So, if you’re a reader of Green Lantern Golf, you might know that I don’t have a set price for what is considered a “good” set of golf clubs. Maybe that leaves you wondering: how much should I spend on golf clubs? Keep reading to find the real deal!
“So, how much should you spend on golf clubs?”
It’s OK if you don’t know. The thing is, there’s a ton of options. Let’s go over them first.
By the way, other than the first option, these aren’t going to be in any specific order. They’re all viable options.
Option 1: Whatever the Store’s Charging for Off-the-Rack OEM Gear
In my opinion, this is the worst one. Not because the names are bad, or they make bad stuff. Far from it.
Where they lag behind is, golf clubs aren’t “one size fits all”. They’re a lot like suits in that regard. Think of it this way: you walk into a suit store and you get many color and style options, but only three sizes. That’s about how golf/sporting good stores operate.
Without any sales, you’re looking to spend $300+ for a driver alone. If you’re going to spend that much, why wouldn’t you get it fitted?
Let’s back-track a second and list the average cost of each type of brand new OEM club:
- Driver: $400
- Fairway Wood: $200
- Hybrid: $200
- Iron Set: $800
- Wedge: $150
- Putter: $150
Total Cost to you: $1900
It’s a good chunk of change, and that’s being conservative in some areas. When you’re wondering how much to spend on golf clubs, would you want to risk spending that kind of money and wind up with “buyer’s remorse”?
Option 2: Big-Name OEMs From the Clearance Rack
Obviously, these won’t be brand new. They may be “new, other”, or “has shop wear”, or something like that. Depending on the age, you might be looking at up to 50% off from the “brand new” option!
The catch is the same, though. They won’t be fitted, so they won’t offer the same benefits.
Of course, you can have them retrofitted to new specs, but would you end up spending just as much in the long run?
Option 3: Ebay
Ebay has been a wonderful resource center for me. I’ve gotten all kinds of deals, and there are many reputable sellers/stores there.
Craig’s List may be another, but I’ve never bought anything from there.
You’ll also find there are more options. Someone that had their sticks fitted will sell them at those specs. If you know what yours are (which you can find using an online fitting form), you can really home-in on a set that is more in-tune with what you need.
Option 4: Buying From a Local Clubfitter
This is where myself and Green Lantern Golf fall into the mix. The costs for this one can be tricky…
For example, if you come to me and we decide on a component brand, the price can fluctuate. Let’s use an example of stuff that I use, and you can see what I mean:
The “Cost-Effective” Model
- Club Head (driver): $60
- Shaft: $20
- Grip: $2
Cost of parts: $82. This is the “tricky” part I was talking about earlier because everyone has a different definition of what they should charge for labor.
Some triple the cost.
Some add an extra charge (for stuff like electricity, lease; disposable stuff like glue, ferrules, tape, etc.), then triple it.
I won’t speak too much about others, but I do it like this:
Cost of Parts + $25 (the “extras”, like labor and overhead) = Final Cost
This is what I call the A Plan. So we have $82 for parts; we’ll add $25, for a grand total of $107.
There’s a catch, right? To be completely honest, yes; for the A Plan, I determine the specs. If you want to deviate from that, you’d have to switch to either the B Plan or C Plan. See more about that here.
But what if you wanted something more expensive? Well…
- Head (driver): $139
- Shaft: $179
- Grip: $11
Cost of parts: $329. We’ll add another $25, to make it $354. That’s more in-line with the stuff you see in the stores.
You might be thinking “what the hell? Why would I choose one over the other”? Good question!
Again, without speaking for anyone else, I charge you for my services. I sell me, not the clubs.
You may have noticed here that I have Penley shafts specially marked.
While it’d be nice if you bought one or more from me, I’m not offering them for profit margins, and I won’t compromise your happiness to try to shoehorn you into one, especially if it’s outside your budget. If you get one, cool… if you don’t, cool. We’ll find something that works for you, either way!
Whatever components you choose, know this: they will be assembled to the same exacting details and quality.
The $60 head will get you the same as the $139 one, provided it’s been fitted to your swing.
Remember the suit analogy: whether you paid $200 or $2000, you’ll look and feel like a million bucks if it’s been fitted to your frame.
If you think I’m a little biased towards Option 4, I gotta admit that that’s true.
Of course, I’d like you to come to me, with a brand-new order, for gear that you don’t really get to see on TV. What’s more, you’ll still be able to hit longer, straighter shots!
That’s kinda my thing. But it isn’t my only thing.
It’s called “Retrofitting”.
If you find a club or set of clubs on Ebay for a good price, but they don’t feel quite right, I can alter their specs to something that is. That’s what retrofitting is. Kinda like taking that old suit to a tailor and having it taken in because you worked really hard at losing some weight.
Yeah, I like the suit and car analogies.
What to Spend
Let’s get down to it: when you’re wondering how much to spend on clubs, there’s really no definitive answer.
Bare minimum, for one driver, it could be $50 (older models off of Ebay), all the way up to $1000+ (hard-to-find Japanese models).
If someone tells you that you have to spend X amount of dollars on a club to get the most out of it, find someone else to buy from.
Iron sets have the biggest variance, from my research. Some older (but still good) sets can go for around $90 on Ebay. Many of the forged Japanese models can be well over $2000.
When You’re Looking to Buy, Have a Plan of Attack
It’s honestly no different than buying a house, car, or washing machine.
Not many people can just go up to a car and say “yup, that’s the one!” without doing some form of research beforehand. There’s a company (CarFax) that’s designed just for this!
While it seems the push in golf clubs is to make them “impulse buys”, similar to buying ice cream or t-shirts, they’re not. They may not cost as much as a car (sometimes it feels like it can be, though…), but you still need to do some shopping around.
That’s why I created this infographic:
The biggest thing is to create a budget and stick to it. If you’d like more info, you can always hit me up on my email. Here’s a link to my contact page.
Here's a quote from Barney Adams, via Golf WRX:
(V)irtually all the equipment ads promise, or imply more distance. Why you ask? Distance sells equipment to the 1-9+ handicappers, all else follows. Maybe not the elite player, but as a market percentage they fit in a closet, the ones who don’t already get free stuff. So are the companies lying in their ads? The answer is no (well, sort of).
Since sometime after 2005 or so, the major companies were maxed out on distance, defined as a good hit going down the fairway. It doesn’t mean that for your particular swing you can’t find something that will be a bit easier to hit, or even pick up a little distance. One of the great boons to club makers is that we are not machines, our swings are like fingerprints, our very own. I’m not trying to be political here, this is the club market I’ve known for many years. But compared to real technology like, for example cell phones, golf clubs are static and that’s just the way the USGA and R&A want it.
Interested in a custom club fitting? Read 13 questions to ask your club fitter!
In a nutshell, there's no one right way to purchase golf gear. How much you should spend on golf clubs is an entirely personal question. Do what's best for you... not what the TV tells you, or what your friends tell you, or what Golf Pro Joe tells you.
My only plea is that you get whatever you decide on fitted; that'll do more for you than anything else.