April 27, 2009

Bargain Hunting

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Cleveland Classic 3

Jerry Kelly averaged 28.5 putts per round at the Zurich Classic with this $69 putter.

As jerry Kelly stood over the three-footer that would win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans--his first title in seven years--and the $1,134,000 first-prize, the putter he gripped, a Cleveland Classic 3 model, was about to provide one of the greatest returns on investment ever.

That's because the putter cost $69.

Kelly purchased the blade at a Nevada Bob's in Madison, Wis., late last year. "I picked it up and thought it was really good, so I just bought it," said Kelly at the Sony Open in Hawaii where the putter made its debut.

Although Kelly is an anomaly among tour players in that he dug into his own pocket, the fact is several tour pros--players who can request virtually any club they want without receiving an invoice--use equipment that is currently selling at retail for affordable prices.

After visiting the Internet sites of some of the country's largest golf retailers, you can, believe it or not, obtain a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, set of eight irons, two wedges and a putter--brand new and currently used by at least one player on a major professional tour--for less than $850.

OK, so what big stick is available without sticker shock? A number of drivers are selling for the attractive price of $150, including Cleveland's HiBore XLS and Nike's SQ 5000 (a driver used by Stephen Ames and K.J. Choi). As for fairway woods, Nike's Sasquatch model, used by Tiger Woods, lists for $100. In hybrids, at the Legends of Golf Lee Trevino was carrying Hogan's CFT hybrid that cost you all of $60.

In irons, if you don't mind a draw version, TaylorMade's r7 Draw can be had for $299. Yes, you get all eight irons for that, quite a bargain when you consider Kenny Perry uses the non-draw version of the set. If you don't need a draw version, ante up an extra $100 and buy Cleveland's CG Gold irons or Hogan Apex irons (used by Bernhard Langer for half of his iron set).

Add in a pair of Adams Tom Watson wedges (a model used by Watson himself) for $35 each and Kelly's $69 putter and a set of tour-caliber clubs can be in your bag for $848. Oh, need golf balls? Joe Durant used Srixon's TriSpeed ($23 a dozen) at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

You may not win a tour event with such a bag, but it will provide a good return on your investment.

Spotted

After starting the week with a Nike prototype putter, Rory Sabbatini changed to an Odyssey Black Series putter on the weekend and finished 23rd in putts per GIR while finishing T-2 in New Orleans.

Bag Room

Nostalgia tends to rule at the Legends of Golf--and not just on the tee sheets. Lee Trevino wielded an old-school Top-Flite Intimidator 9-wood, and Ed Fiori attacked greens with a set of Ping Zing 2 irons. ... Roger Maltbie, who teamed with__Gary Koch__ to win the Raphael Division at the Legends of Golf, had an interesting wood set that included names rarely seen on tour: a Nicklaus Dual Point driver, a Bobby Jones 3-wood and an Element 21 hybrid. ... In New Orleans, Jerry Kelly used Titleist's new Pro V1x ball, switching from the higher-spinning Pro V1 model he had been using.

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