“The Truth They Don’t Want You To Know!”

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(Written By: GolfSpy T) You've been sandbagged (yes you) and you may not even know it. Think that review you just read from some other golf media outlet is truly honest, or did a golf company spend tens of thousands of dollars for the unspoken promise that every word you read would be positive?

Being a golf club reviewer sounds like an awesome job, doesn't it? I have access to nearly every golf club that hits the market each year, and sometimes I get clubs that haven't even been released yet.  I get to take the clubs out on the golf course, test them on our simulators, and I have the privilege of writing reviews for our readers. Many of you might consider what I do as your dream job. I certainly did.  As with nearly anything else, however; my job isn't exactly what it seems.

Step into my spikes for a minute.

Think about this.  What if a single honest sentence in a review meant a golf company would never send you another piece of equipment?  What if telling the truth meant a $50,000 pay cut? What if your integrity was called into question simply because you gave your honest opinion about a new driver or set of irons a golf company was trying to promote?

What would you do?

Do you think you could remain true to what you believe in no matter the cost, or would find yourself sugar coating every word you write?  Would you allow your readers to speak their minds, or would you take the money and demand your readers keep their damn mouths shut?

Sadly, these aren't hypotheticals.  These are the realities for any golf site with an audience the size of MyGolfSpy's.  While great golf companies do exist in the industry, there are some who use advertising, access to equipment, and the threat of lawsuits to manipulate content.  It's the ugly side of the industry. It's a side many of you are not aware of; where tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions are spent to influence what gets written, and where some golf equipment manufacturers will cut off anyone who doesn't play by their rules. Unfortunately, the average golfer has no idea what really goes on behind the scenes, but we've decided that needs to change.

In this 3-Part Series I'll expose how many golf companies buy influence with the media, show you what can happen when you don't play by their rules, and lift the curtain on the pay to play schemes that are slowly infecting the industry.

Great Expectations

In many respects the golf industry represents the blending of cutting-edge technology and out-dated thinking. Take a step back from the forged composites and carbon nano-tube jargon, and one finds an industry still clinging to the idea that their message can be controlled, and where so-called unbiased reviews are only tolerated so long as they're positive.

Not surprisingly, however, the greatest of all expectations are those associated with the golf club review process. When I started writing reviews I was naive enough to believe that if I took a thorough look at a product, and gave an honest assessment, manufacturers would publicize the positive and take any criticism, no matter how direct, as an opportunity to improve their products for next year. I was, at best, half right.

Buying Influence

While you'll probably never find a line item on an invoice that reads "Positive Driver Review - $1000", beyond simply providing a sample for testing there are several ways that OEMs can influence the outcome of a product review.

  • Traditional Advertising (Print) - Look in any magazine and you'll find equipment ads, and lots of them. It's the way it has always been done, and it's beyond necessary for the way traditional print media operates. Magazines have huge overhead. They have material costs. They pay talent (writers, editors, photographers), revenue generators (sales and marketing), and CEO types who command huge salaries. It all adds up, and to keep the ship afloat they need money.  Some of that money comes from subscriptions, but most of it comes from the advertisers. I'm one who has given the guys behind the Hot List the benefit of the doubt. I'm willing to accept that no major equipment manufacturer has ever come to them and said "give our new driver a gold medal or else", but I also believe those guys know how the game has to be played. My guess is you're never more than a couple of bronze medals away from losing a major advertiser (which is probably why they stopped giving bronze medals). With print media on the decline, the guys still writing on paper understand that they need the advertisers more than the advertisers need them, but as long as everybody stays happy, the money keeps rolling in.

  • Traditional Advertising (Online) - Online, the simplest form of advertising is the banner ad. Placement is everything, and ads in more prominent spots command the most money.  On a site the size of MyGolfSpy, big OEMs are willing to pay thousands of dollars every month for premium placement (WE WILL ALWAYS REFUSE TO ACCEPT ADS FROM LARGE GOLF COMPANIES). The problem is that it's easy to get comfortable with easy money. The income becomes expected. And once you're livelihood begins to depend on it, you have no choice but to try and protect it. Total dependence on big OEM ad dollars becomes a recipe for fluffy reviews and the golf companies trying to control your content.  Your site quickly becomes a place where even the slightest criticism of their product or brand is sterilized to the the point where it becomes meaningless.  Other media outlets do this to protect both the advertiser and the site owner's wallet. Problem is, this has led to the downfall of the honest review, and the silencing of the independent voice. Few things can compromise principles as quickly as a deep pocket, and often it means that the loyal readers of that site now get censored.  At  MyGolfSpy, we don't hide the fact that we accept advertising, however; what we don't accept is big OEM (Golf Company) advertising.  You won't find any banners from major equipment manufactures here, and we're committed to keeping it that way. We're leaving a lot of money on the table by doing so, but we believe it's much more important to publish truthful and objective content for you readers. As soon as you start taking money from the big guys, no matter how good your intentions, the integrity of the process inevitably gets compromised.  As we look at ways to not only sustain the site, but to grow it to match the vision we have for the readers, you may see banners from names you recognize, but you will never see a banner from a major club manufacturer on our site.

  • Group Tests - Group testing is where a golf company agrees to send out equipment to a site which will then be given to their readers.  Sounds great for the readers right? You guys get free equipment and all you have to do in return is write a review about your experience with the free stuff.  But what the casual reader of that site (the ones that did not receive free equipment) gets though is a watered down version of MyGolfSpy's review system.  On paper this sounds like a great way to get an unbiased, mutli-perspective review, and I certainly admire the simple brilliance behind it, but unfortunately it almost always leads to more useless information for the average reader, and here's why: What big OEM's understand is that the average golfer may never consider the psychology behind a campaign like this. The OEM's know that if you take an average Joe and give him as much as $500 worth of free gear, 99 out of 100 times you're going to get a very good review in return. Why? Because even if average Joe doesn't like your clubs, he likes getting free stuff. He knows that there's a good chance he might like the next thing you send him, and so whether consciously aware of it or not, most people will do what they need to do to keep the free stuff coming.  Almost no one has the stones to risk that opportunity by saying anything negative about their free gear. This leads to not only more universally positive reviews, but also an almost rabid loyalty to the OEM that provided it. It's a win-win for everybody...or at least for everybody not looking for a truly honest review. Some might be shocked to learn that our testers never get to keep the clubs we test. Given how much other sites give away it seems almost cruel really. We don't give anything away because we believe that as soon as the "what's in it for me" mentality kicks in, objectivity is compromised. We do everything we can to keep our reviews as unbiased, and unfiltered as possible. The integrity of the process is everything.

