Golf Clubs: New Clones or Used Name-brand?
October 29, 2008 7:03 AM   Subscribe

GolfFilter(Part2): In my previous golf question, I mentioned that I would be looking for clubs of my own soon. I've started looking, and I have some questions. The main question is: new clones or used name-brands?

I have about $500 to spend. I figure my choices are used name-brand clubs or quality clones.

I was researching online and I came across Gigagolf and Pinemeadow, both of whom seem to have reputations for quality clubs and customer service.

At Gigagolf, I can get X-18 clones (made with 17-4 stainless steel) for just over $100 (for the irons). A complete set of clubs (including 2 hybrids) would cost around $300.

The other nice thing about the clone companies is I can get the right shaft length and lie adjustments.

The other option is buying used name-brand clubs. This is the option everyone keeps telling me to do, but I have a few concerns.

The first is that they seem to be pretty expensive still. I looked at and a set of Hawkeye irons (1999) in average condition (their lowest) runs $250. That seems like a lot for 9 year old clubs.

It's also hard to find used clubs that are customized to my specifications. I'm 6'0-6'1 and have a wrist to floor length of 36". Which (according to all the online tools I've seen) indication I should have a shaft about 1/4" longer than std. and a lie angle of +1degree. How important is this?

I'm a beginner, but would like clubs that I could use for the next 3 years while I improve. I took a few lessons, and the instructor said I get enough loft on the ball (with my dad's clubs from the 60s) that I shouldn't go for something like the big bertha irons. He thought the X-18s would be good.

There aren't a lot of golf shops around here, although I intend to hit the ones there are to see what their used selection looks like. I do have family in Chicago and San Diego, and they could look there for me, although some of them don't know anything about golf.

Thank you as always Metafilter
posted by chndrcks to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had this same problem when I first started out.

As a beginner, your swing is going to go through a lot of changes, and it will adapt, somewhat, to your clubs. Big Name manufacturer clubs are nice in the bag, but they often have quality issues - I've seen all kinds of inconsistencies out there, including my 9-iron on a set of TaylorMades that was off a couple degrees in both loft and lie. I bought my TMs before I knew anything about clones, and if I was going to go back and do it again, that's what I would have done.

If you need +1 lie, it sounds like you have a fairly upright swing - that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it has an affect on how the club hits the ball.

Custom-built clones (often called component clubs) are fine for most people and usually a less expensive option. Save the money on clubs and use it for lessons, range balls, green fees.

For me, the most important part was not the club heads so much as the shafts. I went with Rifle shafts on mine and they made a huge difference for me.

At your level, it's probably not going to matter a whole lot what kind of clubs you have. The mechanics of a good swing are vastly more important than the club in your hand. Ben Hogan was famous for saying, "It's the Indian, not the arrow."

Good luck.
posted by Thistledown at 7:17 AM on October 29, 2008

Can't argue with Thistledown. All good points. Practice, practice, practice.

I had a set of custom clones made about four years ago and my handicap immediately dropped about eight strokes simply because the clubs were fit to my size and swing plane. Since that time, my game has been considerably more consistent. I attribute that consistency to having equipment that was made just for me.
posted by netbros at 8:42 AM on October 29, 2008

Clones, or even the cheaper off-brands, are perfectly fine, especially for a beginner. Add-in a few lessons and a lot of practice and you'll be ready for the most frustrating and rewarding game experience of your life.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:44 AM on October 29, 2008

Which (according to all the online tools I've seen) indication I should have a shaft about 1/4" longer than std. and a lie angle of +1degree.

Don't use an online tool to tell you what length and lie you need. Hit from a lie board. Get a proper fitting. We've talked about this already.
posted by splice at 10:31 AM on October 29, 2008

As far as I'm concerned, the only lie adjustment that helps in golf is the one you make when someone asks you "How'd you do?"

I've been golfing for 16 years. I am mediocre at best. I have always used basic, off-the-shelf clubs (current set picked up at Dick's Sporting Goods). I pay less and still have fun and don't obsess over my score. Listen to Ben Hogan. If you're any good, you'll do fine with what you have, just avoid the cheapest garbage. If you're a pro and looking to shave a stroke off to qualify for the Masters, have something custom-made.

Look at it this way: My $100 running shoes don't hurt my feet. While I'm sure that $200 shoes wouldn't hurt either, at my skill level they also won't make me any faster: so I stick with the ones I can afford.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:08 AM on October 29, 2008

I can't speak for the clones, but the service and condition of the clubs I got from callawaypreownedgolf last month were excellent. I bought form them based on a recommendation from a friend.

I got X-18s as well, and am very happy with them. I also ordered golf balls at the same time and only these failed to make the shipment, so I phoned up and they shipped them without quibble the very next day.

It's not often that I praise a company, but Callaway were very good, so much so that I recommended them to a friend and he bought some for his wife and is also very happy with the service.

You're probably not going to get the X-18s for your budget, but I did see that Callaway online do have a beginner's set for $200. This might get you started and then you could always trade in as you improve.
posted by arcticseal at 6:21 PM on October 30, 2008

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