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I read a lot here on the Forum about clubs people own or want to buy. I'd say aside from the putter all I ever read about is guys buying TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist, Cobra, Adams, Cleveland, Nike, Mizuno, Ping, etc. That leads me to think that most people buy what's in front of them. You can't walk into a typical golf retail store and find anything other than Major brand products. I rarely see guys in the Forum talk about or even say they use custom clubs such as KZG, Alpha, Maltby, Wishon, Bang, Miura, Fourteen, Epon, etc, etc. (These are not clones) I never hear anyone say they're even considering such a purchase. Why is that? I think part of it is because most people play off the rack (OTR). Perhaps it's because you don't think the quality is high. Could it be because most people don't want to spend the time to find and avail themselves of a custom club fitter? Taking the time to research and test custom designed clubs isn't as easy as walking into a Dick's or Golf Galaxy and plopping down some cash. Custom designed and fitted clubs can be expensive. But not always depending on the chosen brand. So, who plays custom brands?

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My Sun Mountain bag currently includes:   TWGTLogo2.png.06c802075f4d211691d88895b3f34b75.png 771CSI 5i - PW and TWGTLogo2.png.06c802075f4d211691d88895b3f34b75.png PFC Micro Tour-c 52°, 56°, 60 wedges

                                                                               :755178188_TourEdge: EXS 10.5*, TWGTLogo2.png.06c802075f4d211691d88895b3f34b75.png 929-HS FW4 16.5* 

                                                                                :edel-golf-1: Willimette w/GolfPride Contour

 

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I may look into a local company for my new wedges

Driver - Tour Edge Exotics XCG 7 Beta w/ Paderson shaft 44"

Fairway Metal - :nike-small: Vapor Fly 15* w/ Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65F 43"

Irons - :taylormade-small: SLDR 4i-pw w/ KBS Tour C-Taper 90S

Wedges - :edel-golf-1: 54* and 58* Digger grind

Putter - :scotty-cameron-1: 2015 GoLo 3 33"

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The only place you'll hear of them is on these golf forums OR if you have a bunch of Japanese friends.   Those guys are fanactically into it and they keep TourSpec and Fairways in business.

 

Here's an example of what I mean.   I talked to my pro yesterday because he had to open the course early.   It's February and 65 degrees and yet there's no such thing as global warming in red state Utah, right?   Liberal conspiracy, but it opens the links earlier every year, yaaahhhh!

 

Anyway, I was eyeing his Hogan staff bag because he used to be a Hogan staffer back in the day.  I told him I was thinking of buying the new Hogans.   He said, "Callaway killed that brand years ago, you don't want that old stuff."

 

He had not heard that Hogan is back.   Even the pro's aren't into it as much as we're into it.   I guarantee you he wouldn't have even heard of three quarters of the brands you've mentioned.

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bag - SunMountain Synch with Ogio Synergy X4 cart
driver - :callaway-small: Optiforce 440, Paderson Kevlar Green stiff 46.5"
fwoods - :taylormade-small: Jetspeed, 3HL regular
irons - :taylormade-small:  Speedblades 3-8, 85g stiff steel, 2 up
wedges - :edilon-small: Scor 40, 45, 50, 54, 58
putter - :ping-small: Ketsch 35" slight arc, SuperStroke 2.0 mid-slim
ball - :titelist-small: ProV1x

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bag - SunMountain Synch with Ogio Synergy X4 cart
driver - :callaway-small: Optiforce 440, Paderson Kevlar Green stiff 46.5"
fwoods - :taylormade-small: Jetspeed, 3HL regular
irons - :taylormade-small:  Speedblades 3-8, 85g stiff steel, 2 up
wedges - :edilon-small: Scor 40, 45, 50, 54, 58
putter - :ping-small: Ketsch 35" slight arc, SuperStroke 2.0 mid-slim
ball - :titelist-small: ProV1x

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My main issue before doing research and joining the MGS site and forum was that I didn't know any better. I started playing 3 years ago with a set of old clubs that a buddy let me borrow for the season since he was left handed. That season, I essentially taught myself how to play and decided I loved golf and wanted to keep playing. So the next season I went to Dick's and bought my own set of new left handed clubs that were on sale. I had no idea that clubs could be fitted or that it even mattered. Then as I learned more I started piecemealing stuff together.

