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Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper

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Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.

Driver

Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.

Wood

The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.

Hybrid

I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.

Irons

I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.

Wedges

Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.

Putter

And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.

Total

In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

Related: Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500

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Trey is a former D1 golf recruit and the owner of College Golf Mentors, a consulting business helping kids achieve their dreams of playing golf in college. When not golfing, Trey is either paying the bills with his advertising job or powerlifting.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. JACOB

    Jan 16, 2019 at 9:01 am

    RAZR HAWK TOUR DRIVER $80
    ADAMS SUPER LS 3 WOOD $50
    RAC MB TP 3-W $110
    AKIRA 52 $50
    CALLAWAY PM GRIND 56 AND 60 $80 EACH
    CLEVELAND FORM FORGED III PUTTER $30
    $480 TOTAL

  2. Dave in Fallbrook

    Jan 14, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    I’d suggest an Adams XTD ti driver. Much newer technology, in fact you’d be getting the same head slot technology that TM have in their latest m5 m6 drivers (arguably why they bought out Adams). Plus a couple of Adams super LS or xtd ti hybrids, I’ve tested with all the latest models and they still can’t be beat. Irons, either Cal Apex 2016 or even TM rac OS (yes they are still competitive). Wedges – Nike (VR), Cleveland or just about any big brand (maybe except Vokey) can be had super cheap in a non latest model. Putter? mallet or blade? Any old model ping blade. An older odyssey mallet, “Yes”, never compromise or Rife mallet can all be picked up cheap. My biggest splurge on any club in the last few years was $110 for a used Bettinardi Inovai mallet. My best purchase, a 19 deg Adams Idea Super XTD Hybrid for $9.99!!!. I bought it just for the fubuki shaft but after trying it out it is now a favorite in the bag, almost 5 wood distance but very accurate.

  3. Ej

    Jan 5, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    That r 9 is the domb diggity

  4. Joe M

    Jan 2, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    My (mostly) eBay sourced set.
    Ping G30 driver $125
    Ping G 20 3 wood $55
    Ping G 15 21* hybrid $30
    Mizuno JPX 800 4-GW $130 (Used rack @ Roger Dunn Golf)
    Mizuno JPx 56* SW $40
    Odyssey White Hot #9 $40
    Total $410 just enough left over for a bag, tees and balls
    All shafts are stiff OEM,
    Not a beginner, just cheap.

  5. WhoDat

    Dec 28, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Wow you have poor taste in old clubs… I mean the clubs are great but you don’t have to go back that far to find cheap clubs. Hell I bought a Big Bertha Alpha 816 for $50… You could get a Jetspeed driver for that price too. The older you keep going back the price of the club starts to rise again because it becomes more rare especially if in good condition. Golfers are very nostalgic so playing an old club they loved previously is worth more to them than the performance they may get from it.

  6. BC3

    Dec 26, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    So I gave this a shot and came up with the following from the GWrx classifieds and a couple of other places:
    Titleist 915 D3 9.5 Diamana stiff $135
    Titleist 906F2 15 4375 r flex $15
    Hogan Radial 5 (Old school) $5 (I was curious and didn’t know about hitting a hybrid)
    Titleist Forged 704 CB True Temper Dynalite Gold S300 4-P $49
    Brand New Cleveland RTX-3 CB 52, 56, 60 at $57 a piece, $171
    Odyssey Rossie $35
    Total $410

    Had some other items to add or swap out.
    New Adidas Tour360 Boost $70
    TecTecTec rangefinder $41
    TaylorMade V Steel 5 wood $15
    Titleist 917 5W $125 7W $105
    Ping 5W $120

  7. Peter G.

    Dec 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    You should try this challenge on 2ndSwing.com, a bigger selection of clubs. For my buddy who is a lefty, found a set of X-Hot Pro irons with Pxi 6.0 shafts for only $145. They have a ton of Srixon Z355 drivers ($50), woods ($44), & hybrids ($33) for cheap. Ping Gorge wedges (50, 54, 58) all $35-$30 each and in very good condition. Ping Sigma G Kushin for $94. You add some headcovers to that and I’ve got $508.88. For a lefty too! Most of those clubs in righty also.

  8. The Dook

    Dec 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Wait a minute…. what about us high handicappers???? Us mere mortals need some love too!

  9. Bogey Barker

    Dec 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I recently did the same over the last several months, but fared way better.

    Here’s my bag:

    (Note: Each club came with the stock stiff shaft. Almost everything came from a certain online retailer, too, and I think they own 3balls — except otherwise noted.)

    TaylorMade Rocketballz 10.5 degree bonded driver in near mint condition off the letgo app. $40.00.

