I want to become a GOLFER!
March 10, 2011 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Any experience with knockoff golf clubs?

I am 23 years old. I've golfed since I was 18 years old, but I was far from a regular golfer. I used a mix of crap clubs. I used a crappy 3 wood as my driver. The irons were probably from 3 different 10+ year old sets and they were probably never regripped on top of that. I would start the first couple of months of the golf season off by playing once a week, then by June it was once every few weeks. Needless to say, on a really good day I'd shoot below a 105.

This summer I've decided to get into golf big time. I plan on going numerous times a week, with a day or two a week of driving range time, and probably even a couple lessons. I have probably 800 dollars, maybe 1000, to spend on golf equipment but that has to include everything like the clubs, bag, glove, etc. Being a poor college student that's a pretty hard budget. Yea, I know golf and poor college student are like oil and water but I have had a lot of fun every time I've played and I want to get good.

Looking around I've come across sites such as pinemeadowgolf.com, gigagolf.com, and hirekogolf.com. I was wondering if anybody has an experience with the above mentioned sites. Or do people all play with TaylorMade, Titlest, Mizuno, Cleveland,Callaway, etc, because they are that much better and not just a name on the club.
posted by CancerStick to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
I used to play quite a bit and was better than most amateurs, and yeah, I could tell the difference between my Mizuno irons and Yonex putter and Cleveland wedge and, say, your standard rental clubs you'd get visiting a golf course (not high-end ones you might find at a fancy course). But a lot of the difference only becomes noticeable as you become better.

There is an extent to which Callaway makes some user-friendly clubs for people who don't have a very high skill level. I still don't think it's worth paying for expensive clubs at this point, but as I see it you have two options. One, buy a starter set of clubs. In all likelihood, those will be fine for a while. Two, buy used clubs. If you get top-end clubs that are designed for higher handicappers, they're certainly not going to hurt you, and while they're not worth paying for new (unless you're a rich middle-aged doctor), if you can get used ones cheaply, why not?
posted by J. Wilson at 4:36 PM on March 10, 2011

I agree with J.Wilson's suggestion of buying used, if you can find some good used clubs. Realistically, this shouldn't be difficult. Most of the golf retailers and golf course pro shops I've been to have a few used sets. Always try them out before buying to make sure they feel good to you.
Another option is to look for closeout sets. When clubmakers release a new set, the previous generation gets reduced, sometimes significantly.

Concerning the discount, off-brand clubs, I have had very little experience with them, but what experience I've had has been mixed. Some of the clubs were pretty good, some just felt cheap.
A former coworker said he liked the Pine Meadow clubs fairly well, but he also pointed out that his golf game "wasn't good enough to justify better clubs."
posted by nickthetourist at 5:24 PM on March 10, 2011

I started with a set of Callaway knockoffs from West Georgia Golf. They served me well for about two years until I had progressed enough to graduate to a set of Cleveland blades. If you are just starting, the main thing is to get a set of clubs that fit you. Your swing speed will likely be low, meaning you'll do better with a more flexible shaft on your clubs, and your swing won't be very consistent, so you'll do better with a cavity-back club head design. If you are unusually tall or short, or left handed, finding clubs gets harder, but if you are average height and right handed, you'll be fine.

My advice would be quality knockoffs. My experience with the used clubs is that the people selling quality used clubs are the folks who are buying a new set every year or two (and consequently are good players). So plenty of quality used clubs out there, but not necessarily clubs that would be a good fit for a beginner. You can use the money you save on knockoffs for greens fees or to buy all of Dave Pelz's books, a nice putter, and a couple of nice Cleveland wedges.
posted by kovacs at 6:00 PM on March 10, 2011

In my experience, the people who buy a new set of expensive clubs every year are the people with a lot of money who don't practice a lot and aren't very good -- so they're looking for a magic cure with the next "new and improved" club. Regardless, the key would be making sure you're buying something that's not designed for top players -- you will likely get a lot more out of a set of cavity back Callaway irons with regular flex shafts than Titleist blades with stiff shafts.

I don't mean to push used clubs so hard. Above all else, don't spend a ton of money. Off-brand clubs are fine right now, and you won't outgrow them for a while.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:18 PM on March 10, 2011

Thanks for the input guys.

Just some info about me. I'm 6'2, 6'3. 170lbs. Wear an XL glove. I was at the range the other day with my older clubs, and while hitting a buddies driver it was carrying 200-220, no idea on roll obviously. 7 Iron was maybe 130?

