I really never thought a lot about golf demo days. You’ve seen them: a tent set up at the driving range, a gazillion clubs, manufacturer reps pitching the latest tech clubs and high prices.
Let me correct you.
Golf Summerlin recently held a Callaway golf demo day at Palm Valley Golf Course. My intent was to get a cup of coffee and run my errands, but there was a huge crowd gathered around the driving range. I moseyed over, and as is my habit, eavesdropped on some conversations.
Ryan Judkins, sales representative for Callaway, was discussing club head speed, ball speed and launch angle with a golfer. Interesting, I mused.
Ryan has an extensive golf background, including being a Professional Golf Association apprentice. He’s been with Callaway for 10 years. He loves golf demo days.
“Golf manufacturers run advertisements everywhere, but only here can consumers try all the equipment they’ve read about or seen. It’s like test-driving a car. The golfer can get the feel, the sound and the look of a club. Our Trackman Launch Monitor system can analyze the details of their swing and recommend the exact club they need,” Ryan said. “We bring out hundreds of clubs. If Callaway makes it, we can demo it to the consumer.” With that, Ryan pointed to the 24 bags of clubs behind him.
Vera Ginsburg, a veteran golfer of 18 years, came out because she saw advertisements on TV about Callaway clubs.
“I heard good things about the driver, and I need more length,” she said. “I might buy one if the deal is good enough.”
Ryan set her up for a Trackman session with her old clubs. After recording her swings, he suggested the new Callaway X2 Hot driver. After several swings with the new driver, Ryan made a few club head adjustments and added a little loft to the club, and she swung again.
The results are impressive.
Vera recorded gains in club head speed (a lighter shaft), ball speed of 3 mph and has gained 12 yards in distance. Vera was happy.
“It’s going further, no question. It’s going higher, and it really feels good,” she said.
Vera ordered the X2 with a women’s flex shaft and adjusted to 14 degrees of loft. Vera will get her new club in a week.
Jim Neighbors is the head golf professional and merchandise coordinator at Golf Summerlin. He’s responsible for putting on these demo days.
“Golf Demo days are really great for the golfer. The best thing is that the golfer can get a professional fitting from a PGA pro for free. Their swing is analyzed, and their exact fit is determined. Other places charge for this service and waive the charge if you purchase. Here, there is no obligation. Plus, you’re hitting on a driving range, not into a net in a store. It’s like trying on a pair of shoes, a new dress; it has to be comfortable. Ever test drive a car? Of course, you get the feel of the car, and if it fits, same here.”
Yeah, but what about the prices? Are they full boat?
“No, no, no,” Jim said. “Golf Summerlin discounts any purchase, which, in effect, lowers the prices to be the best in town for that day. Better than the big-box prices. The golfers love the prices,” he said, referencing a recent demo day at Highland Falls Golf Club, where 18 golfers placed orders for more than $12,000 worth of clubs sold.
Why Callaway demo days?
Callaway is hot right now. Patrick Reed won three times recently, and Phil Mickelson is a walking billboard for the brand. Henrik Stenson started playing Callaways and shot up to third in the world. The brand is hot.
My take away?
If you are considering purchasing a car, go demo a set of golf clubs. If you are considering buying golf clubs, go demo the car of your choice. Either way, you should end up with a smart buy.
John Asay is a longtime golfer and local freelance writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.