In response to whether 'hot lists' and online reviews factor into club-buying decisions, readers of The First Call offer varied opinions
I follow and study the “hot lists,” sometimes for several months. I do use the top performers to narrow the list of what I will actually look for. But, beyond that, I don’t let the list make the decision for me. From my narrowed list I will look at and test what passes my last test. That is the eye test. The club must look good (or not look bad) to me. My purchase decision will be based on actual results of my test, or my fitting. The hot list not only saves me time, but boosts my confidence in my choice.
When considering new equipment, the “hot lists” are a starting point. Usually, they give me an idea of the new items and technology available. This allows me to think about what direction I want to go and help ensure I cover all the items available.
I don’t factor in “hot lists” because they are all slanted toward advertisers who place the most business with the magazine. Reviews are often slanted, too. Most companies make their clubs for pros and piggyback on those models for equipment that might come close to fitting some of the public. The big boys all favor low-spin drivers for accuracy and distance, while a majority of golfers need spin to get the ball in the air. The big-box stores all use machines to tell the general public whether the club fits them or not. They are in the selling business. The specialty fitters are financially out of reach for most people.
So, what’s the answer? Demo days and demo clubs that can be hit outdoors. It’s the only way to learn if a club fits your eye, is easy or hard to hit, sounds the way you want it to sound and performs better than what you have, thus making it a candidate to fit your budget. I would not buy a club any other way.
Lou Body IV
YouTube video reviews spark my interest to try equipment at a store. But I've rarely purchased anything because of an online review.
Santa Rosa, Calif.
I love the Hot List and wait every year for its release. But when I am purchasing new equipment, I am only interested in how the club(s) perform for my own swing. I'll use information from the Hot List and reviews to ask questions, but the bottom line is individual performance. And does the club(s) outperform my current club(s) enough to make the dollar investment and change. Can it help my scoring? That's the question.
I do love to read about the new hot list equipment available, but, like a lot of weekend golfers, just can't afford the sticker price of the items. I use the hot list as a possible golf purchase a year later when the prices come down. Personally, I'd rather spend the money on a bucket list golf course experience I'll remember long after my new golf equipment is outdated a year from purchase.
When purchasing new golf equipment I do factor in online reviews by web experts such as TXG and Rick Shiels. I also consider reviews by U.S. magazines, Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. I live in Canada, so I pay close attention to equipment reviews by Score Golf. Finally, I am brand loyal, so that heavily influences my decision as well.
I always will rely on reviews of new golf equipment. I have narrowed down four sources, and balance my interest, based on what I believe is an unbiased opinion. Rick Shiels, Mark Crossfield, MSG and I Spy Golf seem to all give unbiased reviews. I tend to give more weight to the two English gentlemen due to: they never refer you to a vendor or sell products / get a commission for selling a product. Also, I never buy from just hitting into a monitor or putting indoors. Outside and on-course use, in my opinion, is the only way to determine if a club is right for you.
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