 

Finally a few weeks ago I went for my first real iron fitting that included a launch monitor, different shafts, etc. with a knowledgeable clubfitter. He's an hour drive from me, but it's really my only option out here. Going for the driver, woods and hybrid fitting in a few weeks. I could have taken the detailed report he gave me and went home and possibly ordered them myself for cheaper. However, I'd rather give my money to a local clubfitter so I placed my order through him. Not to mention he builds and checks the specs himself when they come in. I'm at the point where I'd like to have a good relationship with a good clubfitter/builder that I can trust for years to come.

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Driver -  :taylormade-small: M1 9.5* w/ Aldila Rogue Silver 70X

Fairway -   :taylormade-small: M1 5W 19* w/ Aldila Rogue Silver 70X

Hybrids -   :ping-small: G25 4H 23*

Irons -  :mizuno-small: JPX 850 Forged 4-PW w/ Nippon N.S. Pro 1150S

Wedges - :mizuno-small: S5 50*07, 54*12, 58*12 w/ Nippon N.S. Pro 1150S

Putter - Oddyssey Metal-X #7 w/ SuperStroke Pistol GT 2.0

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My big issue with some of the brands mentioned is that I don't have any shop around me that has these clubs to hit.  I at least would like to take a few swings with these before I plunk down the cash and would have no problem doing so if I could at a minimum get five swings in the simulator.  I had a hybrid in my bag for about 6 or 7 years that was made by LaJolla and loved the thing.  Back then there was a shop near me that carried the clubs and had some assembled that you could hit indoors and then have one built.  It was a sad day for me when that club bit the dust and it took me several seasons to find one that could come close to it.

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In the Bag for 2021

:callaway-small: Epic Max LS 10.5* AD TP 6x

:callaway-small: Rogue SZ 15* AD TP 7x

:callaway-small: Rogue SZ 18* AD MT 7x

PXG 0311X Gen 2 23* AD DI 95x

PXG 0311T Gen 3 5-6 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311ST 7 - PW KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 50/10 KBS $ Taper 130

PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy 54/10 & 58/07 TTDG TI S400

:odyssey-small: Toulon Madison Stroke Lab 34"

 

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My big issue with some of the brands mentioned is that I don't have any shop around me that has these clubs to hit.  I at least would like to take a few swings with these before I plunk down the cash and would have no problem doing so if I could at a minimum get five swings in the simulator.  I had a hybrid in my bag for about 6 or 7 years that was made by LaJolla and loved the thing.  Back then there was a shop near me that carried the clubs and had some assembled that you could hit indoors and then have one built.  It was a sad day for me when that club bit the dust and it took me several seasons to find one that could come close to it.

Agreed. My biggest issue is where can you find these clubs, the cost of said clubs, and also do I swing them as well as others. I know for a fact that there's not a single golf store within an hour of me, and even if there was I can't see any carrying these brands.

 Driver:   :callaway-small:  Epic Flash 12 Degree

Wood: :callaway-small:  GBB 3 Wood
Hybrid: :callaway-small: Razr 4 hybriid stiff stock shaft.
Irons: :callaway-small: X2 Hot 4 iron (pro version) 5 iron - Gap Wedge (non pro version).  KBS 120g Shaft stiff cut 1/2  inch bent 1°upright
Wedges: :vokey-small: 52° 56° and 60°.
All grips are Golf pride grips midsized
Putter (lefty):  Odyssey Metal-X #8 34", stock shaft bent 2° Superstroke grip
Golf Balls:   :titelist-small: 2018-9 Pro-V1x and Prov1s
Shoes:  :footjoy-small:  Dryjoy tours

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Same reason you didn't really hear many folks playing Srixon or Bridgestone irons the past many years.  Availability.  If they aren't ready available to hit and it's harder to find information on them, then people aren't going to play them.

 

I also don't think of them as custom clubs.  They are just component clubs or boutique brands.  For me at least custom clubs are anything you've been fitted for and then had custom built.  So in that regard even though I play Speedblade irons they are custom clubs.

 

As for supporting my local clubmaker it really depends what it is and what the cost is.  I do most of my own club work so I would rather support myself.  That said I don't have the machines and knowledge to fit myself.  So I pay to get that done.  I also can't do my own loft and lie adjustments so I will happily pay to have someone do that for me.

