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Larson Column: Upon further review, it's a net loss for golfers

Recreational golfers get serious cabin fever this time of year. The weather's cold and windy and the snow is piling up. To make things worse, the PGA season is back underway and TV screens are full of pros playing in short sleeves on lush, green ...

Recreational golfers get serious cabin fever this time of year. The weather's cold and windy and the snow is piling up. To make things worse, the PGA season is back underway and TV screens are full of pros playing in short sleeves on lush, green courses in warm, sunny climes.

To blunt the mid-winter, no-golf blues, I checked into buying a golf net. I briefly considered a portable golf simulator but then I saw the price tags and realized I'd have to sell everything I own-including my golf clubs-just to afford a downpayment. I also have nowhere suitable to use a simulator (my landlords kind of like their ceiling light fixtures and windows).

So a golf net it is. At least I could chip some balls into it off a chunk of old carpet in the basement.

I've been looking at them online for weeks. Still haven't bought one. Why? Customer reviews.

You'd think a couple hundred reviews from people who used the product would help the decision-making process. Nope: they paralyze it. For example:

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For almost every gushing appraisal ...

5-Stars: This golf net changed my life. From the first time I used it, I've lost weight, my hair is growing back and I got a promotion at work. I'm leaving the golf net to my heirs in my will. And no, I absolutely do not work for the golf net company.

... there's one claiming the product destroyed their lives.

1 Star: Was happily married with 2.5 perfect kids and a perfect dog ... then the golf net arrived. Now divorced, been shunned by the kids, dog ate my golf spikes, living off a hotplate and sleeping in the cart shed at the local muni. I do not recommend this product.

There are the unrealistic expectations reviews ...

0.5-Stars: With a few days off work because of the category 5 hurricane, I decided to hit some balls into the net in the backyard. After just one shot, the wind somehow whipped the golf net off the ground and smashed it into a tree. Frame was crumpled, the net got torn and seller refused my refund. Piece of junk.

... or ...

1-Star: The $49.99 price was right but after 10 shots into the golf net, I was still a 30 handicap and not one PGA Tour sponsor had contacted me about endorsement opportunities. Very disappointed in this product.

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Then there are the 2,000-word, where-is-this-going reviews ...

3-Stars: My great grandparents immigrated in the mid-1800s, fleeing famine and political strife. They had 10 kids, half of whom perished before age 5 from disease and malnutrition. The family escaped the rat-infested, fetid city tenements for the barren rural landscape, living in an abandoned chicken coop and subsisting on moss and river water. So when it comes to golf nets, I know what I'm talking about ... More

The golf net purchase is still on hold, my brain hurts, and I'm considering taking up a year-round, indoor hobby. Like pull tabs.

Related Topics: GOLF
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