Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is it more important to be VALUED or APPRECIATED?

It's a question that really has no answer that is not specific to the person answering. So why ask it? Is it more important to be valued or to be appreciated? To answer that, I think we have to look at the definition of each word in depth:

Value -
  1. 1.
    the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

  2. 2.
    a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.
  1. 1.
    estimate the monetary worth of (something).
  2. 2.
    consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial; have a high opinion of.

Appreciate -
  1. 1.
    recognize the full worth of.
  2. 2.
    understand (a situation) fully; recognize the full implications of.

Let's note that a great many people use these terms interchangeably but take a closer look. When something is "valued" it is generally because it is of benefit to the person doing the valuing. It's about saying "what am I willing to part with or do in order to possess this object. Property is valued. Stores say that something is a great value. Valuables in your jewelry box. Even people at the office are valued - which drives me up the wall when I hear it. Something is valuable because it benefits the person doing the valuing in some way - not because it's necessarily a good thing but because they're "getting something" from it. See the pattern starting to appear? Now, appreciation has nothing to do with worth or property. It's more of an emotion than a verb. When you appreciate something it's because it's there. It is not something to judge or pay for and isn't something that you can even place a partial worth on - by definition. You appreciate something for what it is and don't try to change it because it's so important it's unable to be messed with. You're thankful it's there because it is exactly what is needed.

"So Chris", you may be saying to yourself, "what does this have to do with golf?". 

Well... look in your golf bag. Any names stand out to you? Maybe you just bought the newest driver released, or a new putter. Do you VALUE your clubs or APPRECIATE them? Did you buy them because of what they say or how much you will be able to trade them in for? Did you buy them because it was "recommended" by a sales person? Did you buy them because they're from your favorite tour player? Did you honestly answer these questions and were any of them "YES"? Bad news.

What did you go through in order to get them? If you can honestly say that you went through a fitting that was more than 20 minutes and gave real thought to the process to arrive at the best decision for your game - I'm proud of you.  For a lot of readers, this isn't the case. For those readers it was an ad in a golf publication or a commercial during last week's tournament on TV. It's advertising speak about CG and MOI and composites and "the longest ________ ever!".   This is a full example of Valuation of your clubs. You value them so much as they worked for other people now. You will de-value them as new equipment comes out because that equipment will be seen as better than what you have. The sad part is that the same equipment will have little to no value to those who you purchased it from as that new club is released. You've valued your club at a price that the manufacturer thinks you'll pay and with options that are the best value to them and their bottom line. If you wait to buy it until it's "on sale" what are you spending your money on then - outdated technology i guess? I guess at least you have the NAME right? That's the TRUE value of equipment. That's why logos are plastered all over hats, belts, and shirts. Get the name in your head.

As for me, I appreciate my clubs. I appreciate that they work just as hard as clubs that are higher priced and sitting dusty on a rack in the back corner of a golf discount store somewhere. I appreciate that time and care was taken to assemble these clubs just for me using parts that were painstakingly tested by me, outside, in the sun and on the grass for over an hour.  I appreciate that I was able to use any parts that I wanted, and not just what had the highest margin for the seller. Still, when old age comes and I can't swing this flex anymore nobody will value them or appreciate them like I do. I can maybe sell them on Ebay for some golf money, but I'm ok with that because you see: when I made the investment in these clubs, I was investing in a name too. My name. I was in it for the long haul. I invested in my game to make sure that every dollar I spent on equipment went directly into my game and not into the pockets of a professional golfer or a multimillion dollar marketing campaign. People value the big names - but why?  Why would you want to shell out that kind of money for something you KNOW you're going to resell because there's something better in 6 months?  That wonderful paint-filled brand mark that tells everyone that you can afford a big OEM from a big store.

The point is, people value places like Dick's and Golfsmith. There are real people behind them with real jobs and that's great. They value you as well because they stay in business by selling you big names. The small club makers like myself and the hand full of others around the country appreciate your business and when you come to us with a need, I'll bet you'll start to appreciate us too. The one thing we all care about is your game. Big companies saturate the market with new new new. Everything is NEW everything is BETTER than it was. They have to. I will craft you something that will help you play better and save money. Take that money and put it into lessons, or just play more golf! Enter a tournament or put it towards that golf bucket list. 

