Jay's Personal Blog

Read my thoughts on different topics

Category: Sports and Outdoors

Playing Golf on Tight Budget

 

Lots of people have this image of golf in their heads – a sport that is only for the rich. I know for a fact that isn’t true, because many golfers, myself included, aren’t rich, not even close. So why does it persist? Probably because for some people, playing golf is indeed way to show off their social standing. I think there are many exclusive golf courses because of that very reason. Those people are usually the ones spending thousands on golf gear. Whether they realize that the money is wasted i don’t know, but in reality, it definitely is. That’s because, you don’t have to pay thousands for golf clubs and other stuff just to play golf. You can do it on a tight budget, and i’m going to teach you how.

People who spend a lot of money on golf gear probably don’t realize the simple fact that the money spent on golf, like on most things, brings less and less value as you increase the amount. For example, i can easily teach a inexperienced golfer (who often make slices) how to get perfect club set and stay within the budget of five hundred dollars. It won’t be objectively perfect, of course, but it will be perfect for stereotypical beginner. It will allow him/her to learn as well as giving him/her the room to grow and still play with those same clubs. But if you told me to give you recommendations on how to spend three thousand dollars, i’d quickly run out of good bargains to recommend. There is simply nothing of good value in golf to spend that much money on, so by doing it anyway, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Don’t worry, i will also be offering solutions to this problem of golf. I believe the best solution would be to learn how to buy golf clubs at cheaper rates. One of the best ways to do that is by buying used golf clubs. Not all used clubs are any good though, some are in fact terrible. You need to know how to distinguish good-condition clubs from bad ones, and also, how to distinguish fakes from real clubs. To judge used golf clubs’ condition, you normally need to be careful when reading description of the item, and also check whether the seller is trustworthy or not. Usually that can be determined by looking at the rating of golf club’s seller. The best, and most trustworthy websites for buying used golf clubs are probably CallawayPreowned, GlobalGolf, and eBay. Some people might think that craigslist should belong on this list too, but in my opinion, while it is useful for other things, craigslist is useless for buying golf clubs. It doesn’t have any safety checks for golf club buyers. eBay does have seller rating, so you can judge used golf club of your choosing depending on that. The other two websites -i’ve mentioned are selling used golf clubs too, but as companies. You aren’t dealing with individual golfers like yourself, as in the case of eBay.

Buying club sets, instead of golf clubs one by one, is another nice way to shave off some savings off your golf-related expenses. Manufacturers usually sell entire sets at very favorable prices, at least compared to buying those same clubs individually. Prices on club sets range from two hundred to more than thousand dollars, depending on the quality of the sets. Personally, i think entire hybrid-set sold by Majek is the best. I might be too biased towards the hybrids though. Holidays, like black friday and others, are the best time to shop around for golf gear. Especially holidays that are during the winter. That’s obviously slow season for golf brands, so they are pushing to sell their clubs more aggressively. You can also save plenty just by choosing the right time to shop for golf gear.

