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OTHER ITA SITES:
A Revolution In Golf Clubs
The golf club of today, is not your Daddy's golf club! In days past you had your choice of 5-6 major brand names, you did not have a lot of choice about how your clubs were made, how they were fitted, what materials were used, etc.
Wow has that changed! Today the number of major club making manufacturers has exploded, you can buy custom made clubs, you can buy brand name mass produced clubs fitted exactly to your swing, you can buy clones or knockoffs of those mass produced brands, you can buy build it yourself components that will match the specifications and quality of any thing offered by the major manufacturers.
One of the biggest changes has been in "woods", first they are almost all made of metal or composite material today, why they are still called "woods" is anybody's guess. Just 20 years ago traditional wood drivers of about 200CC's volume were still in most golf bags, today's high performance driver pushes 460CC's in volume, is made of titanium or a blend of titanium and some exotic composite material, a graphite shaft, adjustable or changeable weight plugs that are purported to influence ball flight patterns and cost upwards of $700.00 for a major brand name. And of course golfers being the ego maniacs that we are have to have the best, most high tech driver in the bag.
Fairway woods (also metal) have not grown as much in size, however there are different face heights, weight plug options, and many shaft and grip choices.
Irons are now oversized, mid-sized, cavity backed cast, forged, milled, offset, sling backed, and this is just part of the verbiage. The array of shafts available is staggering, the range of prices for shafts is amazing. A major brand name full set of irons priced at $1,100 or more is not unusual.
Let's not overlook putters, the traditional blade putter could be hard to find. Check the names of these putters, SRT 2-Ball Putter, Tri-Ball SRT Putter, Studio Style Putter, 2 Bar Putter, some of the styles available look as if they came from another planet. The site I found these putters on listed 138 brand name putters, ranging in price from $19.99 to $299.00, the vast majority of them were around $130.00.
Send in the clones...along with the explosion of major brand name manufacturers, there has also been an explosion of companies who either manufacture or import "clone" of "knockoff" clubs that have the same or very similar specifications and features of some of the more familiar brand names, some of them even copy the cosmetic features. Many of these clones or knockoff clubs have been challenged in court for patent infringement, some have lost and some have not.
What is the value of these companies? Glad you asked...most of them sell their products at a fraction of the cost of the major brand name products, even if your ego will not let you carry a clone club in your bag, you can still buy one of these clubs that has similar specs and features to the brand name you are considering, this is a relatively inexpensive way to check out what you think may work. Another way to perform the same experiment is to have a custom club maker build you a club that mimics the brand name you are after, or of course you can buy the components and tools and build-it-yourself.
When you are finished with your evaluation you can take out a second on the house, sell the clone or custom club to one of your golf partners and buy that coveted major brand name club. Then go out and take some lessons, because no matter what the advertising or the salesperson promised, that new club will not, by itself, make you hit it like Tiger!
So where are you going to buy your new clubs? As little as 20 years ago the only place to find the major brand names and the expertise to properly fit a club to your swing was a golf course pro shop. Today your choices are almost endless. There are any number of “big Box” golf superstores, with complete on hand stocks of anything you could want, many of which also have websites. There are major web only retailers, mort have some type of fitting chart that will get you close to the ideal club. The Internet has also made it east for a small custom club maker to put his wares on the web, and this is where in many cases you will find the most expertise, just do a search for “custom golf clubmakers”. Then there are the clone and knockoff companies, and some of these products are fantastic values, search for “clone golf clubs”.
Wherever, and whatever you buy…Enjoy your new clubs. And then when you are on the first tee or the driving range and the guy next to you or ahead of you is hitting 300 yard drives with an old wood headed club, you can wonder why.
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