  • Giveaways - Who doesn't love a giveaway? They're great for readers because it means somebody (or somebody's) is going to get something for free with absolutely no expectations attached. They're great for us because they increase interest and drive traffic to the site. They're great for OEMs too because we're not only showcasing their products, we're building desire for them. Heck, some of the guys who don't win may very well go out and buy whatever it was we just gave away. Every site, including this one, does them. And every site (including this one) relies on OEMs to provide product for that giveaway. If giveaways are good for everybody, what's the problem? The influence here is definitely more subtle, but the reality is that a company is only going to provide product for a giveaway when you've got a history of saying nice things about them or at a minimum if you've never said anything negative about them. When traffic volume is tied to, or worse yet, dependent on giveaways, each and every word must be scrutinized, because each and every word written has consequences.


What you've read so far is barely the tip of the iceberg. In PART 2 of this series I'll explain why so many of the other golf media outlets are willing to play along, what can happen when you don't, and I'll expose a couple of common tricks product reviewers use to give the false appearance of being unbiased.

About Tony Covey

Tony is the editor of mygolfspy. His coverage of golf equipment extends far beyond the facts as dictated by the companies that created them.

He believes in performance over hype. #PowerToThePlayer

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{ 126 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Garrison January 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm

I keep hearing that golf is trending down and sales are down at golf courses and yada, yada. If that’s the case how about these big golf companies stop charging $500 for a driver so that someone that does want to golf can do so at a reasonable cost? Just like the Kirkland Ball fiasco. I have played the ball and I’d pay $15/dozen for those regardless what it says on the ball because it performs. My point is if golf industry wants the business to grow they are gonna have to make it affordable for everyone.


Tony Velebil January 12, 2017 at 4:24 am

Related to the story – about 10 years ago, the LA Times auto writer wrote a scathing article about GMs offerings that year. GM was so pissed at the coverage they threatened to pull their ad dollars.


Billy Walker January 12, 2017 at 3:09 am

The likes of Breed, Haney and the rest crow about whoever is paying them. I LOVE the fact MGS is taking them on and winning. Keep the fire to their feet guys. They’ve ran things for long enough. I hate to hear Breed even talk.


Ron Conrad January 12, 2017 at 2:54 am

My bag consists mostly of equipment that is NOT the traditional OEM brands (closest is an older Cleveland putter that I won, a Tour Exotic hybrid and an Adams 3-wood). I figure I’ve saved over $1k vs the “big name” products. I’ve hit most of them and chose mine based on performance and feel.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let other players hit my clubs and received positive feedback (and seen improved performance) – then hear something to the effect of “I’ll stick with what I have because ‘_____ brand is better because that’s what _____ pro plays’ or ‘it’s longer, just check out their ad'”.


David Pinder January 12, 2017 at 12:21 am

Found this out first hand while trying to market a putter.


Paul Schable January 11, 2017 at 11:32 pm

Golf companies spend a lot of money advertising in golf publications. Enough said.


Charlie Han January 11, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Golf Digest and Golf Magazine equipment reviews in a nutshell: looks great, feels great, sounds great.


Shawn Callaway January 11, 2017 at 8:21 pm

This is blatantly obvious in those equipment and review pieces done by Matt Adams on the Golf Channel.


Randy House January 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Something like the old payola that brought down so many DJs back in the 50-60s


Josh Gold October 21, 2015 at 7:14 pm

You mean it’s about advertising and selling units? Haha


Jason Kanis October 21, 2015 at 6:19 pm

It has many….


Alex Pegler October 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm

I think there is an issue with this very interesting article. If you can’t name the names then it never happened so to speak…. Who is the company who got upset with your mediocre review and in what form did they communicate this to you?


John Duval October 21, 2015 at 6:18 pm

They’ve been on Callaway’s shit list for a while, but there are probably a few other companies that won’t accept anything but positive reviews and get mad when you don’t conform with the industry norms…


Alex Pegler October 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Yep, I’m with the program thus far but if they say they will never work with you again, that’s a story. Let’s have that story. This is not saying that, it’s saying be carefully…. Be careful of whom exactly?

It’s a cool piece but it lacks substance!


Ryan Holcomb October 21, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Alex has a point. Let’s name some OEMs.


Alex Pegler October 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Sorry to push the point but I would like to know in what form whoever it was communicated their dissatisfaction with your review?


MyGolf Spy October 21, 2015 at 7:06 pm

Over the years of running MyGolfSpy almost every single OEM has had an issue with a review published on MGS. Everything to requesting us to change what we wrote to threatening lawsuits.


Alex Pegler October 21, 2015 at 7:11 pm

And are these verbal conversations or written. On the phone or in person?


Ryan Holcomb October 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm

I’ve had SC threaten lawyers because I’m not nice. Badge of honor.


David Choi October 21, 2015 at 6:03 pm

MyGolf Spy deserves my respect


Jason Geraci October 21, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Anyone who uses superlatives in a review is merely expressing their preferences, not sharing an informed review


Brett October 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm

I have worked at the heart of an OEM (research and development, lab testing/mass property measurements/ performance characteristic measurements) and have built MANY clubs for Tony to test…this article could not be more honest and accurate. Well done Tony…on a related note, I have posted comments on other website forums that have been too honest and have had the company contact my boss and had my posts taken down…there’s no way the website could allow me to point certain things out about another OEM when that same OEM is that websites biggest advertiser…Tony has just uncovered the tip of the iceberg here…


Guy Crawford October 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Love this info!


Ronnie Castillo October 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm

The same thing happens in the golf apparel business


Ryan Holcomb October 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Golf Digest is gonna love this


Chad Mardesen October 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Absolutely 100% awesome. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so excited to read #2 and #3 in a series. Thanks for printing this.


MyGolf Spy October 21, 2015 at 4:19 pm
Chad Mardesen October 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Thanks and just read part 2. Really well done. I feel like just by reading it I added 17 yards to me drives…just joking.

Seriously, really fantastic series!


Greg September 13, 2015 at 11:13 am

Still as valid today as when it was written. I hadn’t even heard of MGS back then and I wish I did, it probably would have saved me some money on purchases. My BS radar went on full alert when I went to another website to read a review, I think it was I was looking to buy some Mizuno’s and the review was basically word for word from the Mizuno site with little done to disguise that fact. Very disappointing from a consumers point of view. It is also a worry when the OEM site has links to that site as alleged independent reviews. Yeah right BS!


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Jeff Beck March 5, 2015 at 4:06 pm

This whole series looks like some sort of smear piece to get back at Callaway for the whole patent lawsuit episode your mystery founder is going through. Now you are asking people for money for some testing facility? Are you sure it’s not to pay your legal fees?

I mean if “You deserve the truth…”


Tony Covey March 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Hey Jeff… Just an FYI, this article is 3 years old. So no… Nothing to do with current Callaway situation.


gunmetal July 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Marketing is so critical due to the fact that the current model IS NOT better than the one 6-12 months earlier. It is beyond ridiculous that the big manufacturers come out with new clubs every 6-12 months and claim they are somehow superior to the previous models. Seriously?


