Golf Digest awards Austad’s top fitting honor

Feb. 25, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Austad’s Golf.

You’ve heard the narrative: Golf is hard, frustrating and time consuming. Courses are closing and “Tiger mania” has long since worn off. The sport, at least as of 10 years ago, was searching for its next revolution to invigorate the masses the way metal clubs, titanium heads, graphite shafts and movable weights once did. Enter the world of custom fitting.

“Changes in technology and the way golf clubs are manufactured into components have completely changed the way people experience and buy golf clubs” said Ryan Austad, president of Austad’s Golf.

“Our entire business has changed over the past five years.”

Austad’s appears to be on to something as the company recently had all of its locations honored by Golf Digest as a Top 100 Fitter in the United States.

“It’s a huge honor,” Austad said.

“We hear golfers say the sport is hard and frustrating. We know we can help. Our approach is relatively simple: Combine the world’s best master fitters with cutting-edge technology while providing an experience that golfers truly enjoy. It is pretty neat to think our little Midwest company runs about 10 percent of the best fitting outlets in the country; you don’t have to go to L.A., Chicago or New York to be fit like a tour pro.”

While trying golf clubs has always been part of Austad’s model, the approach has changed considerably over the past five years, Austad said:

  • Hiring: We now look to hire people who are less sales-oriented and more of a teacher/consultant. Our best fitters are educators with the ability to take large amounts of data and turn it into meaningful insights for someone’s golf game.
  • Development: Our fitters each go through a rigorous education process filled with test work. They don’t fit until we are confident they can provide real value to golfers. We fly our fitters all over the country every year to get trained by the same professionals that fit the likes of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickleson.
  • Technology: Austad’s has outfitted every store with state-of-the-art fitting technology from Foresight Sports, the leading software for indoor golf fittings. The software provides the data needed to build a golf club that will actually help a golfer play better golf. It also creates a fun and engaging retail experience where golfers can play what amounts to a big golf video game while being fit for their new clubs.
  • The experience: Fitters quickly become trusted advisers as results are displayed on-screen. “As we build and tweak clubs, customers can transparently see the impact it is making on distance, ball speed, accuracy, spin rates, dispersion and more. Gone are the days where you’d hear “How does that feel? Do you want to buy it?” Today’s fitting process transparently shows the performance of various clubs built to different specifications. We can build clubs with 20,000 different fitting options — modifications to the grip, shaft material, shaft stiffness, kick point, lie angle, length and weighting all impact ball flight. “Finding the magic mix for each golfer is what drives our master fitters.”

Golf Digest took notice, analyzing every part of Austad’s process.

“They look at how many fitting appointments you book, the number of fitting studios offered, the technology used to fit, the education provided to fitters, the ability to build/modify clubs, the ability to service those clubs post-sale,” Austad said.

“It all adds up to an experience people enjoy and golf equipment that allows you to play more consistent golf.”

While being a Golf Digest Top 100 Fitter is an honor, Austad’s won’t rest on that distinction.

The business closely tracks customer feedback. An online survey is sent within 24 hours of every custom-fitting appointment.

“This feedback is vital for our fitters. The company average has risen steadily over the past three years, and I expect that to continue. The scores are world-class, but we can always improve,” Austad said. “Every morning, our fitters read the feedback from the prior day’s appointments, learning from what worked and strategizing on what could be improved.”

According to Drew Anderson, a local golfer, the fitting has paid dividends for his game.

“I was encouraged to bring my current club in for my fitting appointment. I quickly saw the new Ping gave me about 12 additional yards of carry and a straighter ball flight,” he said. “Matt was my master fitter who did a great job making recommendations to get me the most distance possible. I’ve since gone back to be fit for the Ping hybrid, which is now my go-to club.”

“At the end of the day, Austad’s is simply here to help golfers enjoy themselves more on the course,” Austad said.

“It’s fun to see people of all abilities and ages playing better golf. We will continue to push the fitting envelope to ensure the golfers in this area have the best fitters at their disposal,” he said.

“The sport is in the midst of its next seismic shift, and Austad’s is eager to lead the way.”

You can book your fitting by clicking here. 

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Golf Digest awards Austad’s top fitting honor

“You don’t have to go to L.A., Chicago or New York to be fit like a tour pro.” Congratulations to Austad’s Golf on this big honor from Golf Digest!

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