Over the past 30 years, in particular, there have been huge technical advances in golf equipment.
From grips to shafts to club heads everything has pretty much changed in recent times as golf manufacturers have aimed to harness technology to give golfers clubs which will help them improve.
There have been many positives to these developments such as increased driving distance and it is now clear that both amateur and professional golfers are hitting the ball further than they ever have before.
With any advancement however there usually also comes cost and given golf is already considered to be an expensive sport to play we decided to do some research into how much golf clubs cost these days.
So we got to work and looked at over 1500 golf club products to help answer the question – how much do golf clubs cost?
Here’s what we found complete sets of golf clubs and individual clubs including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters cost on average.
|Hybrids & Utility Clubs||$195||$198||$180||$143||$45||$47|
|Irons||$886||$671||$612||$713||$33 per club|
With the explosion in golf technology over the last few decades however has also come an almost infinite number of options when it comes to golf clubs.
Combined with the accessibility that has been delivered by the Internet it has become possible for all standards of golfer to buy almost any type of golf club they can think of.
Gone are the days when you would walk into your local pro shop, take a look at the 10-15 options on display and walk away with a new set of clubs.
Today there are a huge number of choices as almost every aspect of the golf club has become something that can be changed to suit an individual golfer’s requirements.
Which means that comparing the ‘average’ cost of clubs has become that bit more tricky as it is now much more difficult now to say what the ‘average’ golf club.
Compare the bags of clubs of any group of regular players on a course these days and you will inevitably find that each individual golfer will have their own combination of clubs which they believe will suit their game better.
Saying that the basic groups of clubs – drivers, fairway woods, irons, wedges, putters etc – remains as it always has and so we’ve taken a look at each in turn to give you a detailed view of what you can and should spend on clubs.
The Costs of Complete Sets of Golf Clubs
Complete sets or packages of golf clubs aimed at the average golfer can range anywhere from around $100 to $1,200 (less than £100 to around the £1,000 mark).
What was interesting when you looked at the average cost of a complete set of clubs also was that it was often the same if not less than the average cost of the individual component parts of sets such as drivers.
For example, looking at clubs for men right-handed golfers the average cost of a complete set was $355 (£284) compared to the average price for a set of irons which was over double that at $886 (£709).
This may seem odd given that if a set of irons is just one component of a full set surely they should on average be less expensive than a full set.
Cool fact: The Honma Aizu Package Golf Set are hand-painted by Honma artists in the traditional Aizu-style, a traditional craftwork technique which began in Japan in 1590. They are considered unique works of art and cost a mere $64,999.99!
But the reason for this is complete sets of clubs are typically aimed at the beginner golfers or players who have more recently taken up the game.
Golfers who have been playing for a while or who have decided they are in the game for the long haul will likely ‘build’ their own set over time choosing individual clubs – drivers, hybrids, wedges etc – rather than a ‘complete’ set all at once.
This is an approach, which they think (and hope!) will better suit their game and lead to better scores.
As a result, the variety available when it comes to selecting individual clubs tends to be much greater as more options are available on the market aimed at suiting an individual players requirements rather than a complete set aimed at the generic ‘average’ player.
With greater variety and personalisation to individual requirements however comes increased cost leading to the greater average cost of individual types of clubs.
Below are some examples of complete sets of golf clubs ranging from over $300 (£230) for a man’s right-handed set to around $180 (£130) for junior clubs:
|Men||Right-handed||Callaway Golf Men’s Strata Complete Set – Usually around $380|
|Men||Left-handed||Precise M5 Men’s Complete Golf Clubs Package Set – Usually around $290|
|Women||Right-handed||Aspire XD1 Ladies Womens Golf Clubs – Usually around $260|
|Women||Left-handed||Precision Ladies Left Handed Golf Set – Usually around $300|
|Kids||Right-handed||Callaway Golf XJ Junior Golf Set – Usually around $275|
|Kids||Left-handed||Wilson Golf Profile JGI Junior Complete Golf Set – Usually around $180|
It is also worth noting that ‘package’ sets of golf clubs often also include a golf bag, or other useful items for a player just starting out such as head covers, golf balls or even an umbrella.
