Fully Equipped mailbag: Should golfers stick with same brand though their entire bag?
Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped Mailbag, sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series in which we field your hard-hitting gear questions.
As consumers and golfers, we’re free to pick and choose whatever clubs we want to round out a 14-club set. We can mix and match brands, models, types — there’s no rule stating what kind of clubs we have to play. This means you’re not only free to choose, but you also have to choose.
It’s the curse that comes along with the blessing, if you will. Having so much to choose from, with dozens of brands all making great stuff, it can get overwhelming at times to ensure you’re making the right choice.
Some golfers stick with a single brand in their entire set because they’re big fans of that particular brand or maybe because it’s the brand their favorite player uses. Others do so because it makes the buying process a little easier, especially when it comes to flowing wedges, irons, hybrids, woods and even the driver into a set. But whether or not it’s a good idea for most golfers — that’s highly subjective. Let’s look at a few reasons for sticking with a single brand, and compare those points to a few reasons why maybe broadening your equipment arsenal might be a better idea.
And, let’s get one thing out of the way before we go any further. Touring professionals often play one brand through all or most of their set for one simple reason—they get paid big dollars to do so. They can be choosey sometimes and opt for a driver or putter from a different company, but often their bags are fully customized to meet whatever specifications they have—all from their go-to brand.
3 reasons to stay on brand
1. It’s easier to gap your lofts: If there was a standard that required equipment companies to make all their clubs to the exact specifications as do other brands, it’d be a lot easier to swap in different branded clubs without creating big gaps between clubs. But unfortunately, they aren’t one.
A 5-iron from one brand might have 24-degrees of loft vs another 5-iron that has 27-degrees of loft. That’s a huge difference, and typically a hybrid that matches the brand of your irons will flow better with your set than does a hybrid from a different brand. Same goes for the other end of the bag, too. Pitching wedge lofts usually vary somewhere between 24 and 27-degrees of loft, making it easier to select a gap wedge or sand wedge that is on-brand with your irons than one that isn’t.
2. Shafts tend to match up better: One of the most overlooked components in the bag are the shafts in your clubs, and comparing one to another simply by flex is a major disservice. Rarely do two shaft manufacturers make two S-flex shafts that are the same flex profiles, weights and so on. Buying a set of clubs from the same manufacturer likely means you’ll have the same shaft family through the whole set.
Furthermore, some manufacturers like XXIO employ not only the same shafts in a variety of clubs, but also matching technology such as XXIO’s Weight Plus counterbalancing under the grip to ensure all the clubs have a similar feel.
3. Consistency in design: Staying on brand helps you develop a better feel for how each club will perform because you can find clubs through the set that are designed for a similar swing profile. The Cleveland Launcher XL line is a great example of this. You can get a Launcher driver, woods, hybrids and irons that are all designed for maximum forgiveness and added distance with every club category. This means you can know what to expect with each club in terms of looks, feel and performance.
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Cleveland Launcher XL
3 reasons to go brand-agnostic
1. More customization: The freedom you have to pick and choose a set to your liking is not something to take for granted. Being open to different brands means you have more opportunities to shop around and find the clubs that are best suited for your game. You may find that you prefer a certain wedge brand over another, or you like the way one hybrid brand feels over another.
This may not seem like that big a deal, but think about it this way. Can you buy a Mercedes with a BMW engine and an Audi interior? No, but with your golf bag you can mix premium clubs with game improvement clubs, forged clubs with cast clubs, and so on.
2. Play to your strengths: Choosing between brands may help you fine-tune your set to meet whatever criteria you need to play your absolute best. For example, you may want irons that lean towards forgiveness but at the same time, you also want woods you can shape shots with. Or perhaps you’re leaning towards a low-spinning driver but want a higher-spinning set of hybrids. Mixing different brands affords a tremendous opportunity to customize your set to your specifications.
3. Easier to save money: Mixing different brands is a great way to save some money, especially when certain clubs go on sale. And who’s to say you always need to buy new? It’s possible you can buy last year’s driver model at a huge discount from one brand and a discount set of irons from another. Bargain hunting can be a good thing when it comes to buying equipment and if you’re savvy, you can put together a great set of mixed brands in one set at a tremendous value.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.