Brent McDonald July 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I’d love to see a scientific review where they compared the latest models to clubs made 3, 5 or even 10 years ago.

Has the design of Irons has changed over the past 15 years? Are the changes just cosmetic?

Driver technology has changed, but I question if the current models fare any better than the ones they made last year or the year before that. Yeah they may be white in color or have more screws but do they go farther or straighter? Will somebody please strap the last 5-years models from Ping, Titleist, and Taylor Made into an Iron Bryron? I’d love to know if there is any REAL difference between the G2, G5, G10 and G15?

No way this will ever be done by Golf Digest or any magazine that makes their money selling advertisements.


Tony Lee July 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

BRAVO. Where can I make a donation?


Krishna July 14, 2011 at 6:37 am

Great piece! I am a custom fitter based out of Bangalore, India. I give honest opinion and advice to my customers but they don’t seem to get it. I guess that’s the way of this modern world.


Hardball3313 July 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm

If you ever had experience with High-End audio and the magazines covering it, you would see the exact same thing. If the magazine gives a luke-warm review of some company’s latest greatest $5000 pre-amp, suddenly the full page advertisement which was a staple in the magazine for the last five years disappears. Some reviewers still get around it a little by condemning a product by giving it faint praise. While this may might work with regular readers, it’s absolutely worthless to someone just coming into the hobby looking for guidance trying to make their stereo sound better. The one benefit which we all get from the games the OEMs play is all of the older equipment becomes available for pennies on the dollar when the latest greatest pimps its “10 yards further”. In conclusion, I think the problem extends to a lot more fields of interest besides golf and I’m just thankful for MyGolfSpy. Now if I could just hit it 10-more yards … nevermind!


BR July 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

can we get a list going of all the OEMs that folded from 02-04? was that when hogan was engulfed by callaway? same with top flite?

when did snake eyes and lynx become part of golfsmith?

is this when ram and armour folded up shop?

didn’t maxfli get out of the US club business b/t 02 and 04?


Christine at CEOgolfshop July 13, 2011 at 7:32 am

It’s so true. I commend your efforts. I can hardly stand to read some of the stuff in magazines any more because some of it is so blatantly biased. The harder part is knowing what’s really true and what’s for the sale/relationship. I’m looking forward to your continued unbiased reports!


John Rogers July 13, 2011 at 5:33 am

Great to see this brought out. Newer is not better, yet we are gullible enough to believe it and the OEMs spend Gazillions of dollars to convince us. It is really all about ego that some have to have the newest and greatest and that keeps the biggees going.

I have been in every aspect of Golf for over 50 yrs and spent years in mfg. and in the OEMs and it is all a dog and pony show. Get what works and stay with it, Ebay is full of the latest and greatest for sale.

Keep up the good work.


joro July 13, 2011 at 5:28 am

Great article. Having been in the business for over 50 yrs as a player, club maker, repairman, and working for a couple of big boys OEM’s and on tour I have known this for years. Most of the advancements and “better stuff” stopped a few years ago. Sure, there are improvements in some components like shafts etc. but as far as the rest, it is up to the person swinging it and new is not necessarily better, just prettier.


Mike Jaros July 13, 2011 at 5:15 am

Great Job. Very interesting and am looking forward for the next piece of info!


Nick July 13, 2011 at 3:52 am

Looking forward to the next writeup. But just for the sake of asking … have you got a link to a review on here where you have given a club or product a really bad review. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s really no out and out bad stuff out there in the market but surely there has to have been something you guys just did not like.


GolfSpy T July 13, 2011 at 4:25 am

Nick – I honestly don’t think we’ve ever given a truly bad review. We’ve given a few that you might call medicore at best. Usually those stem from average or slightly below average performance numbers, along with sub-par subjective feedback from our readers (looks, feel, etc.).

The problem we encounter is that the big golf companies have grown so accustomed to reviews that either universally praise every aspect of the club, or simply regurgitate the marketing info and label it a “review” that when we (or our testers) say something less than positive (for instances saying they wouldn’t bag it), we get blasted for basically trashing their club.

Not everything can be above average (nearly everything we test falls into a narrow average range), but the expectation is that average should be treated as exceptional. While that most certainly makes the OEMs feel better, we don’t think it’s realistic, nor does it give us any room to highlight that rare piece of equipment that truly is exceptional.


Tooler July 25, 2011 at 8:18 am

As a club tester I typically don’t trash any equipment, but give an honest write up of how the club performed in my hands, and my personal likes and dislikes. Hence the Power Pod Driver, no reason to kick a product that didn’t appeal to me, I did not find it very attractive, didn’t like the sound. The driver performed well, very well. I actually recommended the club if you could put up with the looks, and noise it makes upon contact. We try to give honest, factual information, and opinion on all items tested. Tomato, tomoto. Grip it and rip it.


Bridgie July 13, 2011 at 2:12 am

I recently bought an overpriced magazine because I was bored. I was a lot more bored after I read it than I was previously. They had a big article on how the named brands were improving a club we would hit of fairways. This included an “advertorial” for most of the brands on the market. There was no disclaimer to say they received any benefit from the firms involved. Didn’t a popular radio announcer get into trouble for a similiar discretion?

Folks if you realy want to know about golf clubs try any of the following:
Get a demo club from the golf shop pro (on course or other) and hit it on course.
Have a fitting with a Golf Pro from a shop or course but hit the demo on course.
If like me, you favour a particular brand (Ping) go to the demo days and hit it!(On course!)
If you buy a demo club. The old rule applies. It hits great until remove the demo sticker . So leave it on!

Golf is about the experience, the people and doing your best on the day. Enjoy!


DC July 13, 2011 at 1:17 am

I’m the equipment editor for one of the biggest selling golf mags in Europe and agree with some of the things you say above. There is always pressure (subtle or otherwise) from advertisers but it is up to your own integrity not to be swayed by this. We have lost a lot of revenue and fallen out with a few people by not buckling to advertiser pressure – plus we publish Trackman stats from our testers in our articles so there really is no hiding place if one doesn’t perform. I wouldn’t do the job if all it consistent was writing reviews which are effectively paid-for advertorials.

However, and it is a BIG however, you simply cannot say that a golf club is terrible just because it didn’t perform for you or a few of your testers because there is always the element of human error. In addition, what works for one golfer may not work for another. Instead it has to be a run through of how the club performed on test and some objective feedback from that. I’ve lost count of the number of times a tester has said “it’s impossible to hit this club straight” and then the next tester can’t miss with it.

In addition, there aren’t that many really bad clubs out there these days, because they simply wouldn’t survive in a tough marketplace. Yes, you get cheaper clubs made of poorer components but they are priced to reflect this and have their place in the market. It is important to take this into account when publishing a review (obviously you don’t tell the tester the price of a club beforehand). I could go on all day here but I’ve got a balls review to write (which is great because we can colour out logos and the testers really don’t know what ball they are hitting).