 

Seems like we have 3 topics here though.  Club fitting, Club making, and why not as many people play smaller component and boutique brands.  I pay for fitting, I do most of my own building and have a trusted local place to do the rest that I can't do.  I'd be open to playing a smaller brand, but I would need to demo them.  I would need them to outperform what I currently play.  And I would want them to be cost competitive with other options on the market.

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Driver: :callaway-logo-1: Epic SZ w/ VA Composites Raijin 65 04

3w: :taylormade-small:'16 M2 hl w/ Diamana D+ 82

5w: :cleveland-small: Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Yellow

Hybrid: :cleveland-small: 22 deg. Launcher HB w/ HZRDUS Black

Irons: :ping-small: 5i-UW G700 w/ X100 soft stepped once

Wedges: :cleveland-small: 54 & 58 CBX w/ Nippon Modus 3 125

Putter: :odyssey-small: Red 7s

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Agreed. My biggest issue is where can you find these clubs, the cost of said clubs, and also do I swing them as well as others. I know for a fact that there's not a single golf store within an hour of me, and even if there was I can't see any carrying these brands.

I remember 4 golf stores from Palm Springs to La Quinta, but I don't remember any of them carrying anything other than the major OEM clubs.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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I don't play stuff "off the rack" unless I just happen to love it which is very rare. Most of the stuff you mentioned is out of my price range. On top of that, there is no way for me to try these clubs in my area. I would love to give them a shot otherwise. I do have some scratch wedges but I got those for a super deal and it was just lucky that I loved them.

Driver- Tmag 2017 M2 tour issue 8.5* actual loft 7.8* w/ Diamana Ahina 80X 44"
Fairway Metal- Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta 3W 13* w/ Matrix 7m4 X 42.5"

Utility- Mizuno MPH5 1 iron w/ Aldila RIP 85X (depending on course/ conditions)

Irons- Mizuno MP-18 FLI HI 3i and 4i w/ KBS C-taper lite X
          Mizuno MP59 5i and 6I w/ PX 6.5

          Mizuno MP69 7i-PW w/ PX 6.5

Wedges- Scratch 8620 Driver/Slider set.  50*, 56* bent to 55* w/ rifle spinner shafts

                and Titleist Vokey 60* M grind

Putter- Never Compromise Dinero Mogul
Ball- Bridgestone Tour B XS

Bag- Ogio Aquatech Cart Bag

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One of the issues for purchasing these types of clubs is in fact the purchase sight unseen, most of them you just have to trust that you made the correct call. I think most people need to put their hands in a club before it is purchased, the other problem that I have found, after looking up wedges from some of these places is that the model that I want doesn't come in a LH model. It's not just them, many of the big names leave the LH models alone, and Cally, they have the most well known lefty in golf, and their LH models are very small and difficult to find. It seems like every time I find something I like I soon find out that they don't carry Irvin LH.

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Lefties are always in their Right Mind

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As some or all of you may know, I built my own irons and hybrids during the winter, buying all my gear from The Golfworks.

 

I have to agree with what the majority have said, around here, it's hard to find a fitter (even more so, one you like) and trying to get hands on with the equipment.

 

The Golfworks is about 2 hours drive for me, but having one day (Sunday) off a week, makes it difficult to get there and hit what they've got, especially with a family.

 

I was fortunate that I decided to have a go at building my own and even more lucky that what I decided on and built, I'm happy with...now I have to get a lie machine so I can do some tweaking.

 

I'm a big believer in components over OEM, but finding them is the trick.

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In the bag:
Driver: :titelist-small: TSi2 Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 6.0
Fairway: :Sub70: 939X 15° Project X Even Flow Blue 6.0
Hybrid: :Sub70: 939X 3 Hybrid Project X Even Flow Riptide 6.0
Irons: :wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged 4-GW Project X Catalyst 80 6.0
Wedge: :cleveland-small: Smartsole S
Putter :yes-small: Tracy
Bag: 
:Ogio: Alpha Convoy 514
Balls::Snell: MTB-X or Black

Cart: :CaddyTek: CaddyLite ONE Ver. 8


God Bless America🇺🇸, God save the Queen🇬🇧, God defend New Zealand🇳🇿 and thank Christ for Australia🇦🇺!

