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Poll Result: "How important is it which pros play those clubs?"

Golf Channel Equipment Insider Matt Adams asked his followers on Twitter if tour pro endorsements influence purchasing, and also set up the question with this Morning Drive segment on TaylorMade's recent Rory McIlroy signing.

Granted, his followers are likely core golfers who are prone to have been with the game longer, but it's still fascinating to see how voters believe that professional endorsements translate to buying influence:

The segment:

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Reader Comments (28)

Nike Golf signed Rory and already had Tiger Woods. How did that work out in regards to club sales? Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer each owned their own equipment companies without much success.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Pike
More cracks in the bubble. Why are millions of dollars of equipment simply given away to every professional? Why are there trucks of staffers being paid (quite modestly, but paid regardless) to follow around pros giving free equipment? The biggest question of all: with all this free equipment, why are they actually PAYING pros to play their equipment.

No one wants to legitimately run that ROI because the whole model could come crashing down. People like working at the events. Nerdy finance people like their cube, spreadsheet, and regular salary. Status quo wins! For now...

If I were those PE boys, I would certainly calculate killing all of this silliness. Maybe keeping 2-3 players as staff pros. Cut marketing a ton. Get out of the bubble bursting 5-10 years early.

Maybe look at a subscription model? Pay a couple hundred a year and get a new model club to use? Driver one year. Wedge the next? Just a thought. Have not had my coffee yet...Either way, get rid of this dead weight of the travelling carnival of worthless people at each event. No one is buying Bridgetstone anything because Hudson Swafford is being paid thousands to represent them...
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMJRNation
@MJRNation the subscription model will never work. You subscribe to a set of clubs each year and then when the year is up who do they (clubs) go back to? The manufacturers don't want them because they don't want to deal with the re-sale market. This is not like leasing a car for 36 months where you can at least salvage something for it as a used car through a dealer or other party (Carfax, etc.)

It shows you how expensive clubs are when Taylormade announces they are offering financing on clubs over 24 and 30 month periods. Heck, you can do this with PayPal now. The problem is the cost to purchase is getting out of hand. PXG is spooking the club makers into thinking they need to charge more. Titleist has come out with a higher end club, you don't think the other companies aren't looking at this and thinking "maybe we should enter this game?"
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon
These endorsement deals are nothing more than advertising vehicles. Don't PING and Mizuno do things differently? I remember when VJ Singh was under contract with Cleveland and used a TM driver but it had a Cleveland head cover.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T. and advertising will never work!!!
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJS
A poll like that is pointless. No self-respecting adult would admit to buying anything because someone famous uses it yet every marketing expert will tell you they absolutely do.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSchlasser
Famous quote by John Wanamaker of department store fame:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half”.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T.
Perhaps not. Just looking at better models, because the current one does not look sustainable. Have you seen how many reps are with the manufacturers? How is this impacting the bottom line? Certainly top 100 could move the needle, but all pro players?

I just think getting out of the endorsement/travelling around tour world saves some money which could get the clubs into a better price point. Do we need the manufacturer reps hanging out at or LPGA events? Maybe that is only a few million. Again, I am just looking at it from the outside, but when number 5000000000000 in the world gets free clubs and equipment, it seems a little unnecessary.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMJRNation
I bought a set of irons a year or two ago... I did look to see who played them, but didn't find a long or convincing list, but purchased them anyway. I do, however, monitor the WITB lists around the internet, hoping to see a good player or two mirror my superior judgment and adopt the same set of irons.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBob
The brand of club a pro is paid to play and endorse is one thing....but the actual club that the pro puts into play after the guys in the truck have worked their magic is often not representative of the clubs that are offered for sale to the market.....grinds, bends, bounce, lofts, weights, blades, shafts, etc. are worked and massaged to the max by the onsite manufacturers experts....we can all get properly fitted and have many choices that are a great help, but we probably do not get our club(s) tweaked every week.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
Idiots. It's all about "Marketing". Stop buying those expensive Jordan basketball shoes also, since they also come out of a sweat shop in Asia. You are paying an upside for all of the advertising. Where do you really think the money is going? Who's gonna tell ya what to get next? Besides this, if you were still playing real "woods," you probably would have given up the game already, because you best buddy, just blew it 50 past you.