My message to golfers out there is to find a golf magazine or website which details their testing procedure for all to see, publishes as much data as they can and, most importantly, gives a fair assessment of how each club performed on test and not one that says “this is a bad club because I couldn’t hit it straight.” It’s not quite as simple as that.



GolfSpy T July 13, 2011 at 4:17 am

Excellent points, and as you say, there is no place to hide when you publish the data. I suspect this is why so few do.

The reality is that there are very few truly awful clubs, and fewer still produced by big OEMs. That said, there are clubs that underperform, or don’t perform as well as the model that came before it.


Jien47 July 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I’m happy to find this website which I can trust the independence and objectivities of the reviewers. Your love of golf and passion are clearly visible in this website and are appreciated by all readers… thank you very much!


xxio July 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Nothing new here. That’s the way the consumerism life has always been the past 20 years. Nothing wrong with that.

If someone wants to have the latest and greatest/spend $500 on a driver that he will hit good and long 2x out of 5 then more power to him.Most golfers are casual golfers who won’t remember that they hit only 5 of 14 fairways, but they will have fond memories of those 5 monsters with that 46.5″ driver that “new technology” has brought them. They are not like the other 5% of golfers who go on internet forums. The guys on internet forums should know.

To those who say there has not been much tech advancements……5 years ago if someone told you they could make a sub 300 gram driver at 46″ with decent headfeel/swingweight you would have laughed. Now we have Cleveland/TM coming out with light drivers but being able to keep the “balance”. The advancements are not as great as 15 years ago but they are there, whether they benefit the individual golfer will always be hit or miss.


Kevin July 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Truly objective reviews would not include human or advertiser influence. So, impossible.


Harry Goss July 12, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Years ago I wrote a letter to a major golf publication whose equipment expert,I think his name michael Johnson, kept extolling the virtues the huge gains in distance the new technology afforded players. Mr. Johnson, I believe, was carrying “the water” for the major OEM’s and I said so in my letter. Your 3 part series is further proof I was right those years ago.


Lank July 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Thanks for if nothing else printing what is hidden behind the smoke and mirror.
One thing I am really suspect about is the rumour / urban myth that the guys on tour play their preferred equipment, disguised by the OEM paying them to play their gear to look tailor maid or shallow way.
i.e. A guy at our club used to play a bit of college golf with Tiger, and has caddied on many 2nd string tours; he swears Tiger has never played anything but Mizuno Irons, made to look like a an other?
Finally, G-Mac wins his first Major with one OEM, and immediately swaps to another – how is this not so transparent as to be about the money!
Thanks MGS


BR July 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

theres a competing website to this one that takes Major OEM’s $$$ and they still have forums where people just rip new equipment to shreds. seems like that site and this one have a contentious relationship. if this site is about honesty and accountability, they won’t moderate this post and let it hit the site. tell me, how come over on the aforementioned site scratch, don white macgregor stuff and nicklaus’s dual point driver seem to be amongst user favorites?

also, regarding the shakeout of 02-04, can someone refresh my memory about who truly folded up shop? my recollection was that armour, ram, maxfli, dunlop and slazenger, amongst maybe a few others, ceased to exist as they had previously. by that time, weren’t both snakeyes and lynx under the GS umbrella?


GolfSpy T July 13, 2011 at 4:13 am

BR – Different sites allow different degrees of opinions. Some will let most of them go, others pull down nearly as many comments as they allow, especially those comments that aren’t favorable to their biggest sponsors.

What you never see is the guys on the payroll give unfiltered assessments of equipment. There’s always a lot of good, never anything negative. You’ll also never find an article like this one because of how comfortable they are with the current system.


Jgolf July 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm

and not to be presumptuous, but, if you wanted to encourage full objectivity, then have the products be given away in the form of a contest (like you did before) so instead of thanking the OEM, we would be thanking you.

I also like to think that your readers would not lie if a product really sucked….


Jgolf July 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I understand the point, but…… If you ever want to rethink the Readers can not be objective mentality and start giving us readers gear to review (and keep)….. I’m sure everyone would love it.


Tim Whartenby July 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Great topic boys! It’s nice to see the guys that have actually are in the industry for many years give their points of view on this topic. Makes for very interesting reading. Keep up the great work MGS.


golfguy4 July 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

This article just makes me think of how much $$$ a certain chevron company spends on ads in a certain magazine and how they just so happened to win gold for every submital they had… Especially since there was a noticable drop in their advertising in said magazine after being snubbed a few years before.

Keep up the good work and fight the honest fight Golfspy!! This is why I love you.


Robert Hebert July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Recently I bought a Titleist 975D Driver on Ebay for $0.99, and a minute later, I bought a Titleist 975J for $2.99. Both clubs are in mint condition, with original headcovers. That’s $900 worth of drivers, delivered to my door for $30.00, including sales tax and shipping.

No matter if your driver is 260cc, 312cc, or 460cc, the sweet spot is precisely the same size!

How many $millions were won on the PGA tour with these two drivers? How can anyone pay $450 for a new 2011 driver?


Blademan July 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Please give us hackers some credit. For a long while I wouldn’t consider using Taylormade clubs because of their hype and the frequency of their New clubs hitting the market. Judging that technology wasn’t moving that fast and it was all hype. To a degree I still think that. I evenyually bought a Taylormade driver having stuggled with the one I had, and, because it was an old model being sold at a silly price NEW. I struggled with that untill I visited the outlet and was told the shaft was to heavy. The guy was good enough to exchange for same model with lighter shaft and hey presto I love it. Change a decal and paint another color and it has to be the best they have made ? Rubbish. I buy what I like and no one can persuade me any other way. Only fools with big wallets are caught.


Ross Ent July 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Once many of the large OEMs went public the bottom line became more important than the integrity of the line…CEOs answer to the Board of Directors who are normally outside of the the industry and are successfull in their own type of business which just means individual performance isn’t the driving factor. Marketing is the way to increase profit margins and the truth will take a back seat to a good promise of improved results…Unfortunately the buying public wants to believe the product story over the actual truth that it will make no difference over any simular product.


mygolfspy July 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Very true Ross.