The Costs of Drivers & Fairway Woods
One of the great things which has accompanied the advancement of golf technology has been an increase in driving distance. Today the average male golfer is driving the ball 11 yards than his predecessor in 1996.
For golfers with handicaps of over 21 the news has been even better as according to the Annual Driving Distance Report issued by the USGA and R&A their average drive has increased by over 21 yards over the same time.
This increased distance has come at a cost however and golfers can now find drivers that cost as much as a whole set of clubs.
Although drivers can cost as little as $21.99 or pounds higher-end models such as the Callaway Epic Flash Star Driver will retail for as much as $699.99 (£550).
Spending close to $1,000 dollars on a driver is not unheard of either in today’s golfing market and the Honma S-06 4-Star Driver meanwhile will set you back a cool $1,699.99 (£1,325).
Here however are some examples of popular drivers we found in the much more averagely priced range of $200 to $300 (£150 – £220):
|Men||Right-handed||Callaway Golf Rogue Driver – Usually around $280|
|Men||Left-handed||Wilson Staff Golf Men’s D7 Driver – Usually around $290|
|Women||Right-handed||TaylorMade M4 Women’s D-Type Driver – Usually around $280|
|Women||Left-handed||Cobra Golf Ladies F-Max Airspeed Driver – Usually around $320|
Although not quite to the same extent the trend of individual clubs costing the same as complete sets on average has also been seen when it comes to fairways woods.
Once again you can buy ones for under $30 or pounds but a top of the line model from one of the big manufacturers can again set you back over $600 or close to £500.
The positive is this of course is you are very likely to find a driver and fairways woods which are a great fit for your swing however you may need to spend over a couple – or even a few – hundred dollars to get it.
Examples of fairway woods on the market which are again less than and much closer to the average include the following models which range in price from $150 to close to $300 (£110 – £225):
|Men||Right-handed||Callaway Golf Mavrik Max Fairway Wood|
– Usually around $250
|Men||Left-handed||Cobra Golf 2020 Men’s Speedzone Fairway – Usually around $230|
|Women||Right-handed||TaylorMade Golf Ladies M6 Fairway Wood – Usually around $150|
|Women||Left-handed||Cobra Golf Women’s F-Max Superlite Fairway Wood – Usually around $170|
The Costs of Hybrid & Utility Clubs
Before we talk about hybrids it’s first important not to confuse them with fairway woods.
Many hybrids out there will have the same lofts and lengths as fairway woods which can be confusing but they are two different things.
As well as being easier to hit our research also found that in general hybrids are on average cheaper than fairway woods, particularly for men.
While men golfers can regularly expect to pay well in excess of $200 (£150) for fairway woods on average hybrids by comparison we found cost less than $200 on average.
Here are few of the in demand ones we came across:
|Men||Right-handed||Cobra Golf F9 Men’s Speedback Hybrid – Usually around $170|
|Men||Left-handed||iRT-5 Hybrid – Usually around $180|
|Women||Right-handed||Cobra Golf Speedzone Hybrid – Usually around $190|
|Women||Left-handed||Callaway Golf Women’s Big Bertha Hybrid – Usually around $140|
Cost of a ‘Set of Irons’ is a Thing of the Past
Nowhere has the comparison of average club costs become more tricky than in looking at ‘sets of irons’.
And the main reason for that is the ‘standard set of irons’ is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
25-30 years ago if you asked any regular golfer what a standard set of irons was and my bet would be that about 99% of them would have said 9 irons from 3-iron to a sand wedge.
But with the ever increasing advance of hybrid clubs and utility irons combined with the huge variety of wedges now available the composition of ‘sets of clubs’ has changed for the vast majority of golfers.
A ‘set of irons’ could today therefore be anything from a 3-iron or 4-iron or 5-iron or 6-iron or even 7-iron through to a 9-iron or pitching wedge – giving anything from a total of 8 or 9 irons to just 4 or 5 irons in total – with the gap below the lowest iron selected being filled with equivalent lofted hybrids.
