Why are premium golf clubs more expensive? | Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask

XXIO Prime irons 2023

XXIO Prime irons are built with premium materials and processes


Welcome to Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask, a GOLF.com series produced in partnership with Cleveland/Srixon Golf. This week we cover premium gear and why they command higher price tags.

Why are premium clubs more expensive than other clubs at my local retailer? – Jake

This is a great question, Jake, and like many questions people ask here, the answer is a bit more nuanced than most people think. If you thumb through the pages of GOLF magazine or browse the hundreds of product reviews, videos, and golf club analyses right here on GOLF.com, you’ll notice that golf club prices not only vary but also differ in terms of features and benefits. Premium clubs, sometimes have price tags hundreds of dollars higher than mass-marketed products that cater to wider audiences.

To answer your question, we have divided the reasons why golf club manufacturers charge more for premium clubs into four categories:

Major research and development goes into premium clubs

After discussions with major golf original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), we know firsthand that the premium category often undergoes extensive research and development. These manufacturers continually strive to push the boundaries of performance, leading to significant investments in cutting-edge technology. This includes hiring more product engineers, designers, and material experts to develop innovative club designs, materials, and manufacturing processes. Also, the R&D phase is costly, involving advanced computer simulations like artificial intelligence (AI), prototypes, and live testing facilities. These all play a factor in the final price.

Robot testing golf clubs
Reach and testing helps ensure products live up to design intentions GOLF

Premium clubs often feature high-quality materials

Different brands use various materials, and top-end golf clubs are often crafted using carefully selected top-quality materials known for their specific characteristics, performance benefits, and tight quality control. For example, manufacturers may employ titanium alloy, carbon fiber, high-grade stainless steel, or tungsten in clubhead constructions to optimize strength, weight distribution, and forgiveness. Similarly, shafts may be made from graphite or other advanced composite materials to enhance flexibility, control, and overall feel. These premium materials come at higher prices, increasing the cost of manufacturing.

Impeccable craftsmanship and customization

Premium clubs are sometimes produced in small, handcrafted batches by skilled artisans with expertise in custom club building. When it does, each club is meticulously handcrafted to meet precise specifications and undergoes rigorous quality control, which naturally raises the price. Additionally, clubs that are forged or milled cost more than those built from cast molds because of the machine time and tooling that goes into those processes.

Custom club options, such as personalized shaft lengths, grip sizes, and clubhead loft adjustments, further contribute to the increased price.

XXIO 12 Driver

Click through to purchase a new XXIO 12 Driver.

Limited editions and exclusivity

Premium golf clubs are sometimes sold as limited edition releases, particularly in the case of putters, but don’t think that it’s for the sole purpose of simply charging more. Limited production runs or exclusive collaborations oftentimes use more expensive materials and are produced in facilities that cater to smaller batches using specialty tools, and just like with materials, these tools require more time to produce a club or club parts.

It’s no different than many parts of high-end cars because these vehicles have features not found in other cars and since the features require specific parts and there are fewer of these cars made, the end result is a higher cost to ensure quality is maintained through the process.

In conclusion, premium clubs usually justify their higher price tags in terms of performance and build quality. However, it’s important to note that you don’t have to shell out extra money just because you think premium clubs will work better for you. Premium clubs often cater to better players with specific demands related to shotmaking and precision or adding lost distance. If that aligns with your needs, that’s great. However, if it doesn’t, there are plenty of more affordable clubs available that can suit you just as well, excluding the flashy ones dipped in gold.

XXIO 12 Irons

Click through to purchase a set of XXIO 12 irons.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

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Ryan Noll

Golf.com Contributor