Anatomy of a Golf Club
I received an inquiry this week from a reader who was curious about the cost of premium golf equipment. He posed several questions related to cost and pricing, and I thought many of you would also be interested in an in-depth look into the subject of how golf club pricing works, and how smaller companies can compete with the major brands. Specifically, here’s what he posted:
It seems to me that everyone is pricing their equipment at or around the same price point. If this is the case, are we as consumers being ripped-off from the name brand manufacturers? Yourself included.

So what's so different or great about your product that allows you to be more expensive or price at the major manufactures price points?
While the same pricing/cost principles will apply to woods, irons and putters, I’ll contain this dialog to the comparison of how EIDOLON approaches the building and selling premium wedges, as compared to the methods of the major brands. We can begin from the established retail price point for premium wedges – typically in the range of $109-139, depending on what you buy and where. But let’s go back to the beginning of the process to see how we all get there.

The starting point of any golf club is the components that go into making it. With wedges, we’re talking a head, shaft and grip. The major brands use the same foundries in China that we do for their clubheads, to ensure top grade quality, but their purchasing power gives them a significant cost advantage over any niche brands. That same volume purchasing results in lower costs for shafts and grips as well. So, before either of us start actually building a golf club, the major brands are “into” their clubs as much as 30-45% lower than we smaller brands are.

From there, the major difference between EIDOLON and the major brand wedges lies in the way they are manufactured and sold. Titleist® and Cleveland® build about 3/4 of a million wedges a year between them. Think about that for a minute. If their factories work 250 days a year, that’s a daily production output of 3,000 wedges. That kind of volume requires very efficient assembly lines, and mass production requires a set of production standards that doesn’t vary. While they offer a myriad of different head models, their “one size fits all” approach to making and selling wedges allows this type of manufacturing – each model gets the same shaft, at the same length, the same grip size, etc. They write their orders and deliver their wedges to the stores and golf shops in batches of dozens and hundreds of identical models, and they go on the display rack for golfers to peruse.

Those wedges leave the big factory at a wholesale trade price, less discounts and incentives, and with a Suggested Retail Price of $129-139. But because you can buy the same exact wedge at every retail store or golf shop, online or off, there can be serious price competition that creates a “street price” well under that Suggested Retail. This principle of retail pricing applies to every mass-marketed product, not just golf clubs, obviously. The brand creates the consumer awareness and demand through advertising and promotion, and establishes wide distribution that ensures retail price competition. These costs have to be built into the costs of the product, right?

Because we are a challenger to the established name brands, EIDOLON (and any other successful niche brand) has to do things differently . . . better . . . to compete effectively. Our approach, in contrast to theirs, is to build each wedge or set of wedges specifically to order for the golfer who’s going to play them. We think it’s a better way to ensure that you have the scoring tools that will give you optimum performance and feel in your short game, so that’s our market identity. Because we don’t have the budget to drive massive awareness and demand, we deliver value in other ways. For example, we have some kind of personal interaction, whether email or phone call, with over half of our customers who purchase our wedges, whereas the major brands don’t have any.

In our case, EIDOLON competes with the major brands by giving you an alternative that really works. We craft wedges around our patented V-SOLE, CNC-mill the faces and grooves to ensure the maximum spin “allowed by law”, hold exacting quality standards, use only premium shafts, and build each and every one specifically for the golfer who’s going to play them. And because you don’t know us as well as you think you know them, we back our wedges with an unconditional No Risk Guarantee – if you don’t like it/them, we’ll buy you any other wedge you think you would like better.

It’s not the only way, but it’s our way.

As to that other question, regardless of whether you choose a major brand or niche company like EIDOLON, you are not being “ripped off”. The quality standards are pretty darn good in this industry, and you get what you pay for . . .for the most part.


photo source
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
so, oob how much do you charge this dude to rant about his clubs? is it just the trade off for his remarkable blogs he posts twice a week.

The title of this article is so decieiving its ont even funny. this has nothing to do with anatomy of a golf club but how Eidlon competes.

what a waste of time.
4/30/10
 
wedgeguy says:
Banker85,

I apologize if this post sounds like an "ad", but it was in direct response to a question posed by a reader. Hindsight being what it should be, my better route would have been to send a private message reply. Please accept my apology. I've been here for over two years now, and seldom use this as a forum to answer any EIDOLON-specific questions. Lesson learned. Thanks.
4/30/10
 
Backquak says:
my question is, if everyone is using the same foundries in china, does that mean the club heads are caste or forged there and sent to the companies, who just assemble the components? shafts too?
4/30/10
 
Nethmonkey says:
Perhaps by "you" the question writer meant more of, what makes taylormade/callaway/mizuno/eidolon clubs worth more than what you can get from other more bargain priced brands. I think the answer might be the R&D cost of the club design, along with the branding.
4/30/10
 
Zepo1a says:
Why don't you offer a cheaper 1 size fits all option along with the "custom fit to each golfer" option? Why limit yourself?

Are any of the PGA Pros I see on TV using any of your wedges? I don't see any PGA pro endorsements on your website.
4/30/10
 
Zepo1a says:
I like your columns BTW, even this one :)
4/30/10
 
Banker85 says:
Terry, I came back to semi apologize for calling you out like that. I was in a bad mood this a.m. and even though i still feel it was focused too much on your company I was in the wrong and that is not my style (usually).

