The Similarity Between Golf Clubs and Cars

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Let’s compare the auto market to the golf club market.

You’d think they aren’t the same, and you’d be kinda right… but there’s enough similarity between golf clubs and cars that we can make an honest comparison.

Similarity Between Golf Clubs and Cars

Can you make a comparison to golf clubs and cars? You bet!

You can buy a used car in any condition and keep it for years- if you take care of it.  Golf clubs are no different.  So what if you bought a component brand or used club for $200 less than a new OEM model?  If you take care of it, it’ll last a long time.

Cars have come farther, technologically-speaking, than golf clubs will ever get– the USGA and R&A see to that.  Honestly, though, let’s look at a rundown of certain things about clubs and cars:

  • Cars: whether you bought a brand new car or a used car, you’re limited as to how fast you can drive it.
  • Golf Clubs: whether you bought a brand new driver or a used driver, you’re limited on how far you can hit it.

Speed limits govern how fast your car can go.

So what if the new car has a limit of 120mph and the used has a limit of 110?  If you’re following the Rules of the Road, you’ll never get that high on the speedometer.  55 mph is 55mph, regardless if you bought a 2005 model or a 2016 model.

Equipment limits govern how far you can drive the ball.

The good news here is, unless you’re using a driver from before 1998*, you’ll have the max Coefficient of Restitution (“springlike effect”) allowed by the USGA and R&A.  If all you plan on doing is buying a new driver, don’t be surprised if your gains are limited- or even noticeable.

A properly fit driver, a workout regimen and lessons will help you find more distance- regardless if you bought a 2005 model or a 2016 model.

* – Even then, most golfers will be hard-pressed to still notice a difference.  The slower you swing, the less COR helps you.

Are you really driving- the club or the car?

Speaking of cars: if you found a used car and were happy with it (the mileage, condition, etc.), what would you consider your state of being to be?

What I mean is, are you “driving”?  Are you not getting from Point A to Point B?  Or, are you not “driving”?  Are you only driving if you’re in a brand new car?

It’s absurd to think that, yet that’s what the OEMs and their bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces in the mainstream golf media want you to think.  What with their “hot” lists and club “tests”.

If they actually test stuff, where’s the data?  I’ve tried asking for it in the past, but never got to see it.  If it was as awesome as they’d have you believe, you’d think they’d post it for all to see- not say things like “looks like a thumb” (about the Ping G20 hybrid), or the (unsurprisingly) unquantifiable BS about “feel”.

Notice that they won’t do a comparison between a current club and one from two to three years ago, or an “OEM v. Clone” test?  I wonder why… lol.

Most of us are catching on, though.  We know that we can still golf in its truest form- even if we’re using persimmon woods and an old Bullseye-styled putter.

Is there a market for brand new clubs?  Absolutely, and there will always be people to fill it.  But the used market, components, and clones all have their place, as well.

That’s really the nature of things.  It doesn’t matter if we’re talking golf clubs, cars, washing machines, or any other physical product.  Here’s another absurd question: are you fully dressed if you bought your stuff used from Goodwill or the Salvation Army as opposed to brand new at Aeropostale or Banana Republic?

Another Similarity Between Golf Clubs and Cars: There Really Is Room For Both

There’s a middle ground somewhere, where the new and used markets can coexist.  The new car market hasn’t died; in fact, it’s actually up $22M in total sales ($90M in 2015) compared to when it bottomed out at $66M in 2009, per OICA.

New golf clubs won’t die, either.  Golf will adjust, transform.  We’re already seeing it- just ask Nike about it.  It’s not like this is new, either… Strata, Ram and Top-Flite used to be major players in the equipment game.  Now, they’re footnotes.

Going back to the car idea- remember Saturn and Saab?  They’re no longer in business.  It happens.  It’s really shitty for the 9-5ers that go in and give it their all to make it work, but stuff like this happens.

While the names and faces change, the game itself has survived for 500+ years.

Where Do You See This Going?

I’d like to see more honesty in golf advertising.  This includes the spiel coming from the aforementioned “talking heads” in mainstream golf media.  They’re using their platform to play on your ego, to make you feel as if you’re somehow missing out on something because you found an old Aeroburner on Ebay for $100..

The used and new car markets can live in peace, so can the new and used golf club markets.

Are there any changes you’d like to see in the equipment side of golf?  Actual testing?  Honesty in advertising?  Something else?  Let me know in the comments!

About the Author

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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