The boys who work the events, and try to help any player get into their gear, is only doing their job. They enjoy it, they get paid a fair salary. They are not the rich boys of the sport. They enjoy what they do. What they do and get paid is just a small part of the industry. It doesn't add up to that much.

I think you all should just stop buying anything. Don't buy a Porsche, it's too expensive. Screw that Nissan, when I can get a Honda 2K cheaper. What do you think this is? It's just the free market, buy what you want. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Equipment or Players. I've seen a lot.

05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterE.
A golf pro endorsement does not influence my decision to buy a particular club set since I don't use pro-level clubs, but an endorsement probably influences my decision to buy a BRAND. Each brand has an image that aligns with the pros endorsing it.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGutta Percha
People are that fickle, that they will delve to the lowest level to try to gain some advantage. It’s not about Brand it’s about the belief that they may save a stroke here or there. I have seen players with distance aids trying to make them work believing it will make them look cool while improving their shot - neither appear to happen.

It’s all about money - it has nothing to do with the ordinary golfer, he is just the innocent party in all this while being conned by buying his hero’s equipment thinking it many enhance his game - Or a better way to explain it is “A fool and his money are easily parted".
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
Most people don't really understand what influences them.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward Brumby
^^^ exactly, Ed
Whether or not Nike Golf was ultimately a business that they viewed as sustainable is not to the point of this question. What is unquestionable is that Nike sold millions of clubs and balls for one reason: Tiger Woods endorsed that brand. Did serious, hard core golfers ? Probably not, but tons of other people did just for that reason.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
David Abeles. Pronounced. Able-ease
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterUnnamed Source
I am influenced by good amateurs that pay for their own clubs...
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConvert
Least important factor
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDrBunsenHoneydew
So, Callaway sold a whole bunch of Epic drivers in the beginning of the year when they had a marketing message, and when Rory was playing an Epic.

Rory goes to TM, and all of a sudden there are a whole lot of Epics in the second hand market.

Look, drivers are like girl friends -the one that works for me probably will not work for you. Finding a shaft/driver head combination that works consistently is like looking for the holy grail. If you are smart enough, and find one, you should hopefully be wise enough to stop looking for another. Every once in awhile, you find a driver that just works. Perish that one.
05.18.2017 | Unregistered CommenterHardy Greaves
I played MacGregor Muirfield irons because Jack Nicklaus did. When I was TWELVE. Grown-ups should know better, and that tour players' bags is the last place to look for something that will work for you if your handicap is over scratch.
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Good one, Hawkeye. My first "real" irons were an almost new set of Tommy Armour CF4000 (1958-60). The man I caddied for on a regular basis gave them to me. Said he didn't like them but at that point I knew he was telling a white lie.
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
MJR, one of the things the employees on site do is get direct feedback. You can't tell me they don't take notes and send it back to the designers for improvements in the next club. So there's an R&D component to servicing the professionals. I agree the paying big money to play the clubs may seem a little foolish(but it's also to establish that a player won't go all Ryan Moore on them and change clubs every other week.)

I have bought several pieces of Nike equipment over the years, but Tiger Woods had nothing to do with it. It was in spite of him, frankly. I've been a Nike fan since long before Woods came on the scene. But I never bought their clubs over one I felt performed better for me. The VR Pro blades are just sweet irons....
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPat(another one)
@HG, right on. I have a 913 that is money for me, i could care less what the new stuff says it does. None of them will increase my swing speed...or fix my miserable hips...
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
@MJR - subtract say the top 25 guys on the PGA Tour, how much do the average guys actually get for playing a given brand of clubs ?
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Different brands have different strategies. Nike and TM were all about endorsement, Callaway was an interesting one in that endorsement is a part of it but tech was part of the appeal also. Titleist had sophistication as their brand and the ball, Ping quality and design and Mizuno the Japanese quality.

Like Ed said most don't really know what influences us and until you have been and seen a quality club fitter most don't know that brand is almost nothing in the equation. Disclosure - TM driver, Evnroll putter, Wishon irons and Hogan wedges.
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJ21
MJRNation: after the aforementioned Mr. Swafford blistered TPC Four Seasons yesterday with a sparkling 81, Bridgestone may wish to stick to tires...
05.19.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPops
My experience in the shop is it significantly influences the under 20s and apart from that they chose the club that suits them best at their fitting.
05.20.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico

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