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Buying a game or improving my equipment?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

When does spending money on new golf equipment become "buying a game"?  Personally, I'd like to have the best, properly fitted equipment I can afford.  Does that mean I'm trying to buy a better game?  Currently, I'm reviewing and considering a driver shaft upgrade.  It will likely cost $300-$400 for fit and shaft.  Sure, its a want over a need, but if its all around better, then why not.  

 

I don't make equipment changes often. When I like something, I stick with it for a loooong time.  I'm coming off a 2 year layoff and am just blown away by the amount of available technology and options to upgrade (spend more money) stock equipment.  I find myself like a kid in the candy shop wanting everything!  New irons led to a new driver, then 3 wood, and recently new wedges and a putter.  Still in the bag are my hybrids (last purchases before the layoff).  On top of club purchases, I'm also taking lessons to get the swing back on track.  

 

Would I be labeled as buying a game or just a golf equipment *hore?  LOL

post #2 of 18

If it were possible to "buy a game", I would surely do it!

 

Buy what you can afford and what best fits and is suited to your game.  This game is hard.  It's even harder if you have the wrong equipment.

post #3 of 18

+1 for using the right equipment. I see quite a few guys out there struggling to play clubs that aren't a good fit for their abilities. Some make the mistake of buying clubs thinking they will grow into them with practice.

post #4 of 18

I'd say it varies based on the individual. Like you, I play my equipment for a long time so I don't mind spending some serious money on it from time to time. For example, I've been playing my titleist irons since 2006 and this year I've decided I'm upgrading. This spring I'm buying a complete set of new irons and wedges with a club fitting, so I'll probably spend close to $1500 in one visit. I will play them for many years though so that helps me justify it.

 

With that said, I'm still playing a Taylormade R5 driver and Golden Bear fairway woods that are hand me downs from my dad. I still hit them great though so at this time I have no desire to change.

post #5 of 18

I think someone that "buys a game" is one that thinks they have to have the newest and best all the time, and generally aren't willing to put in the time to actually improve. There used to be a guy at the CC where I grew up that would buy new irons and woods every time something came out, probably at least every other month (with a matching staff bag just to solidify the douchery). I maybe saw him practice 2 or 3 times in the 10 years I played there.

 

What you're thinking of doing is simply upgrading to something that fits you, not buying something thinking it will magically drop your handicap. Fire away!

post #6 of 18
Pretty sure my game wouldn't change much no matter what I spend on equipment so I don't spend much. I think I've had my clubs for about 5 years and the only reason I bought them then was that it was a deal on brand new clubs that would have been foolish to refuse (even if I was only going to sell them and not play with them).

When I first started playing a guy gave me a set of clubs. The irons were perfectly fine (and still would be). They were a Bridges Cloner II that looked and played like Pings. The fairway woods and driver were older clubs and when I replaced them there was enough difference to justify the purchase.

I got a used R7 driver that was (to this day) the best driver I ever hit, but I replaced it with a new R9 for no particular reason other than I was sucked into the hype of an "adjustable" driver (huge mistake). Even bigger mistake was that I gave the other driver away.

I do believe that a complete set of properly fitted clubs would be beneficial if for nothing else to always feel that every time I hit a less than perfect shot it would be completely my fault, and not that little bit of doubt about the club.

Now at least when I do decide to get new clubs I am a little more educated about the many levels of things that are referred to as "a fitting" than I was when I was using the "buy it and hope it works" approach. And then the "hit a few balls and the salesman pulls a club off of the rack" approach.

