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Does the Club Brand Make a Difference Anymore?


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With the talk on another thread about fitting, I am of the opinion that the club head manufacturer is secondary to the shaft. You can order the same shafts for any brand of club there is on the market. Every driver or iron is the longest and straightest they have ever made. My thinking is, for the most part, its all about the shaft. What do you guys think? 

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1 hour ago, snapfade said:

With the talk on another thread about fitting, I am of the opinion that the club head manufacturer is secondary to the shaft. You can order the same shafts for any brand of club there is on the market. Every driver or iron is the longest and straightest they have ever made. My thinking is, for the most part, its all about the shaft. What do you guys think? 

When I was fit and subsequently bought new clubs last year, during the fitting process, I landed on a couple of shafts that worked well for me first.  Then it became a matter of which head was incrementally better with that/those shafts.

Both are important, but for me, the club head was the final piece that ultimately drove my decision.  

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29 minutes ago, David in FL said:

When I was fit and subsequently bought new clubs last year, during the fitting process, I landed on a couple of shafts that worked well for me first.  Then it became a matter of which head was incrementally better with that/those shafts.

Both are important, but for me, the club head was the final piece that ultimately drove my decision.  

When you decided on a club head, was it because of forgiveness, distance, looks, etc, or a little of everything? 

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1 hour ago, snapfade said:

With the talk on another thread about fitting, I am of the opinion that the club head manufacturer is secondary to the shaft. You can order the same shafts for any brand of club there is on the market. Every driver or iron is the longest and straightest they have ever made. My thinking is, for the most part, its all about the shaft. What do you guys think? 

I'm not sure which is more important. I can tell you that I was a fan of Taylormade drivers for a long time. In 1995 Taylormade came out with the bubble shaft. From then on I only used Taylormade Drivers. I had a Burner, an R7, and an R11... I was quite the Taylormade Driver fan-boy. But then Twist Face came out... I can't even set it behind the ball. It's totally weird looking to me. I had to find something new. 

Now I love the look of the Cobra Speed Zone behind the ball. The milled face pouring over for some reason looks "Right" to me. So for me "The Infinity Face" works... "The Twist Face" doesn't. I'm sure it's just some mental issue I have with how it looks. So, even though I could get either them in the same shaft. I think in this case the club head is really important. 

So, even though I know there's a ton of marketing and, in truth a ton of engineering, behind "Twist Face" and "Infinity Face" and Callaway's "Jail Break" and Mizuno's "Wave Technology" and dare I go on? For me the driver has to "look right" behind the ball, and that is ALL about the clubhead. 

When it comes to the shaft it just has to fit my swing and ideally I would like it to be blue. 

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4 minutes ago, snapfade said:

When you decided on a club head, was it because of forgiveness, distance, looks, etc, or a little of everything? 

All of the above.  

2 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I'm not sure which is more important. I can tell you that I was a fan of Taylormade drivers for a long time. In 1995 Taylormade came out with the bubble shaft. From then on I only used Taylormade Drivers. I had a Burner, an R7, and an R11... I was quite the Taylormade Driver fan-boy. But then Twist Face came out... I can't even set it behind the ball. It's totally weird looking to me. I had to find something new. 

Now I love the look of the Cobra Speed Zone behind the ball. The milled face pouring over for some reason looks "Right" to me. So for me "The Infinity Face" works... "The Twist Face" doesn't. I'm sure it's just some mental issue I have with how it looks. So, even though I could get either them in the same shaft. I think in this case the club head is really important. 

So, even though I know there's a ton of marketing and, in truth a ton of engineering, behind "Twist Face" and "Infinity Face" and Callaway's "Jail Break" and Mizuno's "Wave Technology" and dare I go on? For me the driver has to "look right" behind the ball, and that is ALL about the clubhead. 

When it comes to the shaft it just has to fit my swing and ideally I would like it to be blue. 

