By McDuff
April 2, 2012

With apologies to the Beatles, and to those too young to remember their music, the working title to my as yet unpublished book used to be Can’t Buy Me Game. But I’ve had to revise the entire theme and concept of that book, which basically chronicles my ever- increasing ineptitude on the golf course as I’ve aged, and the title after I attended a Demo Day this past weekend. Demo Day changed my life forever…and it can change yours too.

I love buying new equipment, but like so many purchases in my life, I have tended to buy equipment on impulse without any thought or investigation (see e.g. Too-small chinos, rowing machine, time share condo, a BMW and, I kid you not, a house). I’m serious about the house, by the way. Imagine this conversation, or at least my end of it, which I actually had with my wife before she knew I’d even looked at, much less signed a contract for the purchase of, the aforementioned house:

“Hey honey, you know that really ugly house on the golf course? Well, it’s actually pretty nice on the inside.

“Yeah, I know it’s still ugly on the outside, but you should see the inside.

“Of course, I know you have to live with the outside, but you actually live in the inside, so you know the outsides not as important…”

You get the drift. That particular purchase did not end real well for me. And while I’ve made a number of impulse golf equipment purchases that have turned out ok, it’s not the best way to buy clubs. Shoes, hats, shirts, shorts, etc? Sure, go for it—if it looks good to your eye, buy it, unless you’re buying a pair of one-size-too-small chinos, because they’re on sale, and you’ve been meaning to lose a few pounds, so what’s the harm, since they’re a steal at that price…Trust me, never buy pants that are a size too small, or even “just a little snug.” If you do, you might as well just take them directly from the shopping bag to the Goodwill, or your other favorite charity. Don’t even give them a chance to hang in your closet where they will confront you each morning laden with an ever-increasing coat of dusty mockery.

I digress. We were talking about how Demo Day changed my life.

Demo Day is Christmas morning for adult males. Imagine you are such an adult (ok, maybe you don’t have to imagine you’re an adult, but I do) and you discover a place where they have all the new golf equipment in most major brands and all variations…and the people there are just begging you to try it all. Awesome? Well, that’s Demo Day!

My recent trip to the golf equipment toy store occurred at the Discount Golf World-sponsored Demo Day last weekend and allowed me to sample the latest and greatest wares from Nike, TaylorMade, Callaway, Cobra and Cleveland Golf. The “Reps” or Product Representatives/Managers for each company were out early on a beautiful Saturday morning setting up tents to display what appeared to be truckloads of clubs, club heads and shafts, all of which were available to mix and match in endless variation. The goal of the event, of course, was to sell clubs, but the design of the Demo Day is to sell clubs that are properly fit for, and tailored for use by, each individual golfer. The Reps had launch monitors and lie tape to examine your swing and all the latest fitting technology to easily switch out club heads and shafts so anyone could be easily custom fit literally within minutes.

But who would want to be fit in just minutes when you can spend hours “testing” golf equipment? That’s what I did Saturday. I went from tent to tent hitting Drivers, Fairway Woods, Hybrids/Rescues and Irons from each vendor in attendance. The really cool thing too is the knowledgeable advice and the good eye you get from the manufacturer’s representatives. There’s a certain amount of diplomacy involved with that job, as well. We all love the game, and we all want to get better at playing it. Unfortunately, most of us are just not that good at it. At least not in comparison to the guys we watch on TV. The great thing about the game of golf, however, is that we can all enjoy it immensely within our ability and the time we have to devote to what is, in the end, a hobby…even while some of us (read me) obsess over golf endlessly. And the golf Reps are there to help you find the right fit. Sure, they want you to buy clubs from their employer, but they also have every interest in seeing to it that you find clubs suited to your game. After all, if you buy a set of clubs, then go out and can’t play with them, you’re not going to attribute your ineptitude to your ability, or lack thereof. No, you’re going to say something like, “It’s those darn new clubs that are making me hit all those hosel rockets!” And you may be right, if those new weapons were purchased without first investigating the myriad club and shaft options available in the marketplace. Demo Day is just the place to experiment, to find out what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t for you.

So when you’re at Demo Day, you might want to hit the knife blades that Tiger wields to perfection, and by all means, you should do it. Then, after growing weary of hitting lousy shots (you’re not Tiger, and alas, neither am I), let the Nike Rep suggest something that might help get the ball airborne. Whatever the manufacture, be it TaylorMade, Cobra, Cleveland, Titleist, Callaway, Nike, or any other, let the Rep help you find a club that minimizes your swing faults (trust me, we all have them in abundance) and will allow you to play at a level that will leave you looking forward in anticipation to every round. Simply stated, there is no excuse for not taking advantage of the latest club-fitting technology made available to all golfers at every Demo Day around the country. Even if you play at a private course and have a dedicated PGA pro interested in your game, you should take advantage of the variety of equipment available only through a Demo Day.

As for my recent experience, when I casually mentioned to each Rep as I worked my way from tent to tent that my first swing since November of last year had come on the range during this very morning in April, but that I had played a bit of golf and had very clear preferences for what I wanted in both a driver and irons, each Rep watched me take a few passes before pronouncing, uniformly, that I clearly belonged on the PGA Tour and would be there today if I could only devote just a few more hours to practice. Well, maybe that’s not exactly what was said, but I did hear positive feedback from each, and each had very definite suggestions as to what I should sample. Each Rep was also quick to custom build a club with specifications indicated by my swing and expressed preferences.

Sometimes I would hit a few shots before the Rep would gently suggest that I might try something else—there was that diplomacy thing. Just as often, however, I’d hit some shots that would leave me gazing lovingly at this new, magical implement in my hand that had allowed me to repeatedly hit shot after shot toward the center of the fairway with uniform ball flight and distance, despite the fact that I possess a decidedly un-uniform (I know that’s not a real word but it should be) swing. When the Callaway Rep asked me to define my usual miss with the driver, I paused a minute before saying, quite honestly, “Well, if I’m sliding ahead, I’ll flare it way right, unless I’m compensating by coming over the top. Then I’ll smother hook it.” Despite this bit of useless self-analysis, he managed to construct a driver that allowed me to do neither of those things.

That’s the whole point of Demo Day. It gives the average guy, or gal, the opportunity to go out and take advantage of the custom fitting tools available to the very best players in the world. It allows for each of us, regardless of skill level, to find a club or set of clubs tailored to maximize our abilities and enhance our enjoyment of the game. Who knows, you may even come away from Demo Day, like me, with an appreciation of a club that was not even on your wish list. For me, that club happens to be a certain Tour model driver with which I am now hopelessly in love. If my wife should happen to read this, I wouldn’t want her to get the impression that the same would make perhaps the very best Father’s Day gift ever, but…just in case, I’ve made note of the specifications. They’re written on page 27 of my personal journal…on my desk…left hand side. It’s available at Discount Golf World.

Posted in Recommendation

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