Golf is one of the most satisfying sports in the world. It can be a lot of fun to get out there on the golf course and play a game. It’s a sport that has you battling your personal best as much as it does the players that surround you.
Many of the best golf clubs happen to be very expensive, though. I have seen many golf club sets that come in at very high prices and this can be off-putting to people who just want to have fun.
Why are golf clubs so expensive? Golf clubs are expensive due to increasing research and development (R&D) costs. Manufactures mark up the cost of clubs significantly as it’s a very competitive sector. Additionally golf companies need to spend large sums of money on marketing a new golf club.
Reasons Why Golf Clubs Cost So Much
Continue reading if you want to better understand why golf clubs (especially a driver) can be so pricey.
Take a look at my list of seven reasons why golf clubs are so expensive. This will give you a better idea of whether buying a set of these clubs will be worth buying for your situation.
1. Marketing Costs
Marketing costs certainly do increase the overall price of golf clubs.
To let the consumer know that these new golf clubs are out there, the companies that make the clubs pour thousands of dollars into marketing campaigns.
This involves spending money on TV commercials during televised golf tournaments, online advertisements or full page ads on printed golf magazines.
Either way, marketing does cost money and the companies need to recoup the money that they need to spend on marketing.
While the overall golfing audience is large, the number of hardcore golfers is much more limited.
The average golfer is not going to get too excited about the release of a new Callaway iron.
No matter what the brand or item may be, people are dedicated to the sport of golf, not so much the products available. This is why marketing is essential for a successful launch of a golf club.
Without any marketing, the club would sell as well as that brand new pack of toothpicks that came out yesterday.
Most reputable companies shouldn’t allow an aggressive marketing campaign to increase the price of their products too much. It’s more of a contributing factor to some of the pricier golf clubs on the market.
The benefits of owning a set of clubs such as this might make it worth the price and you may have never known about the clubs if you did not hear about the overall benefits through advertisements.
Unfortunately there does seem to be some over hyping in the golf marketing industry. Some brands love to tell you how much further their new club will allow you to hit the ball.
Look out for more reputable brands who don’t showcase these performance increases by displaying yard values. This is a sign of a company that is trying to be more honest and throw hype down your throat.
2. The Materials That Go Into the Clubs
Some materials used to make the golf clubs are going to be more expensive than others. I can give you one very good example that you have probably seen for yourself while shopping online.
Clubs made out of graphite are generally going to be higher priced compared to steel clubs.
This is due to the fact that graphite is a lighter material that is more flexible than steel. The lighter weight allows for a superior strike on the ball.
When you buy a good set of graphite golf clubs, it can outperform most steel golf clubs in many areas. You’ll enjoy more whip from the shaft, and see your golf ball fly farther than usual.
When you make good contact with the ball, you’ll also notice less vibration when using graphite models. This has another indirect benefit being that you’ll experience less arm and shoulder pain.
You can expect a 5 to 10 yard increase when using graphite clubs over steel ones. I have tested this myself and it always feels watching my shots fly that little but further!
However, as I’m here to guide you, I must be sensible. I must tell you that gaining extra yards is not nearly as important than increasing your accuracy! Technique will always beat out the big long shots everyone loves to hit.
This benefits come at a cost and are the reason why graphite clubs do cost more.
Many of the most expensive golf clubs are made out of premium materials such as this and it drives the price up.
Now knowing the benefits of the more expensive materials, it’s easier to now to see why some choose to go with expensive clubs.
If you’re budget is tight, I would get your hands on a few clubs to test them. Sometimes just by holding a club in your hands, you’ll get a better idea if you like or not.
3. Expensive Clubs Are Made to be Durable
Golf clubs are designed to be durable. However, if you’ve golfed for any significant length of time, you’ll understand this not always reality.
Over a 15 year period, you’ll certainly see some of your clubs break. Drivers and woods will be the first to go due to their 2 to 7 year life expectancy.
Fortunately, irons and putters tend to last forever with both enjoying a 10 to 15 year lifespan before becoming too outdated.
If you find your clubs breaking too soon, read my article called why do golf clubs break?
Stainless steel is the most common metal used in making golf clubs. This is because the material is cheaper and also makes for a very durable golf club.
When looking at the most popular or highest selling clubs, you’ll find steel at the top.
Steel does have it’s drawbacks though. It’s not not the lightest metal out there. This is the reason why hybrid and graphite clubs have been introduced to the market place.
Why are Golf Drivers Expensive
Titanium is another type of metal that is seen in golf clubs. Titanium is the most common type of metal often used in drivers, and is the reason why golf drivers are so expensive.
While Titanium is stronger and lighter than steel, it’s higher cost is the main reason why we don’t see titanium being used in irons and other clubs.
Titanium can stand up to regular use while remaining very light and easy to handle. It’s lightweight structure makes them the preferred option for drivers.
