Do Golf Companies Really Want You to Improve?

Golf ImprovementWhether it be a new driver release, the introduction of a new set of irons, or a flashy new golf ball that dances on the green, all new golf equipment comes packaged with the promise to lower your scores and improve your game. But does this promise actually work against what golf companies really want from their customers?

Consider this

A new golf product is released by a well-known original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that promises to "revolutionize the game as we know it." This new piece of equipment, while expensive, undoubtedly allows golfers to shoot lower scores no matter what. Anyone who buys the product and uses it regularly experiences an immediate benefit, no exceptions. In other words, this product successfully delivers what the company promises 100 percent of the time.

Why in the world would that golf OEM want you to purchase that product? I propose it would be detrimental to that company for you to do so.

If I were the golfer in the above example, I would be so impressed with the amazing product that I wouldn't even think about buying any competitor's products. Why would I need to? I've already seen the benefits of committing to this "revolutionary product," and that's good enough for me and my crappy golf game. Further, I will probably look the other way when the same company releases Awesome Product 2.0 a year later. I don't need it. My pain has already been relieved.

But that's not how the real world works, right?

As with any retail company, products are released with an understanding that the "next big thing" is right around the corner. This is especially true with golf equipment. Company A wants you to buy their new driver that promises 20 more yards off the tee, but they also want you to buy next year's model that promises 22 more yards. Hell, they'll even throw in a few interchangeable weights on the club to make you drool more.

But why would I want to drop $500 on the possibility of two more yards? I wouldn't, and golf companies know that.

Golf OEMs aren't selling me on the fact that I can hit a drive 20-yards further with their new product, because they have no way of promising that I'll be able to get those results. Instead, they are selling me on the chance that I'll get those results.

Every time I purchase a piece of golf equipment that actually improves my game, I also stop looking for other pieces of equipment for the same purpose. Even if that equipment is from the same company.

So, do golf companies really want you to improve?

I propose that they do not. If they did -- truly wanted you to get better -- then why would you ever need to buy another piece of equipment later?

Police officers don't want crime to end just as hospitals don't want all illness to be eradicated. As soon as either of those two outcomes occurs, businesses shut down soon after.

I breached this subject last week on Twitter when I asked my followers whether or not they believed golf equipment companies really want their customers to get better at the game. The replies I received were mixed, however nearly every response ultimately focused on brand loyalty in some manner.

So what is "brand loyalty?" A common definition suggests that brand loyalty is "the tendency of some consumers to continue buying the same brand of goods rather than competing brands." It is an outcome every company wants their customer base to embrace. However, at what point does this blind dedication to a brand actually devalue the brand's products?

Stay tuned for my next post along those lines.