I was (yet again!) trying to guesstimate just how many iron sets I have been through over the last decade or so ans once again, the count gets a bit hazy after 30 or so! This got me thinking about the total value of these clubs. I then thought about what if I had just invested in one set of luxury golf clubs with the same money. How much would it have cost and just what are the different options out there? Let’s have a look.
What are Luxury Golf Clubs?
Obviously this comparison isn’t completely fair. Although the total cost of all the clubs I have owned over the years runs to thousands and thousands, I clearly didn’t a) buy them all new or b) own them all at the same time. Often, I would sell on some of the ones that were just gathering dust in the garage and taking up space in order to get something else.
Now, I am the world’s worst eBay seller so I never did this to try to make money, more because I just wanted a change or simply didn’t have enough space to stock things. This also involved giving away or selling at a ridiculously low price too. This means that I don’t really know w true financial value of everything I have had new and therefore can’t really put a number on what my virtual luxury golf club set budget might be. Given that I am probably not actually going to pull this trigger on some of the options we will see in this article, it doesn’t really matter I suppose.
The second thing that got me thinking was trying to define just what luxury clubs are. For example, if I were to go and buy a full bag from Ping, Mizuno, Titleist or whomever, I could easily spend $/£/euros 3000 or whatever. With irons sets running close to 1500, about 500 for a driver and hybrids, fairways and putters anywhere from 100 to 300+, this wouldn’t need to be an exceptional set by any means.
Golf is Expensive
So even this ‘starting point’ could be considered a luxury really. After all, how many people really can sink this sort of money into a hobby, especially when we add in green fees, memberships, balls, competition fees, drinks in the bar after, new shoes…..Let’s be honest here, as golfers we are already in what might be considered a luxurious position for many, even in the more developed part of the world.
For this article, I tried to look at what exists beyond this baseline of the more common manufacturers. It was certainly eye-opening and there is actually a whole other world of luxury golf that exists beyond what most of us see on a day to day basis.
The entry point to what might be considered luxury is actually something we can find in many golf shops. In fact, I actually hi these the other day. This is the Honma Beres black range. To be honest, I picked these out of the bag while I was chatting to the shop owner just because I didn’t recognise them at all. I asked him about them and he said that they sell really well and I did hit a few balls with them.
They weren’t my cup of tea at all but I can see the appeal to a certain golfing population. They are, by all accounts, a very well-made iron and use in-house proprietary shafts rather than anything you might find on most sets. I don’t know how much better they would really be that say a taylormade game improvement iron (if at all) but you would generally be far less likely to come across someone else playing these at your local club.
In terms of cost, the irons run at something over three thousand euros or about the same in pounds and dollars. A driver will set you back nearer to 800. For a total bag set up, this is going to be something like double the price of what you might from a more run-of-the-mill manufacturer.
Japanese Domestic Market Clubs
At a similar price point, there is something that appeals more to my idea of luxury and that would be getting a custom fit set of blades that are exclusively for the Japanese domestic market.
If you have never gone down this particular wormhole Japanese Domestic Market or jdm is a whole other area of the golfing world. The jdm forum on golfwrx is a fun place to find out a little bit more about all this if you are interested. Brands like Mizuno ,Honma and even Miura have a huge international golf presence but there are many other brands that are exclusive to the Japanese market and they produce some absolutely stunning clubs, especially irons. As something of an iron addict myself, I would happily fill up my house with some of these boutique offerings. If you would like to feast your eyes on just what is available, you might want to look at Tour Spec Golf but be careful, this can quickly become an addiction!
In terms of cost then, this isn’t actually a ridiculously expensive option. It will cost more than a standard bag but it isn’t millionaire territory by any means. However, for me I would put this squarely in luxury because luxury doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as expensive. JDM clubs have the reputation of being made to a high tolerance, generally being forged in Japan rather than outsourced to other countries in Asia.
Those who love these sorts of clubs will say that the feel is completely different from anything else you can play. This is clearly subjective, but having a set of custom fit blades from Kyoei or jBeam will certainly put you in an exclusive club outside of Japan. And this is one of the problems in fact, because getting hold of these types of clubs is actually quite tricky and usually involves ordering directly from Japan.
But what if you want to up your game a little bit and really try for luxury? There is certainly another (big) step up for anyone who wants to really have the best (or at least the most expensive) that money can get. For example, we can simply head back to Honma and their Beres S-06 5 star clubs. This is true bling bling territory. These clubs are hand-crafted by master craftsmen in Japan which already makes them a very exclusive premium product. However, what pushes them up into the realm of luxury is the choice of materials.
Golf Plated Drivers
Each club is made with platinum and 24 carat gold plating on the head. The total cost for this sort of set is going to be around 20 times what a nice new bag of Mizunos might cost. Whilst this doesn’t just limit it to millionaires, anyone playing an iron set that costs more than most cars is clearly wanting to make sure he is seen on the course. Having a bag full of gold-plated heads sticking out should make this easy enough too!
There is one more type of luxury golf club that is over-looked in the world of gold-plated drivers and hand-rolled graphite shafts. In fact, this might just be the most exclusive type of club of all. It doesn’t have the same type of ‘in your face’ expensive that the Honma’s have and will probably appeal more to the true golfing fan. It is also something that might be considered a golfing investment because its very nature means that it is really only going to go up in value. I am talking here about classic clubs.
These essentially take two different forms and both could be considered luxury. The first is standard clubs that have never actually been played and have become cult. For example, something like the Ping eye 2 fits the bill. Getting a set of eye 2s is actually one of the cheapest golfing investments you can make because so many of them were produced. A have owned a couple of sets and you can pick up a very playable set of irons for about half the cost of one new mizuno iron.
However, if you want luxury, you need to be a little bit more patient. In the case of eye 2 irons, luxury would be an original set of Becu eye 2 irons that are still in their box. As much as standard eye 2s are common, the becu irons that have never been played are like gold dust and might be one of the best investments you can make in golf equipment. The price is just going to carry on going higher and higher as they become more and more rare and this, rather than the more ostentatious gold-plated irons, is what true golfing luxury actually looks like.
Historical Golf Clubs
The other type of luxury classic club you can get is something that has historical significance. This is going to require quite a bit of research and due diligence, but for me would be far more satisfying that a more modern set that might cost the same money. For example, getting hold of the putter that Tiger used to win his first masters and having that in the bag might be about as luxurious as you can get.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and luxury is somewhat similar. There are some very high-end clubs out there, especially in the Japanese domestic market. If you really want to separate yourself from the pack, what about unboxing a brand new set of becu eye 2 irons on the first tee and then pulling Tiger’s putter from the bag to sink that winning putt on the green? That is, in my opinion, truly what luxury golf clubs are all about.