A Rich Man's Game

I’m a golf evangelist.

As in, I’m always telling people it’s a great game.

Like most religion (and golf is NOT, I am just making an analogy), there’s always resistance and in golf, the biggest challenge is to get people to start the game. Once they are hooked, they won’t stop. The all time favourite resistant response is:

“It’s a rich man game la….”

It’s a known fact that golf retailers markup about 30%-40%, so for a single club, they are probably making a profit of about 300 bucks or so. But it’s not really the retailer’s fault because they need to make a profit and the manufacturers are already killing them with the increasing wholesale prices. Think about it. 99% of the clubs are made in China, in some sweat houses that pays workers like USD1 per day. You’d think the cost of making clubs is going lower and lower and lower.

You are right. So why the heck is the club’s prices soaring? The ridiculous CGB Max from Taylormade is at 2200RM. Who are they trying to sucker?! (If you bought it, much apologies, nothing personal).

Manufacturers are raising the prices not because there’s like a bunch of technology involved or the clubs are getting more complicated. They are raising prices to cover for the increase in their advertising and sponsorship for the pros. How much does Nike have to cough up for Tiger? How much Callaway does for Ernie and Phil? They lower costs, jack up prices to retailers and customers suffer with pricings like RM1500 per driver.

Sure, you say, nowadays, drivers are full of technology. No, seriously, do you think a couple of screws at the back of the club is gonna make much difference to the average hacker? It might, but we’re still gonna suck regardless. Trust me. If you bought a new driver for about RM2200 and you immediately shoot 10 strokes lower, let me know. More likely, we’ll hover around the same score, unless we change our swings. And how different can the new burner be, compared to the old one, except the aesthetics? And is there a whole lot of difference between the Hi Bore XLS and the Hi Bore XL? In fact, I hit best with the Hi Bore original, compared to the other more ‘high tech’ drivers.

No, golf is a rich man’s game only if you want it to be.

Most of us have a lot more other things to do than to just play golf, unfortunately. We have loans to pay, and a life to run, which cost money, unless we decide to live in a cave and eat guano. So 99% of people will look at the price first before starting off and go, “Wah, so expensive one ah….”

There are 2 ways out of this.

1) Wait for retail sale and grab the best pricing possible. This is a good idea actually and later, I’ll show you where there are pretty good deals for new clubs (probably older models but still, new). The problem with this is that when you want to get it, it’s no longer there, because of the kiasu-ness of malaysians. Or even after the sale, it’s still outside of your reach.

2) Second hand clubs. This is the idea I support, because when it comes to golf, I am a cheapskate. Technology is improving at such a rapid pace that it’s now common for manufacturers to release 2-3 models in a season, rendering last season’s clubs obsolete. Of course, you need to be extra careful buying second hand clubs, and you need to make sure they aren’t hacked to death, or knock offs. I’ll write another post on this later.

In conclusion, golf is actually a very affordable game. You should get a decent set of clubs you can play with for some time, that means forget about those all in one sets for RM500, RM600. They suck. I don’t care if they are from Mizuno, Maruman or whatever. If you end up loving the game, you’ll buy another set almost immediately. If you end up hating the game, you can’t even sell the set to a hobo.

A fictional set that costs RM1400:

Ping Eye 2 irons 3i – SW – RM500

Adams Insight Driver – RM390

Cobra 3 Wood – RM180

TaylorMade Rescue Mid – RM200

Cobra IM-02 Putter – RM130

You can even go cheaper if you want, by taking a lousy putter, or removing the 3 wood, but with a set like this, you can probably use this for many years to come. So think before you pop up RM1500 for the new driver that actually costs only a fraction of the price you paid.

Good Deals Around Town
Here are some good deals around town:

1) [MST] TM Burner (OLD)RM888

2) [MST] Nike Sumo (Old) RM590 (R) – RM690 (S)

3) [RGT] Srixon w-506RM800

4) [Isetan KLCC] Cobra F Speed RM590

5) [Isetan KLCC] Nike Sumo Square (Old) RM750

These are the best ones I’ve found so far. MST also offers the new Callaway Hyper X for RM1050.

Also, Isetan KLCC is selling used Never Compromise Voodoo Daddy for about RM360 (after 20%). I am a HUGE Never Compromise fan, and I have exactly the same putter selling for RM250. And mine is better conditioned. Mine doesn’t have a headcover, but it still doesn’t justify for the RM100 difference. Hence, despite their ‘sale’, retailers still need to go lower!!

Isetan KLCC

Gilagolf

There used to be better deals for Hi Bore XL at RM700, TM R7 Draw at RM700 and Callaway X460 at RM700 (giving you an idea of the markup retailers get), but I can no longer get those. I doubt anyone can get those deals anymore. I’ll post up more once I find some good deals around town.

Happy Hacking!

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