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Why are putters so expensive

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Is the development cost high? Materials? How much force does the ball exhert on a putter? Are the shafts special? Is it marketing? Is it a short product cycle? I just can't imagine why a putter would cost so much.
post #2 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Supply and demand. If someone hits on a design that seems to work well, gets it into the hands of the right people and it gets noticed they can charge whatever. Putters do not cost that much to make.
post #3 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
Is the development cost high? Materials? How much force does the ball exhert on a putter? Are the shafts special? Is it marketing? Is it a short product cycle? I just can't imagine why a putter would cost so much.
  1. Because the putter is the single most important scoring club in your bag.
  2. Because several putters are made of exotic materials and alloys (ie carbon steel, polymers, etc)
  3. Because putters are meant to be long-term investments that remain in your bag for years.
  4. Because a lot of research and engineering go into the creation of said putters.
  5. Because it's a business, and they need to make money.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Has there been any imperical data done to see what the actual difference between a $29.99 putter from target and a $200 putter? I'm going to guess that 90% of any difference is mental, and I would guess that there can't be more than a 10% accuracy gain. Please find some data to prove me wrong, I need some more accuracy, but I'd rather get 30%+ for my $170 extra.
post #5 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by warbirdlover View Post
Supply and demand. If someone hits on a design that seems to work well, gets it into the hands of the right people and it gets noticed they can charge whatever.
agree. there is a similar thread about golf equipment in general, some members of the forum insinuating, that the "giants" of the industry charge triple or quadriple for the same quality of product. I personally disagree, but scotty cameron at $300 is not 2 times better than odessy at $150. It's all about ego and image. Do you guys belive, that it cost about $40 000 to build a bmw 3-series? nah... but I'm willing to pay it
post #6 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
Has there been any imperical data done to see what the actual difference between a $29.99 putter from target and a $200 putter? I'm going to guess that 90% of any difference is mental, and I would guess that there can't be more than a 10% accuracy gain. Please find some data to prove me wrong, I need some more accuracy, but I'd rather get 30%+ for my $170 extra.
greenail,

Top quality puters are milled from single blocks of metals. CNC milling is a very costly process that requires million dollar machines, and specially trained technicians. All these costs have to be recouped somewhere. Milling also produces a putter that has much tighter tolerances in terms of face flatness, weights, and size which also contribute to accuracy.

A $29.99 putter and a quality milled putter will have a night and day difference in feel and performance.

However, I'd urge you to take a look at getting a custom putter done from someone like David Mills, John Byron, or Tom Slighter. Each of those gentlemen produce putters which are comparable in price to an off the rack Cameron, but are designed to your exact specifications and wishes in terms of finish, visuals, and performance. Top quality workmanship for an extreme value.
post #7 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
Has there been any imperical data done to see what the actual difference between a $29.99 putter from target and a $200 putter?
Getting a putter that is the right length, weight and balance with the right grip "for you" is most important. That putter might be a $25 Wal-Mart special or a $365 Cameron model. If it fits you and you feel confident with it, then you will putt well with it. Gary Player won majors with a putter he paid $25 for. It was marked $5 and when the clerk heard him express interest in it he marked it up while Player was looking around the store.

I use a $60 putter with an oversized grip and some customized weight distribution. I've taken a few putts with all manner of wild looking, sleek expensive putters and I cannot see any reason to spend any more money.

A lot of the appeal of many high-end putters has to do with the "look". Golfers will buy any manner of weird looking expensive equipment if they think it will help their game. Remember the comic mock-ad on Saturday Night Live for a razor that had something like seven blades? The tag line was "because you will believe anything".

Find what works for you. If you are lucky it will be inexpensive.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 

Re: Why are putters so expensive

you can buy a 1' length of stainless steel 1"x1" for $44. A milling machine is around 10k. Hot Rolled carbon steel is $10.00 for a 2' length of 1"x1" and that is in single quantities. So lets say an average putter blank is 4" long x 1"x1", that gives you a cost for the blank of less than $2. The CNC manchine could be leased, and shouldn't cost much more than $200/month with fluids, electricity, space, and operator the cost per part must be around $20 at the top end and if you got it from china something like $5.
post #9 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

You are also paying a premium for the intellectual property of the company involved.

I'd be willing to bet that Scotty Cameron have some of the best CNC machinists, and the best craftsmen money can buy.

They have to have because of the people who use their putters. You can also see the quality of a cameron compared with something that costs a tenth of the price.

