Mitchell Golf Equipment’s New Program Found LackingOn October 1, 2006, Mitchell Golf Equipment Company, the clubbuilding industry's largest supplier of club building equipment, announced their Mitchell Partners Program. The company predicts that this will become the largest network of clubbuilders in the country. Although well-intentioned, this appears to me to be just a thinly veiled attempt to extract money from clubbuilders.
According to the terms of the program, if a clubbuilder pays $500 to sign up, he/she will receive a couple of window decals, a wall plaque and an in-store banner. Oh, and don't forget the 10% discount on Mitchell equipment (training classes excluded).
Oh the surface this might sound nice, but you already have to have made an investment in at least two Mitchell machines to bend irons & putters as well as a shaft frequency analysis machine.
If I were a clubbuilder, I can't figure out why I'd want to do this. I can go to Golfsmith's Golf Clubmakers of America (GCA), the Professional Clubbuilders' Society (PCS) or even to Mitchell Golf School and get training in clubbuilding. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out how to use a Mitchell piece of equipment. So what's in it for the clubbuilder?
I'm guessing that Mitchell is hoping to persuade a few hundred independent shops to pony up $500 (that's $100K with just 200 participants) to get a few signs, a couple of decals and permission to use the Mitchell logo. This isn't going to help a clubbuilder struggling to attract business. A customer doesn't care if their clubs are bent with a Mitchell shaft bender or in a simple vice. What they do care about the skill of the clubbuilder.
A better use of this $500 investment would be to help the independent shop with some new innovative ideas instead of just trying to get more of their money. Maybe Mitchell should consider offering some Marketing 101 or Customer Service 101 training. Perhaps a tutorial to help shops take advantage of new technology like the Internet, blogs or video podcasts. Even offering a class called "E-Mailing Golfers for Fun & Profit" would be more useful than a 10% equipment discount on stuff clubbuilders are already buying.
I fear that with the announcement of 2nd Swing's liquidation, True Temper's weak sales, Hireko's acquisition of Dynacraft and the endless malaise in the golf equipment industry, this program isn’t going to bring anything new to the table.