At the end of the day, golf is not a cheap sport unfortunately. This mostly comes down to the equipment costs. Obviously later on down the line when you’re looking at memberships at courses, that’s another big cost. However, when you’re just starting to play golf, the biggest cost is going to be buying yourself some clubs.
It can be difficult to decide on your first set of golf clubs, or decide whether some of these cheap prices are worth looking into. The industry has exploded over recent years and more brands have entered the marketplace, which has created a vast variety of price points. This is both good and bad, as price doesn’t necessarily relate to quality.
Let’s start by quickly answering a common golf question…
Will expensive golf clubs make me a better golfer?
I would tend to say no. Tiger Woods is going to hit a golf ball well regardless of what clubs he is using. He may hit some slightly better, or be more consistent with some. However, someone of that level is never going to go from bad to good via their clubs. When you’re at that level though, the difference between hitting the green 96% of the time and 98% of the time is the difference between winning a major or not.
If you’re in a position where you’re not playing very well, and you think buying a new set of clubs is going to solve that, then just put your credit card down, and get out and practice. I would ALWAYS recommend getting $500 worth of lessons over $500 worth of new gear if you’re not happy with how you’re playing.
The only exception to the rule here is if you’re playing with 20 year old clubs which have seen their better days many years ago.
Different Types of Budget Golf Clubs
When it comes to budget golf clubs, there are a few different ways you can look at this, and it all depends on how you define a budget golf club.
There are likely a few different categories of budget golf clubs in your view:
- Second hand – Once were expensive, by premium brands, but new models have since come out, and the prices have dropped
- Brand New Budget Golf Sets – These are made to have a cheap price
- Golf Club Clones – These are a slightly different point, and some people find them interesting, so I will cover them in this response as well
Are Budget Golf Clubs Good?
There are instances where budget golf clubs are good, and instances where they are terrible. They’re not all made the same, and I do think you need to do your research into each individual set if you want to go down that route.
Generally speaking, the more recently made the clubs are, the better the quality is going to be in the budget sector. Costs of manufacturing these are way down, and therefore the core brands are able to make a budget set of quality clubs at a relatively low price. For example, the Callaway Edge Set which can be bought at Costo is a fantastic purchase for your money.
I think when quality can be called into question is when we start looking at the non-branded budget clubs. The shafts on these clubs tend to be vastly inferior to the name brand clubs. They’re overly soft, and therefore can take some getting used to. It is highly unlikely that you’re in a position where a super soft shaft is going to be suitable for your swing.
The important thing here is to set yourself a realistic perspective when it comes to buying a set of golf clubs. If you’re brand new to golf, I would recommend trying your friend’s clubs for a round, and seeing if golf is really your cup of tea. Perhaps go to the golf range, as they often have clubs to rent.
You’re going to set yourself off on a bad note if you’re a beginner golfer looking for a budget set, and go for a really bad no-brand set. You’re more likely to be put off golf, and those no-name clubs will be worthless on the used market.
Used Budget Golf Clubs
My recommendation in this scenario is you’re going to get the best bang for your buck in the used market. It also allows you a bit more flexibility. You can go for different brands for different club types.
You could easily get a full set of top quality used clubs on a budget of less than $500.
For the most part, you get what you pay for with golf clubs. I do believe the pricing has hyper-inflated in recent years. It feels as though drivers especially are just getting more expensive each year without actually adding much value.
I would look at the key brands on the used market: Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Mizuno etc
Then, before you start buying the used clubs, do some research. Keep your current handicap/skill level in mind. No matter how good the deal is on those shiny Mizuno Blades, if you’ve never played before, you’re going to set yourself for a difficult learning curve.
Try and find out what clubs might be a good fit for your style of play. There are a tonne of videos on YouTube reviewing clubs from different eras. I quite like watching the GolfBidder videos by Rick Shiels & Peter Finch. They give themselves a budget of £500 to build a full set of golf clubs, and then compete out on the course.
They have a few videos in the series, and you can really learn which used clubs are good, and which might be not so good.
You also don’t need to buy a complete set initially. You can get away with just irons for now. In fact, I would almost recommend just irons and a putter. It will force you to not rely on your driver off the tee, which many new golfers learn to do. Master your irons, and once you’ve mastered those, start working on your driver.
You can watch the latest video in the GoldBidder videos I mentioned below:
Are Clone Golf Clubs Worth It?
Yes and no.
They can be very good. However, I think where they lose out is in the fact that they aren’t hugely cheaper than some of the name-brand sets. For example, a set of clubs from a clone manufacturer is probably going to set you back $250-300 once shipped to your door, maybe even more. But then, they’re worthless. Nobody wants to buy your cloned no-name clubs once you no longer want them for much more than scrap value.
This means when you eventually decide it is time to invest in higher end gear, you can’t at least recoup some of your money.
Comparatively, if you bought a full set of used Callaways, for example. Played with them for a year or so, then upgraded – you would likely get 90% of your money back. Once branded golf clubs do their initial depreciation after being used, they don’t fall in value much further.
I think Clone golf Clubs are interesting to try out. However, they often don’t make clones of the latest clubs on the market. For example, the best seller at MonarkGolf is a clone of the TaylorMade RBZ driver for $59, for JUST the head. If you take a look on eBay right now, you can find a whole host of GENUINE Used TaylorMade RBZ Drivers for $50-100. A clone isn’t going to be better than the original, so why pay the same for something which at best is going to be equal to it?
So, in conclusion – Should you buy budget golf clubs? Yes, sure. But make sure you do your research first. I would always recommend main-brand used clubs if you’re looking to get a bargain. Take a look on your local marketplaces and eBay. You’re sure to pick up something great. I managed to get a near brand-new set of 3 year old Callaway clubs for $250 when I first started playing. The deals are out there! You just have to find them.
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