The Loop

Hot About the Hot List

January 14, 2008

Our suggestion in the February Hot List package that amateurs aren't upgrading equipment fast enough brought frank and candid (as they say in diplomatic circles) responses from several of you.

New Jerseyan Dominic Carapelli was one:


In talking about why so many amateur golfers do not keep up with the newest clubs, your theories are: 1) Confusion, 2) Distrust, and 3) Ignorance.  While I admit they all can be factors, the majority of "average golfers" can't afford to go out and buy the newest stuff every year, or every two years for that matter.  I love golf very much and I am a pretty decent player (12.8 index), but even I, let alone my girlfriend can't justify spending between $300-$500 every two or three years for a driver, $700-$1000 for irons, $150-250 per fairway wood, $80-$130 per wedge, and a $100-$300 putter.  Then add the cost of the $20-$50 a dozen balls, ever-inflating greens fees, shoes, gloves, clothes, etc., you're talking thousands of dollars over 2 or 3 years and that's if you play the same "out-dated" set.Â

I love your magazine and will continue to read it every month, but I feel those statements are in very poor taste.  I make a decent salary and have a nice home but also like to get out and play golf at least once a week.  If I were to make sure every club in my bag was always custom-fitted, and had the newest clubs, I'd never be able to actually play....I'd only chip balls in my back yard.

Thanks for the letter, Dominic. FYI, Steve Boyd of Wheeling, W.V., shares your reaction.

I'm somewhat upset over the very subtle but definite insinuation in the Hot List article, pg 113 of February's magazine, that quote, "Too many average golfers must not believe golf equipment is getting any better. That helps explain why you would so often find outdated, overworn and ill-fitted clubs in nearly every bag." I can assure that I, and I believe most average golfers, are very aware of what new golf technology can do for our games. However, there's no way I can justify (especially to my wife) why I just spent a year's grocery money on a new set of clubs that I may use 25 to 50 times a year! On top of that there's no way I can justify the cost of these new clubs. I know the manufactures will claim that the cost helps with the research and development of new, even better, equipment, which for the record I'll never be able to afford. But when I look at the materials going into the making of, say, a new driver there's no way you can justify the price of $400.00 to $500.00. So I'll continue to use the clubs that I either purchased at a web site specializing in used clubs or that were greatly reduced as part of a closeout/reduction sale, and if that offends any one the next time they look in my bag, tough, but at least there's food on the table. Thanks for listening to my rant....

Thanks, gentlemen. You're right--and you're not ranting. The prices are daunting and we are not suggesting that you go broke playing golf. As a man who watched his wife pay $300 for a Ping G-10 "Christmas present", I feel your pain--well, our pain.

On the other hand, as you suggest, there are ways to alleviate the suffering. Trade-ins, used clubs, online auctions or just buying the second-to-last generation are all ways to add technology without a mortgage. Less than 10 per cent of us use trade-in credits. So there are options. But you're right. We occasionally lose touch. Thanks for bringing us back.

--Bob Carney