Beware When Buying Clubs from the Big Box Stores

Yesterday I was at the local sporting goods store, which will remain nameless, ah hell who cares…it was the Sports Authority just so everyone knows.  Anyway, they have a decent little golf section, with all the latest overpriced drivers and accessories.  I was perusing the putters when I overheard a gentleman asking the golf department guy about sand wedges.  The man had his eye on a 56 and 60 degree wedge, but wasn’t sure which one he should buy.  I could tell by the short conversation that he may have been relatively new to the game, but he was hoping to get some information so he could make the appropriate purchase.  I was shocked to hear the misinformation that ensued from the continuing conversation…

Customer:  So I’m not sure which wedge I need.  Should I get a regular sand wedge or should I get the 60 degree?

Golf Dept Guy:  They’re both going to do about the same thing.  You can play the 60* back in your stance when you’re in the sand trap if you want it to act like the 56 degree.  You probably won’t want to hit the 60 degree from the grass though.

Customer:  Ok.  I see that there are two numbers on the wedges.  There’s the 56 and a 14, what’s the 14 mean?

Golf Dept Guy:  Oh that’s just the loft

Customer:  Oh I thought the 56 was the loft

Golf Dept Guy:  Yeah the 56 is the loft, the 14 is how open the face is.

Customer:  Oh ok, so the face is going to be like 14 degrees open.  I see the 60 degree will be 8 degrees open, does that sound right?

Golf Dept Guy:  Yeah that’s right.

I’m standing with my jaw on the floor listening to this employee give  the customer this nonsensical,  incorrect  information.  For those of you who are unaware of sand wedge terminology, that second number, the 14 or 8, in this case, is the bounce of the wedge.  Basically, that’s how much bump the bottom of the wedge has where club meets the sand.  The bounce affects how the club goes through the sand or grass.  The higher the bounce  the less the club will not dig into the sand or turf.

I felt bad for the customer, because he obviously just wanted to get a good sand wedge to add to his bag and from what I could determine, he went with the 60 degree, which was most likely the wrong choice for this guy.   I really wanted to jump in and straighten away the employee so he didn’t mislead any customers in the future, but I bit my tongue and didn’t get into their business.  When I got home, I really wish I had.

So the moral of the story here is, do your homework before you buy from the big box stores or anywhere for that matter.  Golf equipment isn’t their main business and the kids working in the golf department probably don’t know a sand wedge from a shovel.   When you see him working in the camping department tomorrow, you’ll be glad you researched sand wedges before you went in.

One Response to “Beware When Buying Clubs from the Big Box Stores”

  1. This is not uncommon though, well certainly not in the UK anyway. I have been into to retail stores on occasions and purposely asked some dumb questions just to see if they really new what they are talking about and the explanation on what bounce is on a wedge will literally vary from store to store! However my experience of being in a retail store in the US has always been pleasant, at least i was allowed to but what i wanted without trying to be massively switch sold some rubbish that assistant is on extra bonus for selling!