It should come as no surprise to many of you that golf club sales is a multi-billion dollar advertising game. If you have enough money, you can play. This specific fact means that major golf OEM’s pretty much have a monopoly over their current market positions. Sucks to be the little guy. In actual fact, owning the #1 position in anything golf these days is a recipe for printing money. Proof of this fact are claims like Mizuno’s: the #1 Utility Long Iron in Golf or Piretti’s: the #1 Milled Putter on the PGA Tour, or even, Evolve Golf’s: the #1 Performance Tee in Golf. That’s why so many companies are interested in finding a way to claim #1 in any category – no matter how many qualifiers they have to add to make the claim even partially true.
Take the Darryl Survey for example, this company checks out the bags of pro players across most tours and records everything from spikes, tee, balls, bags and clubs in the players’ bags. This survey is basically used to confirm that sponsored players are actually playing the equipment they are being paid to play. Companies can then buy this information to get access to the list and make the claims that they are “#1 on the PGA Tour” or “#1 on the European Tour” etc. To prove this point, we did a little research.
Cleveland has the #1 Wedge in Golf… but Titleist Vokey is the #1 Wedge on Tour (both PGA and European).
SkyCaddie is the #1 Rangefinder in Golf…. But Bushnell is the #1 Rangefinder on Tour.
True Temper is the #1 Shaft in Golf…. but only the #1 steel shaft on tour, Aldila is the #1 Driver Shaft.
Callaway, Mizuno and Titleist have all claimed to have to #1 irons on Tour.
Wilson claims more major Wins with its irons than any other brand (see video)
When you see all these claims together like this, it gets kind of comical. As the survey is merely an indication of who is playing what, it’s actually just identifies who is being paid to play what. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you should realize that all these claims to be #1 are not necessarily an indication of quality or preferred products, but merely marketing budgets. Companies can effectively buy their way to the top, no matter what that “top” may really mean.
So companies without the budgets to compete with the big guys don’t have a chance of carving out a decent piece of the pie. They’ll never be able to buy their way onto the Darryl Survey’s list… and without endorsements, it’s a tough road ahead.
With this in mind, we strongly urge you to “look beyond the marketing” and try lesser known companies and products. There’s a ton of quality, great-performing golf equipment manufacturers out there that year over year are doing incredible and innovative things. Need some examples? Tour Edge, Edel, Fourteen Golf, Solus, KZG, Innovex, Miura, Rufe, Dogleg Right are just a few. Furthermore, if you want to get some unbiased opinions on clubs, see what college players are playing, or better yet, amateur players. This undistorted look is a much more accurate reflection of the best equipment on the market.
Now, I know what you might say… “well, my club doesn’t carry this stuff” or “the golf shop only deals with name brands”… well again, marketing dollars are to blame. As a consumer, we strongly suggest you ask your golf clubs and shops to carry demo sets of the other guys’ equipment, or better yet, host a demo day. If the latter creates enough buzz with the members, the golf shops will have little to no choice to stock the products. It could be a win-win.
It’s our hope that performance and quality will begin to have more sway than marketing dollars. It may be wishful thinking, but today is a good place to start. To help, the staff at SirShanksAlot.com is going to make an effort to review and rate the clubs of these lesser known companies on our site.