It is even now possible to find sets, such as the Japan WaZaki WL-II’s which cost close to $300 which are all hybrids clubs all the way up to the sand wedge and do not feature one standard iron!
Also instead of just one pitching wedge and one sand wedge a player may now carry as many as 4 wedges of varying lofts between 46 and 64 degrees.
Phil Mickelson and other pros have also been known to carry 5 wedges on some days.
What makes a set of irons costs $2,500 or more? It’s kind of a boring answer. Complicated manufacturing processes and exotic materials are more expensive.Jeff Brunski, Director of R&D for Japanese golf club manufacturer
So although we have done a comparison of ‘sets of irons’ to provide an idea of ‘average costs’ when it comes to irons today you may be better to look at it on a ‘cost per iron’ basis.
This can range anywhere from $9.99 per iron to over $250 (£200) per iron for high-end irons like the TaylorMade’s P7 TW set.
As a result ‘irons’ are increasingly becoming like all the rest of the clubs in the bag – i.e. drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, wedges and putters – and being considered individually rather than a ‘set’ as they have been traditionally in the past.
That being said irons will still typically comprise the bulk of the 14 different golf clubs in the average golfer’s bag and consequently the amount people spend on them tends to be higher than in other areas.
And this was borne out in our research where the average cost of irons for women was over $650 (£500) and almost $900 (£700) for men.
The most expensive iron clubs, and in clubs in general for that matter, will typically be produced by the large golfing manufacturers – Mizuno, Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping etc – with other brands tending to be either cheaper or specialist in one particular club type such as wedges.
Cost of Wedges
In the past players would typically get a pitching wedge and sand wedge as part of their full set of irons and not think any more about them.
Today it’s a very different story though and the wedge market has become infinitely more advanced. Now you can pretty much find any wedge you want from between 46 degrees all the way up to 64 degrees.
There are now gap and lob wedges in addition to pitching and sand wedges, different types of bounces available – high, standard and low – different types of grooves (vintage finished or laser-etched) and a whole host of finishes – unplated or raw (i.e. unchromed), nickel-coated or just plain old stainless steel.
Professional golfers will typically carry 3 or 4 or even 5 wedges with what combination they carry changing depending on the course design and conditions.
With this increased choice has come increased cost, particularly for the higher-end models with some wedges, such as the XXIO Golf range costing more than $250 (£200).
At the lower end of the cost spectrum you will still be able to find wedges below $20 but on average for the main brands it is unlikely you will get any change out of $100.
Here are wedges we found in and around the $100 (£75) price mark:
|Men||Right-handed||Callaway Chrome Mack Daddy 4|
|Men||Left-handed||Cleveland Golf CBX 2 Wedge|
|Women||Right-handed||Tour Edge Golf Hot Launch 4 Wedge|
|Women||Left-handed||Callaway Big Bertha REVA Wedge|
Cost of Putters
There has always been a reasonable amount of variety when it comes to putter options however there is no doubt that, like wedges, the options available to golfers have now exploded in number.
If you can imagine a type of putter chances are it is now available on the market as golf manufacturers offer options of different lengths, grips, shafts, weights and all colours of the rainbow!
On one of the major golfing websites we found close to 250 putters available for sale!
All these individual elements can affect price though and it is now easy to spend hundreds of dollars and even thousands on a putter these days. The Piretti 801R Tour Only Stainless Putter for example will cost you more than $2,000 (£1,500).
The good news is there are still plenty of options for those us with more modest budgets but we did find that for men the average putter cost still worked out well over $100 and pounds.
Here are some positively reviewed options we found though below and around that mark:
|Men||Right-handed||Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 Putter|
|Men||Left-handed||Wilson Staff Infinite Golf Putter|
|Women||Right-handed||Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 VLine Ladies Putter|
|Women||Left-handed||ZXL Women’s Golf Putter|
What Affects the Cost of Golf Clubs?