I thought the R7 was the best thing since sliced bread.  Probably the single biggest advance in drivers since transitioning from wood.  Then came the R11 that I couldn’t even look at.  One part of why I changed to Titleist.  Looks absolutely play a role.  :beer: 

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1 minute ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I'm not sure which is more important. I can tell you that I was a fan of Taylormade drivers for a long time. In 1995 Taylormade came out with the bubble shaft. From then on I only used Taylormade Drivers. I had a Burner, an R7, and an R11... I was quite the Taylormade Driver fan-boy. But then Twist Face came out... I can't even set it behind the ball. It's totally weird looking to me. I had to find something new. 

Now I love the look of the Cobra Speed Zone behind the ball. The milled face pouring over for some reason looks "Right" to me. So for me "The Infinity Face" works... "The Twist Face" doesn't. I'm sure it's just some mental issue I have with how it looks. So, even though I could get either them in the same shaft. I think in this case the club head is really important. 

So, even though I know there's a ton of marketing and, in truth a ton of engineering, behind "Twist Face" and "Infinity Face" and Callaway's "Jail Break" and Mizuno's "Wave Technology" and dare I go on? For me the driver has to "look right" behind the ball, and that is ALL about the clubhead. 

When it comes to the shaft it just has to fit my swing and ideally I would like it to be blue. 

I agree you have to feel good about a club, thats the first thing that catches my eye, how cool does it look or whatever.  I guess what I am asking, is there really, when you get right down to it,is there that big of a difference between the companies with just the head, performance wise? 

7 minutes ago, David in FL said:

All of the above.  

I thought the R7 was the best thing since sliced bread.  Probably the single biggest advance in drivers since transitioning from wood.  Then came the R11 that I couldn’t even look at.  One part of why I changed to Titleist.  Looks absolutely play a role.  :beer: 

I LOVED my Nike square driver back in the day. I got it when it was first released, was later found out to be non-conforming. 

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  • iacas changed the title to Does the Club Brand Make a Difference Anymore?
1 minute ago, snapfade said:

I agree you have to feel good about a club, thats the first thing that catches my eye, how cool does it look or whatever.  I guess what I am asking, is there really, when you get right down to it,is there that big of a difference between the companies with just the head, performance wise? 

I suppose at some point they all just become a physics problem. You can be so big, with some much weight to distribute, with x amount of loft and y amount of lie angle, you can have so much Coefficient of Restitution. So, if they were all going to be hit by robots and the manufacturers maximized all of those things, I guess Yeah, they might become the same. I mean I guess if you hit any 9.5 degree lofted driver dead center of the face, and hit 3 degrees up, and swing it at 105 miles per hour, the whole thing is math. 

I might argue, however, that there are still plenty of differences in shapes, sizes, lofts, and how the club head feels and how it sounds and (of course) how it looks, and even how they perform to warrant testing some different head models before making a decision. To illustrate, just consider how Titleist, Mizuno, Wilson, Ping and Cobra all make clubs in every category, but they all go about it a slightly different way. I'm going to argue that if I was blind folded and you handed me one of the above folks newest 7-irons I could work out which one it was just because those companies tend to solve the problem in their own way. Btw - I'm not saying I could work it out just by hitting it blindfolded. But also by the shape, the clubhead size, the relative loft, etc... Ping tends to make very Ping-like irons, and Mizuno tends to make Mizuno-like-irons etc etc etc.... 

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The brand matters if you are tied to a brand.  I played Wilson's, or MacGregor's, or Callaway's,...thinking I had found the Holy Grail...only to find another Holy Grail in the discount bin.  I'm stuck on Maltby's now...because I prefer assembling my own clubs.  So yeah...brand matters.  Only thing is the brand seems to change from time to time.

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9 hours ago, David in FL said:

 Looks absolutely play a role.  :beer: 

I think this includes being able to aim the face. I noticed the new Titleist drivers have a shinier dome compared to my 917. I find it distracting. I can aim the 917 driver and fairways a lot better.

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10 hours ago, snapfade said:

When you decided on a club head, was it because of forgiveness, distance, looks, etc, or a little of everything? 