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 I would need them to outperform what I currently play.  And I would want them to be cost competitive with other options on the market.

 

I think thats probably one of the main reasons why we don't see more people playing and paying for smaller brands. There really isn't a huge difference in performance. 

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Driver:   :callaway-small: Epic 10.5 set to 9.5 w/ Tour AD-DI 44.5

FW:   :cobra-small: F6 baffler set at 16º

Hybrid:  NONE
Irons:   :taylormade-small:  3i 2014 TP CB  4-PW 2011 TP MC w/ TT S400

Wedges:   :nike-small: 52º :nike-small: 56º  :edel-golf-1: 60 º w/ KBS C-Taper XS Soft-stepped

Putter:   :ping-small: Sigma G Tyne 34 inches Gold dot

 

 

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One of the better component brands I've encountered is Vega.  Got to hit their stuff at the PGA show - and it was up there (driver and hybrids might have been among the best demo'd that day).  I'll echo what hckymeyer and theoo said - no doubt it's good stuff, but there's always a price-value decision that has to be made.  

 

That said - it's a crowded market out there!  When brands like Wilson, Hogan, Bridgestone or Srixon are considered outliers, you know there are LOTS of options available.

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What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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I've got a set of Alpha RX-1 & Wishon Fairway woods that I still sometimes play and have had "boutique brands" in the past, but I wasn't fitted for them.  I got them off eBay because I heard about them online.

 

As many have already mentioned, if you don't live in, or close to, a major city the major OEMs are probably the only clubs you'll hear of and be able to demo.

 

Until a couple of years ago, the only fitting option within an hour drive was a "cart fitting" for major OEM brands carried by local golf retailers, which is still limited to the shaft options offered by the OEM.  The other issue with the cart fittings is the experience and training of the staff.  Frankly, none of the stores have a "dedicated fitter" that does nothing but club fittings, so I think it's a pretty basic fitting done by the sales staff.

What's In The Bag

Driver :titelist-small:

Titleist 913 D2 10.5* (set to 9.75* / Neutral) 46" Paderson KINETIXX Kevlar Green - R

Fairway Wood

Tom Wishon 949 MC 16.5* Fujikura Speeder 569-A

Hybrid  :cleveland-small: Hibore 22* Aldila VS Proto Blue

Irons  :ping-small: G series 5-P

Wedges :ping-small:Glide 54* SS / 60* TS - SCOR 53*

Putter     :nike-small: Nike Method 001 / P2 Reflex grip 35"

Ball

Master Grip Tour C4

Bag

Datrek DG Lite  

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I would need them to outperform what I currently play. And I would want them to be cost competitive with other options on the market.

 

 

I think thats probably one of the main reasons why we don't see more people playing and paying for smaller brands. There really isn't a huge difference in performance.

 

Exactly. That and it much easier to re-sell name brands a few years down the road.  5 year old Mizuno's are still worth some money.

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BIRDIE COACH & MENTOR, FIRST TEE GREATER HOUSTON
HDCP: 12.0 (GHIN: 3143312)
In my bag, March 2021
:titelist-small: TS2 Driver Hzrdous Smoke Shaft (Stiff Flex)
:titelist-small: TS2 Hybrids  Mitsubishi Tensei Shaft (Stiff Flex)
:mizuno-small:  MP-59 5-PW; KBS Tour (Regular Flex)
 :callaway-small: PM Grind Wedges
:bettinardi-1:  Putter

:bridgestone-small: 2020 TOUR B XS
Sun Mountain Cart Bag
:Clicgear: 4.0 Push Cart (I'm walking 9 outta 10 rounds!!)

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I think consumers have forced the hand of some shops to go with known, volume brands.

Do you expect them to have a trackman/flightscope when you go in, for instance? It has to be paid for somehow, and they'll sell whatever sells best to pay for such setups, brick and mortar space, etc. The big brands have much more marketing, which only helps move product for them.

 

Plus, I have no idea what the buy-ins are for these smaller brands to get an account. Even large shops can't carry everything, even some products that you might expect them to carry, based on the demands of what the agreement would be to carry the brand. Just talked to a top 100 fitter that had to skip a brand of shafts based on the details of the contract agreement.

"Glute Activator"

 

*Please accept my contributions of participation and intellectual property sharing as substitute for monetary renumeration.

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