    TaylorMade Aeroburner 3 and 5 wood in excellent condition. $90 for both.

    Ping Eye 2 Red Dot irons 3-PW, plus a 54-degree Ping Eye 2 Sand Wedge in value condition. $100.

    Ping Tour Gorge SS 58-degree Lob Wedge in very good condition. $30.

    Ping J Blade 5 Putter in very good condition. $30.

    Hot-Z 3.0 Stand Bag new from Rock Bottom Golf. $38.

    Puma Ace Men’s Golf Shoes from Amazon. $54.

    Dozen Wilson Staff Duo Golf Balls from local pro shop. $20.

    Foot-Joy Golf Glove from local pro shop. $11.

    All that for just a shade under $400. Just need a push cart.

  10. Kevin Grate

    Dec 19, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Why not just buy a box set of Tour Edge they make quality clubs for the right price and you definitely will be spending less than $500 and your new

  11. Blake O

    Dec 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve scored some good deals on used clubs negotiating with the sales person. My bag was just over $500 until I upgraded my driver this spring.

  12. Scheiss

    Dec 18, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Don’t you have any friends or family who have old clubs they’re not using in their garage? Why would you need to buy junk like this when your close ones have exact same types lying in their storage

    • James

      Dec 18, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Good job Trey. I didn’t realize I’d be getting my 15 minutes of fame via GolfWRX! My set, while playing to a 2-4 handicap, is all used with stiff shafts. My experience on used club websites is that the most popular shaft flexes are also the most expensive.

      Here are my clubs (also bought my Titleist bag used):
      Taylormade driver
      Titleist 3 wood and hybrid
      Callaway XR Pro irons
      Vokey wedges, very close to new for best face condition. 4 of ’em.
      Oddyssey #7 Tank putter

      For fun I priced them out. $860, not including shipping.

  13. McSlice

    Dec 18, 2018 at 10:45 am

    This was my set that really got me into golf, took me from 30 to a 16 handicap:
    Driver – Cleveland Classic XL (matrix ozik: new): 60
    3 wood- Ping K15 – Diamana shaft : 60
    hybrid – Ping K15 : 40
    Irons and wedges- Ping Eye2’s : 55
    putter and stand bag – Ping Anser BECU and some knockoff bag : 28

    243 bucks all purchased on ebay and local used stuff site. So yea if you are willing to put a couple weeks effort in you can get some decent clubs and a bag to boot.

    Liked that set, but really quite loved the Eye’s and the driver (driver is still in my bag). I’d happily game the Eye’s and the putter still as well.

    My latest iteration is pretty cheap as well and so far I am very happy indeed and sold some of the previous clubs to pay for it. Gotta keep it real!

    That said, the article said for a mid handicapper. .. so maybe a bit of an upgrade… I would say the irons that I have now: Mizuno JPX 850 forged (270 – 290 for them on ebay), the same driver (60 bucks), a cobra 3 wood or even a hybrid for about 60 bucks, I use a Vokey 460 : 08 Lob wedge I got for 2 bucks at a random garage sale, a Mack daddy sandwedge from Roger Dunn for 58 bucks and grab any used putter that feels semi ok, I personally still love the old Anser putters that you can get for nothing.

    Something like that. Would be nice.

  14. Doug

    Dec 18, 2018 at 2:32 am

    What is a mid handicapper?

  15. Gun Violent

    Dec 17, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Why did you get those terrible looking irons. Poor condition, and there are far better ones out there in that category at better prices. You’re not looking hard enough

    • Greg Conner

      Dec 17, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Agree w/the comment on the irons; Why would a mid-capper use those? Definitely better options out there…

  16. Tom

    Dec 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Buy used, re-grip and you (regardless of you playing level) will have clubs just a good as anything being introduced, “new” and “better performing” as USGA equipment rules made it impossible to go beyond their established limits. Remember next time you see an equipment ad making improvement claims, Sellers be Sellin! That’s how these guys stay in business, a shrinking business, just look how many manufacturers have disappeared!

  17. Bob Baker

    Dec 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Punched shank by mistake…………my bad

  18. JuannyBravo

    Dec 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Spot on about the Lefty stuff being cheap. I’m a lefty and here’s what I’ve spent on my current setup, which is mostly 2016 or newer except for a few single clubs:
    Ping G Driver w/ Speeder 661 shaft: $105 total, head, tip and shaft were purchased separately.
    Fairway: Callaway X2 Hot 3 Deep $50 or so
    Hybrid: Cobra T-Rail $22 on ebay
    Irons: Taylormade M1 with DG Pro Shafts: $320 total, irons were new eBay ksouth9 listing but had senior flex.
    Wedges: Ping Tour S, Cleveland Precision Forged: about $70
    Putter: Odyssey o-Works tank in red: $169.00 brand new.
    Total of $736 including all grips, supplies, etc for anything that needed reshafting or new grips.

