I couldn’t help my self lol.
Ok, I will preface this by saying I adore the MGS crew. Adam, Tony, Nickel, etc. Great guys with a ton of passion for the game. Played golf with them at events and consider them friends. I have been an MGS user for years as I feel their niche is analyzing equipment from a very micro level. What they do takes time, money, hours, and a s$$t load of passion. Essentially they are the Kelly Blue Book of the golf industry. That’s great for the game. HOWEVER, like anything else, the information they provide is ONLY to inform you on your journey to the perfect equipment. That’s it. The Hackers Paradise, GolfWRX are no different. None of what they say or I say is gospel, it’s up to you the golfer to take that info and use it responsibly. Sounds like anything else in life right?
This post (and the one like it a year or two ago) while on its face has a credible message which is, focus on your own clubs and not Phil’s is attempting to minimize a touchpoint in golf that inspires conversation and connectivity. There is no harm in getting to know what’s in a Tour Players bag. ZERO. The grand majority of golf content consumers enjoy WITB posts, and it’s not as a buyer, it’s as a golf fan. Working at GolfWRX for 3 years I saw it first hand. It’s a vital part of that sight. Why? Well in many cases, questions around WITB posts create pathways to talk about fitting, golf club R&D, and why certain players respond to certain components.
To suggest that golfers are too naive to understand that Jon Rahm’s WITB may not work for them is ludicrous. Yes, there are gear heads out there that like to roll like that but we are talking a VERY few.
Knowing the MGS crew like a do, I understand why these posts find the surface… to inspire conversation and engagement pure and simple. Clickbait? No. Do they know exactly what they are doing? Yes. Could it have been presented in a less polarizing way? Yes. Does MSG like to stir it up? Yes. And that’s why I like the site. Even after posts like this.
It’s true, WITB posts after a player win’s a tournament get a RIDICULOUS amount of attention. Trust me I’ve seen it go down at WRX probably 1000 times. I love that it does. It’s interesting to know what Jon Rahm won the US Open with. It’s interesting to know why Xander would switch from one ball to another. Does it inspire the whole of the golf community to go and try and play the same stuff? NO. There are some fools out there (Like me) that have done it but I enjoy it and it’s a free country.
I can say this in earnest as I was that guy that mirrored my bags to my favorite players regardless of whether the clubs were right for me. That’s how I exercised my Golf fan. I always felt like hitting the same gear as my favorite player helped me understand them a bit more. I remember a David Toms obsession I had that that led me into discovering the 5-wood in 2002. It actually helped my game.
I knew players’ bags up and down and when I would see them in the hunt I could understand them in a more nuanced way. Do you know the funny thing? The more I understood why the best players in the world put clubs in the bag, the better I was at analyzing my own game. The big message I got? That Phil’s clubs work for him and I could find a set that worked for me. Sure I would mindlessly try to replicate a Phil or Tiger set on occasion. I have the eBay transactions to prove it. It was fun. Does it make me a fool? Maybe, but I loved every minute of it. That was a part of the game that made it even more enjoyable and it was my way in. Some people do it with throwback clubs, I did it with Tour equipment. The way I am puts me in a VERY small group of people, VERY small. MGS speaks to millions every month and this post puts a very broad stroke on a “thing” that only involves .0000000001 of their users.
So to respond back to MGS I’d say, WITB content is part of the fan experience that does not have the effect that this post suggests. Golfers love talking gear. WITB content whether it’s Tour or your weekend warrior is a passion piece of this game that I hope only grows.
Check the comment section, it’s quite the read. WITB articles are a way to drive engagement (IE Conversation, awareness, and eyeballs) but it’s also super fu$$king INTERESTING. Every sport has it in its own version and granted golf is different as you can buy and hit what the pros play, it’s still a part of the game that piques curiosity and continues to be a potential entry point for new players. The major websites that offer WITB content aren’t acting irresponsibly or hurting anyone’s games. If anything they are adding one more layer of information for golf fans to consume. A good layer at that.
I found it quite fascinating that during this year’s PGA and US Open, the equipment stories sat front and center with the player’s performance. Phil’s broken clubs and Rahm’s putter. All that does is grow the game and shed even more awareness on the equipment industry that employs THOUSANDS of people.
I can thank WITB for my way into to not only the game but my now almost 3 1/2 career in the Golf industry. You wanna know how I got obsessed with Golf? Reading Nick Price’s WITB in an issue of Golf Digest in 1994…Thank You.
Nonetheless, MGS is FANTASTIC and although I disagree with this take, the respect to my friends stays firm in hand.