Tour Players and the Major Brands
One frequently asked question in the golf club business is, "Why do tour
players always play golf clubs manufactured by the major brands? If your
clubs are so good, why don't the players on tour use them?" The answer
is more complicated than "they are sponsored".
Many best players are under endorsement contracts. These can be very
lucrative and sometimes net a player several million dollars a year.
However, every player on tour is a commodity.
When players first get their PGA tour card they are offered "Tee up
money" to play a specific brand of golf club. It does not matter who you
are, you get paid if you are in the field. You will make more if you
make the cut. Obviously, if you win the check can be very large.
The goal is to win the "count". Every week the Darrell Survey publishes
how many players played with what product. These figures are then used
in the manufacturer's ad campaigns. Clearly, having more drivers in play
will dramatically increases your chance of grabbing the title.
Naturally, tour players would not use the endorsed product if they did
not feel they could play well with it. Brand name manufacturers put in
extra effort to make sure the player is comfortable with the product.
They will adjust loft and lie, change the shaft and even customize the
head weighting to fit the tour player.
In the past, tee-up compensation has gotten more prevalent and
lucrative. It now extends to mini tours and the LPGA. There is nothing
unethical or illegal about the practice. It is simply a way to advertise
and market a product. It is up to the consumer to understand that the
reason 46 players on tour are now using the newest generation Titanium
driver is in part due to the brand name companies marketing budget.
Tour support is another reason tour players choose their equipment from
one of several high profile nationally advertised brands. When a
manufacturer decides that tour player endorsement is going to be a part
of their marketing plan, then they must invest in a means to support the
To start, this includes a "tour van" and support personnel. These vans
are virtually well supplied golf club factories. They have all the
necessary equipments to alter lies, change shafts, grind a bounce or
anything else a tour player may need to play his or her best.
Obviously, this commitment to the tour player is expensive and
inevitably adds significantly to the cost of golf equipment. That said,
a tour player's support does provide benefits beyond the marketing
arena. It helps to make new product development easier and faster.
A tour player's feedback can be an important part of the development
process. That explains why innovations like moveable weight ports and
460cc drivers are usually introduced by manufacturers with tour staffs.
Companies who follow the trends must wait a month or two before the
innovations can be made available to their customers.
Both brand name and custom clubs offer golfers benefits. Custom clubs
can be made to fit a golfer's physical measurements and are generally
less expensive than brand name clubs. On the other hand, brand name
clubs have been successful on tour. This can inspire confidence over the
golf ball. If off the rack standard specifications are right for you
than brand name clubs may help you play better golf.
The idea is to get out there and play. Do not get too hung up on the
equipment you use. A beautiful golf shot does not really care where you
bought your clubs.