Numbers are Everywhere
Data is taking over sports. From the increased prominence of three pointers in basketball to the home run explosion in baseball, data and analytics are changing the way sports are played.
Data is also taking over marketing. Increasingly, we’re seeing companies put statistics into their ads to prove the superiority of their products. Numbers are powerful, but should we trust them? Let’s discuss.
Let me start with a word of caution. I think it can be very easy to slip into the mindset of, “The OEMs are bad, and they’re trying to lie to us and steal our money.” I don’t think that’s the case.
I think every OEM is trying to make the best products that they can. This makes sense if you consider their incentives. OEMs want to make money by selling golf clubs. The best way to do that is to have their clubs perform well. If their clubs perform well, people who buy them will be happy, will play better, and will tell their friends which is the best advertising that money can’t buy.
All that said, let’s return to the original question: “Should you trust OEM tests?”
Control the Inputs, Control the Outcome
My answer is either “No” or “Yes, but”. Let’s dive into the latter.
You should trust the OEM tests, but you should ask questions about the inputs. Every test has inputs. If you control the inputs, you can control the outcome.
Here’s an example: I have built a driver that has exceedingly low spin. I want to show that my driver is longer than every other driver, so I choose to test it at very high speed, with a higher spinning ball, and impact conditions that create more spin. The results show that my driver is longer than every other driver, and I publish those results.
Have I lied? No, but I did choose the most favorable conditions for my product. And, again, this doesn’t necessarily reflect any malice on my part. I designed a product that I believed would help golfers (or a certain type of golfer) play better, and I marketed it.
A Better Option
Rather than trusting an OEM test which may or may not reflect your game, do your own test. There’s a name for this: club fitting.
No OEM test is going to perfectly replicate what your swing does. Only by hitting a product for yourself can you find out if it will make your game better, so do that. Trust yourself, trust your fitter, and find the best gear for your swing.