New club program lets golfers 'try before you buy' on the golf course

To golfers, buying new clubs is like buying a house or a car.

It's a BIG deal. Buying new clubs costs a good chunk of cash, and will directly impact the quality of your (golf) life over the next 3-5 years.

Just like you would never buy a new car without a test drive, you most certainly shouldn't buy a new club without hitting it first. But traditionally the only way of doing so is on the range at a demo day or hitting clubs into nets at a golf retailer.

But the "try before you buy" game in golf just got a lot more interesting with a new program at GlobalGolf.com, part of Global Value Commerce: It's called U-try.

U-try could be a game-changer. Golfers pay $25 per club (up to two per order) to try the latest driver, fairway or hybrid from top manufacturers Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, Mizuno, Cleveland, Cobra, Wilson and XXIO. If they like the club after a 14-day trial period, they keep it, and the $25 fee goes toward the purchase. If they don't, they can send the club/clubs back in the original box with the prepaid shipping label. No harm, no foul.

"You can only get so much whacking balls at a demo day or hitting balls in a net (indoors at a golf store)," said Doug Smith, the vice president of business development for Global Value Commerce. "It's fine. It worked for years, but there are shortcomings.

"But when you take it (a new driver) to your own course, and see if you can carry the bunker on the first hole or hit it over the trees on the second hole, there is nothing that can compare to that type of test drive."

Global Value Commerce can do so because they are an e-commerce company best known for selling new and used golf balls and equipment at websites such as GlobalGolf.com, 3balls.com, GolfShoesOnly.com, TaylorMadeGolfPreOwned.com and FairwayStyles.com. When you return the club after 14 days, they can resell it as used on one of their used platforms.

The other ways

Trying clubs before you buy has always come with some hurdles. Most golfers face limited options, and none of them include putting the club in play on an actual course:

Option 1: Heading to the local golf or club-fitting store. This experience was never ideal because of the inevitable hard sell you get from the salesperson. Sure you got to hit new stuff, but it still was probably a scuffed up (or taped up) demo club. Most golf stores don't have outdoor ranges, so you would be stuck banging balls into a net, never really seeing your ball flight or just how far it went. The trial (and error) was all based on trust and feel, even with a TrackMan launch monitor spitting out data. I think my swing is considerably worse indoors than out. Anybody else similarly paranoid? Businesses that specialize in club-fitting - such as ClubChampion and TrueSpec - will charge upwards of $80-$125 or more for a one-hour fitting, depending on the club.

Option 2: Attending a demo day at a store or course. Many golf courses and golf stores hold popular demo days, where one or more representatives from one or more equipment companies shows up to preach the virtues of their latest gear. For example, the Haggin Oaks Golf Expo, the nation's largest demo day, celebrated its 43rd year in April, attracting thousands of golfers to the Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento to try out new Cleveland, TaylorMade, Callaway, Mizuno, Titleist, Tour Edge, PING, Wilson, Cobra and XXIO equipment.

But, as Smith pointed out, there are shortcomings to these golf parties. What if you're busy/gone that day? How far must you drive to attend? What if the one driver/company you wanted to try isn't represented? How many swings will you actually get if the event is overrun with people? What if a horde of folks just want to hit free range balls with no intent to buy anything at all? Needless to say, you may come to a demo day with a plan, but leave without the experience, or club, you desired.

Option 3: Hoping for the private club treatment. Private club members tend to have it much easier. Their demo days are less crowded. Sometimes, the pro will let members try different clubs for sale in the shop on a range without the hassles of dealing with a sales rep or fighting the crowds of a demo day. Often times, their biggest events, such as the member guest, affords opportunities to try new clubs. If you're not a member or know somebody who is, however, you're outta luck.

"One of the things we saw in the marketplace was somewhat of a disjointed trial offering in the market," Smith said. "You had a complete lack of ability to try clubs when buying online. In the brick-and-mortar world, manufacturers have stuff in the field, but at private clubs, most golfers won't have access. For the public, it was relegated to locations where they had demo days. It can be an intimidating experience. They can be busy. They can be chaotic."

The only real way to demo clubs on the course is by renting a set of clubs. But the vast majority of courses typically only carry one brand and model (and even then, they can be outdated).

The U-try way

U-try solves a number of issues. First off, no crowds or salespeople. The club is shipped right to your door. You get to be the first one to rip the plastic off the head and hit a shot. That's a thrill for any golfer.

Second, you get to hit the club as often as you like. Take it to the range at lunch. Play a different course every day if you want. It's less like the speed-dating you get at a demo day and more of a chance to form an intimate relationship.

"A real unique part of U-try is you get to try it on your own course on your own schedule," Smith said.

Most, but not all top manufacturers are offered through U-try. Hot brands like PXG and Ping are not on the platform. Currently, only drivers, hybrids and fairway woods are available. Smith said irons could be added soon.