The best clubs in the world fit by the best fitter in the world wouldn't turn me into a golfer but might help save a stroke or two every now and then.
post #7 of 18

As a high handicap player who just really started playing in 2013, I'm torn between buying new irons or waiting until I improve to at least a 20 handicap before doing so.  My swing will likely improve if I get my handicap down (can't really get worse) so I'm hesitant to get fitted for clubs while I have a consistently bad swing.

post #8 of 18

I play well (for me, anyway) with my 2013 clubs that I have had for the past 10 years. Approaching 60 yo I don't thing I need stiff steel shafts with a 7 iron SS of 73 mph. Not only was the flex too stiff, the steel reverberates up the arms and into the body. I just bought a new set of irons, FW metals, and a hybrid in graphite regular flex. Talk about a change, well this is it. My suggestion is that if you have the money, and the clubs will fit your game better, go for it. If it's a cosmetic change, that should be left to those with the bucks to mess around with. So many people spend oodles of money and equipment but think it is below them to take a series of lessons. What good is brand new equipment if you don't have the skillset to use them? Not saying this is you, but it is wise info, I think.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFKFREAK View Post

As a high handicap player who just really started playing in 2013, I'm torn between buying new irons or waiting until I improve to at least a 20 handicap before doing so.  My swing will likely improve if I get my handicap down (can't really get worse) so I'm hesitant to get fitted for clubs while I have a consistently bad swing.


 



This sums up where I am as well, except as it relates to my driver. When I got it this last summer I was just returning to the game and just purchased one off the rack. Had I known then what I know now (largely thanks to this forum) I probably would have gone the fitting route and would have likely ended up with something different. I've gone back and forth about going back out to get fitted for a new one for next season but I think I've settled on putting the $$$ toward lessons next year and, once my swing fundamentals are a little better, it may make sense to then go out and get the full fitting, etc.

Having said that, I am such the equipment "hoe" that I can see that plan getting scrapped in a NY minute the next time a see a shiny new toy in the window...to quote Wayne's World..."oh yes, you will be mine!!!"
post #10 of 18

To answer your question, buying better equipment is a huge help. Having 14 clubs you feel confident in because they're all fitted and matched is awesome and few players have that advantage. Will it improve your game to the point of making you an elite golfer? That depends on your ability. Equipment can only maximize your ability, not improve it. You'll need lessons and practice at some point or else you'll be a guy with a really nice driver who doesn't know what he's doing. The better and more consistent your game, by the way, the more you can benefit from fitting, since equipment can't stop you from making mistakes but it can help smaller mistakes be a bit more playable and good shots be better. It can also in some cases do pretty much nothing to your numbers but make things feel better, which is actually worthwhile if you have the money.

 

I'm pretty broke most of the time, so I don't have the option of buying top of the line stuff or making lots of changes. I make do with 1-2 year old models on sale, components, etc. I choose my equipment carefully, especially big investments like my iron set. And most importantly, I do all my own clubmaking. I just checked the specs on my clubs manually because I'd been struggling with some clubs and found I had forgotten to trim 1/2" off my 7i when I soft stepped my irons. It had played havoc with my swing since I practice with that iron a lot; I had been hitting one really heavy and long feeling club. I checked the rest of my set, and the only club I was struggling with was also the only one with incorrect specs: my 3 wood that the guy at my local store reshafted was also about 5/8" too long, despite the fact that I told the guy to go for the same length with the new shaft. I just trimmed it and it already feels much better. I play tomorrow so it should be nice. 

 

If you want to get fitted, go to a good fitter at a good facility with expert clubmakers. Make sure they have a wide selection and are honest about how you are swinging. Obviously many clubmakers are skilled and follow directions, but they all charge money for something that's not that hard to do. I'd still rather borrow their equipment for a few minutes than actually pay them to do anything. 

 

If you are a serious player on a budget, don't skimp on the following equipment even if you want to save money:

 

-Golf shoes, especially if you walk or play a lot. They make a huge difference in your swing; I forgot mine yesterday and lost strokes over it. If you are just starting out or play rarely they're not a necessity, but you need a lot of restraint and good balance to make do otherwise. 

-Golf balls. They don't need to be tour balls or the newest model, but pick one model that works well like maybe a Bridgestone E5 for me as opposed to a B330 and do try out new models occasionally.

-Shafts, from driver down to wedges. They should be a good fit in weight, profile, and flex and somewhat match one another.

