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newtogolf

Why do big box stores hire non-golfers?

48 posts in this topic

I was at the local Golfsmith just wasting time today and was just amazed at the complete amount of misinformation they spew to their customers.

  1. Looking at the new wedges when a guy comes over and asks the sales person if they sell wedge sets, salesman says they sell only sell Snake Eye wedge sets.  Shopper says he really didn't want Snake Eyes, salesman asks him what wedges he has now, shopper said he wasn't sure.  So salesman picks up a Cleveland 588 RTX CB and says, "see this, it's cast, only idiots play cast clubs."  I happen to look over and he's pointing at the cavity back nature of the wedge, not the method that the club head is made.  The shopper is eating this up and says that he agrees, he was looking for a forged wedge.

    Salesman grabs a Vokey SM5 56* and 60* and tells him this is a forged wedge and he will be amazed at how good it feels.  The shopper asks how much, salesman tells him $129, shopper says he really only wanted to spend $50.  Salesman looks annoyed, pulls a Snake Eye SL4 tells him this is $100 wedge on sales for $49.  Shopper says pointing at the cavity, "but it's not forged, I thought I needed forged", salesman says as he's walking away, "it's forged, it just has additional weighing to give you better results".

    Shopper is totally confused, and asks me if I know anything about Snake Eyes, I tell him no, but that he should look at the used wedges.  We go over and I quickly explain difference between forged and cast, cavity back and blade.  We found him 2 Vokey SM4's in like new condition for $50 each.
  2. A guy buying a set of clubs and I just overhear as I'm waiting to check out that he was going to have to pay an extra $50 for a gap wedge because the set he wanted 5-GW was sold out, so he getting rung up for a 4-PW but the sales guy pulled the 4 iron and was going to order the GW.  Salesman told him it costs more to make a gap wedge so they have to charge extra for it, even though both sets sold for the same price. :doh:

I just don't get why Golfsmith doesn't try to improve their customer service experience.  This all went down in one visit in about a 1/2 hour, I suspect it happens numerous times every day.

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I was at the local Golfsmith just wasting time today and was just amazed at the complete amount of misinformation they spew to their customers.

Looking at the new wedges when a guy comes over and asks the sales person if they sell wedge sets, salesman says they sell only sell Snake Eye wedge sets.  Shopper says he really didn't want Snake Eyes, salesman asks him what wedges he has now, shopper said he wasn't sure.  So salesman picks up a Cleveland 588 RTX CB and says, "see this, it's cast, only idiots play cast clubs."  I happen to look over and he's pointing at the cavity back nature of the wedge, not the method that the club head is made.  The shopper is eating this up and says that he agrees, he was looking for a forged wedge.

Salesman grabs a Vokey SM5 56* and 60* and tells him this is a forged wedge and he will be amazed at how good it feels.  The shopper asks how much, salesman tells him $129, shopper says he really only wanted to spend $50.  Salesman looks annoyed, pulls a Snake Eye SL4 tells him this is $100 wedge on sales for $49.  Shopper says pointing at the cavity, "but it's not forged, I thought I needed forged", salesman says as he's walking away, "it's forged, it just has additional weighing to give you better results".

Shopper is totally confused, and asks me if I know anything about Snake Eyes, I tell him no, but that he should look at the used wedges.  We go over and I quickly explain difference between forged and cast, cavity back and blade.  We found him 2 Vokey SM4's in like new condition for $50 each.

A guy buying a set of clubs and I just overhear as I'm waiting to check out that he was going to have to pay an extra $50 for a gap wedge because the set he wanted 5-GW was sold out, so he getting rung up for a 4-PW but the sales guy pulled the 4 iron and was going to order the GW.  Salesman told him it costs more to make a gap wedge so they have to charge extra for it, even though both sets sold for the same price.

I just don't get why Golfsmith doesn't try to improve their customer service experience.  This all went down in one visit in about a 1/2 hour, I suspect it happens numerous times every day.