Buying golf clubs as a beginner

Beginner golfers are often confused about which golf clubs to buy and how. Honestly, i’m not surprised, because with so many different sorts of golf clubs that exist today, even experienced golfers may get flustered sometimes. For example, people can’t figure out the difference between expensive golf clubs and affordable club sets. They both look the same, so how much of a difference does it make to use high end clubs instead of affordable ones? That is one of the most common questions i get, and answer, in my opinion, is that the value you get from money spent on expensive golf clubs steadily decrease proportionally to price’s increase. For example, Callaway Strata Ultimate set costs around four hundred dollars, and i think it’s THE golf club set to get if you’re looking for good value. You can find out more about this set by reading this review. Obviously, it won’t be as good as golf club set made of high end clubs like Mizuno iron sets, but in terms of value for the money, golf club sets like that are unbeatable. Other club sets are fine too, but Callaway, in my opinion, makes the best sets and prices them pretty fairly as well. Speaking of sets, some beginners are also confused about the advantages and disadvantages of buying entire club set vs buying them individually. I think the simplest way to explain is this – unless you have strong preferences for certain clubs in each class, sets are the better option. Why? First of all, brands price their entire club set offerings more competitively, to entice customers into buying them. So when you’re opting for entire set, you are probably saving money too. Second of all, golf club sets come with all the clubs already picked out for you. They sometimes include golf bag and other additional stuff you might need. All you have to do is, take them out and start playing. Now, that might be crucial disadvantage if you’re peculiar about which clubs to choose. I’ve already recommended Callaway Strata set before, i just wanted to add – other brands sell pretty good sets as well. For example, if you’re fan of hybrids, you can find all-hybrid set sold by Majek on Amazon. It’s one of the best sets intended for seniors, but i think everyone would benefit from using them.  One other advantage of buying entire golf club sets is that they come with other accessories you might need, like golf bags. These bags separately would cost you a lot, but when you’re buying them all together, each one turns out to cost surprisingly little.

Overall, to sum it all up, my advice is this. 1. Don’t spend too much money on golf clubs at the beginning. Expensive clubs won’t make that much difference anyway. If you want to improve your golf skills, that money would be better spent on taking lessons and going to the course frequently. Experience is the best teacher. 2. This is kind of related to first advice – if you’re just getting started in golf, for budgetary, time-saving and many other reasons, i would advice to buy club set instead of individual clubs.

Golf for Beginner Ladies – where to start

There is stereotype that golf is only for rich white dudes to play. That stereotype is probably enforced by it’s male-dominated past, but in 21st century, that’s not the case anymore. There are separate golf competitions for women and sometimes they are even televised. Instagram is full of women who golf and there is never ending stream of fans – both male and female, following them. The past used to be different though – as little as 50 years ago, 95% of golfers were males and a woman playing golf on the course was unheard of. But there were some brave women, who, in spite of what society expected them to do, chose to play this sport and ignore the naysayers. Fortunately, today it’s not weird for ladies to play golf anymore. Both my wife and daughter play golf, and i’ve seen many of her friends on the golf course as well. Truth is, golf is very fitting sport for women – it’s not very physically demanding. You need just as much preparation and exercise as you need strength to achieve success.

 Golf club manufacturers used to ignore women, but today, golf is the fastest growing demographic among golf fans. So, naturally, brands are doing their best to come up with best designs and ideas for women’s golf clubs and apparels. Style might not have been important for most men, but women do pay attention, which has forced manufacturers to catch up to these realities. I think they are doing fine because i’ve seen few great looking women’s clubs lately. Same goes for apparel manufacturers – golf shoes, bags or even umbrellas have never been prettier. I think that’s direct result of golf slowly becoming female-dominated sport. Whenever people ask me for example of perfect women’s club, i always cite kalea series by taylormade.  Granted, i don’t know if there’s actually going to be a time when there are more female players than guys, but i sure hope so.

 It makes sense that number of women who like to play golf is increasing rapidly – golf is great sport and women have been excluded from it before. I just wish we could accelerate the process though. Whjenever i ask women to play golf, first thing they say is that they prefer not to, because they don’t know how to play. The fear of the unknown is common not only among women, but among everyone. Letting that fear dictate your life choices is a mistake though. This problem can easily solved by parents introducing girls to the sports, as well as boys. Some people exclude the girls from sports, saying that it’s not for them, even if the child enjoys it, which i think is a bad mistake. You should encouage everyone to play sports as children if they show signs of enjoying it and being good at it. Whenever i hear that reason, i reply with – most people who play golf, including myself, aren’t really very good at it. Most of the time, it doesn’t change their mind, but i still say it because it’s the truth. Even if excellence is your goal, you won’t truly become great golfer until you actually play the sport and get the experience. All great women who played golf achieved their level of mastery because of trial and error, not because of being afraid of failure. Honestly, most of the people i meet on the golf course are not good golfers, not even close. But being willing to try is what matters. Still, if it’s super important to you to not embarrass yourself on the golf course, i would advise to take a lesson or two. Few hours of practice before heading out to golf course can go a long way. It won’t cost you that much. In case you have lady or guy friends who play golf at least casually, you’re in luck, for two reasons. First of all, you’ll have someone who can teach you a lot while having fun in the process. It also doesn’t hurt to do a bit of informational research regarding what golf clubs are, how to use them and basics like that. There are some excellent tutorials explaining difference between drivers, irons and other types of clubs. Videos can be a good source for golf knowledge as well. But mostly, you learn how to play golf by just playing it.

