Beholden to the big equipment companies
Why is it that big-name magazines such as Golf Digest and Golf Magazine endlessly review equipment by the big-name companies, while almost completely ignoring smaller companies? Here are a few potential reasons:
1) The magazines want to cover equipment that is broadly available to their readers. Big-name gear can be bought anywhere; small-company gear is tough to come by.
2) Readers want to read about the stuff they’ve heard of before; most people, sad to say, are drawn to the familiar and are wary of new stuff.
3) Big-name companies are HUGE advertisers in these magazines. Reviews that simply regurgitate the information in the ads help reinforce the message, and this is good business for the OEMs, which is in turn good business for the magazines.
Call me cynical, but my intuition is that Number 3 is the major reason for the big-name bias. I mean, come on. How much more does one really need to know about the Odyssey Two-Ball putter? And really, have we not seen the Nike Ignite enough to have decided to either give it a try or not?
The fun part about my job as Equipment Editor for TravelGolf.com is trying out equipment from small, even brand-new companies. Some of these little guys won’t last two years, no matter how good their equipment is. Others, like KZG or SMT will succeed on a diet of outstanding products and sheer hard work and determination.
I may be wrong, but I believe that golfers are interested in clubs may actually help them shoot lower scores, irrespective of the name on the clubheads. This is why we’ll take the time to play with and review equipment by even the smallest start-ups like Sho-Me Putters or Eidolon Wedges, both of which not only perfomred admirably for us, but have also won numerous subsequent awards for design and performance.
I’m not saying smaller is always better. But variety is the spice of life, and the odds are stacked enough against the little guy without mainstream media accountants determining the editorial schedule.
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There are some great smaller companies with really cool products like the ones you've already mentioned (including but not limited to: Tour Edge, Nickent, Niclaus, Burrows, Feel, Honma, and Vulcan... to mention a few) that are worthy of a peek. Us smaller guys have the ability to innovate, service, and move in different ways and hopefully succeed with alternate strategys. I invite you to take a look at our website and comment back to me at any time. Thanks for taking the time to read my comment and I look forward to your future articles. Sincerely, Gary Hansberger President Vulcan Golf www.vulcangolf.com