Golfer Burnz July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I’d like to commend you on your cartoon that goes along with this piece. Is done that by somebody on the MGS staff? Speaks volumes.


mygolfspy July 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

No this is one of the few not done by the staff Burnz…but this image fit the article too good not to use.


davepenny July 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Great article I agree about all the hype.I still play titleist 990s which came out i n1999.My woods I bought [R7] new in 06-07? are not that new.I just dont think the new ones are that much technically superior to mine.I may be wrong but I dont buy the hype.Thanks for the article


Jerry Foley July 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

The intriguing thing to me is this, why don’t the golf rags just put every new club on an Iron Byron with a TrackMan gathering the shot data? I suspect if they did some brands would rank superior and that would end all the editorializing and the opinion side of things. Face it people like to read about some nuance of technology to help their game and if Taylor outhit Callaway by an average of 10 yards with tighter dispersion Callaway would have to retool to be competitive. So the rags simply don’t do that. They will assemble 50 golfers of various handicap level and get their combined opinion. If the FDA allowed drug companies to do that we’d all be dead. The real problem folks is that club manufacturers try to solve swing problems with closed clubface positions and other gimmicky approaches. Some clubs hurt my eyes and I wonder how anyone can hit them. I forced my son when he took up golf to hit blades. He whined about needing a more forgiving club until he simply learned to hit the middle of the face and began to appreciate forged feedback and the sweet sound of a properly struck shot.


Phana24JG July 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

Jerry, I know that until a few years ago, the USGA did exactly that with every golf ball…….but REFUSED to release the results. The problem with Iron Bron is twofold. First, he has been replaced by more improved robots, but more importantly, it is almost impossible to quantify actual performance with robots. Robots will hit the exact same place on the club every time. Yes, I know different manufacturers now test for toe and heel hits, and most manufacturers especially Ping have included some degree of random error to test balls hit off-center. The problem is that no robot can duplicate what our individual random errors are.

If you then add up the all the permutations that different shafts would introduce, it would end up costing more to test the clubs than to manufacture and distribute them. What I do is wade through all the independent testing I can find, and THEN go to the Trackman and/or Flightscope X-2 to see which of the few I have selected work best.


CDB424TTM July 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I know for a fact that salesmen move the clubs that they get the biggest kick back on. I worked for a big company that they wanted me to push the big name clubs, this is not what a person just starting needs to buy. They needs some thing that won’t cost a arm and a leg to get. I was let go because I would not push people into the big name clubs unless they wanted to go there.

I have been playing golf for over 40+ years and selling for over 25. I want to keep a gentleman’s game be it playing or selling. My checks were not big but I was happy to do the right thing for the players. I find it easy to sell to players who don’t know what makes the club work. (Head, Shaft, Grip, etc..) I could sell them anything and have big paychecks, that is just not how I roll.


Ari July 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Thanks. This is no surprise really – just nice to see somebody sticking up for a bit of diversity. I think everybody is better off when all the chips are on the table, instead of in some fat cats wallet.


Shawn Dinwiddie July 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Great article T.

I have been around golf my entire life both as an avid player and on the business side of the industry…with the biggest brands and now a small new brand. As Tom mentioned above, things changed dramatically at the end of the 80s as the game of golf experienced a rapid growth in population. With that rapid growth came a ton of new facilities and a lot more consumer equipment dollars for big business to chase. Golf equipment morphing from being about the product design to a marketing race was inevitable…you see it in every other consumer product category.

What are the factors that have created this marketing battle?

I believe it has been driven by the changes in distribution as much as anything else…golf pros hardly sell equipment anymore, whereas they were the only place to buy equipment in the past…and trusted advisers in what’s the best for each individual golfer’s needs. Now distribution is controlled by big box mass merchants and golf specialty stores…and it’s more about volume, having the right marketing message and dominating the darrell survey on the PGA than it is about creating a great product. The other major factor, in my opinion, is manufacturing moving from US to China…and now even assembly. Big companies today are all about R&D and distribution…and still turning out really good new products every so often. The problem is all those in-between slight changes in last year’s model products that really don’t offer anything new…and that wasn’t the case 20 years ago when companies had to make capital investments in tooling to come out with a new product.

It is very challenging for newer companies given the marketing race…even though all the big guys started out that way. The barrier to entry on the equipment side is HUGE. Who was Ping before the sound slot and custom fit cast golf clubs? Who was TMaG prior to Pittsburgh Persimmon? Who was CG prior to titanium in drivers. Adams Golf before the tight lies. You look at all the smaller guys of recent years…most have passed away and are now house brands for big box retail because they couldn’t afford the marketing race.

The saddest thing for golfers…equipment has become ridiculously expensive with little evolution…new models aren’t that much better than the last.

What to do? Keep fighting the fight through great forums like MyGolfSpy and others! Empower golfers online to share their reviews using the great communication technologies we have today! As a golfer, I put a lot more credit in what my buddies say about a new club they have tried than what the guy that won on Sunday afternoon was playing…or what a biased media review says about a new club. Educate golfers on other secrets in the golf industry…like the fact that small and big companies alike get all most 100% of their castings and forgings from the same handful of foundries in China…and very few even assemble equipment in the US any longer. Put that stock set of irons you just bought at your local mass merchant retail outlet on a frequency analyzer or loft/lie machine…

My $0.02.


hopnskip July 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I sometimes undertake product reviews and write event reports in the off-road motorcycle press, online and in print, and have had several cases of my copy being shortened or bits taken out because it will offend advertisers/industry chiefs. As one editor said to me a while back… “read what they don’t say in a report” or read between the lines. If it praises the brakes but makes no mention at all of the rear suspension it us usually because the suspension was crap!!

On my personal web site i can say what i like as i take no advertising at all.


Gerry July 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

What we need in the industry is an equivalent to “MAD Magazine.” Their only advertising was for their own magazine subscriptions. The price ($x.xx – CHEAP!) was the only thing that apparently floated the magazine. That way they could poke fun at whoever and not have to worry about the consequences. I still remember one really nasty letter from a high ranking member of the NRA who threatened to talk to all their advertisers and boycott them. It was a classic threat from a management muppet who didn’t even take the time to read the magazine – just did the knee jerk reaction thing because that’s what worked in the past. And all of this was over 25 years ago! Guess some things never change.


jack nash July 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Interesting comments. Some have said that the Majors have run out of ideas as far as driver distance goes. Some say hogwash. Well, the last bastion was shaft length because head technology has hit a dead end. When you can’t improve distance with the head you go to the shaft length. That’s it. No more miracles.

As for testing clubs that sounds great but I guess not so much in the end according to part One. Great read so far.


Michael Flynn July 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Outlandish claims about products only fool people nieve enough to believe them or too lazy to check them out. There’s nothing new in this article unless the reader has no experience of business or life, and that is unlikely with your readership. Please stick to writing great honest reviews of golf products. I hope you make a good living doing it and please forget about making truly unremarkable “shocking” revelations that won’t shock the majority of your savvy readers. Best regards. Mike


Steve Almo July 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

One other point I must bring up Golf Spy T. Your assumption of reducing the length of the Driver by 1 1/2″ as you state to be more accurate and in turn the consumer would be longer off the tee…consider this….If the Majors thought hey could sell more Drivers at 43″…that is exactly what they would do!