I selected my irons based on dispersion from Trackman. I was trying a few heads from Ping. The less forgiving 7i head had a tighter dispersion and also did not fly quite as far, but it is for scoring, not distance. I think some of the game improvement heads have a hotter face, but not only do you need to worry about left/right dispersion but length as well? I heard that you can catch some shots that can really fly off the face and fly the green. I could be all wet about this.

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13 hours ago, snapfade said:

With the talk on another thread about fitting, I am of the opinion that the club head manufacturer is secondary to the shaft. You can order the same shafts for any brand of club there is on the market. Every driver or iron is the longest and straightest they have ever made. My thinking is, for the most part, its all about the shaft. What do you guys think? 

Shaft certainly plays a big role in trying to maximize the performance of the club, but the club head itself, especially on a driver, is still really important. You could have a shaft that you love the feel of and have gotten great results from in the past, but the wrong head will cancel that out.

Regardless of shaft, if you are a really low spin or low speed player and put a 9 degree sub zero head on your favorite shaft, you will still get balls diving out of the sky on non-perfect contact or you won't be able to get the ball in the air. And similarly, a really high spin, high speed player who pops a high lofted super game improvement head on that shaft is going to see the ball launching way too high and ballooning in the air, especially in the wind. These are generalizations of course, and there are always exceptions, but the head definitely matters a lot.

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11 hours ago, David in FL said:

I thought the R7 was the best thing since sliced bread.  Probably the single biggest advance in drivers since transitioning from wood.  Then came the R11 that I couldn’t even look at.  One part of why I changed to Titleist.  Looks absolutely play a role.  :beer: 

That R7 was a pretty cool club. I got a buddy who still plays the Taylormade R7 Quad... Just between you and me, he plays it because he actually has the illegal version. It's a 0.86 COR instead of the 0.83 legal limit. You can tell because in the upper left corner of the face it has the word "MAX" stamped. The legal ones have "R7" stamped in that spot. My guess is he'll never give that driver up. I'm pretty sure he put in his will that his family must bury him with it. 

max.png.a1fb685d186c6e1de802a22f93e5abdf.png

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33 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

That R7 was a pretty cool club. I got a buddy who still plays the Taylormade R7 Quad... Just between you and me, he plays it because he actually has the illegal version. It's a 0.86 COR instead of the 0.83 legal limit. You can tell because in the upper left corner of the face it has the word "MAX" stamped. The legal ones have "R7" stamped in that spot. My guess is he'll never give that driver up. I'm pretty sure he put in his will that his family must bury him with it. 

max.png.a1fb685d186c6e1de802a22f93e5abdf.png

I know this is slightly off topic, but you bring up a point that I'm really interested in.  How much has technology even made a material difference for performance?  I'm really referring to the period of about 2008 to today--obviously strides have been made previously.  But in the last 10 or so years, has there been a material change?  If COR has been restricted for years, have drivers even gotten better?  

For instance, I don't think there's been much by way of irons when you stack them up loft for loft.  There's only so much you can do with a blade or a smaller cavity club (I have and play both).  Woods and hybrids, on the other hand, do feel like they are more stable on off center hits and feel like they maintain better ball speeds across the face than older woods and hybrids.  Out of the middle, they all seem to be about the same though.  I was just curious because I have a friend who swears by his R9 SuperDeep TP.  I had the R9 (not same model) back in the day and really liked it myself, but I'm intrigued by the deep version.  I currently play a Callaway Epic Flash and it feels stupid easy.  I just don't know recall how forgiving older woods are compared to today's clubs.  Same for hybrids-- the older Adams clubs still have a cult following; how do the older hybrids compare to today's "tech'd out" hybrids with speed foam and slots and all that?

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Brand does matter, but not because one brand makes a “better” club than another, but because small differences in design might fit you better or not.

When I went in for my last iron fitting, we found out fairly early on that the shaft I was currently playing (fitted previously) was still the best one for me, so we tried a bunch of different heads with it. For whatever reason, one came out ahead of the rest in terms of performance and that’s what I ended up getting.

