Choosing a new set of golf clubs can be a daunting task. With so many golf club options on the market, where should you begin?
From name brands to knock-offs and bargain bin deals, there are countless options for any golfers looking to up their equipment game with the hopes of playing better golf. Let’s sort through some of the options, along with their benefits and disadvantages — so you can make the best decision for your wallet and your game.
When it comes to golf equipment brands, there are many things to consider when choosing clubs. How does the brand fit your game? How do you feel when playing the clubs? Are these clubs ideal for your skill set and swing type? Will these clubs give your confidence over the ball?
To begin deciphering the code that is modern golf equipment, let’s begin with the brands. Below is a breakdown of brands and their general target market to help you better align yourself with a manufacturer from the get-go:
One of the game’s most beloved brands, Titleist makes superb golf clubs for a varying degree of swing types, including irons, wedges, putters, woods and drivers. Mostly geared towards experienced and avid golfers, Titleist golf clubs are among the most expensive and long-lasting on the market.
Family-owned and operated, Ping makes terrific irons, woods, drivers, putters and wedges — in addition to a growing line of golf accessories. Over the years, Ping golf clubs has created a rather unique look that its loyalists have come to know and love.
One of the game’s oldest manufacturers, Callaway, is based in sunny southern California. Callaway is credited with ushering in the wave of oversized — and rather long — drivers in the mid to late 1990s when it introduced the Big Bertha. Since then, Callaway has become synonymous with Phil Mickelson and other PGA Tour stars. Callaway makes golf clubs for all skill levels.
Similarly to Callaway, TaylorMade drew major praise in the 1990s with its introduction of the Burner line of drivers and their patented Bubble shaft. Since then, TaylorMade has been among the most innovative companies in golf. The manufacturer produces multiple lines of irons and woods annually aimed at players of all skill levels.
Cobra Golf has gone through numerous identities in the past 20 years. Formerly known as an up-and-coming brand, forgiving and oversized Cobra clubs became the favorite of higher handicap players and golfers with slower swing speeds. Currently, however, Cobra has made some of the game’s best irons and woods and continues to be at the forefront of new technology.
A smaller manufacturer than those previous listed, Cleveland/Srixon makes quality golf clubs for mostly avid golfers. The Cleveland brand is built on some of the game’s best wedges and a run of successful drivers while Srixon has become known as a top players’ brand.
The newest entrant into the growing list of golf club makers, PXG is owned by former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons. It has taken the industry by storm in the last year. PXG makes high-quality and rather expensive golf clubs for avid golfers.
Best-known for being in the bag of 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, the global brand recently announced its intention to leave the golf club equipment business. But you’ll still see numerous lines of drivers, woods, wedges, irons and putters on the market. Nike clubs never truly caught on, but the brand did make some quality equipment during its tech-first tenure.
There are numerous other brands golfers will see when they begin searching for their new set of golf clubs. The brands listed above are undoubtedly the most common.
How to select your golf clubs
A secondarily important factor when choosing golf clubs is the matter in which you’re selecting them. Golfers today have the opportunity to purchase golf clubs in numerous ways in order to fit their style, play and budget.
Buy off the rack
The quickest way to choose your new set of golf clubs is to simply “buy off the rack.” Buying off the rack means purchasing a standardized set of irons or woods with no customization options. Your new set of golf clubs will be factory set for loft, length and lie. They will feature the manufacturer’s default shaft and grip options.
Get a custom fit
If you’re willing to spend a bit more time on your purchase, it’s highly recommended to be custom fit for your new set of golf clubs. Visiting a golf shop with fitting services will offer you the experience to hit swing in front of a launch monitor and trained professionals. They will then guide you in your new purchase. This process helps golfers choose a new set of clubs that is perfect for their swing and budget.
Buy used clubs
Many golf shops — including many online — offer used clubs at a lower price point than brand new equipment. If budget is a big factor in your decision making, consider buying used golf clubs. Your budget shouldn’t stop you from playing the game you love.
So, does brand matter when choosing golf clubs? The answer truly comes down to your deciding factors. If budget is no issue and you have no loyalty to a brand, it doesn’t matter what brand you choose for a new set of golf clubs. Simply get custom fit for your new clubs and play equipment that fits your game. If budget is a major deciding factor in your new search, or if you’re a brand loyalist, then consider choosing a set of clubs made by a manufacturer that best fits your loyalties and budget.
— Ben Larsen