Having said all this, golfers have been using steel for decades. If steel is all you can afford then go it’s as fine option.
Hybrid clubs are a mix between steel and graphite. Hybrids allow for a lighter feel and have offer some of the other benefits of graphite.
Graphite clubs will cost you 50 to 100% more than steel. These models more are saved for the rich or serious player.
4. Golf Companies Need to Make a Profit
Making a set of golf clubs is going to cost companies a significant amount of money. Everyone knows that a company is going to want to turn a profit for making a high-quality set of golf clubs.
To give you a good example, I will explain to you the average cost of making a high-quality driver.
When you take all of the different parts of the golf club into account, the cost of making a driver will be around $100 (USD).
The store that is selling you the driver is going to purchase it from distributor for around $350. They will then sell the club at a recommended retail price of $500.00.
This allows the store to make some profit while the company that makes the golf clubs is also seeing a profit from the sale.
The manufacturer of the golf club will be making around $250.00 in profit from selling a driver.
The golf company needs to pay for the cost of research, development, marketing, and other fees. This profit that the company is making from selling the golf clubs is still significant, but a lot less than you originally thought.
With the amount of effort that goes into making a high-quality driver, it takes many sales to make up for the money that was poured into its creation. You can probably see why things cost as much as they do.
If you look at things from an economic perspective, you’ll then understand why companies demand such high prices.
Having said that, golf is an emotional activity. There is some ego built into the sport, from the rich business men playing, to the local guy making bets with his friends.
Some companies capitalize on the egos of golfers, and can mark up their prices accordingly.
5. The Engineering and Design Process
The engineering and design process of the golf clubs really does impact the overall cost of the clubs.
Some golf clubs are very complicated to make and you might be surprised by just how much goes into making a good set of clubs. I know that many of the most popular high-end golf clubs have been engineered meticulously to squeeze out the best possible performance.
When so much time and effort is put into creating something, it is important to seek out a return on that investment. Putting a lot of time and effort into high quality clubs will always demand a higher price.
The company that made the golf clubs needs to be able to recoup the research costs and turn a profit. Trying to make more money than you invested in a product is simple economics which everyone understands.
Golf companies will put their high prices down to ever increasing R&D costs. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess, but many are not convinced.
It’s rare to see such a big innovation in the golf club world. Real innovations tend to come out every 10 years. Any time sooner than that, we are left to enjoy minimal improvements.
These improvements tend to be aesthetic and are generally not worth the money.
You’ll notice it wasn’t long ago when golf clubs and drivers all looked the same. Now days drivers are looking incredible fancy. These attractive drivers are especially sucking young golfers in to buying them.
Like I always tell people, unless your on the pro circuit; you don’t need to overspend.
6. Performance of Clubs Is Evolving
When you buy a really good set of golf clubs, it may have the potential to help you perform better on the course.
You used to see many more $300 drivers on the market than you do now. It is now much more common to find the best drivers on the market going for $500 or sometimes slightly more.
The reason for this change is that golf clubs in general are getting better all the time. In the past, a company would make a golf club and it would be as high quality as it could be for that time. These days, things do seem to be evolving faster.
With technology rapidly improving, there is a near constant research and development cycle.
This means that the golf clubs are constantly being improved by having new design philosophies implemented and having new materials used in the creation of the clubs.
The cost of research and development is significant and this has to be made up by charging a slightly higher price for the clubs themselves.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. This just means that the consumer is getting access to golf clubs that can give you better precision and greater distance.
The extra performance is not essential, but to some golfers; every yard counts!
You may notice clubs constantly improving with various tweaks. Feel free to upgrade your clubs when you feel like enjoying some increased performance in your game.
Its true the golf clubs of today are vastly superior to the clubs of even 10 years ago. If your club is ageing, then I would say these more expensive clubs are worth the money you pay for them.
7. Improved Performance Has a Price
Lastly, it’s important to understand that improved performance has a price. Many of the most expensive golf clubs on the market are designed to give people a complete premium experience.
New clubs are made to give golfers more precision and longer distance. Those who are golfing at a high level will appreciate every finer detail premium clubs offer.
While golf clubs are expensive due to the need to market such a mundane product, there are other reasons.
R&D costs, branding, and the constant need to innovate, all cause golf club prices to increase over time.
Golf companies are always pushing boundaries and trying to squeeze out every last bit of performance.
They know that design and gaining extra yards is what the majority of buyers look for in a new golf club.
You can also thank rich business men and women for part of the problem. Additionally you can thank a dedicated and rapid fan base who will buy almost anything.
Keep in mind that improving your performance does not require an incredibly costly set of clubs. The amount you need to spend is going to be dependant on your budget and skill level.
You have to weigh the benefits of using the clubs versus the cost of acquiring them. If they improve your golfing experience and you can reasonably afford them, I believe they’re worthwhile.