Brand will matter if you’re picking between clubs with similar performance and one manufacturer offers the shaft you need with no upgrade charge 😉

1 hour ago, ncates00 said:

How much has technology even made a material difference for performance?

Probably more than you think. For example, manufacturers are incorporating materials with different densities than what clubs were traditionally made with which allows them to manipulate the launch characteristics of clubs more than before by moving the club’s CoG around. Improvement in technology has allowed them to design club faces thinner, etc.

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13 hours ago, Piz said:

The brand matters if you are tied to a brand.  I played Wilson's, or MacGregor's, or Callaway's,...thinking I had found the Holy Grail...only to find another Holy Grail in the discount bin.  I'm stuck on Maltby's now...because I prefer assembling my own clubs.  So yeah...brand matters.  Only thing is the brand seems to change from time to time.

I have 4 maltby clubs in my bag and love them.......

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Ping makes excellent drivers. I can't stand the way they look.  It's mental.  I'm sure I could get used to it but there's not real motivation to.  If it added 20 yds or decreased dispersion significantly I'd be motivated!

Lucky for me, Callaway makes excellent drivers too.  I could also easily switch to TM, but right now my Callaway consistently gets better results on launch monitors.  Until I see something major change, or I break the thing, I'm good there.  

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16 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I'm not sure which is more important. I can tell you that I was a fan of Taylormade drivers for a long time. In 1995 Taylormade came out with the bubble shaft. From then on I only used Taylormade Drivers. I had a Burner, an R7, and an R11... I was quite the Taylormade Driver fan-boy. But then Twist Face came out... I can't even set it behind the ball. It's totally weird looking to me. I had to find something new. 

Now I love the look of the Cobra Speed Zone behind the ball. The milled face pouring over for some reason looks "Right" to me. So for me "The Infinity Face" works... "The Twist Face" doesn't. I'm sure it's just some mental issue I have with how it looks. So, even though I could get either them in the same shaft. I think in this case the club head is really important. 

So, even though I know there's a ton of marketing and, in truth a ton of engineering, behind "Twist Face" and "Infinity Face" and Callaway's "Jail Break" and Mizuno's "Wave Technology" and dare I go on? For me the driver has to "look right" behind the ball, and that is ALL about the clubhead. 

When it comes to the shaft it just has to fit my swing and ideally I would like it to be blue. 

A lot of what you stated is spot on.  When I last got fitted Callaway did not work for me, it worked for a lot of other people but not me.  It came down to Taylormade or Cobra and I went with Cobra because visually it was more pleasing to my eye plus I wanted something that not everyone else is hitting.  Now the shaft was critical, extremely critical in all of this as my dispersion was affected the most by different shafts.  Distance had differences but not to the same extreme as dispersion was.

As far as your statement regrading blue, I got a big smile on my face.  Last fall when I took my daughter to a fitting session or a full bag the Fitter stated that color can be a big difference for golfers.  In Texas the orange Tour AD shaft is the number one selling shaft.  Not because of how well it did in fitting sessions, in fact golfers would ignore the fitting results of shafts that we a better fit for them and still opt in for the orange Tour AD, even when it was obvious  they should not be using it.

Why - well all the Longhorn fans can answer that 🙂

I feel the entire club from the grip (to many people overlook this) shaft and head all are of pretty equal importance.  That is why when you get fitted tell your Fitter the truth of what you do and do not like in combinations, it makes their job a lot easier and trust the results.

But if the club is butt lickin ugly to you don't buy it, just not worth hitting ugly.

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The truth is brand doesn't matter so much.  No doubt and of the major brands can produce what the others do, in a short time and just as effectively.  The only advantage to the bigger brands is you have more options available.  Many SKU's are needed to cater to all golfers, and finance dictates that the bigger brands can afford to do R&D, manufacture and sell slowly any type of head.  The smaller ones will focus on the better selling heads and slowly stop the more niche heads that you might actually need

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