Golf has never been considered a cheap sport to play.
And it will not have escaped any regular players notice that the boom in golf technology developments over the last 30 years has been accompanied by both a huge increase in variety of golf clubs and also a significant increase in the cost for the higher-end golf clubs models produced by the main golfing manufacturers.
But what is happening? What elements affect the cost of club clubs?
A recent analysis by Haggin Oaks of the company accounts of two of the biggest golf manufacturers – Callaway and Acushnet (whose main brands include Titleist, Footjoy, Scotty Cameron and Pinnacle) – from 2015 to 2017 found that the price of a golf club is broken down into the following elements:
- Retailer markup – 33.3% of the cost of a golf club is the markup from the retailer.
- Materials and manufacturing – Approximately another 33.3% of the price relates to the cost of the materials and manufacturing process.
- Corporate costs – This is the money spent on corporate, sales and marketing expenses and is estimated to be around 24.3% of the total cost.
- Research and development – Roughly 2.3% of the cost of golf clubs is spent on research and development.
- Taxes – Everyone has to pay taxes and big golf companies are no exception. An estimated 2.2% of the total cost of a golf club is accounted for by the manufacturer’s taxes.
- Profit – And of course golf manufacturers are not producing all these clubs purely out of the goodness of their heart. The remaining 4.5% of the cost of a golf club is the profit made.
But if that’s the general breakdown how can one set of golf clubs cost under $200 while another costs well over $2,000.
The simple answer is the variable nature of the materials and the manufacturing process element of the cost of golf clubs.
While clubs made from traditional stainless steel are more likely to be closer to average in terms of costs when manufacturers start using different materials the costs can start to rise significantly.
Many of the most expensive clubs use very strong and thin steel combined with titanium or sometimes tungsten.
And not only are these metals more expensive but the accompanying manufacturing processes necessary to turn them into working golf clubs are inevitably more complex and therefore costly.
Forged clubs, which involves taking a soft piece of steel and beating it into shape, will for example always be more expensive than ‘cast’ clubs which involves pouring molten metal into a mould to produce a golf club head.
And when some clubs are even more meticulously hand-crafted, as they are at Miura, the costs of irons can skyrocket to as much as $339 (£275) a club.
The material used in golf shafts also makes a difference with graphite shafts typically being more expensive than standard steel ones.
While profit has undoubtedly been a driver in the latest club developments the manufacturers are also constantly researching to produce clubs which are more forgiving, launch the ball higher and hit it further.
Given how hard a game golf can be to play I don’t think many golfers would disagree that is sometimes a price worth paying.
But does the extra cost make these more expensive clubs worth it?
Unfortunately the answer is both yes and no.
It is absolutely not necessary to spend lots of money to buy a decent set of golf clubs.
A great set can be put together even if you’re on a budget. And not even the golf manufacturers I think would argue that using expensive golf equipment will result in an immediate reduction in your handicap.
But the old adage in retail of “you get what you pay for” also holds true to a degree when it comes to clubs.
As we’ve noted the main difference between low and high-cost golf clubs relates to the materials used and the manufacturing process.
More expensive clubs by their nature of being made from better materials and a more labour intensive process will more than likely last longer than their cheaper counterparts.
More expensive club heads and shafts which are better designed can also offer the opportunity to better hide inconsistencies in your swing and give you an improved chance of hitting the ball more consistently from the middle of the club face.
Many more expensive features on golf clubs often will only benefit better golfers though and there is rarely a substitute for spending more time on the practice fairway rather than more money on clubs.
The simpler question is probably therefore do you need to spend the money on those new clubs rather than are more expensive clubs better?
What About the Cost of Used Golf Clubs?
Given the expensive nature of golf and the seeming ever-increasing costs of new clubs what about used clubs as an option?
The answer to that is that you whatever standard of player you are you should undoubtedly consider used clubs as an option.
For beginners in particular used clubs are an excellent option and very much the suggested route. We always advocate golfers just taking up the game should save their money to start with.