Every club order comes with a complimentary Arccos Golf Driver Unit. Simply attach the sensor to the club, download the Arccos App and begin collecting data on the club's performance. It tracks all sorts of statistics, such as carry distance and total shot length, that can be beneficial to the decision to buy or send back. With today's adjustable technology, you can tweak the settings and compare the new data against the previous setting. The Arccos unit, a $30 value, is yours to keep.

"Our goal is to give our customers the data to make an informed decision," Smith said.

Every new U-try club sent back to Global Value Commerce will be resold online as a used club. The company plans to spend the first year gathering data on how many golfers actually buy the clubs they test and will tweak the program as necessary.

"It has been met with a lot of open arms by consumers," Smith said. "The feedback is [the try-before-you-buy concept] has been lacking. It's long overdue."

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
11 Comments
Commented on

Utry website says standard 3-day shipping, but that's bogus. Got email confirming my order shipment via FedEx 3-day, then in same email it states my delivery date 5 days from shipment. Is this intentional fraud on their part or just a sloppy business model? Either way they need to get it together. Anyone else can start the same business.

Staff
Commented on

Hi Tim, The problem could be related to major shipping issues currently across all businesses due to coronavirus. Best of luck! J

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Yes, but they should state that prominently right next to the "3-day" banner on the home page, not hide it in fine print under Terms/Conditions, or notify customers during checkout. They need competition, but I'm not aware of any at present.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Yes, your opinion is surely correct .When i wish I will buy the clubs. first of all, if it is very suitable and comfortable when in Clubs , I am so anxious to the bottom and then Try is best , experience of the first impression is most significant for life.
Thanks, tj.koga an old player

Commented on

Callaway pre owned. 30 day trial period on all their clubs:

Try Any Club for 30 Days Risk-Free!*

How It Works:

1. Buy your Callaway or Odyssey Pre-Owned golf clubs. All Callaway & Odyssey clubs are eligible for the Spring Test Drive Program. (excludes Other Brands)
2. Try your newly purchased clubs and play as much golf as you want within the 30-day trial period.
3. Keep the clubs if you like how they perform. Or, you can contact a Customer Service Representative at 1-800-826-6174 for an RMA number before you return the clubs for a 100% refund of the purchase price, less the cost of shipping.

Also the best public course offering demos I've found is Pheasant Run in Chowchilla CA. Just leave them a credit card and a drivers license and you can play the full 18 hole golf course with them. I did it with the new Callaway Rogue driver.

So Global Golf is heading in the right direction but has a way to go

Commented on

Global Golf has Callaway Preowned beat! First u are hitting NEW clubs not preowned scratched ones. Second it includes most manufacturers not just Callaway. And last u dont have to put down the full amount of club and wait for refund to come back if u dont like it! Callaway preowned needs to change their policy if anything!

Commented on

Van, You should check out Callaway Preowned. They have 3 pr 4 different categories of condition. Their "LIke New" category is just that. I've gotten two clubs that you cannot tell the difference between them and brand new. Great discount as well. Also they do carry other manufactures clubs as they also take trade-ins. They may source from elsewhere too.

Commented on

This is an excellent concept since most of not all new golf clubs are super expensive. I think this idea will take off and be a huge success. I’d pay $25 to try a club before I bought it. Awesome marketing strategy!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I'm living in Canada and I'm curious...is this U-try program for US customers only or is it available to anyone, anywhere in the world?

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Great idea, but what about irons? Will they come next?

Commented on

great idea!!!!

More from the author
5 Min Read
January 18, 2022
Whether it's music on the range or a friendly staff, these public and resort courses set the mood just right for a special round of golf.
2 Min Read
January 11, 2022
It's time to adjust your expectations, considering how different golf is during the colder, wetter months.
2 Min Read
January 3, 2022
Shotlink data showcases the holes on public and resort courses that baffled the pros in 2021.
4 Min Read
January 3, 2022
Want to start 2022 off with some great golf writing? Check out these pieces.
6 Min Read
December 27, 2021
If money and private club access were no issue, we've found the 10 destinations to live out your golf dreams.
3 Min Read
December 17, 2021
New tec, new greens and more will improve your next golf vacation to Arizona's Valley of the Sun.
Popular
18 Min Read
January 10, 2022
We tallied more than 320,000 reviews in 2021. Here are the courses you and your fellow golfers loved best.
1 Min Read
January 10, 2022
More than 40,000 reviews have been tallied to determine California's best public golf courses based on our community of reviewers.
By Golfers' Choice
2 Min Read
December 20, 2021
Golf course news & notes: December, 2021.
1 Min Read
January 10, 2022
Best public golf courses in the state based on our community of reviewers.
By Golfers' Choice
Load More
Now Reading
New club program lets golfers 'try before you buy' on the golf course