Genius or insanity? TaylorMade’s bold attempt to change the way you buy equipment

TaylorMade has created a new club-buying program, The Turn, which offers golfers a radically different way to fill their bags.

Since the beginning of the game, golfers have purchased clubs essentially the same way: Find a club you want, pony up the cash, the club is yours. TaylorMade, however, is envisioning a different model…one more similar to the way most people buy cell phones.

Instead of a one-time payment, TaylorMade wants to essentially offer golfers financing. Instead of shelling out $500 up front for the new M1, buyers will make a monthly payment of $33 over 18 or 30-months, after credit approval.

But it’s not just about the option to make monthly payments for your new weapon. After 12 or 24 months, and assuming your club is in good condition, you can merely trade it in for the latest model. In this case, the M3, or whatever the successor to the M2 is.

Vice president direct to consumer & digital, John Gonsalves said:

“Golf is very much an aspirational sport, and people want to be in the latest and greatest, and want to keep up with technology. And we want to be able to facilitate that. Certainly selling prices are up, but sales have been down and to get golfers to continue to keep pace with technology in a way that’s affordable and reasonable to the golfer is really a best-case scenario for the golfer and for us.”

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Of course, traditional retailers are none too happy about the installment-plan payment program, as it cuts them out of the equation. Among the many questions surrounding The Turn: Will consumers care that their local golf shop (few that they are) isn’t getting a cut?

With the average consumer buying a new driver every 4.2 years, according to Golf Datatech, TaylorMade is right to try something to boost new equipment purchases.

Of course, you’ll eventually end up paying a bit more money—$95 more in the M2 example. However, the TMag has set the interest rate at 10 percent, so you’ll be saving money against the >15 percent APR at credit cards. Also a negative: Just like when you lease a car, the club has no trade-in value toward the next purchase.

TaylorMade is offering the 2017 M1 and M2 drivers, M1 and M2 irons and the P770 and P750 irons through The Turn presently:

Whether this turns out to be a gimmick or fundamentally alters the way golfers buy clubs remains to be seen. But in an environment of dwindling sales, any attempt to do something different must be lauded.

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