And there is one constant of the golf business i ave learned well over 33+ years….The majority of buyers of Drivers will ALWAYS SACRIFICE ACCURACY FOR DISTANCE off the tee. The only motivating reason to purchase a new Driver is more length off the tee. In my 33 years on the equipment side of the biz I have never sold a Driver or been asked because they want more accuracy off the tee…….ALWAYS MORE DISTANCE! Always! That is what sells Drivers and Drivers are the ‘heart and soul’ of any golf company…Major or Minor!


GolfSpy T July 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Steve – No argument here. We all know distance sells from drivers to irons, and perhaps even wedges. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before someone markets the world’s longest putter.

It’s all in how the question is phrased. I think (I could be wrong), that the ultimate goal of most golfers is to shoot lower scores, and yet when it comes time to buy, almost everyone reaches for the 46″ driver that goes 5 yards longer. Accuracy is an after-thought.


mygolfspy July 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I am sure T will want to comment. But I wanted to comment as well.

First I will say this: I myself have conducted this test (blind) and have actually had a similar test done by the Titleist tour van guys (also blind). The results were almost identical. A 43 1/2″ driver gave the average height golfer 12 more yards off the tee compared to a 45″ driver with the same shaft and loft and flex. Reason is simple the avg. driver was 43 1/2″ a long time ago…and golfers aren’t getting taller but clubs are getting longer. This puts golfers in the wrong swing plane angle and also forces the wrists into a more oscillating position. Long story short…tougher to get back to the same point you started at. RESULT: less center sweet spot hits. Which result in shorter drives. Now will you hit it longer with the 45 or 46″ shaft…yeah…about 2 out of 20 times. So when you avg. the numbers your longest drive might have been with the longer shaft but your avg. will be longer with the shorter driver, because you will have impacted closer to the sweet spot more often.

Second thing I wanted to reply to your comment about pretty much sums up parts of the article T wrote…you say distance sells drivers. But that does not mean it is the right decision for the consumer. Especially if you know they will be much more accurate with the other driver. Isn’t the point of this game to shoot the lowest score? Or is it to sell a million clubs and be more profitable? Your comment makes it seem like you are more interested in selling distance over improving ones game. One of the reasons I like Ping.


Steve Almo July 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Look, my golf spy, everyone is interested in improving and making life on the golf course for the consumer more enjoyable..that is why most are in this business to begin with. And to bring up Ping as one of the reasons you like them, as you imply, they are not selling distance over improving ones game. Well, my friend, they were the ones that came up with stronger lofted irons to essentially claim that their irons went further!!! You do remember that don’t you?

And to answer your question (“point of the game is to shoot the lowest score”)…the point of the game today is to ‘literally’ take a walk or ride in the park and have some fun with your friends and forget all the troubles and stress for 4 to 6 hours. Scoring really becomes non-essential. It’s a walk in the Park today and hitting a few good shots a round for the majority of golfers.

Remember this important fact: The consumer dictates what they want to buy….and the golf companies are more than willng to make what they want and demand. The 45″ Drivers were introduced by Yonex….The ADX 200 Driver, sold like free popcorn…that was over 20 years ago and Yonex set the industry standard on length then and it stills holds true today. Sure, there were plenty of companies still making 43 and 43 1/2″ Drivers at that time…but, when the consumer stopped buying them…the length increased immediately! Why? Because that is exactly what the consumer wanted to buy! So what ‘fool’ company is going to continue to make 43″ Drivers when the golfing populace was only buying longer Drivers!


mygolfspy July 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm

If it is why most of us got in the business to begin with…why in your opinion do you think so many have gotten so far away from it now?

And the jist I get from your comment seems to say that basically consumers are asking for 45″ and now 46″ drivers because they can hit 2 out of 20 drives longer and 18 out of 20 farther in the woods. Or do you think the marketing the golf companies do trying to sell that now 46″ driver to differentiate themselves from another brand selling a 45 1/2″ driver as the longer driver has more to do with it? And I remember a couple other companies that came out with SL irons before Ping but that’s another subject.


Steve Almo July 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I don’t think they have MGS. You may think they your opinion. But, most in this biz truly care about the consumers game. Everybody in any biz trys to generate sales…that is what keeps companies in business. There is hype in any biz….on any product. In the golf biz it just happens to be distance as that is what the public wants to hear! LONGER! You open a golf shop directly across the street from my golfshop…you advertise and sell 43″ to 44″ Drivers and let me sell everything 45″ and up…..Let’s see who stays in business the longest!


Phana24JG July 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

Steve and MGS, will you guys please carefully read what each other has written? IMNSHO, you are basically making the same argument. Steve is correct that distance is king and MGS is correct in asserting that the lamestream golf media (under tremendous financial pressure from the big OEMs) has created this distance monster. YOU GUYS ARE ON THE SAME SIDE!! Perhaps if both parties were a little more cooperative (e.g. including Geek in testing, advertising on MGS) we could do our little part to move the market in the proper direction. Just my not so humble opinion.


Coop July 13, 2011 at 3:18 am

Ping may have eventually followed the trend to longer lofts, but Cobra was the first. In 1983 Eye 2s were 9 iron 45* and Wedge 51*.

I must also say, as president of a company, your grammar and spelling is horrible. You mean facet, but type faucet, you start sentences with “And,” and spelling . . .

Some will find my comments petty and off-point, but you and I both know, I can’t hear what you are saying when your communication is so unprofessional. Type it out on Word, use spell check, and then cut and paste. Better yet, dictate it to your assistant. You do have one don’t you?


STEVE ALMO July 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm


I get in a hurry as I am on limited time responding to threads. I rarely go back and check spelling, etc. I think most get the point(s) I try to convey.

I’ll take your advice though in the future.


Steve Almo July 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

Ridiculous to think that the golf biz is any different than how any other business operates in the marketplace. To state, as a few did, that there is no innovation today in equipment is also ridiculous. And to actually state that the Majors equipment is overpriced is just not understanding the Majors…Period. All the ads, both print and T.V., Tour Players salaries, Overseas ads…general overhead and employee salaries, R&D, etc. All very expensive and must be built into the price of the product. The Majors drive the golf business…and it all trinkles down to every faucet of the golf business. Not understanding not understanding the golf business. Why would your integrity change if you decided to accept advertising from a Major? I don’t understand that…your either a ‘stand up’ person or your not. Too many Minor golf companies cannot wait to take shots at the Majors yet all they do is follow the Majors lead in their product line and then put their spin on it and make a claim like it is an original design of theirs…? I laugh to myself at that. This taking pot shots at the Major golf companies by Minors and others that do it for nothing else but selfish reasons is also the ‘other side of the golf biz’ that those people want you to believe. When i know Damn well they would operate the exact same way if they had the funds to do it. Do the Majors make bad decisions ocassionally…of course they do…but, they do alot more good than seems to be represented here.

