We wrapped up our Golf Galaxy tour about a month ago and since then I 've had some time to think about all the things I learned from leading demos across the country.
The most comforting thing I learned was that golfers are the same everywhere you go but there is a difference in the feel of each store that is reflective of the local mindset and mannerisms. Some cities are more frank or honest in their relationships, while others are more polite and gentle. Overall, the key here is the relationships built. Golf and the experience in Golf retail in particular relies on these relationships more than any other type of store. You are getting an experience when you walk in. A golfer inevitably has questions and wants to compare different items which requires a knowledgeable staff and be open about the strengths and weaknesses of her/her game. The customer returns often to discuss their experiences with their favorite staff member, something you don't get in a shoe store, a lady's clothing store, or even a suit store. Golf is definitely unique in that way.
In the consumer golfing world, there is a definitive desire to improve, but a lack of method in how to get it done. Even with all the technology we have available at our fingertips, becoming a stronger player seemed to be elusive. In my time on the road, I was constantly thinking ways to offer golfers that opportunity. What is the missing key here? From working with tour player, coaches, and thousands of amateurs, I think I have discovered an important key in the process.
After a recent consultation with a coach and their tour player this was only reinforced.
FEEL IS NOT REAL
This is an axiom that I hadn't heard until recently, but is apparently used by many coaches. Some were surprised I had never heard this. Although I cover this in almost every session I do, I didn't have the "bumper sticker". I think about it terms more in line with my psychology background. You can sit in a room and talk about your feelings for years with a trained professional, but it doesn't mean you get to the root of the problem. It can be very difficult to separate all the different issues and find the one thing. Golf is very much like this. "I missed, that didn't feel right." If you find yourself saying this, you are truly reaching in the dark. Golfers need some concrete answers across the spectrum; from beginner to pro.
HOW DO WE CHANGE THIS?
In an effort to simplify, you must go back to basics; I mean really basic (we'll cover that in another blog). I have spent the most amount of time in my sessions talking about where the golfer is lined up. This is the first step where the golfer can go wrong. What if what you think you see is not accurate? How can the rest of the swing or stroke be repeated? The true mark of a good golfer is consistency and predictability. The knowledge of what is going to happen when you hit the ball, really makes you good at any aspect of the game.
Recently I asked a PGA tour player what makes him no. 4 in 10-15 footers and 96th from 3-5 feet. He had no answer. He began using the pill to find out what the answer to that question is, and is now enjoying his best season in a career that spans 22 years.
We are going to be working really hard on shedding light on this aspect for our users as we get to the next step in developing our site in an our effort to change the way golfers go about getting better. We are going to change feel into science and concrete answers. Golfers will be able to understand the science of the swing and how their bodies are connected to the process. Once you turn something into a process the stress and frustration will disappear. Do you get stressed out when you have a cold? No, of course not...the process is simple: rest and medicine. Imagine it could be that simple.