The next time you are in the market for a new club, ask yourself something. Do I want to be one of millions or do I want to be one in a million? 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to get the most out of your fitting

Club fittings are meant to get your hands around the best technology for your game.  In the modern golf-scape, everything from shaft material, length, weight, color, grip size and material, club head weight, and top line look can be selected from a wide range of manufacturers' offerings. It's enough to make a sane person's head explode!  Good thing I'm not sane, right?

What you get out of your fitting is equivalent to what you are willing to put in and accept. If you go in and say "I don't want to spend any money and I'm happy with what I play with now" then there's no reason to even have one done. If you're just going to get some numbers because you're curious how fast you swing, I have a package for 30 minutes on the range with a launch monitor where you keep all your data. Hit me up. On the other hand, going in with the idea that what you play now is completely incorrect isn't a good idea either. After all, you didn't get where you are by playing the complete WRONG equipment, we're just trying to find out if there's something better or a tweak that will make them better.  The best thing to do is keep an open mind about all avenues. Maybe the difference between 30% fairways and 70% fairways is the grip on your driver, or even making all your clubs 1/2 inch shorter, or bending them 1degree upright will have you hitting more greens.  Fittings don't always have to mean buying new clubs. They should never be a sales pitch. They don't always mean an expensive fix either. That's what most places want you to believe though  - which is why they comp the fitting if you buy new clubs.  Awesome, I'll save $50 if I buy this brand new $699 set!  Don't get me wrong, I do that too.... IF you NEED a new set or new club.

So, step one.  Have an open mind.

Step 2:  Leave your ego at the door. It's not going to help you to swing as hard as you can during a fitting.  Remember, you're going to PLAY these clubs, you're not just going to HIT them. Always warm up and use your normal on-course swings. If at the end of the day you are in a S flex instead of X, or R - it's OK because you're hitting it better.  We're comparing apples to apples here, it's not about letters or brands, it's about how they compare to each other. You know how your club performs on the course already - you've been using it for a while. Compare it by the numbers and look for the improvement. Above all, its OK if you don't hit the new stuff better than your old stuff. There are other things to look at for improvement.
Play the game, don't HIT to FIT.

Step 3: Talk about what you want vs. what you heard you should have.  A good fitter will listen and provide feedback. If you want someone to just tell you what you want - that's ok too, but dialogue is key to getting something that ultimately fits you and your game.  Sure, you're not a tour pro and you may not be able to feel the difference between one shaft and another but you know what you like. "ooh, that felt really good" or "This feels too light for me" are perfectly acceptable and will help the fitter dial in what you need. If your fitter doesn't want to hear it, then find another fitter.

Step 4:  Don't try new techniques. A fitting is not a lesson and it should never be. There are quick fixes like teeing the ball higher or moving it back or forward in your stance but don't try new things that you don't normally do like: inside take-aways and different grip techniques. Don't try "picture perfect swings" either. If you have injuries that don't let you take the club more than half-way back, then it's something that needs to be taken into account and it's nothing to be ashamed of. JB Holmes, one of the longest guys on the tour, doesn't even make it NEAR parallel at the top.

In my fittings, if I see something early that CLEARLY needs to be fixed we don't normally continue, there's no charge, and I refer the player to one of my trusted pros to get the help they need - THEN they can come back for the fitting and get it right. Equipment can help a lot but it can't fix a bad habit, and fitting a bad habit will not help the golfer improve his or her game. Did I waste my time? No.  Not if I've helped point you in the direction of a better game.

Always remember, getting fit for clubs is the same as getting fit for anything else. You don't go to buy new pants and suck your gut in to get them buttoned and say "wow these fit great" when you can't sit down. You don't wear the thickest socks you can find to buy summer shoes.  Same thing with clubs. Come as you are. Show off that home-grown swing. Most importantly, if it ain't broke - don't fix it.

Contact me to learn more or to schedule a fitting session. Sessions are usually 45 mins to an hour and there's a little paperwork to fill out beforehand - just the normal stuff so I can get a good sense of where you are in your game and what you currently play and are looking to improve. Actually it's more conversation and I'm doing the writing.