As we move into a New Year, eagerness and opportunity abound for golfers.
The PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando later this month is always an annual hotbed of new releases, and the beauty of golf is that there’s a wide range of price points for entry into the game. It’s why you can go to your local muni and find a tattered bag filled with 20-year-old clubs sitting next to a tour bag with a $600 driver. And both of those golfers might ultimately have the same level of enjoyment.
The purpose of this article, however, is to take a closer look at five of the most expensive equipment companies (with a relatively significant U.S. presence) across various categories: clubs, putters, balls, shafts, and bags.
Golf Clubs – Honma
While high-end club manufacturers like PXG, Miura, and Epon are gaining a greater foothold in the U.S., Honma is still the literal gold standard when it comes to the priciest clubs. The Japanese clubmaker has a series of product lines categorized by the number of stars, the more stars—up to five—the more expensive. President Trump received a gold-plated Beres S-05 driver as a gift from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while the blinged-out, five-star series sells for upward of $70,000. As Honma looks to expand its U.S. distribution, it’s also selling competitively-priced clubs in retail outlets like PGA Tour Superstore.
Putters – Lamb Crafted
Tyson Lamb started his putter business in his parents’ garage, then built his brand through the power of social media, notably Instagram. Today, Lamb’s customized and coveted milled putters start at $1,250 and can quickly climb to $5,000 apiece. Customers, even famous athletes, have to wait months or years to get their hands on one of Lamb’s classically inspired designs. He’s moved out of his parents’ garage and into a dedicated shop to continue his craft.
Shafts – Seven Dreamers
Billed as the world’s most advanced and exclusive golf shafts, Seven Dreamers began distribution in North America earlier this year. The shafts, made in Tokyo by craftsmen and scientists who collaborate to custom-build each model, start at $1,200 apiece. What differentiates Seven Dreamers is a unique manufacturing process that uses special curing molds and an autoclave pressure chamber, a pioneering approach that ensures the carbon fiber retains 100 percent of its quality; the shafts don’t need any grinding, polishing, or even added resin or paint. The real proof comes at impact, with more distance and a tighter shot dispersion—at a steep price.
Balls – Clear
Clear Sports occupies an entirely uncharted corner of the competitive golf ball market: a membership-only club. Yes, you might need to “know a guy” to become an invited member. Only then can you buy a case of 12 dozen golf balls for $950. That breaks out to about $80 a dozen or just under $7 per ball. Celebrities such as Jeremy Roenick, Paul O’Neill, Ivan Lendl, Sterling Sharpe, and Rob Riggle all exclusively play Clear’s golf balls. So, what do you get as a member? Both performance and exclusivity.
Bags – MacKenzie
You can shell out $2,400 to have a finely crafted Italian leather golf bag from Terrida shipped to the U.S., but when it comes to a high-end American brand, MacKenzie may be at the top of the line. The company’s walking bags, which are made in Oregon yet draw inspiration from the Old Course at St. Andrews, range from $900 to $1,250. While the bags have evolved slightly in terms of material quality over the past three-plus decades, they’re best known for their functionality—just one pocket or two—and timeless style.
So what other super-expensive golf brands have you seen or tried? Let us know on social media where we’re @linksmagazine everywhere!