Steve Almo
Geek Golf
33+ years in the business of golf


GolfSpy T July 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm


I certainly won’t stand here and tell you that everyone in the industry is bad. Just like anything else there are good people, and not so good people.

As for you question as to to why integrity would change. Just like club prices it boils down to the realities of the marketing game. At MyGolfSpy we believe in the unfiltered truth, or at a minimum, our unfiltered opinions and those of our testers and our readers. While this post is painted with a broad brush, the next one will detail exactly what can happen when a guy has the audacity to write an honest review.

Very simply, most in the media have learned that if they say anything negative about a golf club, or golf company, advertising and access to equipment are immediately cut off. From the OEM side, that’s just business (although we think in our Social Media culture this is slowly changing), but for those in the media who should not only be objective, but actively present themselves as 100% so (when in fact what they write is controlled or constrained by dollars), it becomes an issue of integrity…and the loss thereof. I find that aspect of this reprehensible.


Pat July 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

Thanks for the honest assessment of the industry as you find it. We at write occasional reviews about sample equipment…. It’s not easy to write a bad review of a product our readers really don’t like, but we do it. The controversy that results often adds to more interest in the product rather than less, and we end up getting readers who defend the product against the comments of those who don’t like it. Very interesting.
Thanks for your continuing great reviews. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.


18th Legion July 12, 2011 at 11:02 am

As Jesse Ortiz of Bobby Jones golf stated in USA Today’s Golf Gear Spring 2011; “Club-head materials will change, not because of performance but because of cost . . . Forged composite metals will be used in other areas of the face, replacing the more expensive titanium, beta titanium, steel alloys, and carbon graphite.”

Hey Callaway, your secrets out!


Jordan July 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Your really think that a putting a carbon top on a driver head is cheaper than a cast or welded titanium crown. Don’t make me laugh. It is infinitely easier to weld a titanium top on a titanium body than it is to bond a carbon top to a titanium body. Then you have to do the research to insure the carbon top is durable for day to day play, then make it cosmetically viable. This is not easy by any stretch.

Go look up some manufacturing processes be for you make inane statements.


18th Legion July 13, 2011 at 2:58 am

Actually, read the post correctly. It isn’t my comment, it is Jesse Ortiz. He also states that the Forged Composite material is cheaper than Carbon. RIF. Reading Is Fundamental.


Jordan July 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I’m responding to your comment. You’re implying that you agree with Mr. Ortiz. Do you know what Beta Ti, 17-4 steel or 303 steel, carpenter steel or even forged composite is? Do you know what it costs to forge, cast, form or machine that material? So, my statement is in reply to your statement.


Phana24JG July 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

Jordan, I get your criticism, but feel it is misplaced. 18th is citing what a well-known player in the industry had to say. Your point that Callaway may well be incurring higher short-term costs is very valid, but somewhat off-topic. The issue is are the big OEMs stifling real innovation and reducing real competition through unethical manipulation of the lamestream golf media as well as many outlets in the internet medium.


Tom Wishon July 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

Glad to see you are you are exposing your followers to this side of the industry. Having been in this industry since the 70s, I watched as around the very late 80s to early 90s the golf companies went from friendly competitors to seriously fierce competitors. An interesting parallel can be seen that might have had more than a little something to do with this. Prior to the late 80s and early 90s, the vast majority of CEOs for the big golf companies all came up from the product development side. But from then on, pretty much all of the CEOs started to come from the sales, marketing or financial sides of the companies. I still find today that when you deal with a company whose CEO and other top decision makers came up from the technical side, you tend to see companies who are more open, less paranoid and less fiercely competitive.


Bill Ledbetter July 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

This is the reason I read your articles! If we are to believe the hype we’d change every club in our bag at least yearly, probably more!
I really enjoy this website…


Chanel July 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

Great article and sadly this is true in many industries besides golf- I’ve seen it with the gaming industry as well. Looking forward to your next article!


Justin July 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thanks, T!


Phana24JG July 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

Great article T. We all know the bs TaylorMade pulled on you guys earlier this year. That is why I rely on MGS to identify clubs I want to try at demo days or at Novogolf. However, I think we should all think long and hard about who is ultimately responsible for the current state of affairs. Anyone who can add numbers containing three digits realizes that if every driver that claimed to “add X amount of yards” was true, we would all be averaging 320 off the tee. Yet, TM can introduce three or four such clubs every year and it must be profitable or they would cease the busness model. I am not singling out TM, hell I game the R-9 Super-Tri TP and R-9 irons.


GolfSpy T July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

Great point Phana. Whatever we may think about how the business of influence is conducted, the consumer has to accept some responsibility for the current state of things. The X (usually 10) more yards thing is a great example of how marketing, and more specifically the marketing of distance has over taken the industry. Could you imagine if [insert big golf company name here] came out with a new driver and instead of promoting it as being 10 yards longer, they said something’s a few yards shorter, but 10 yards closer to the center line? Incidentally they could cut 1.5″ off any driver on the market today and probably come close to achieving those numbers (distance might actually improve), but they won’t do it because it’s all about being longer and longer and longer.

The really sad part is that if marketing didn’t drive the machine, there would be more money for actual research and development, which could lead to actual innovation.


Steve July 12, 2011 at 9:48 am

If you enjoyed this article you might like to read the newsletters on Dr Birdie’s site (I know, I know but take a look anyway) He doesn’t call them “OEMs” refers to them as “Big Overpriced Club Company”


John July 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

Petersens had a great golf magazine in the 90’s and it went out of print because it printed the truth as they saw it about golf products. The big boys withdrew advertising $ and we lost a great magazine.


mygolfspy July 12, 2011 at 9:37 am

I have heard great things about that magazine before John. I was not familiar with it…wish I had some of them lying around to read. The guys in the industry even really seemed to appreciate their honesty.


Tom Dellner June 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

That’s nice to hear, guys! I was the Senior Editor (Equipment) for that magazine and was responsible for the club reviews. It was an awful lot of fun and I miss the people associated with that magazine. The editor in chief (Mike Corcoran) and the brass at Petersen were always supportive of our efforts to be candid, honest and transparent. I just looked over a few old issues a few days ago…wow are they dated! Full of stuff from manufacturers long forgotten, too.


mygolfspy June 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I would love to chat one day Tom if you have any time. I have had so many conversations with so many industry insiders who appreciated the work you guys did. I am glad you found us and took the time to comment…hopefully we will get to speak soon.


libby July 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

ya have to admit, the lack of innovation has been replaced with “spin”….ie.. karsten came up with the anser putter in what year??? and ever since, companys are coming out with the same head design but with some tiny insert and perhaps change its color, put a fancy headcover on it and retail that baby for 249.00 ! the r&d hasnt changed, just the price. show me a putter made today, and marketed like crazy, and i’ll bet you can find the original not too far off on specs, made years ago, that retailed for 65 bucks… innovation in the industry is dead…. and dont get me started on Drivers…


Ping fan July 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Regarding the Karsten putter, I bought I Ping Karsten a few years ago brand new for only 90$ retail. Ping is very fair in their prices. I agree with most companies, however, such as, Scotty Cameron who has taken the initial design of the famous “anser” style putter, and sells them for ridiculous prices. Then again, which cologne will be priced higher, Right Guard or Gucci?