Wow, just wow. :doh: "Only idiots play cast clubs."

Un-freakin'-believable.

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I imagine it's the obvious: they'd have to pay them more.
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My A wedge is cast and here I was thinking I must be an idiot...Wait a minute, my sand wedge is forged! So what does that make me?

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My handicap index is down to 3.8 and I've been using cast clubs since 1986. What is less than an idiot?
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I was in shock when I heard him say this and looked around to see if anyone else had but no one was nearby.  I don't know if these guys are commissioned or just told to push the highest priced clubs but he either was being shady or had no clue about golf clubs.  The way he explained it, the shopper believed any blade wedge was forged and any cavity back was cast.  Now I have a pretty good idea how this myths get started.

I also am not sure if he was annoyed and insulting the shopper (basically calling him an idiot) by handing him a cavity back wedge or he didn't even realize what he said.

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The above is just one of the reasons I shop at my local Golf PRO shop. You actually get correct info. regarding anything related to golf. I have bought all my clubs, grips ect. from these guys since 1990.

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The above is just one of the reasons I shop at my local Golf PRO shop. You actually get correct info. regarding anything related to golf. I have bought all my clubs, grips ect. from these guys since 1990.

I usually shop at my local golf store too.  I had a $50 gift card to Golfsmith so I was just looking to pick up some small things and check out some of the new stuff that's out for 2014.

I expect that kind of service at Dicks, but Golfsmith is a dedicated golf store, they should hire people than know something about golf.

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OP didn't say where this Golfsmith store is located, but I've never had that kind of experience at any Golfsmith I've been to. The guys I've talked with, and those I've seen interacting with others, seem to be quite knowledgeable.

But given the intense discussions on here about cast vs forged wedges, I guess there are differences of opinions out there as well. And, to be sure, the sales staff are there to make a sale so they MIGHT be inclined to steer customers toward more expensive clubs.

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I think perhaps the problem is with staff pay. Stores are not really going to hire qualified pros for minimum wage and commission. If you really want to be educated and enlightened in your purchase, then expect that to be reflected in the price you pay. Is it worth paying the extra $10 and getting assessed by a pro? Most people think not - and hence we have to endure sales people like those described in big box stores. We reap what we sow...

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I think perhaps the problem is with staff pay. Stores are not really going to hire qualified pros for minimum wage and commission. If you really want to be educated and enlightened in your purchase, then expect that to be reflected in the price you pay. Is it worth paying the extra $10 and getting assessed by a pro? Most people think not - and hence we have to endure sales people like those described in big box stores. We reap what we sow...

I dunno, my local pro shop is usually the same, or slightly lower in price that Golfsmith, the owner Knows how to keep loyal customers..

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This is what I would expect from Sports Authority.

Golfsmith and Golf Galaxy usually have their act together. GG's part-timers will refer you to one of the regulars if they don't know something.

Golfsmith has 150 stores in the US and Canada (2012), and Golf Galaxy has 81 stores in 30 states (2013). So, it's conceivable a few of the stores could struggle with staffing.

Dick's Sporting Goods can be a little iffy. Since it covers a wide range of sports, sometimes you get the PGA golf pro, sometimes you get a bass fisherman who stands by the fairway woods on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

( Note : Dick's owns GG, but also has golf sections in its Dick's namesake stores).

Also, be aware that chain golf shops often have division of labor within their workforce. Some people specialize in merchandising and logistics - getting stuff onto the shelves - and often don't make the best player's reps if they have to work the floor.

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OP didn't say where this Golfsmith store is located, but I've never had that kind of experience at any Golfsmith I've been to. The guys I've talked with, and those I've seen interacting with others, seem to be quite knowledgeable.

But given the intense discussions on here about cast vs forged wedges, I guess there are differences of opinions out there as well. And, to be sure, the sales staff are there to make a sale so they MIGHT be inclined to steer customers toward more expensive clubs.

