Component Golf Clubs, or, Is There Life Outside of Name Brands?

Component Golf Clubs, or, Is There Life Outside of Name Brands? 1

I talked about clone golf clubs as an affordable option in another post.  Today, I’m going to discuss another option: component golf clubs.

Component golf clubs are not copies of another model; they are an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) design, much like the name brands.

Let’s get something out of the way, first: there are times when a component brand does look similar to a name brand.  For example:

For example:

Taylormade driver
Taylormade driver
xktitanium1_1
Acer XK driver

Kind of similar, with the triangular shape, right?  Now, consider  this:

Cobra Forged Iron
Cobra Forged Iron
Mizuno Forged Iron
Mizuno Forged Iron

Note the similar shape, triangular “muscle” and ever-so-slight cavity back.  Again, pretty similar, right?  I’m not even going to go into all the putter and wedge “idea sharing” <cough Newport vs. Anser cough>…  But that’s what it is- idea sharing, similar to what Pinemeadow Golf talked about with SUVs.

Every facet of manufacturing has similar practices, from cars to golf clubs and everything in-between.

Looking for help buying a driver?  Check out this Ultimate Guide!

The Psychology of Golf Spending

There’s a sort of phenomenon that happens in life, where many believe that how much they spend determines how much they’re getting out of the product.

There are some things, like non-static items like cellphones, where this can be labeled as true.  If you spend $400 on a phablet with a quad-core processor, 7″ screen, bluetooth, 5 gigs of RAM and a 20MP camera, you’re definitely going to get more than a $100 smartphone with a dual-core processor, 4″ screen, bluetooth, 2 gigs of RAM and a 4MP camera.  Pretty obvious, right?

But what about a non-static item?  Is a $50 trash can “better” than a $20 trash can, if everything about them is the same?  How about a hammer, or… a golf club?

When a Duck is a Duck

If a golf component club head weighs 200g, has 10* of loft , is .5* closed and costs $150 fully assembled, how much different would a $300 club that has a head that weighs 200g, has 10* of loft and is .5* closed be (assuming that everything else about them- the specs, metal used, etc.- are the same)?  A slight movement of the driver’s Center of Gravity (CG) may result in a shade different launch angle or a few hundred RPM’s difference in backspin rate, but only the best of us would notice and/or appreciate the difference.  We’re talking Common Sense here.

While it’s still a surprise to many, the same heads are all (mostly) made in the same foundries in China and Taiwan.

The forgings are done in either Japan or China.  There just aren’t enough places in the world that handle that kind of work anymore, and the obvious cost-savings are a factor, as well.  Think of shoes: you can get Nike, Adidas, Converse, or whatever, but they’re all made in the Far East, mostly in the same factories.

But how does all this affect the spender?

It’s about perception; if a consumer spends a lot of money on a product, they usually feel better about themselves for doing so.  That’s the mentality “premium” schools use when pricing their tuition fees.  That’s fine… everyone should be happy about this kind of thing, and if spending $2000 on a set of clubs makes them happy, more power to them.

But we’re practical people at GLG, with real lives outside of golf.  We might not have a lot to spend on golf clubs, and that’s OK.  That’s why I started this blog!

Now, I want to be painfully clear: I am a HUGE proponent for component golf clubs.  Most of my bag is just that.  When I recommend a brand like Hireko Golf, I talk with the fullest confidence in their product.  I also have some of Diamond Tour Golf’s OEM stuff in my bag, which I also recommend.  They are far from the only ones, though.  To name a few, in no particular order:

Check out all the services Green Lantern Golf has to offer!

So… What’s REALLY Important?

I’m never going to get tired of saying this: GET FITTED FOR YOUR GOLF CLUBS.  Seriously, it’s that important.  It doesn’t matter if it’s component golf clubs, name brand clubs you bought brand new, clone golf clubs, or name brand clubs you bought off Ebay at half the cost of new; to get the most out of them, they need to be fitted to your swing and body type.  I’d prefer a dynamic (as in, while you swing) fitting, but even a static fitting by some online wizard is better than not getting fit at all.  I promise you, it’s that important!

 

Differences in Custom Fitting

Component Golf Clubs, or, Is There Life Outside of Name Brands? 3

Have you ever wondered “are there differences in custom fitting”?

The answer’s “yes”… but does it matter?

Much like everything else in golf, asking if there’s a difference in club fitting is a resounding “maybe”, or “it depends on the golfer”.  The differences between a low-tech range session and a high-tech simulator session may or may not have a true impact on your overall game.

It’s all about what you, the customer, are willing to pay for- and the fitter’s ability.

Does a fitter need a fancy $10,000 launch monitor?  I don’t think so.  It’s a selling tool (which you get to help pay for!), and in a controlled environment, it can help the customer find their “ideal” launch angle and backspin rate.  But do you always golf in a controlled environment?  Maybe in the future:

 

1989-gt-cabinet
Image: Arcade Heroes

 

Last time I checked, we don’t golf in a climate-controlled environment… we golf outdoors!  Why not get fitted for the environments you play in?  

Let me put it this way: what’s the point of finding out that, because of your swing speed, you need a launch angle of 14* and 4,000rpms of backspin when you play in a windy environment with hard fairways? 

What should you do?

You’d be better off with a lower Launch Angle and less backspin, so you can keep the ball down in the wind and get more roll-out for when it lands on the hard turf.  Why?

You’re trying to fit for the conditions you play in.  Just going by the “ideal” would lead you to hitting a lot of balloon balls that don’t go anywhere.  If you want to maximize your overall distance, you gotta compensate for the conditions you’re in.

If the fitter knows what they’re doing and uses a little Common Sense, you’ll be just fine with whatever s/he recommends.

The Flipside

To be fair, on the other hand (the technologically-advanced fitting) may appeal to you techno-geeks.  It may give some people more peace of mind.  

For an advanced golfer, they can use this kind of fitting for the minute tweaks that might mean the difference between having their go-to shot (or distance) and not.

So don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for this kind of fitting.  From a Common Sense standpoint, however, the differences in custom fitting are just one more thing to ponder when you’re ready to make a purchase.

For the vast majority of golfers, they only need to focus on what I call “The Ten Pillars of Club Fitting”:

Ten Pillars of Golf Club Fitting- Green Lantern Golf

I talk about this all the time, but for real; if you’re not playing on a professional Tour or an accomplished amateur, these 10 specs are really all that matters.  Fancy equipment or not, a trained club fitter can help you find the best specs for your game.

No matter what the differences in the style of club fitting may be, the fitter is going to do their very best to get you into clubs that work for you.

It’s nice to have all the high-tech stuff and a million shaft/head combos… but no grip combos.

Yup, you can try all the different head and shaft combinations you can think of, but if the grip doesn’t fit, you must acquit. 

SorryNotSorry… sometimes, I just can’t help myself from making pop culture references!

But the truth is, whatever the number of head and shaft combos you try is, it can all go to piss if the grip isn’t properly fit, as well.

Think about it this way: if you’re having to hold on to the golf club with a “death grip”, because it’s too small and/or the grip material isn’t tacky enough for you, that “best” combo isn’t truly “best”.

You gotta fit all of the parts together if you want to find the best-fit set of golf clubs!

 

What say you?  Ever been custom-fitted for your golf clubs before?  If not, why?

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