Debating between the used club route or the knockoff. I might start with the Knockoff because I know the site like Gigagolf offers a no questions asked 30 day return policy. The shipping on clubs has to suck, but I guess that's a good way of getting some play with them and see if the feel right.

One thing they also do is offer a fitting guide... A fitting guide online I'm sure is a little sketchy. It tells you what to measure and what to input. Just a couple of things it's giving me:

Add .25 to .50 inches to the clubs. That depends on whether I put 6'2 or 6'3 in there.

I'm kind of on the line for regular or midsize grips, as well.

Or do you guys think I should just get standard clubs and see how it goes? Maybe certain things I should adjust? Here are the "fittings" it offers.

Add length to the shaft.
Grip size.
Lie adjustment (I've read before that this is key. Is that true? Especially for my height?)
Shaft flex. I'd assume regular for the irons, but regular for the driver as well? I probably don't hit it far or hard enough for stiff yet.

Thanks again for the input guys. I'll also search various sites for some good, name brand, used cavity back clubs and see what I come up with.
posted by CancerStick at 7:08 PM on March 10, 2011

I also wanted to add that I live in a smaller community so the online thing is pretty clutch, unfortunately. I'm sure golf is one of those things where it's best to be able to try things first, but the nearest Golf Galaxy is an hour and a half away. No fitters that I know of any closer. I was in one of the three local courses last week and their pro shop didn't have much but I can check the other two out this week.

This is one reason why I was asking about the knock off sites. I am afraid if I buy used from somebody online I am out money if the clubs don't work. If I buy from the sites above I can pay shipping and return them for different clubs or my money back. That's good to know. With the hard budget if I get some used clubs and I'm out money that puts my whole summer plan of serious golfing at risk.

Again, thanks for the input. Any help on the above posts about the "efit" guides, especially the one on GigaGolf. If anybody is interested in checking out what it says for them go to GigaGolf.com and act like your ordering some irons. When you click through each step for what grips you want and shafts there is a link for their "efit" above the picture.
posted by CancerStick at 7:12 PM on March 10, 2011

I don't think you swing hard enough to need stiff shafts. Even assuming that you'll gain some distance from hitting the ball more solidly, I'd doubt you're hitting it far enough right now to get anything out of stiff -- and certainly not too far to be able to make good use of regular shafts. Same for driver as for irons.

I don't think you need longer shafts.

No idea about grips -- purely a matter of comfort, I would think.

Lie adjustment is important, but it depends on your stance and swing... no idea how you would do that online. (You're taller than normal, so go upright?) I've had clubs adjusted before, so you can probably do that later.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:31 PM on March 10, 2011

If it helps, I asked a similar question (although mine had lots of beanplating). I ended up buying slightly used woods (golfers apparently like to blame their drivers for their errant drives) and saved up a little more money to buy new, but last year's model, irons.
posted by chndrcks at 9:59 PM on March 10, 2011

You know about Calloway Pre-Owned, right? It seems like the perfect solution to me - you can get Big Berthas for like $300 and bags for $89, you can return your purchase for 90 days, and they'll answer all your pre-sales sizing questions by phone before you buy.

(Caveat: all I know about this is that my dad bought 2nd hand from there for two years before he bought all new, his clubs arrived in great condition and he was super-happy with the purchase and customer service. I love watching golf but do not play.)
posted by DarlingBri at 10:38 AM on March 11, 2011

I'm a decent golfer who has played these Wilson Staff cavity backs for the last five years, which can be had new for $199 at Amazon. Solid clubs that offer some forgiveness but aren't as clunky as some of the newer game improvement irons.

As for fitting, I'm 6'2" and have always played standard length/lie. If you were going to get fitted in person it would probably be worth it but I wouldn't bother with some online thing.

This is one reason why I was asking about the knock off sites. I am afraid if I buy used from somebody online I am out money if the clubs don't work. If I buy from the sites above I can pay shipping and return them for different clubs or my money back. That's good to know. With the hard budget if I get some used clubs and I'm out money that puts my whole summer plan of serious golfing at risk.

This is the wrong attitude to take I think. Clubs from top-flight maker like Titleist, Mizuno, Callaway, Ping, et al, will "work" forever as long as they're not cracked or broken in some way, which they won't be if you buy from a reputable dealer in used clubs. And I'm sure the knock-offs will work too.

But whatever set you put together with that $800 just commit to it and stop thinking about equipment. When you hit a bad shot always assume it's your swing that's not working rather than your club. I've seen a good player shoot par with a mismatched rental set and I've seen many many many bad players shoot 100+ with the finest clubs money can buy.

Good luck!
posted by otio at 6:40 AM on March 12, 2011

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