Diminishing Returns on Expensive Golf Gear

Written by The Budget Golfer

May 10, 2020

Why is Golf Equipment so damn expensive?!

My main issue stems from the fact there is somethng “NEW” each and every year, with very little improvement.

I began my golfing journey using a 7 or 8 year old Callaway Driver in my bag. I was lucky that someone locally was selling a full set of Callaway’s for about £200 (an absolute bargain!) However, as is always the case, you always strive for more with golf.

In early 2020, I was able to grab a BRAND NEW Callaway Epic Flash for about £150 including a stiff shaft installed. My logical thinking at the time was that this was going to be “THE DRIVER” to solve all my problems.

We all know fine well what the end of this story is…

I took that new driver straight to the range and compared it side by side to my old driver. My local range has one of those fancy TopTracer systems installed, so I did five shots with each driver to compare my averages.

Admittedly, the new Epic Flash was slightly longer, but only slightly. Considering I had paid almost the same price for it as I had for my whole set of pristine clubs, I expected a little more.

I would say that I am a little more consistent with it, and when I do hit the sweet spot, it absolutely flies. But that was also the case with my old Callaway Driver too. Saying “when I hit it well, it goes far” is a pretty obvious statement. Any club will have a good result when hit well.

This has since grown my viewpoint towards improving myself rather than my gear a lot of the time. I do think there are certain instances for improving gear. However, upgrading to the latest and greatest in gear which is released every single year is not going to make huge differences in your game. There may be a small incremental difference, but I for one will not be upgrading my driver again for a fair few years!

epic flash is overpriced

Diminishing Returns of Golf Gear

This is one of the reasons I started this blog, because I think it is important to discuss the point that buying gear to solve a key problem in your game is simply not the solution.

Sure, if you’re using a 10+ year old club then it makes sense to upgrade.

However, changing from the Callaway Epic Flash to the Callaway Mavrik (for example), is just a silly decision unless you’re a professional golfer. Yes, you may gain 2 or 3 yards on average…but is it worth it? Probably not.

“5 YEARS OF CALLAWAY GOLF DRIVERS TESTED! 2012-2017”

Rick Shiels tested five Callaway Drivers between the years of 2012 and 2017 – bearing in mind that sometimes these brands bring out more than one driver in their range per year.

He did a test to compare the actual performance of each of the drivers, and see how much improvement there actually was.

I watched this before I actually bought my new Callaway Epic Flash, so I should have known better really. However, the results were quite surprising.

Best Callaway Drivers of the past 10 years

There wasn’t even consistent improvements over the years. As we can see, the Callaway Razr Fit performed better than every club except the XR16 & GBB Epic, despite being the oldest driver which was tested.

Now, it is entirely possible that some clubs were more suited to Rick’s swing and play style than others. It is also possible that some of the clubs were used more than others. In his test, they weren’t brand new and unused clubs. Therefore there are some other factors that come into play when analysing this information.

However, despite this, the differences are still incredibly minimal. It definitely makes you think about whether it is worth it when the next round of Drivers from Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping etc come out. These drivers are now heading towards the £500 each region. In my opinion, 6 yards of gain on average is simply not worth it!

Another factor is we’re simply looking at the total yardage here. We’re not looking at any metrics which track how easy the club was to hit accurately, and its response to off-centre shots. But, this is also going to be different for everyone.

At the end of the day, if possible, I would always recommend getting fitted and trying a whole host of clubs out if you’re going to splash the cash on a shiny new club.

Closing Statements

Do I regret buying my Callaway Epic Flash? No, not really. I think it looks great, it is a little more forgiving than my previous Driver, and it gave me my first experience of buying a club brand new. 

However, it also taught me the importance of being careful when looking at the “latest and greatest” in golf technology.

I don’t think I’ll ever be buying a club brand new at full price, that’s for sure. If I paid full price for my Epic Flash, I would have felt robbed!

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