-Bag, unless you always ride. The comfort and utility of a good bag is worth investing in and they last years if they're made properly, but get torn to ribbons in months if they're crappy. It doesn't need to be a giant tour bag or the lightest bag

-Grips. Either go for golf pride new decade or full cord, or buy yourself an air compressor and go for pure grips. Pure seems to be the best of the traditional all rubber types and they aren't too expensive, but I still prefer cords by a long shot. They feel better to me and last much longer. Replace them yourself as often as you feel you need to, but absolutely no less than once a year. They charge actual money to do this for you at a shop, which is preposterous. 

-Rain/cold weather apparel, if you play during such savage conditions. A good windbreaker is a must even if you don't play in bad weather. The umbrella is pretty overkill though.

-A little on course nutrition and hydration is good, especially playing in the elements. I always bring some, but it doesn't need to be expensive.

-If you decide to go with a pull cart, get a decent one. I don't bother with one, however.

 

The following are things you can always skimp on and never lose too much:

 

-Gloves, they are useful for covering blisters or in rain but that's about it. I have rain and winter gloves but I keep the winter gloves in my pockets the whole round and never swing with them. Wrapping a towel around the grip is better than gloves if it's really wet, though. I prefer to grow the callouses like a man and keep as much shit out of my pockets as I can. I use gloves for welding, sparring, baking, and extreme cold, not for golfing on a sunny day.

-Clubheads are overrated, especially irons. The exceptions here IMO are titanium woods and wedges, but even then it's more about fit than one brand being better. Get the right grind and loft and you'll be fine. For the rest of the set, get the proper lofts and match everything well and ignore brands for the most part. Technology is great but you can still break clubs down into GI, SGI, and players designs. Moving from one of these types to another might cause a change in performance, but within these groupings the clubs have more in common than not once you sort out the specs and shafts. The clubs from a few years ago won't spontaneously shank but they will save you 70% or so. Stock shafts are summarily lame though, even in cases like players irons where they use decent models there's probably something that will fit you a bit better. You can try before you buy if you're finicky, but I'd play almost anything with the proper specs and my preferred shaft. 

-I need to be as cheap as possible in order to have a decent setup, but a big part of being on a budget is limiting what you spend on the course, not just equipment. I don't play when it costs 70 dollars and takes 6 hours, and I only take a cart if it's free or my partner insists. I also don't gamble or guzzle a case of beer every time I go out. A really cheap membership is great too, and it often lets you play a lot more golf, in addition to free range balls whenever you want. There's no way I'd have the money to play often otherwise, even if I spent no money on equipment at all.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFKFREAK View Post
 

As a high handicap player who just really started playing in 2013, I'm torn between buying new irons or waiting until I improve to at least a 20 handicap before doing so.  My swing will likely improve if I get my handicap down (can't really get worse) so I'm hesitant to get fitted for clubs while I have a consistently bad swing.

Looking at what you have in your bag now, you could spend around £350 (or equivalent $) for a set of properly fitted game improvement irons that would definitely help get the ball in the air. Getting it to go straight is up to you no matter what clubs you have. Either way, lessons is the better spend, as I'm finding out now.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFKFREAK View Post
 

As a high handicap player who just really started playing in 2013, I'm torn between buying new irons or waiting until I improve to at least a 20 handicap before doing so.  My swing will likely improve if I get my handicap down (can't really get worse) so I'm hesitant to get fitted for clubs while I have a consistently bad swing.

 

The answer as to whether you should change out your irons may depend on what you are currently playing with.  A high handicap player is best served playing clubs that fall into or are very near what people call Super Game Improvement class, i.e. very forgiving and as easy to hit straight shots with as possible.  Getting yourself into some easy to hit clubs isn't really buying a game (IMO), and golf is hard enough even with pretty easy to hit clubs in your bag.  One other thought; your swing does not improve because your handicap goes down.  It is the other way around, your handicap goes down because your swing improves.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

When does spending money on new golf equipment become "buying a game"?  Personally, I'd like to have the best, properly fitted equipment I can afford.  Does that mean I'm trying to buy a better game?  Currently, I'm reviewing and considering a driver shaft upgrade.  It will likely cost $300-$400 for fit and shaft.  Sure, its a want over a need, but if its all around better, then why not.  

