Expensive golf gear won’t make you better at the sport, but there are quality differences that you should know about.
From the club material to grip strength, price is a factor you can’t ignore when you’re browsing for new golf gear.
Golf is not a cheap man’s sport. It gets pricey, and we’re not just talking about $200.00 monthly golf club and course membership rates, either.
Well, that’s what we’re here to figure out, starting with the most important set of instruments in any golfer’s arsenal: their clubs.
Without golf clubs, you wouldn’t really be able to do anything. We’ll start from the top down.
Expensive vs. Cheap Golf Clubs
Golf clubs are made with very narrow specifications.
Any brand can just make a golf club, but they have to find ways to stay within PGA gear requirements so they can be used during high profile games, while still being affordable enough for the average golfer to get their hands on.
Golf club heads should be made out of a few materials. Those include carbon steel, titanium, stainless steel, or various beta titaniums (which come in different grades).
You don’t want to see aluminum or zinc, even if they hype up the word “alloy” in the title.
An alloy is just a metal made up of two different metallic elements, usually combined to either strengthen the final product or reduce its chance of corroding.
Don’t let them market the word alloy to you like it’s going to change your entire life. That’s the first thing: the head material.
Normally, you’ll see that same material for the shaft, or golf club pole.
The reason for this is because there are far too many malleable metals out there that could undergo some serious damage from mishits.
Mishits are when you try to strike the ball from the tee, but hit the tee itself or the ground instead. That’s a lot of force, and it always has a chance to damage your golf clubs.
If you have a stronger material for the head and shaft, the chance it mitigated, although nothing is guaranteed.
Many times, you’ll notice that the head can be removed from the shaft, allowing you to add a new one if that wears out.
There’s nothing wrong with this in most clubs. Then you have what is called a forged club, which is similar to a full tang pocket knife—it’s all molded from one single piece of metal.
That makes it stronger, but it also means you can’t remove the head and replace it if something goes wrong.
Full cast (forged) clubs are more expensive because whoever makes them isn’t betting on you need a new set anytime soon.
Another thing to consider for your clubs is the built-in grips. While many golfers will rely on the grips in their gloves to get the job done, those still need a point of contact.
Since most golf grips are made from rubber or synthetics, this is what you’re going to run into most of the time.
Then, you come into contact with higher-priced brands, like Lamkin, and they come out with patented grip materials that are supposedly better than the rest.
Sometimes you can’t tell the difference. The grip is important, but not an end-all. When you get into name brand proprietary materials, like Lamkin, do you think that’s going to run cheap? It isn’t.
As for the verdict, golf can be a sport where people like to flaunt their expensive brands and golf gear, but it’s not what matters.
Look for forged clubs made from steel or titanium, solid grips, and a thorough manufacturing process to ensure the best results.
How Expensive is Golf Gear? The Average Cost of One’s Golf Bag
To determine the cost, let’s go through the quintessential list of items that every serious golfer should have on them at all times.
For this, we’ll be using cost averages based on products we’ve seen across the board, and give you an average at the end based on the median point in these margins.
- Golf Club Bag – $109.00 – $319.99
- Golf Clubs (14 at least) — $129.99 – $879.99
- Golf Balls (12 pack) — $13.49 – $37.99
- Hardcovers — $12.99 – $17.99
- Golf Tees (100 pack) — $5.99 – $6.99
- Golf Glove (single) — $11.99 – $109.99
- Towels (avg. of 4) — $15.49 – $22.99
- Bag Tag — $5.99 – $16.99
- Golf Cleats — $45.99 – $349.99
- UV-400 Protection Sunglasses — $15.99 – $129.99
- First-Aid — $7.99 – $19.99
- Ball Marker (12 pack) — $10.99 – $19.49
- Divot Tool — $8.49 – $59.99
- Rough Average: $1,143.00
Those are the average cost of each individual item category. That being said, it’s the quintessential list, but there are additional accessories that can make your life easier.
These are not required but recommended by those who’ve spent their minimum of a thousand hours on the course.
- Golf Rangefinder — $109.99 – $329.99
- GPS — $49.99 – $199.99
- Ball Retriever — $19.99 – $37.99
- Portable Power Bank — $19.99 – $49.99
- Rechargeable Hand Warmers — $25.99 – $51.49
- Umbrella — $19.99 – $89.99
- Waterproof Bag — $5.99 – $10.99
- Energy Bars — $2.99 – $8.99
- Rough AVerage: $490.00
In total, you’re looking at around $1,600+ to fully equip yourself with enough golf gear. That being said, we’re not accounting for golfing clothes, headwear, sunscreen, or upgraded golf gadgets.
While these numbers can jump a bit, it all comes back to quality. It’s the material of the golf bag (leather vs. canvas), the grip on the glove, the size of the first-aid kit, which tees and golf balls you prefer.
Basically, it’s very difficult to nail down one definitive price.
Here comes my opinion: I think you can aim at the lower side of most of these items.
Golf tees are golf tees; you get a hundred to a pack most of the time, so go with whatever’s cheapest.
Ball markers don’t have to be Sharpie’s, divot tools don’t have to be made of metal, and sunglasses can offer ample protection without an expensive brand name attached to them.
The bag, the clubs, and the golf balls are where you need to focus most of your budget when you’re setting everything up.
You can upgrade your golf attire later, you can hold off on a few of the non-essentials for a while, and if your friend is bringing some of these along anyway, just piggyback off of them until you can get your own.
Golf is pricey, but it doesn’t have to be a wallet killer.
Ragtag Golf Club Set vs. Premade Set
If you don’t want to fork over the cash to buy a full Callaway set, I don’t blame you.
As I said, golf is expensive. What you can do when you’re first starting out is to make what I call a ragtag gold club set.
This means that your irons and woods aren’t the same brands, and your putter might even be a bit obscure compared to the other clubs in your bag.
It’s a mish-mash of different styles and brands, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong about that.
Does High Handicap Golf Gear Cost More?
No, high handicap gear isn’t in a higher price range.
The idea is that most high handicap golfers are beginners, so companies aren’t going to try and get you to buy from them by charging more than standard low handicap clubs and gear.
Then, you would just buy the gear that’s designed for higher-level players, and they would be left with a poor business decision.
It doesn’t make any sense to gatekeep an introduction to the sport like that. Nobody is denying that golf can be and usually is pretty pricey, but most manufacturers don’t charge extra.
With that cleared up, there is beginner-level gear available for the same price that you’d pay for higher skill level gear.
The main difference here is that they try to make them a little bit easier to use, but it’s not specifically geared towards a golf handicap.
Find What Works for You
Like many other sports, golf is expensive right in the beginning, but after that, maintenance costs and annual expenses steeply decline.
Look for key quality markers instead of just the price tag.
While we can’t ignore that you don’t generally find high-quality gear at bottom-barrel prices, there are plenty of hidden gems in golf gear—we just taught you how to find them.