To being with beginners only need one or two golf clubs to get started – high numbered irons like 9, 8 or 7-irons are best as they have a lot of loft. And there is no need to buy those new to get going.
Why would you spend potentially hundreds of dollars or pounds on clubs before you have even had a go at the game first to see if it is worth more of your time and investment?
And it takes time and a lot of practice to establish your swing so what clubs you choose to start with may not end up being the best fit for your eventual swing. So why spend a large sume of money on clubs to fit a swing that is not yet established?
As we have already noted you can buy a new complete set of clubs for around $100 but you may be able to get even better deals on better quality clubs for the same or even less. Some used clubs can cost as little as $2.
And it’s not just beginners in our view who should be keeping an eye out for used clubs.
With top of the range drivers, irons, wedges and putters routinely costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars or pounds better players in need of an upgrade should not discount looking out for deals on used clubs.
Unless you are a top golfer constantly practicing and playing does it really matter if your current driver is one model behind the latest version and pre-owned by another good golfer?
Many golfing websites now routinely sell certified pre-owned clubs such as RockBottomGolf in the USA and GolfBidder in the UK. And of course EBay has hundreds and hundreds of used clubs listed for sale.
The PGA Value Guide is also a great starting place to research prices on used clubs and older models.
How Much Should Golfers Spend on Clubs?
What budget you set on the clubs you buy is entirely up to you.
If you are planning to be playing the game a lot for a decent length of time then it may make sense to spend a bit more on quality clubs to make sure they are right for you and last a bit longer.
Whatever you decide we would recommend every golfer considers two main factors – skill level and age.
As we have already noted if you are beginner there seems little point in spending a lot of money on clubs before you have decided how much time you want to commit to the game and also got a better handle on the basics and your swing.
There is little point in buying an expensive set of clubs if you are not 100% convinced you are comfortably going to be able to use it.
You have to be in control of the basics first – grip, stance, balance etc – before you can start to judge whether a club is the right fit for you.
Age is another important factor. Choosing the right equipment will give kids a great foundation, help them with their progress and prevent them from being needlessly put off.
Club weight and club height are especially important to focus on to help children learn the fundamentals and develop a good swing.
But from the age of 2 kids also grow on average 2.5 inches per year so if you spend a large amount on an early set of clubs you may find after a growth spurt those clubs are no longer a proper fit.
For senior players, and women golfers also, it is important to consider the weight of clubs and how easy they are to swing. Graphite shafts are typically best when it comes to lighter clubs but those as we have seen will carry a higher price tag than traditional steel shafts.
Our tour of golf club pricing has taught us one main thing in the end. Whatever your budget to spend on golf clubs there’s a 100% chance you will be able to spend it easily.
If you are looking to spend lots of money on clubs they are plenty out there to satisfy your needs.
Start looking at fancy shafts and club materials and the price can soon start to head skywards. Getting a golf club fitting can sometimes be a way to find yourself quickly looking at the more expensive extras on clubs.
Other general interesting trends appeared. If you are right-handed male player you will undoubtedly have the most choice when it comes to golf clubs. Our analysis clearly showed less golf club options for women and left-handed players.
And unfortunately for left-handed players the costs of clubs appeared in general tend to be higher than those aimed at their right-handed counterparts.
The same clubs we found also tended to be cheaper in the USA compared to the UK.
But although golf clubs can undoubtedly be very expensive for the savvy buyer there are plenty of ways to keep costs down.
Whether that’s keeping an eye out during those traditional October end of season sales, buying second hand or settling for last year’s model there are good deals to be had on good quality golf clubs.
Finding good clubs need not always cost the earth.
- How Much Does a Golf Club Fitting Cost? Is it Worth it?
- How Much Should You Pay for Golf Lessons? A Complete Guide
- Are My Golf Clubs Too Old? It’s Performance Not Age That Matters
- Are Golf Rangefinders Worth it? Are You Serious?
- How Many Clubs Does a Beginner Need? Save Your Money to Start With!
- Golf Club Depreciation: Do Clubs Hold Their Value?