Allan July 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

Thanks for sharing, looking forward to the next part/s.


DDick July 12, 2011 at 9:26 am

If an OEM came out with a truly great club that out performs anything ever produced and
promotes it as the best ever—-I would not believe their advertising because of all of the past
history of marketing claims.


Tom Crisan July 12, 2011 at 9:25 am



Justin July 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

Notice Golf magazine has a core group of testers that carry over from year to year. It’s more like a buddy’s club than a review process.


Ben s July 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

Interesting I just hope the next 2 installments aren’t censored or cancelled before we read them :(


Garry July 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

what? did you think the golf biz was a saintly place? is golf and different than other industries? the behind the scenes in the golf biz isn’t a place for the meek! I am really surprised withteh down turn there hasn’t been more less an honorable tactics being pulled.

LAW of the JUNGLE.. the strongest survive,, and if you aren’t some part of a big golf conglomerate.. they will be or they will out of business(or part of Golfsmith). Reminds me of the 2002 – 2004 shake out


Justin July 12, 2011 at 9:52 am

“did you think the golf biz was a saintly place?”

No, but it is sad- at least, for me- that a sport that is driven by integrity has such an unscrupulous business side. Especially the equipment faction.


Richard P. Jacobs II July 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

GolfSpy T, nice article…I look forward to the remaining articles…As was discussed following the release of GD’s 2011 Hot list, regardless of what any GD employee would say(as noted above, what would you expect them to say), if a company accepts a single advertising dollar from an OEM, they are beholden to them..End of discussion..What I find shocking is that this would be news or come as a surprise to any of your readers..Although they may not not be in or familiar with the gollf industry, this practice of mutual masturbation is a basic tenent of not just business but politics, higher education & any other area of life that you could name….Eradicate it, impossible, though to have open discussions can hopefully keep this practice from going from the acceptable level to the absurd, which is where we are in the golf industry, due in large part because of a lack of entities willing to not just foster a discussion, but also demonstrate by their actions that you can succeed the “right” way…If you have the right mission(& a marketable/profitable product/service does’nt hurt) & more importantly, the right people, the contrarian postion can be a very profitable one, & in this case, a very morally rewarding one also….MGS, well done, just don’t ever forget a single word of your mission…Fairways & Greens 4ever…..


gphin305 July 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

I’m a recent reader/viewer to mygolfspy and appreciate articles just like this. Have many golfer friends like me who were not aware of this site and are now are also new readers. I’m an auto enthusiast as well and don’t think this policy in the golf industry is any different than what the car magazine (reviews) have been doing for years (advertising money talks, especially in this economy). Look forward to the next updates.


Mike Osbourne July 12, 2011 at 9:06 am

Excellent article, looking forward to chapter two..I also like the fact that Golf Spy use smaller companies rather than the usual boring brands we see time and time again!!

Can we have a nice review on Wedges? It would be nice to hear your thoughts on these and more high end brands like Miura and the like?

I am keen to find out more!!

Kind regards
Mike Osbourne


GolfSpy T July 12, 2011 at 9:40 am

Mike – Funny you should mention that. As it turns out we have a Miura Series 1957 wedge review ready to go. We’ll be posting it, along with some other Miura-related stuff, later this week.


Chris Parkinson July 12, 2011 at 9:00 am

looking forward to the other parts of your article and am curious to see how much of it matches what my thoughts are on the industry…


Greg July 12, 2011 at 9:00 am

I work for a somewhat smaller OEM and I agree 100% with everything you have said. My company is approximatelt the 10 largest US company. I do not want to identify my OEM but we are still small enough to feel ourselves being squeezed out by these tactics from the big boys.


Madison Golfbum July 12, 2011 at 8:57 am

Appreciate the honest reviews. That’s why I read your stuff.


DrJ July 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

Great read! Keep up the good works. This article is the reason why I come to this site to get my infos.


pmn1 July 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

Its about time somebody lifted the voodoo veil off the golf industry. We Americans are so easily duped by Marketing. I am convinced that their hasn’t been any REAL innovation in Golf for years. Just tweeks and color changes to promote increases is sales and to justify the yearly increase in price. Looking forward to the rest of your article.


golfguy4 July 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I would hesitate to say that no REAL innovation has been done in years. If you want the quickest proof, pick up a new driver and a driver from 5 years ago. Hit them both and tell me which one went further. Of course all of the wild claims OEMs make are targeted to make them sound more significant than they may be. In fact, I would be willing to bet with how much restriction the USGA has on equipment, that most of the innovation is done behind the scenes with materials, manufacturing methods, etc. but it is a safe bet to say that each generation of product improves from the last (if only slightly) because at a minimum, a sales person can not go into a store trying to replace his previous line with an inferior product no matter how much marketing hype is behind it….even if it’s white.

Unfortunately, a company simply saying that they took last year’s model and tweaked it to make it a little better after a year of feedback and testing would never be able to compete when their competitors are calling out every single screw as a seperate technology story., Our culture has come to equate quantity of technology with quality of product which is not always the case (and many times is the exact opposite).

Great article and very true on all accounts, Look forward to reading more!


clam fist July 12, 2011 at 7:00 am

Well done. I am looking forward to the next part.


Golfspy Dave July 12, 2011 at 5:59 am

Great read T. I am looking forward to the other parts.


Dave Mattucci July 12, 2011 at 5:55 am

Sadly, this is the way of the business world. I work for a big brand, who shall remain nameless, and across our industry some of the same is true. Celebrities who appear wearing certain brands “candidly” running around town, etc, are in most cases paid endorsers who are singled out as cool influencers who can help move product. When it comes to gear, I stick to one rule, and that’s just constantly seeing WITB of my favorite players whose games I admire! Its sad, but the consumer has been duped for so long. The internet, and pieces like yours however, are becoming the great equalizer and they are forcing brands to become more conscientious of their practices. Hopefully the same is true here. Thanks for sharing.


Pete July 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

This is why celebrity worship has been manipulated and carefully cultivated by the media over the last 30 years or so – it works so well as a vehicle for marketing everything from designer watches and handbags to golf equipment and vehicles. Great article and true about the giveaways too. Most golf forums only curry favor with posters and contributors who are positive to a fault with every post, those who are totally honest and even negative at times are marginalized and are just not included in the free stuff giveaways for fear of getting a negative report back.


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