Nick Sherburne’s role is to oversee the hiring and training of fitters and builders for Club Champion, as well as to help in vendor management, including the selection and procurement of demo inventory. Nick has two decades of experience in the custom-fitting industry. While still in school, he began his career at EJL Custom Golf, the predecessor to Club Champion. He quickly climbed the ranks at EJL, becoming a partner, prior to helping co-found Club Champion.
THE SHERBURNE STORY —
I got started in this business when I was 16, so it is all I know. My passion for club fitting and building blossomed out of the need to have my equipment fit me and perform better. I like working with my hands and the personal interaction and education of the golfer during a club fitting. Early on, club fitting became my holy-grail quest to help golfers shoot lower scores and enjoy the game more. I’m a questions guy. I always question everything and golf had been an industry that needed to be questioned. I explored the golf equipment industry and tried to solve the issue of how to enjoy playing the game more. Over the years, I have found so many ways equipment tweaks have helped me score better and I want to share them with everybody.
What was the genesis for Club Champion Golf?
Club Champion was born from my first company EJL Custom Golf which was very similar to Club Champion, but more mom and pop. After meeting Joe Lee (CEO) and Keith Bank (Chairmen) playing golf we realized I may have a concept that could help golfers everywhere. So they bought in the business and helped fund, run, and grow the business with me. We renamed the company from EJL to Club Champion Golf. We still all three run and grow the company and believe club fitting is the only way to buy a club.
How does Club Champion Golf separate itself from your competition?
Through four key areas. First, all of our bays utilize the latest TrackMaan radar technology. We also have a Science and Motion (SAM) PuttLab that measures 28 data points of your putting stroke. Second, we have over 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations including 200 different wood shafts, 200 iron shafts, different lengths, flexes weights and profiles with all the major head manufacturers as well. Third, our build shop is state-of-the-art. Allowing us to build whatever the fitter needs to make the best performance for our clients. The perfect fitting translates into improved results on the course. Finally, we recruit the best people in golf. We train them for one month at our headquarters. We give our fitters all the tools needed to deliver a Tour quality fitting with a first class experience.
Describe who your core customer is today?
Our core customer is any player, no matter gender, age, or ability, who wants to get better at the game.
Plenty of companies tout customer service — define the term and how Club Champion Golf assures customers of its daily application?
Club Champion has nearly a 100% customer satisfaction rate. Taking care of the customer is paramount. We hire the most highly skilled fitters to walk customers through the best possible club fitting. When a customer schedules a fitting with Club Champion, we work with them until they are completely satisfied. If a customer decides to purchase clubs from us, we update them on their order status until their clubs are delivered. After a few weeks, we follow up with them so they are completely satisfied with the purchase. Even if a customer doesn’t purchase clubs from us, we like to follow up and make sure they received everything they wanted from their fitting.
How much time does it take for a golfer to be properly fitted?
It depends on the fitting. A putter fitting takes around an hour. An individual fit, like a driver or irons, takes about 1.5 hours. A full bag fitting can take up to 3.5 hours. The true answer is that we will spend as much time as it takes to satisfy the customer and get the perfect numbers.
You provide a range of fitting services — which one is the most popular?
Full bag club fitting is the most popular service we offer. It is also our best value.
What’s the existing breakdown between men and women using your services?
92% men and 8% women. The percentage of female customers grows every year. We are really trying to get more women into our stores by partnering with organizations such as the LPGA to grow awareness.
What type of follow-ups are done once the fitting is completed?
If a customer places a club order with us, we send email updates on how their clubs are flowing through production during their 10-business day turnaround. We also send them a thank you note and surveys. Once they get the product, we allow the player three weeks to play with the product and then reach out to see how the clubs are performing. If the client decides not to buy, we still send a thank you note and survey and then 48 hours after the fit, we will reach back out to make sure all questions were answered and they were happy with their experience
If you could change one thing in golf — what would it be and why?
It would be the idea that there is only one way and that the status quo must be correct. Golf lacks many standards in the way components are measured. This adds confusion for the golfer. It also makes a good teacher or good fitter’s job much harder because they have to break down the golfers pre-conceived notions based on bad information or just broad information.
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA — are all seeking ways to attract new players to the game. If you were counseling them, what would you advise be done?
Promote education and fun. As demonstrated by the huge growth Club Champion has had, we’ve shown how education can change a person’s perception and value of the game of golf. I also think Top Golf and their rise in popularity, all the way to a TV show, demonstrates how making the game fun can really help grow the game to the next level.