But honestly you do write very inciteful and helpful articles.
4/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Man, Terry's been catching a lot of flack here lately. I should know.
4/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Oh, and I really like my Eidolon wedges, but I will say one thing - they have a ton of bite. Any crisp wedge shot you hit with them (at least for the first 5 or 6 rounds...haven't had them for long) will chew up the softer balls (ProV1x in my experience). I've had to throw balls away after hitting one wedge shot. My only complaint thus far.
4/30/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@TWUES17 - Haha.. I hear you! Thing is- most people wouldn't call that a complaint! Kinda what you're going for... right? I mean.. not the balls being shredded, but being able to throw the ball at the hole and have it stop?
4/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Nah, it's not a complaint. I'll just play some tougher balls. Man, I just realized I hate writing about golf, all balls and shafts.

Do you find that the grooves wear down a little bit as you go on? I'm getting a ton of spin, most noticeably coming out of bunkers, where I'm getting shots that consistently take one hop and then stop on a dime.
4/30/10
 
cheymike says:
Thanks Terry for the explanation of how things are done/priced. I thought it was interesting.
@TWUES17 - They definitely have a ton of bite, but MAN do they help hold the green! I love my Eidelon SW. Like you, I haven't played a LOT with it yet but on the 6-8 rounds I have played I've also had to get rid of a few balls.
In my case its been a couple TF Gamer's and Nike PD softs. One ball that hasn't shown much "abuse" from it is the Bridgestone E6+ which I just started playing a couple rounds ago. I the wedge enough to keep playin' it regardless!
4/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Funny, I just bought a sleeve of E6s to try out this weekend. I've noticed that they don't chew up Callaway Diablos much either.
4/30/10
 
Clint24 says:
I was just thinking the same thing TWUES17 and Kickntrue, Terry has been getting a lot of crud lately. I feel sorry for you Terry, but that's life (and retail at that.) I've dealt with Terry a few times through private messages and he is really a nice guy and definatly cares about his customers. And the wedges aren't half bad either.
4/30/10
 
SingleDigits says:
I wonder what the typical markup is for golf clubs at retail stores? For example the typical clothing store at a mall will mark-up items by 100% (i.e. wholesale price = $1, retail price = $2). That markup pays for all the costs of running a business plus some profit. My sense is that most golf club mfrs struggle to make a profit (unless you're Titleist, Callaway or Taylormade). It's a very competitive business and the # of avid golfers is shrinking in the US (while growing in Asia).
4/30/10
 
mjaber says:
@TWUES, Kickntrue... I took my wedge to the range shortly after I go it, and I actually took some cover off of a few RANGE balls. :)
4/30/10
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Dear Santa: Tor needs some new wedges...
4/30/10
 
Joness says:
Terry,

There must be an element for R & D built into the price as this needs to be recouped. Apart from quality of materials, this should be a big factor. Consumers are always willing to pay a higher price for goods that work better because of a design advantage.
5/3/10
 
KVSmith59 says:
I thought the article was interesting as well. I also don't have a problem with Terry promoting his company. He posts a lot of good articles and should get the occasional marketing blast for his troubles. It's not like he's getting paid to post stuff here....
5/3/10
 
KVSmith59 says:
oh, and it would be nice if they built some of those foundries here in the good old USA. I'm guessing some people could use the work....
5/3/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
@KVSmith59
Good post and agree. Terry provides a lot of useful information outside the market and marketing of his wedges. Banker came back and said he has a 'tough morning' and apologized and that was good too. So I think it's all cool.
Nothing like American Steel!
5/3/10
 
mschad says:
I found it enlightening that all the major brands bought from the same places. So customer service should be the deciding factor over 'name' and from personal experience Terry and EIDOLON provide that. I now have a complete set of EIDOLON wedges. Won the first one (a 60*) when Terry answered a question I submitted. It was so much easier to hit than my Nike SV Tour I order a 52* and 56* to replace my other SV's. Great wedges, great company and a great article Terry. Keep it up!
5/3/10
 
Bryan K says:
I thought Terry was pretty much here specifically to promote his company in a way that benefits the site.....
5/3/10
 
Agustin says:
Hang in there Terry! I for one love your posts and I don't mid you talking about Eidolon. If I was in your shoes I would be pretty damn proud of my company and the fact that I can earn a living doing what I love. You talking about how Eidolon wedges are made and priced, is only logical since you know it best.

The 20-30% discount the big companies get in components are probably spent (at least in part) on advertising. The saving on mass-producing them are probably used to price-protect and sell off excess inventory.
5/5/10
 
Agustin says:
Finally... I've had my Eidolon 52° Wedge (that you so kindly gave me for free and personally saw that I received since I live in Mexico and the logistics were complicated) for about 2 months now and I absolutely love it. I can see the difference having a shaft that matches my irons makes. I'm hitting it 120 and right on line. It also stops on a dime. I wish every approach was from this distance...

As soon as I save enough pesos I will retire my Cleveland Wedge and buy the matching 56° and 60° wedges.
5/5/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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