****: Is it a massive con?
I used to like ****, but over recent years have started to think it's a massive con and the stuff they tout is just a front for selling clubs and making $$$.
There are many reasons for this, but primarily their claimed ethos about being "purely about the players" doesn't resonate with reality. They go to great lengths to distinguish their 'oh so holy' selves from 'evil money making' equipment retailers and shame them for false promises of distance etc each year and claim to cut through that.
The reality is to me that they are really no different.
Here are the facts
**Every year they hype up a driver test. **
They create just as much (if not more) hype around new drivers as any manufacturer. They test them and then tout the longest and best and supply ample affiliate links to urge readers to buy them. This puts them in the business of selling clubs, no matter what they say. They are on the same marketing train as the manufacturers. Create Hype > Create Sales. It's as simple as that.
They do it every year. New year = new hype = new affiliate links.
They won't test old vs new
This is the biggest red flag for me. Have you ever wondered why they don't compare previous drivers with new drivers? It's the most frequently asked question on the **** comment pages. Surely if being "all about the player" and "cutting through industry BS" was true, doing this test would be one of the first things they would do becasue it would show consumers how much of the manufactuers claims are true - it would show whether TaylorMade's claim of "this is out longest driver yet" is true, or if Ping's claim of "this is out most forgiving driver EVER" is true; but despite requests and how easy it would be, and how industry shattering it would be, they have never done it, and I doubt they never will.
Why? Because it would probably show year on year that the reality is that there is no difference in driver heads and this would mean no no affiliate sales to make. After all, if they tested the last 5 years of drivers and a 2015 TaylorMade driver ended up on top - how are they going to make affiliate money from that? They can't because each year the shelves are cleared from previous years models for new models.
It's the same with their paid-for online fitting service TrueFit - they actually REMOVE previous years drivers from their database!! Why on earth would they do that if it was "all about the player" - it gives customers less data and fewer clubs for players to possibly be fit into. It makes no sense whatsoever.
Reason? Because again they can't create affiliate sales by recommending previous releases that are no-longer in stores for sale.
So it seems to me that **** are simply part of the hype machine, they are generating hype for the manufacturers, they are actively promoting new drivers, putters and irons each year as "the best" the "most longest" and they are generating revenue via sales.
The fact is they are involved in the promotion and sale of golf clubs, that is undeniable - but you cannot do that and also claim to be only about the player or about bringing truth to the industry, there is an obviously clash of interests at play.