The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2017
60 THE CUT Bishop was Callaway’s Clubfitter of the Year in New Zealand back in the day and has arguably done more fittings than anyone else in the country, but he suggests for some in the industry it’s largely an exercise in smoke and mirrors. “Some golf shops will take your wrist-to-ground measurement, work out your lie angle and recommend what length your clubs should be based on the results. But unless you’re exceptionally tall or short, you don’t need custom-length clubs. Eighty per cent of our clients can buy off the shelf. What’s more important is that they buy the right clubs to suit their game. “Some average golfers insist on playing the same clubs the pros use, but they don’t have their clubhead speed. It’s like a Sunday driver getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car. Not everyone can drive a Formula 1 car and not everyone can use the same clubs as the professionals. Your set make-up is more important than your measurements. What mix of fairway woods, hybrids and irons you carry depends on things like where you play most of your golf, where you miss the ball and what your ball flight looks like.” Asking the right questions is key and Golf Warehouse makes a significant investment in its staff, sending them overseas to learn from the club makers at Srixon, Callaway and TaylorMade. The company rewards staff with trips to the Masters at Augusta and the more senior staff get shares in the company’s Lake House on Jack’s Point golf course in Queenstown. Bishop has been to the Masters and played around Augusta a number of times and he’s also taken the opportunity to learn lessons from the golf industry in the US. “Last year Topgolf customers hit 763 million golf balls at their driving ranges in the US. Our driving range business is showing huge growth every year and golf course memberships are declining. That’s because they’re not catering for families. They’re not providing the entertainment experience that people want. “My son started playing the game recently and I’m still nervous about taking him to certain golf clubs in case he runs on the putting green or talks too loudly. That’s the beauty of our nine-hole courses at our Ellerslie and Hutt shops: they are places that people can bring their kids. “It’s one of the areas where golf is failing at the moment. Even people who don’t have kids usually only have a couple of hours to spare and golf clubs generally don’t cater for them. The reality is, golf is a difficult game. To play 18 holes and keep your score as a beginner can be really frustrating. Why not throw the score cards away and allow beginners to tee the ball up on the fairway? Offer nine-hole or six-hole rounds? What about speed golf ? Do something a little bit different. You have to change. That’s something we’ve learned at Golf Warehouse. “Since Eric started the business, we’ve always been aware of online sales. Luckily, we’re still a business where people want to come in and talk about their game, find the club that’s right for them and hold it in their hand. At the same time, they don’t want to pay through the nose for that privilege. That means we have to buy at the right price. We beat up on our suppliers all the time in order to make sure we get the best price we can. Our business model depends on it.” The Golf Warehouse stocks Srixon clubs, used by tour superstar Hideki Matsuyama, along with other top brands.
The Cut - Autumn 2017
The Cut - Spring 2017