Golfers May Be Playing With the Wrong Equipment for Their Swing

NEW YORK  (Profitable.com)  A new, wide-ranging study reveals a golfer’s natural ability and swing are not the only things holding them back; 90% of U.S. golfers may be playing with clubs that do not fit them properly.  Nearly 6,000 avid golfers across the country took part in the survey.  The findings show players who were custom fit using advanced technology such as launch monitors, saw scores improve, hit the ball more accurately and had more fun playing golf than golfers who were not custom fit.   The findings were unveiled today at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida.  

“This study is a wake-up call for every golfer who wants to get better. We spoke to thousands of golfers coast to coast and the majority had no idea of what true custom fitting is all about and how it can shave strokes off of score cards,” said Jon Last, President of Sports and Leisure Research Group, which conducted the research. “The magnitude of the differences in perceptions between those fit and not fit was among the most significant I’ve observed between two test populations in my 20+ years of researching American golfers.”

The highlights of the research findings include:

  • 92% of those golfers who were custom fit for their new equipment on a launch monitor realized immediate benefits with their new equipment
  • 80% of custom fit golfers hit the ball more accurately and consistently.
  • Those golfers who were custom fit were 22% more likely than those who were not to notice a significant improvement in their scores (two strokes or more per round and were 56% more likely to see their scores go down by more than five strokes per round).
  • Those golfers who were custom fit were 57% more likely than those who were not to strongly agree their new equipment purchase was “the best that they had ever made.”
  • Those golfers custom fit on a launch monitor were 42% more likely to complete their equipment purchase faster than those who were fit in other ways (and 17% were more likely to buy their equipment on the same day that they were custom fit).
  • Custom fit golfers spent 78% more than those who were not custom fit.
  • 69% of custom fit golfers surveyed bought equipment immediately after the process.

(The complete survey, methodology, video news release, high-resolution images and interviews along with materials for blogs and other news outlets can be found at:  www.customfityourgame.com )

“This study clearly demonstrates the advantages custom fitting brings to a player’s game — providing for greater comfort, fit, better scores and making golf more enjoyable,” said Allen Wronowski, president, The PGA of America.  “The experience reported by PGA members and their customers at facilities nationwide mirrors this research,” he added.

There is no industry standard for custom fitting and the study found much confusion exists around the subject.   Custom fitting used in this survey is defined as the process of measuring a golfer’s physical attributes and then uses high tech equipment such as a launch monitor to capture important information on swing speed, ball flight and spin rates – all designed to “build” the right custom-fit golf clubs for each golfer.

Yet with all the technology and the benefits, a majority of golfers still purchase drivers, fairway woods and irons off the rack, according to the study.  But that may be changing.  America’s largest golf retailer saw more than a 30% rise in custom fit club sales in 2010.

“Our industry – retailers, manufacturers and teaching pros — can all leverage these findings to educate golfers on the benefits of custom fitting and help them enjoy the game of golf more than ever before,” said Matt Corey, Golfsmith Chief Marketing Officer. “Custom fitting is one of our fastest growing categories and this study will certainly provide our industry with the opportunity to drive more sales and inspire golfers to play better through custom fitting.”

Some of the study’s initial findings are being reported in the February issue of GOLF Magazine.  The Sports Illustrated Golf Group, the No. 1 media brand in Golf, and Golfsmith, the largest specialty golf retailer in the U.S., commissioned noted consumer research analysts the Sports & Leisure Research Group for this unprecedented study.

“Over the past 18 months, the Sports Illustrated Golf Group has launched several initiatives targeted to the millions of golfers who love the sport. This includes our See-Try-Buy equipment editorial program which was extremely popular among our readers,” said Dick Raskopf, Publisher, SI Golf Group.  “This year we partnered with Golfsmith and Sports & Leisure Research Group to conduct an unprecedented examination of the relationship between golfers and their equipment and the results were eye-opening.”

For an in depth look at research results visit:  www.customfityourgame.com

* $2.5 billion was spent on golf equipment in 2009 according to Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association.

SPORTS AND LEISURE RESEARCH GROUP is a full service marketing research consultancy that combines an acute knowledge of the sports, travel and leisure markets with a classically trained approach to action oriented marketing research. A unique agency tapping into the expertise of three former national Marketing Research Association (MRA) Presidents and a collective 100+ years of market experience, SLRG focuses on a thorough understanding of market dynamics through cutting edge research and measurement methodologies and then leverage these findings into actionable strategies.  The firm’s clients include leading national sports leagues, governing bodies, media brands, sponsors and advertisers as well as consumer brands and their agencies.

The SI Golf Group, the most powerful media company in the game, consists of the combined resources of GOLF Magazine, SI Golf Plus (the No. 1 golf weekly publication) and GOLF.com (the highest-trafficked golf website), delivering to a monthly audience of over 12 million avid golfers and fans.  The magazine, delivers a monthly circulation of 1.4 million golf enthusiast and a readership of nearly 6 million, provides the best instruction, equipment reviews, and travel coverage in the category.  golf magazine is published by Time Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

About Golfsmith

Golfsmith International Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: GOLF), is a 43-year-old specialty retailer of golf and tennis equipment, apparel and accessories. The company operates as an integrated multi-channel retailer, offering its customers the convenience of shopping in its 76 stores across the United States, through its web site at golfsmith.com and from its assortment of catalogs. Golfsmith offers an extensive product selection that features premier branded merchandise, as well as its proprietary products, clubmaking components and pre-owned clubs. Visit www.Golfsmith.com.