It started with PXG. Well, no, it started with HONMA. And the other Japanese companies like Miura, EPON and Royal Collection. But it was clear from the start that PXG was differentiating itself with premium designed products and premium pricing. What has followed has been a continual introduction of premium products, especially irons, by many of the major companies in the golf industry. Titleist CNCPT, Callway EPIC Forged and the new TaylorMade P790Ti are the latest releases in this space. Some are available now while others will be available later in the Fall of 2019.
If you look at the majority of the new introductions like PXG, there definitely are some advanced engineering techniques that are potentially causing prices to increase. The combination of forged bodies, thinner face designs, hollow heads with special fill elements make the manufacturing process to assemble these irons more expensive versus traditional forged or cast clubs. Are the materials more expensive? Maybe…steel prices have gone up somewhat.
Search for Distance AND Forgiveness
So, there is no way a manufacturer can provide a more forgiving iron to the marketplace without adding at least the same if not more distance than any other iron on the market. The engineering behind some of these new iron designs is actually pretty remarkable. Literally, each head in the set is designed to create it’s own launch, spin, maximum height and distance. This is accomplished by dynamically changing the Center of Gravity in the head to accomplish proper height and distance gaps. And, the thinner faces allow the club designers to make the “sweet” spot larger for more forgiveness and less distance variation on off-center hits. In our testing, the new designs definitely are proving that distance, forgiveness and tightness of shot dispersion are getting much better with these new designs. Especially when coupled with the proper shaft.
Now we are looking at iron pricing from $300 to $650 without any shaft customization, which we feel is the most important part of the club. Is it worth it? Is a Tesla better than a Cadillac? Depends upon your perspective and if this is a performance purchase or….??? At the end of the fitting, we always break down the performance of each of the clubs we tested and let the customer decide it the premium pricing is worth it. And, the soft side of the fitting, look, sound and feel, usually plays a significant role in the final decision.
We believe there are three significant decision points in a consumer purchase: Quality, Innovation and Price. As I learned in my previous career in high-tech software development, it is hard to compete effectively on all three. So, our philosophy is to provide our customers with all of the options and let them make the final decision.