As someone said before me it's the club that's used most, so why be cheap about it? Get something that works, looks good and you are confident with. For me I can definately see the benfit of spending the same amount of moeny that I pay for a driver on a quality putter.
post #10 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
you can buy a 1' length of stainless steel 1"x1" for $44. A milling machine is around 10k. Hot Rolled carbon steel is $10.00 for a 2' length of 1"x1" and that is in single quantities. So lets say an average putter blank is 4" long x 1"x1", that gives you a cost for the blank of less than $2. The CNC manchine could be leased, and shouldn't cost much more than $200/month with fluids, electricity, space, and operator the cost per part must be around $20 at the top end and if you got it from china something like $5.
Maybe you should start building high quality, affordably priced, completely customized putters for the masses...
post #11 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
you can buy a 1' length of stainless steel 1"x1" for $44. A milling machine is around 10k. Hot Rolled carbon steel is $10.00 for a 2' length of 1"x1" and that is in single quantities. So lets say an average putter blank is 4" long x 1"x1", that gives you a cost for the blank of less than $2. The CNC manchine could be leased, and shouldn't cost much more than $200/month with fluids, electricity, space, and operator the cost per part must be around $20 at the top end and if you got it from china something like $5.
You're kidding right??

A top of the range CNC machine is going to cost a damn sight more than $200 a month to lease. You're dreaming if you think otherwise. Then you've got to pay the techinicians who program them, and the guys to operate them.

Also, Cameron have started to use carbopn steel that is big enough to machine the whole putter from (including hosel) so that there is no welding involved.
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Um, why would you even buy any gear like a CNC machine, you could outsource the whole thing to china via email, you just need a cad mockup of the design, payment and a shipping address. I read that cameron pays the Pro players 60k/year to play with his kit, anyone else heard this?

As for paying what you pay for a driver, I'm thinking that is not quite accurate. The putter head is not traveling at high speeds, with tons of torque, and I can see how driver tech could cost a bit more. My driver was $99 and I love it. I think I am going to check out some of the tour edge putters, perhaps I'll like one of the $40 models.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people wanting to pay lots of money for a custom designed/manufactured "work of art", I'm talking more about the mass produced stuff.
post #13 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Well, being a metallurgist and working in the metal working and heat treating industry for many different products I can say it costs about $5 to mill a part shape like a putter head. The shaft is $5 and the CNC machines are much easier to run then the old technology since a computer controls the cycle. Milled faces are not more accurate then ground faces or turned faces. Just the most economical machine to use. And exotic materials? Aluminum and titanium are not really exotic anymore. Neither are the inserts. Top end putters "might" cost $50 to make but I doubt it.

And if the design is good and works good and looks good I'll pay up to $150 for a putter, I'm as vain as the next guy and don't want to be seen using a K-mart putter. That's my personal limit though. I can understand someone paying $300 to use the same putter Tiger uses. That's up to them. Just laying out the real picture.

Now if you really want to know how much it costs to make a driver or a set of irons..........LOL!!!
post #14 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
Is the development cost high? Materials? How much force does the ball exhert on a putter? Are the shafts special? Is it marketing? Is it a short product cycle? I just can't imagine why a putter would cost so much.

id also like to think that putters dont usually cost any more than 1 iron does.. an expensive iron set can run you up to maybe $1300 (graphite)... about $162 a club.

plus, everything everyone else has been saying about how the putter is the most important club is absolutely true.
post #15 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Oh yeah. You don't buy your own equipment. You outsource the work to a good little company. Then you just assemble the components. That's how most club companies start. After you build the business you worry about doing it inhouse if it pays.
post #16 of 30

Re: Why are putters so expensive

Originally Posted by greenail View Post
Um, why would you even buy any gear like a CNC machine, you could outsource the whole thing to china via email, you just need a cad mockup of the design, payment and a shipping address.
This right here would keep me from buying it... Ever.
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 

Re: Why are putters so expensive

You only buy american? If you are using a computer to type these messages, I doubt that is true. Shoule we start an anti/pro globalization thread?
post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 

Re: Why are putters so expensive

By the way I went out and bought a $40 Tour Edge Backdraft putter, it must all be mental because I was usinga belly putter, and this thing is 33" and I am putting better with it. Sunk a couple 30 footers with a 3' break today on the putting green, hit the rest within 3' most within 1.5', could hit 4 8' putts in a row though (about 20 attempts). I've noticed I can hit a ball at the same distance but the cup screws with my head somehow. I also noticed i think about it all too much. Must not think...

I did see a hand made cammeron last night and putted with it, it was very nice, very pretty, however it would stay pretty in my bag for about as long as it took get out to play a round, the only way i'd keep that thing in good condition would be to hang it on the wall.
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