Saturday, August 04, 2007

Rankmark good for only one golfer--the guy who owns Rankmark

When I first started paying attention to all-things-golf, I stumbled upon a website called Rankmark. It's a site where clubs are "tested" for usability by golfers of differing handicaps. The site was created by Charlie Mandel, and the concept of the site was simple: have three groups of golfers from three handicap ranges (0-9, 10-20, 21+) test clubs. Then publish which clubs are best for which handicap ranges. I was sold on the site's credibility because clubs from major manufacturers as well as smaller component club companies were tested, which meant that Charlie's integrity hadn't been bought by big club companies. True, the majors' clubs usually garnered the highest ratings, but that's not controversial--they make good clubs. But then something odd began happening. Instead of rating the clubs, as he always had, in first, second and third place, Charlie started having ratings where every club tested tied for either first, second, or third place. There were no losers. It gets worse. At present, Charlie's testing involves head-to-head "match play," where clubs are paired-off and evaluated against each other, and after several rounds, a winner declared. As dubious as his testing methodology was way back when he started, his testing now is nothing more than pure entertainment. This truth is borne out by the fact that on his site's home page, he has a link (for prospective advertisers, no doubt), of site-traffic. I've got no beef with a guy who has an interest in golf and wants to make a web buck off that interest, but for Charlie to claim he's giving golfers empirical data to base a club purchase on is highly dubious.

In the end, the only golf "test" that really matters is you, the golfer, swinging the club yourself. Neither a "Hotlist" nor Rankmark can substitute for that.


Anonymous said...

That may have been true before, but it's not anymore! Check out the new site, I think your opinion will change. They also have no manufactures ads either...

Anonymous said...

I cannot comment on what has happened in the past, but as one of the new owners of Rankmark, I can tell you that we have made a number of changes since we bought the company in 2008.

For instance, we have added 20 new test categories in order to provide better information for high and low handicaps as well as women and seniors. In fact, we are championing changes in how women's clubs are manufactured and marketed (please see for more info).

As for the results, I regularly talk to major manufacturers whose clubs do not place in ANY category. In essence, the testers did not like their club(s). We have no problem telling manufacturers that their club did not rank, or ranked in a category that the manufacturer does not believe is of importance to their brand.

Yet, we have excellent relationships with a laundry list of golf club manufacturers both in the US and abroad.

We have also removed all club manufacturers advertising from the site. In difficult economic times we have left money on the table, but we felt that it was the right thing to do for the company.

I am happy to answer any questions or comments regarding Rankmark, the testing process and the recent changes we have made to the site.

I encourage you to give Rankmark a second look.

Paul McCormack
COO / Owner
404 825 1040