 

I don't make equipment changes often. When I like something, I stick with it for a loooong time.  I'm coming off a 2 year layoff and am just blown away by the amount of available technology and options to upgrade (spend more money) stock equipment.  I find myself like a kid in the candy shop wanting everything!  New irons led to a new driver, then 3 wood, and recently new wedges and a putter.  Still in the bag are my hybrids (last purchases before the layoff).  On top of club purchases, I'm also taking lessons to get the swing back on track.  

 

Would I be labeled as buying a game or just a golf equipment *hore?  LOL

 

If you can buy some equipment that you believe will improve your game, and your kids still get new shoes and a decent meal as needed, do it!  The story above about the guy changing clubs every couple of months is both sad and silly since it seems to me it takes a while to get used to new sticks, and longer if you aren't a range rat.  But, budget constraints aside, buying new stuff when you think the technology has changed for the better or your game has progressed to the point new clubs would help is part of participating in a game like golf.  And sometimes you just want a shiny new toy; no sin in that either, golf clubs are cheaper than Corvettes.

post #13 of 18

IMO... buying a game means getting a range pass, lessons, and all the rounds of golf it takes to get better.  And/or spending time (not $) practicing.

 

That being said, does reasonably well fitted equipment help?  Sure... it could help.  If you are 5'7" and bought a pair of used clubs that were custom fit for a guy who was 6'7"... you might have a tougher time than with an off the rack set.

post #14 of 18

Perspective-

 

A guy I used to know is a better than scratch golfer. He had excellent equipment. He decided to get a "super fitting" and new equipment someplace in Florida. I asked him what kind of improvement in his handicap he expected. He said about a 1/2 stroke. I commented that it was a pretty big expense for such a small gain.

 

He said at his level, 1/2 a stroke is huge.

 

I would expect at my level, new equipment would perhaps shave a few strokes off my handicap, and it would certainly not be huge at all, almost irrelevant...

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by geauxforbroke View Post
 

I think someone that "buys a game" is one that thinks they have to have the newest and best all the time, and generally aren't willing to put in the time to actually improve. ...

 

If you have an unstable golf swing, where you have a different swing motion every time you hit the ball, fitting won't help much. But, if you have a somewhat stable swing, a fitting will help you figure out what stiffness and weight of shaft you need, how thick a grip, and what lie angle you need. (A lie angle that's too upright or too flat will cause you to miss left or right frequently).

 

In an odd sense, the average golfer wants clubs that won't hurt his or her game. A good ballstriker can further fine tune the set.

 

But, as geaux suggests, once you get the right clubs you need to practice properly and play regularly to actually improve.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by WUTiger View Post
 

If you have an unstable golf swing, where you have a different swing motion every time you hit the ball, fitting won't help much. But, if you have a somewhat stable swing, a fitting will help you figure out what stiffness and weight of shaft you need, how thick a grip, and what lie angle you need.

 

John, @WUTiger, almost everyone who plays golf even semi-regularly has a "stable" golf swing.

post #17 of 18

If you get fit and don't buy often, I call that "smart and realistic."

 

You're a ho when you're buying irons every 6 months, a putter, hybrids, fairway or wedge every 3-4 months, and a driver every 6 months... or some such....

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond View Post

If you get fit and don't buy often, I call that "smart and realistic."

You're a ho when you're buying irons every 6 months, a putter, hybrids, fairway or wedge every 3-4 months, and a driver every 6 months... or some such....

Even if I had the money, I wouldn't do that.

As it is, I'm saving up money and debating whether to get an Edel putter or a new set of irons.
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