It is a new golf season and maybe a reason to think about buying new golf gear. However, if you are wondering how much do golf clubs cost in 2022, here is the average price of the most popular clubs on the market. Expect the price of an adjustable driver to be over $500, a single fairway wood at $299, a hybrid at $249, irons and wedges at $140 each and let's not forget about a $250 putter. Add all that up and you are looking at over $2860 for how much a set of golf clubs could cost. This does not even factor in the cost of a golf bag, or consumables like golf balls, golf gloves and tees. Do you have sticker shock now? Luckily, the cost of golf clubs does not have to be that expensive as we will explain later.
What Is Causing Golf Club Prices to Rise Today?
We can’t talk about what’s happening today without talking about COVID. The Pandemic resulted in, among other things, an unprecedented boom in consumer sales. Online retailers such as Amazon recorded record sales and profits during the pandemic. Many types of retail stores, once re-opened, also recorded record sales. Golf greatly benefited, as it was one of the few recreational activities that could be done socially distanced. At the same time, however, foundries trying to produce these goods were faced with work disruptions due to periodic COVID shutdowns and energy shortages.
Too Much Demand and Not Enough Supply
The high demand for golf products and other consumer goods, combined with production limits, quickly resulted in foundries unable to produce enough supply, creating a backlog. Now it started taking longer and longer to deliver product. This created a cascade effect.
Higher Cost of Raw Materials
The first is the increased cost of raw materials used in the making of the golf club components and the supplies to build them. We have seen quarterly price hikes from many of our suppliers, often unannounced, when in the past we might only see one price increase per year. The following is a typical comment in my inbox from our overseas suppliers.
"Because of the global tensions, the cost of steel, rubber and other raw materials had continued to increase at an unexpected rate and some of the suppliers are now releasing limited amounts of raw materials into the market. We have seen product costs pushed to historic levels and we are unable to mitigate the current costs any longer."
Higher Costs to Store Goods
Prior to the Pandemic, companies could be relatively certain when they would receive their goods after placing an order with the foundry. Most companies wanted just-in-time (JIT) inventory to reduce costs associated with storage. Due to the supply issues, however, all that was thrown out the window. The long lead times and uncertainty in when companies will receive their goods resulted in companies wanting to store more inventory, which meant more warehouse space needed, which resulted in a shortage of warehouse space and higher rent prices and/or storage fees.
Another factor that affects golf club prices is rising wages. The labor shortage in factories worldwide resulted in higher wages to retain workers. Cheap labor is not as cheap anymore. This not only happened in factories worldwide, but in US offices and distribution centers. Sam in sales, Alex in accounting and Shannon in shipping likely received a wage increase due to the labor shortage.
Rising Shipping Costs
The final reason is escalating shipping costs. Practically all golf equipment is manufactured in China. Before the COVID pandemic, a 40-foot container may have cost $2500 to ship from China to Los Angeles, now we’ve seen costs 10 times that amount. Also factor in the high gas and diesel fuel costs from UPS, FedEx, US Postal or other freight company to get that product from the distributor's warehouse to you or your local golf store.
Recently the ports have implemented a "port congestion fee of $1125" plus a $100 charge or more per day for the port to keep the containers there because they are backed up. This is an additional fee that recipient of the container pays, not the port.
If you add up all the extra cost from the increase of raw materials, added labor and transportation, couple that with now a war in Ukraine and rising tensions across the globe, that is only fueling the flame to higher inflation and ultimately consumer costs. If you look at the price of golf equipment at the retail level and suddenly notice they are substantially higher, you are not imagining that.
What are 4 Ways You Can Save Money on New Golf Equipment?
Sure, you can buy pre-owned or used golf clubs, but do you want to play with clubs where the grips are worn or there are scratches on the face and chips in the paint? Most golfers would prefer the best price on golf clubs that are new and shiny. Here are a few ways you can save some money on the latest golf equipment.
- Look for one- or two-year-old equipment as the technology is not too dated compared to the latest and greatest offerings from the manufacturer. Bonded drivers (ones without an adjustable shaft adapter) will cost less and honestly most golfers never change from the factory settings.
- Consider purchasing off brands. These are products made outside the big 5 golf brands (Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, Ping, and Cobra) that dominate the market. Off-brands may not have to pass on the higher costs of tour support and advertising, which can be a third of the price of a golf club at the retail level. This includes not only second tier OEMs, but also direct-to consumer clubs and custom clubs built from components by independent clubmakers in your area. Examples would be Orlimar and Acer components.
- Build your own golf clubs. Yes, you can do that if you have any knowledge of tools. Even if you don't, Hireko can also help you as we offer books and videos on clubmaking and club fitting. For instance, you can build a quality iron for $30 instead of the $140 for a name brand model.
- Installing new grips and shafts are two other options to upgrade your existing golf clubs and improve their performance.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the reasons why prices are rising, as well as a few different options on how to buy new golf equipment without breaking the bank. While costs have gone up for everybody, Hireko will do its utmost to keep golf equipment as affordable as possible so that golfers everywhere can continue playing golf and having fun.