Store is on Long Island (NY).  I speak to a few guys and some know their stuff while others seem to be barely capable of running the cash register.

I wouldn't have started the thread if he was just voicing his opinion on cast versus forged, but he was showing the customer that cast meant cavity back and all blades were forged.  His suggested "forged" wedge was a Vokey SM5 which is cast not forged.  If he grabbed a Mizuno or Mack Daddy I would have even given him a pass.

What was more insulting is after the customer told him his price point, he handed him a Snake Eyes cavity back cast wedge, which to me was calling the customer an idiot in a subtle way.

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I was at the local Golfsmith just wasting time today and was just amazed at the complete amount of misinformation they spew to their customers.

I have to second the advice of going to a local PGA professional who isn't affiliated with any chain or brand. These folks not only know equipment but they also know the swing. Price wise, I have never found the discount stores to be all that discounted.

I would point out that a lot of the misinformation and hyperbole starts with the manufacturers. Up until about 30 years ago, the golf industry was fairly cordial and most sales were made through pro shops. Then things got commercialized (upstart OEMs, big stores, Internet), and let's face it, golfers are a gullible bunch. We'll try anything to shave a stroke off the handicap. We also tend to be too proud to admit when we got had ("yeah, check out the new ball I am playing. It has a titanium core! Only $250 a dozen!"). More or less the rules of the industry changed to where if someone was pitching a gimmick, everyone had to or they would lose too much market share. It is no surprise that some of the best clubmakers of the 60s and 70s disappeared during the 90s and 00s - MacGregor, Hogan, Wilson to name some - because they were late jumping on the bandwagons and got gobbled up.

Sure, often there may be an ounce of truth in some statement - two identical club shapes, forged might feel a little better than cast - but it is buried under a pound of hyperbole and misdirection. Concerned about feel? Hey rather than spending a boat load on clubs, why not play a slightly softer ball for the exact same price? These stores can be a bit like watching a political convention - there is substance there, but you have to block out an avalanche of BS to hear it.

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I have to second the advice of going to a local PGA professional who isn't affiliated with any chain or brand. These folks not only know equipment but they also know the swing. Price wise, I have never found the discount stores to be all that discounted.

For Callaway, TaylorMade, Cobra, Adams and Nike the big box stores are usually a little cheaper than small stores or pro shops.  Titleist, Ping and Mizuno have very strict pricing control policies so if you're buying one of those brands the prices will be the same no matter where you go.

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I see this all the time when people are getting bicycles at non-bike shops.  The sales guy has some poor 10 year old on an adult bike totally not fit to them and potentially dangerous in terms of safety.  If I can, I direct the parents to a local bike shop. For a small amount more, you get a properly fit bike that will last a long time.  The first bike I bought for my son is on it seventh child rider 15 years later.

The local Golfsmith seems to have relatively knowledgeable employees.  They are not as good as the local shop they ran out of business, but better than what the OP saw.  I know one kid who works there in the summers.  He was a very good HS golfer and all around good kid.

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Why do big box stores hire non-golfers? ;-)

Sort of the nature of "Big box stores" that sell anything. Good luck finding any real expertise in any retail chain store of any kind.

Wouldn't be so bad if the average consumer knew that when they ask advice from a salesperson they are probably talking to somebody that doesn't know much more than they do.

A line I hear that makes me cringe a little is "I got custom fitted for a new set of clubs at (fill in the blank chain store)."

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Golf Galaxy cracks me up too. 2 weeks ago I overheard a rep telling someone that "Oversized Grips cause fades", "Standard Grips cause draws". I was just kind of laughing while I was looking at putter grips... I should have stepped in, but the buyer started telling "300 yard drives with severe slices, banana balls.. even!" stories. The buyer was confident that the standard grips would increase his distance given this new, glorious break-through of grip size controlling ball flight news and the rep was all-in in agreement. I just shook my head and checked out.

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