REVIEW: Short Par 4
Short Par 4 is a golf apparel subscription business launched in 2014 by, Bobby Dimeo, a graduate of the Golf Academy of America, and founder of the former Caddie Connection. There are a variety of golf subscription services available that vary widely in what they provide, the purpose they serve, and perceived customer value or return on investment. Most golf subscription services share a similar concept, a box with “golf stuff” is shipped to your home on a designated frequency schedule. It’s like unwrapping a Christmas gift. You’re not sure what will be inside, or if you’ll even want it. At times, the anticipation of the box can be more exciting than the box itself.
Instead of displaying the unwrapped contents in front of your family with a forced smile, subscribers take to golf equipment forums or social media to share their excitement or displeasure without reservation. Some threaten to cancel if the next box isn’t desirable. Some appreciate what’s inside even though they wouldn’t have picked the item for themselves and game it. The reality becomes that it’s really hard to give up that special someone that sends you something on a schedule, even if you have to pay for the friendship.
If you are a serious golfer, you’ve all had the family member that has labeled you a “big golfer” and tries their hardest to get you something “golf” for your birthday. They fail 100% of the time. Short Par 4 is like that girlfriend that asks your friends what you really want as a gift. Although Short Par 4 boxes can contain equipment or golf gear, the focus of the subscription is golf apparel.
The Fairway Membership is $50 a month and the most popular membership category. Although the wording has since been removed from their website, subscribers can expect that for $50 a month, they’ll usually receive at least $100 worth of merchandise. It’s billed as “the most bang for your buck.” and is for the value-based consumer. Apparel in the Fairway membership is from brands you would see at big box golf retailers and include, Callaway, Oakley, Under Armor, Puma, etc.
In my Fairway box, I received a Callaway short sleeved wind jacket ($75), Oxford pants ($99), two hats (estimated at $20/each) and a Short Par 4 glove (estimated at $10). In total, the assumed value of this box was $224. Not bad at all.
The Tour Experience
The Tour experience is $125 a month and is currently branded with PGA Tour player, Rickie Fowler. As such, most of the items subscribers will receive will be from the brands that sponsor Fowler such as Cobra and Puma. Additionally, subscribers have received signed memorabilia, and special edition products not readily available at retail. Some of the Puma apparel that has been included in the Tour Experience boxes are just as Fowler would wear them, embroidered with his sponsors such as Farmers Insurance, and Grant Thornton. Apparel that may never be available to the average Puma Consumer. The caveat, you won’t get any of the sponsorship dollars that Fowler will receive. The box you receive and its packaging is a little more on the experiential side as well.
In this Tour Experience box, the Puma Apparel is valued at $155 however, the Fowler sponsorship logos aren’t something that is readily available at retail. The Stitch Golf Arnold Palmer putter cover is $72, and the 2UNDRs are $32. The total value of this Tour Experience box is $259.
NEW: The Magnolia Membership
Why I Like Short Par 4
Yes, I write about golf apparel. No, I don’t like to shop. In fact, I have never met another male that has told me they enjoy shopping for clothes, or even golf apparel. In fact, I dread it. I don’t like to try things on, I buy everything online and continually roll the dice on fit. Rarely will I return apparel. If a shirt is too small, I save it for the winter and wear it under a quarter zip. If it’s too large, I tuck it in tighter and make it work. Yes, I like quality pieces and apparel, I just don’t like spending much time on the process of procuring it.
A Short Par 4 subscription does just that. It removes the hassle of thought from continuing to update your golf apparel wardrobe. You might get some things you didn’t know you needed, or wouldn’t normally purchase for yourself. It adds continual and ongoing variety to your apparel from styling, fit, and colors. You might end up loving selections you would never have purchased for yourself.
In my conversation with Short Par 4, I was shocked to learn that apparel contained in the boxes isn’t from prior year deliveries, or items you’d find on the clearance rack. They are updated and current year pieces from each brand. Short Par 4 leverages their buying power. When they approach an apparel brand, they aren’t a country club pros shop with a 300-person membership base. They are a subscriber service with thousands of members, but purchase apparel in the same manner that a country club would. The quantities ordered are where Short Par 4 members realize the discount and value.
In both the Fairway and Executive membership categories, subscribers can choose between Athletic, Loud, or Conservative styles and colorways. Short Par 4 designs the boxes each month for the membership. It isn’t selections that brands are looking to dump, the items are selected and purchased for each specific category of box, each and every month. They even have some of their own branded apparel which, by most accounts, have received really positive reviews. The process is thought out and designed each month for the membership rather than a box of discounted goods.
The blatantly obvious aspect of Short Par 4 that I like is quite simply, it’s fun. For $50 a month, you’re not breaking the bank and most people exceed that number in trips to Starbucks alone. Every month you can expect a box of golf apparel valued at twice what you actually paid. If you love the game, how can that not be an enjoyable process? I will guarantee this, you’re not going to like everything, the fit won’t always be perfect, it may not be something you do for years to come. But I’ll tell you what, right now, it sure is fun anticipating that box every month.
If you absolutely hate everything that came in the box, you can return it to Short Par 4 for $10 (free for Executive and Tour Experience members). The merchandise you return will refunded back to you in the form of a gift card, or account credit. Short Par 4 also allows you to place your membership on hold if you don’t want items during the winter months or if finances need to be reallocated for a period of time. There is no contract, you can terminate the subscription at any time.