Pros have the edge on the internet

Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter
Scott Gregory. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Local professionals have told Christmas golf shoppers: Feel free to use our expertise.

With the last-minute Christmas rush set to unfold, those buying gifts for the golfers in the family can be drawn into making expensive mistakes.

And while the internet may appear to offer some bargains, many of the pro shops at the clubs around the region are often just as competitive and can advise on the correct purchase.

Rowlands Castle pro, Peter Klepacz, said: ‘The internet is purely down to cost but you can’t pick something up, feel it, touch it and see how it works.

‘You can do that in a golf shop and you can compare similar items. That’s where we have the advantage over the internet in the pro shop.

‘I think some people have more trust in you than they do in a computer.

‘They can ask everything behind it, we can give them some impartial advice and we will tell someone if we think they are making the wrong purchase.

‘It’s not in our interests to sell someone a club that they can’t use.

‘If they spend good money on it and then they go out in front of their mates and it’s rubbish, it doesn’t do me any good to know where they bought it!’

Lee-on-the-Solent professional, Rob Edwards, said: ‘The internet offers the simplicity.

‘You haven’t got to get out of your armchair then someone turns up and rings the doorbell with your purchase in a couple of days.

‘We all use it but it doesn’t mean it’s cheaper than the pro shop.

‘I’ve also had a number of people tell me that the stuff we sell is as cheap as they can get it anywhere on the internet, which is great. We need to be as competitive as we can be.

‘But it’s when it comes to fitting people for clubs, that’s the real service we offer with our expertise.

‘I wouldn’t buy a suit off the internet because you’ve got to make sure it fits. It’s the same with a golf club.

‘It’s no good buying a £300 club for £100 if it’s not the right one for you.’

Clothing remains an ideal gift with Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter’s range particularly popular in the Rowlands Castle pro shop.

Klepacz said: ‘It is fashion wear nowadays. Many of the shirts can be worn away from the golf course. That side of the industry has boomed.

‘We stock the Ian Poulter, Greg Norman and Ping lines but the Poulter range is the most popular.

‘Poulter is on TV a lot and he is a bit lairy with his gear but it is not just the youngsters either – the older golfers are quite keen to wear pink, lime green and all the other bright colours.’

Edwards, meanwhile, has seen a new Ping putter become the must-have Chistmas gift this year for the keen golfer, although it is up.

He said: ‘Ping have brought out a new variable-length putter called the Scottsdale TR and it is very popular.

‘It’s quite a clever piece of kit and we have sold quite a few of them.

‘It’s designed to roll the ball the same way, even if it comes off the toe or the heel of the club.

‘And you can adjust the length from 31 inches to 38 inches, depending on what suits your style.

‘So you can adjust it. For example, if it’s a windy day, you might want to stoop over your putts a bit more. It seems to work well for a lot of golfers.’