Golf clubs are expensive, there is no getting around it. If you want to have top of the line, excellent equipment, you are going to pay a pretty penny. Well, at least that is what the large golf companies want you to believe. I am not so sure.
You see, while golf club building used to be more of a fine art, just about everything is made in a factory in China now, so the way that Callaway, Ping, or Nike make their golf clubs isn’t exactly as secret as it once was. In fact, in some cases the same factories that build the expensive golf clubs for large customers are also pumping out clone golf clubs for smaller brands.
So, what are clone golf clubs?
In short, a clone golf club is a golf club that attempts to match the design and functional characteristics of an expensive, well known, or probably brand name golf club from a big company. It’s not exactly just to rip off people or dupe them into thinking they are getting a good deal on an expensive item. That’s not why clone golf clubs are manufactured.
Clone golf clubs exist and are sold because they can sell a near identical product for much cheaper because they don’t have the same marketing expenses that a company like Nike does with Tiger Woods’ expensive contract.
Also, the cost to produce a $400 golf driver is nowhere near $400. It’s more like $40-100 in materials and manufacturing costs. The way it breaks down on a $400 golf club is that maybe it costs $50 to produce in large quantities. The club manufacturer will then sell the club to a distributor for $200. That distributor will turn around and sell it to a sports store or golf specialty store for say $250-300. Now, the golf store turns around and sells it for $400.
In that scenario, there are some middlemen making money just on distribution, but even still there are good margins on golf clubs. Everybody is making money.
Are clone golf clubs any good?
The short answer is yes, clone golf clubs can be very good golf clubs. The fact of the matter is technology has improved so much in the last thirty years that even “clones” are far superior equipment than people had used even ten or twenty years ago. Even compared to the clubs that they are based on, they can be every bit as good for a fraction of the price.
For example, take the Callaway Men’s X2 Hot Driver…
What’s the big difference? For most golfers I would say the difference is $155 in what you spend. Most golfers aren’t skilled enough to notice a difference in performance.
My experience with clone golf clubs
My brother likes to do long drive competitions, but long drivers are really expensive. You can spend $400 on a top of the line golf club for long drive. However, if you swing as hard as my brother does, you can break the heads off golf clubs like it’s going out of style.
After breaking a lot of golf clubs, my dad decided to take up club building and repair. Over the years he has built and tested a lot of golf clubs and do you know what we found? Clone golf clubs are awesome. Depending on the club, they hit great and they save you a TON of money.
What I’ve found though, and this applies to all golf clubs, is that the fit of the golf club to your swing matters more than the brand or model of golf club. Different people swing differently and there is no one size fits all golf club. The weight, the length, the feel - can all change how you swing a golf club and some clubs are going to fit you better.
For example, I’ve tried dozens of golf drivers that my dad built and customized. What I’ve found is there are a couple drivers that I really hit well with. They fit my swing and I can really tee off with them. The rest are just not as good for me. At the same time, my dad or my brother can pick up a golf club that I can’t hit well and drive it 300 yards to the back of the driving range.
Why? Fit matters. It matters more than brand and style.
So, save yourself some money and find the clone golf club that fits your swing. You probably don’t need to spend more than $100 to do it.
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