Golf Clubs: Does Price Make a Difference?

Published on 03/14/2023 · 8 min readGolf Expert Adam Ditcher lays out different price points of clubs on the market today, and how much they vary across the board throughout the industry.
Adam Ditcher, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Adam Ditcher

Photo by Virginia Anderson

As a Golf Expert that has helped many customers on Curated, one topic that always comes up, regardless of the product they are searching for, is budget. Every person’s situation is different and that guides the amount of money they are willing to spend on their golf game. I see a big part of my job as helping customers maximize their budget to get the best product within the price range they are comfortable spending. Part of a customer’s decision-making process, then, is answering the question: “is the product I am buying worth the amount of money I am paying for it?”

First, it’s useful to recognize that companies that create consumer products compete on two main factors: price and quality.

In order to understand price scaling in the golf industry, it is easiest to start by thinking about buying your very first set of clubs. Sets of golf clubs can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The technology, innovation, and design specs that go into the more expensive sets are some of the differentiating factors that price is based around.

Generally speaking, as you increase your budget, you are able to get a better set of clubs that is more tailored to your golf game. That being said, not every player needs to prepare to spend $5,000 on golf equipment out of the gate. Let’s explore the options and see how price varies across the set offerings in the industry.

Buying a New Set of Clubs

Plenty of new golfers come into the sport looking for their very first set and are overwhelmed by the amount of options on offer. They are even more overwhelmed when confronted with the reality that a set of clubs can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars!

For this article, I am going to limit the examples to completely new sets of clubs. While it is possible to get a cheap set from a neighbor’s garage sale, private sellers’ pricing of used equipment can vary widely.

Beginner Sets

Ram Golf SGS Men's Golf Clubs Starter Set

The cheapest new sets of clubs are usually in the low $200 range. These include brands like Top Flite, Inesis, MacGregor, RAM, and Palm Springs. Costco also offers its own intro golf set in this price bracket. Each of these low-tier starting sets offers an affordable way for players to get out on the course with their buddies. However, despite the assistance they may provide to your pocket by saving on renting clubs, they aren’t going to provide your game any help when you hit the course. There are additional sets that cover the $300 and $400 range, like those made by Ray Cook and Lynx Golf.

Mid Tier Sets

Stix Golf The Casual 9-Piece Set

The next big step in the industry is to a tier of around $500-$800 for a full set of clubs. These sets are a small but noticeable improvement on the low-tier sets. They are made with better club technology that is intended to help players perform at a slightly higher level, and with equipment that is meant to last longer. The Callaway Strata set is the first set that comes to mind, along with some different offerings from Tour Edge, Monroe Golf, Stix Golf, Robin Golf, and Head. Many of these mid-tier sets are a great place for customers who want to invest more in their game with a set that’ll last a little longer and scale better with their game.

Top Tier Sets

TaylorMade RBZ SpeedLite 13-Piece Set

There are then a handful of sets, like the Cobra Fly-Z and the TaylorMade RBZ SpeedLite set, which cost more than the mid-tier box sets. Cobra’s Fly-Z set retails at $800 for steel shafts and $900 for graphite, which allow for customization to the player’s preferred type of iron shafts. The RBZ SpeedLite set has a number of options. The 11-piece set comes in at $1,100 for steel and $1,200 for graphite. There is a small bump up to $1,300 for a steel set with 13 pieces (which includes a 5-wood and 5-hybrid), and $1,400 for the 13-piece set in graphite. Both sets are a step below the main annual lineup that each brand lists, but it’s a great way to get a name-brand set of clubs that contain more clubs than some of the lower-priced options.

With the differences between them, one commonality in all of these box set offerings is that they make it cheaper to start out in the game than building a set from scratch—and that is a major selling point.

What Influences Pricing?

As the section above shows, all sets are not created equal. Each comes not only with its own pricing options, but all sets are created with different features. It is important for the purchaser to understand what features are included in their set, and what they are getting for that price tag. This brings us to the topic of differentiating factors, which is another key reason for price variation.

Box Sets: How Many Clubs Are Included?

The first thing to check is how many clubs come with the box set. Some sets are fuller and contain 10 or more clubs, while others come with about five. In that five may be a driver, wood, iron, wedge, and putter. While it’s possible to play golf with any number of clubs in your bag between one and fourteen, most players lean towards the larger, higher-end sets, especially as their game improves. It is not a bad idea to start with fewer clubs as a beginner and learn some versatility using each, but as a player improves, it becomes more necessary to score from a variety of distances away from the green. Carrying a full set of 14 clubs also allows players to be more precise in their yardages and have more specific options for each shot.

A Curated Expert can help with the process of choosing the best box set for your game and budget. A box set is a great place to start; however, many golfers will begin to upgrade out of their starting set one club at a time. It is important to know what is and is not included in the set of clubs to inform future purchases and proper club spacing within the golf bag, which becomes more important as you improve and realize you don’t have a club to hit the ball 125 yards.

Individual Clubs vs. Box Sets

If a player wants to buy their clubs individually—i.e., buying drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, putters, and a bag separately—that is going to cost more than a box set. However, the difference in performance and feel is definitely noticeable. Many manufacturers focus all their research and development efforts on their annual lineup of clubs, and it shows when hitting a driver from a box set compared to a new $500 driver from the same manufacturer.

This is not to say that it isn’t possible to manufacture a solid set of golf clubs for a reasonable price, but you do get what you pay for. Typically, I advise customers who want a better quality set to work on upgrading their box set clubs over time. This spreads out the cost and allows them to take advantage of different discounts and sales that come up over time instead of paying full price upfront for a whole new set.

How to Build Your Set While Being Budget-Conscious

One way to take advantage of the way pricing works in the golf industry is to look for clubs from a year or two ago that are still new. Generally, companies will still have stock remaining from one or two years prior. This does not mean you are buying a used club; the club is brand new, but the manufacturer has released a new model or two since that club originally hit the market. Due to the club being old inventory from the previous year or two, these clubs are usually at a discounted price when compared to the newest offering from that manufacturer.

TaylorMade Stealth Driver

Let’s walk through an example using different driver models available on Curated as of October 2022. The new 2022 TaylorMade Stealth driver retails for almost $600. If you love TaylorMade and their drivers but $600 isn’t in your budget, you could look at a SIM2 model, which came out in 2021 and retails for closer to $450. Taking it one step further, you could look at the 2020 model, the M4, which retails for around $300. As you can see, these clubs vary in price greatly depending on when the club model was originally released by TaylorMade.

Customization

Callaway Rogue ST MAX LS, MAX D and MAX drivers

As club technology has advanced over the years, manufacturers have made an effort to cater more to amateur players by working on clubs that can help the amateur game as much as possible. Most manufacturers these days will release multiple models of the same lineup. For example, Callaway’s Rogue ST driver can be purchased in standard, LS (low spin), MAX (offset), and MAX Draw (offset with a closed face). This was not always the case, but in more recent years Callaway has made his shift. The result of this is that clubs can be more tailored to the golfer and their swing than ever before. This also means that using clubs that will help your game no longer requires you to play a set that is custom-built at a club fitter with a hefty price tag of $10,000 or more.

As you grow in the game, you will naturally know where you need help and what part of your golf bag makes the most sense to focus on for your next upgrade. As with most purchases, you get what you pay for. There are deals and options for all budgets, but in a world where all sets are not created equal, the high price items are also high value. Use your Curated Golf Expert as a resource to help you get the most value from your budget, while also getting equipment that you will be confident with. All this will make a difference in your golf experience every time you hit the course!

Curated experts can help

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Shop Golf on Curated

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