Second of all, they’ll most definitely invite you to the course to play with them, and you’ll have company to play with. I believe golf is a game best enjoyed with group of friends. Playing golf can also be great tool to network and make new friends. There are many wonderful people in my life who i wouldn’t have met otherwise.

 Despite what i said about golf not being physically demanding, playing it can still be a great exercise. Especially if you choose to walk on the golf course instead of driving a cart. Walking, obviously, is the best cardio exercise there is. Just keep in mind that you’ll need good walking shoes for that. But don’t worry, there are plenty of quality walking shoes on the market. They are stylish, too, because of the brands adjusting to women’s need.

 Most importantly, the goal of playing golf isn’t to get better at it. The goal is to enjoy yourself and spend time with your friends and family. Unlike most games, golf isn’t that competitive, it’s more relaxing. At least, that’s how it is for me. Of course, there are people who pride themselves on the championships they’ve won or excellent shots they make, and i’m happy for them, but that’s totally up to you to choose. On golf course, no one is going to judge you for not having good enough swing or something like that.

How to get quality golf gear on tight budget

Golf is stereotyped to be expensive sport, and it kind of is, but if you’re crafty enough, you can make it somewhat affordable through some tips and tricks i’ve come to learn. I’ve decided to write this post because too many of my friends and golf buddies have issue of money. Especially those in their twenties, who don’t already have their careers figured out and don’t have lucrative job but still want to play golf. It can be frustrating to play with mediocre clubs, and getting new ones every year is simply not an option due to budget constraints. That’s kind of the situation i was in, and instead of going with mediocre set of clubs, i forced myself to adapt to the situation by learning more. So, to save everyone some trouble, here are some of my tips.

 First and foremost, the best way to save on golf clubs and accessories, is buying them used. I know that used golf clubs have gotten a bad rap, and fake products are common on eBay and other marketplaces. But there are ways to protect yourself from scammers when shopping for used clubs. Remember that if price seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s how knockoff sellers attract people to their listings – by dramatically reducing prices. There’s also seller rating, description and pictures. Distinguishing fake products and accounts from real ones is easy and you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly.  Good places to buy good quality used clubs are eBay, craigslist and globalgolf. GlobalGolf is my favorite, as it’s professional website and they’re more trustworthy. On the other hand, listing sites like eBay and craigslist will require a lot of digging through spammy listings to find rare gems. But sometimes, those rare gems are really good deals, so it’s really up to you and what you value the most. One more tip i have, is to look for last year’s golf club models that are being sold now. Manufacturers usually make little changes between models, but some rich people try to keep up with golf fashion so they usually sell “old” clubs. Those are perfect purchases, because in my experience, they’re usually neatly kept and their quality is still formidable.

 Second best way to save on clubs, i think, is to wait for deals on golf clubs. But not all clubs. Sometimes, discounted golf clubs are pretty bad, but it’s also quite common to find excellent seniors’ clubs for discounted price. In order to find out which clubs are worth keeping an eye for, check this GcG tutorial. I’ve never done this myself, because i don’t really trust golf retailers and manufacturers to really offer good deals on these products. All deals and discounts i’ve noticed were on few year old set of clubs, that were about to be replaced by newer model. Or unpopular set of clubs, that manufacturer couldn’t sell at desired price. My observation might be wrong though, and those deals might really be authentic, who knows.

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