The Best Brands of Golf Clubs
By Elizabeth Hannigan
, last updated January 27, 2012
You know the only thing that's really going to improve your game of golf is practice, but playing with the best brands of golf clubs on the market certainly won't hurt. If you are considering an investment in a new set of clubs, you are probably wondering how the most popular brands available for purchase stack up against one another. Many of the most popular marks, including Ping, Odyssey, and Cleveland, have been around for decades, and all of them get great reviews. They aren't all identical, though, so you are probably going to have to shop around a bit to find the clubs that suit you best. Some are easier to handle for those new to the game, some are more likely to help experienced golfers improve their game, and a few just look cooler. Some brands make fantastic sets, while others have a few individual clubs that are must-haves. Whether it is time for you to buy an entire set or you are just window shopping for a few new clubs, you will probably end up most satisfied if you look at every club available before you dive into a purchase.
Ping is one of the largest American manufacturers of golf equipment and has been making clubs for over 40 years. This year, Ping has over 30 clubs on Golf Digest's Hot List. These clubs are known for their forgiveness, and Ping is recognized around the world for their state of the art fitting system. Ping is so into custom fitting clubs that the five-step fitting questionnaire on their website requires players to fill in over 100 data input fields. Ping clubs are a bit expensive, with the popular G15 Iron set priced at around $700. These clubs really hold their value, though, so they might be worth it. If a $700 set isn't quite in your price range, keep your eyes peeled for used sets on the market.
Callaway is the world's largest golf equipment giant that manufactures and sells clubs in over 70 countries worldwide. In addition to the Callaway brand, Callaway markets clubs under the Strata, Ben Hogan, Top Flite, and Odyssey labels. The Odyssey and the Callaway marks are the most coveted, though, with 23 and 18 clubs on Golf Digest's Hottest List, respectively. Callaway manufactures so many types of golf clubs that any golfer can find what he is looking for under this label. The Callaway Razr X iron set is the latest on offer. These clubs, priced at about $700, look hot.
American brand Cleveland Golf has been around for about 30 years and is known for high-quality clubs with a classic feel. In fact, Roger Cleveland initially founded his company with the goal of producing replicas of classic clubs from the 1940s and 1950s. These days, Cleveland is owned by Japan-based SRI Sports Limited, but still operates from California. Cleveland's Black Pearl Iron set is expensive, at about $800, but the clubs are solid and look sleek.
Taylormade, currently owned by German-based Adidas, was founded by Gary Adams, who invented the metalwood. Since the company's start in the 1970s, Taylormade has been known to produce the most innovative clubs in the industry. These clubs don't look old-fashioned at all. Instead, all Taylormade clubs are instantly recognizable for their sleek, futuristic looking designs. Taylormade is most well known for its drivers, and the R11 driver in particular. This driver isn't cheap, at about $400, but it is very visually striking.
Titleist is a subsidiary of Fila and has been manufacturing golf clubs since the 1940s. These clubs are perfect for beginner and less skilled golfers. The $400 910D2/D3 drivers are perfect for golfers who love to tinker with their clubs, since they break new ground when it comes to adjustability. These clubs aren't just for amateurs, though. Before moving to Nike, Tiger Woods played with Titleist clubs. In fact, when his contract at Nike started, Woods continued to use his Titleist drivers and putter for some time.
Nike is relatively new to the golf club game and, of course, does not specialize in golf equipment. What Nike lacks in experience, they make up for in financing. Nike is most famous for sponsoring golfer Tiger Woods. The Nike VR Pro Combo Iron set is available for about $900 and gets good reviews for its sharp looks. Reviews for the Nike clubs' performance are middling, though. If you are going to spend this kind of money on a new set of clubs, you might want to stick with a more established brand.