    I’ve also made back some of that money on certain things such as the old iron shafts and old 3 wood shaft that I relisted on eBay.

  19. the dude

    Dec 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    IN YOUR FACE JAMES!!!!!…..

    • James

      Dec 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Dude… please see my follow up comment to Trey.

      • James

        Dec 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm

        Follow up comment for some reason isn’t showing. GolfWRX, what’s up? It was complimentary and reasonable with no swear words. Frustrating that I would craft a kind response and you won’t publish it. Takes all the fun out of engaging. Where can I find your comment publishing guidelines?

  20. JJ

    Dec 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

    If you want some bargains on used clubs, check out the course that your local First Tee operates out of. Clubs are donated to them and what they don’t give to kids gets sold at bargain prices to help support the program. I have a friend in Pittsburgh that gets great deals all the time

  21. twh

    Dec 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I feel you on the iron issue. So many really good older sets out there to be had. With all of the promos callaway pre owned puts on this time of year, you could probably go even cheaper. Good read, thank you

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Accessory Reviews

Talking with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish…and a look at the insane headcover they made GolfWRX

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We last talked with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish in November of 2017 after the Nashville-based company launched a custom headcover and accessory builder on its website.

The company has been producing custom headcovers, yardage books, and other accessories since 2013 when it entered the market with its signature wool headcovers.

We wanted to see what was up, and Guess was kind enough not only to answer a few questions, but to design a pretty incredible GolfWRX driver cover using some raw assets we sent over.

BA: What’s new at Sunfish since we last talked? 

AG: 2018 was a great year for innovation at Sunfish. We worked hard to develop new design and construction techniques, and it has been really exciting combining these new creative elements into one of a kind headcovers and accessories. 2018 was our eighth year in business, but it was probably the most significant in terms of innovation. We’re excited to see where we can go from here!

BA: Looking at your websites, I know one of the new things you developed is something you call Photoflux. What exactly is Photoflux?

AG: Photoflux is our proprietary high-resolution printing process, that gives us the ability to apply to our products anything from photos to complex patterns to intricate logos. The level of resolution and detail is truly unmatched, and can’t be achieved with embroidery. We apply it to our leather and Duraleather products, even our hand-made copper ball markers and divot tools! Those are really exciting, because we can make custom copper ball markers with full color logos, on demand

BA: How the heck did you come up Photoflux?

AG: A customer ordered a scorecard holder with his family photo to be embroidered on each side. We made the piece and weren’t happy at all with the result. The embroidery process couldn’t do justice to the photographs. It was clear that there were certain limitations to embroidery, and we were motivated to overcome them. After months of trial and error, long hours and strenuous testing against sun, rain, and wear, we developed the current process.

BA: What are ways the Photoflux process can be used?

AG: Photoflux is perfect for applying photos, but can also be used for intricate logos or family crests. Really any graphic element can be expressed accurately using Photoflux, including shading. Recently we’ve had fun developing custom patterns such as tiger fur and using them as stripes on headcovers. The sky’s the limit!

Photoflux is best in concert with other design techniques, such as embroidery, laser engraving, and precision cutting and sewing. The featured piece (shown in this feature) incorporates Photoflux, precision cutting and sewing, laser engraving and embroidery. The result is as much artwork as it is a functional golf accessory.

BA: What are the limitations of the technology…what products can you apply Photoflux to?

AG: It’s great for leather and Duraleather headcovers, putter covers, scorecard and yardage book holders, alignment stick covers, cash covers, valuables pouches, wine bags, barrel style tartan headcovers…and even copper ball markers and divot tools!

BA: Tell me about this headcover you made for GolfWRX. I suggested the use of a graffiti wall, a GolfWRX logo, and skeleton hand holding up one finger to denote one club/driver, and you really went to town!

AG: So for the headcover you have, we used Photoflux to apply the graffiti wall image to the top of the cover (did you notice the ‘GolfWRX’ spraypaint in there? We threw that in there for you as an Easter egg!). On top of that, we embroidered the skeleton hand. For the stripe, we laser cut the outline of a typical urban skyline, and laser engraved the chain-link fence pattern over the top, than sewed that down. The bottom portion is a Photoflux image of GolfWRX that you sent over.

With so many new ways to decorate and manipulate the materials, we’re really excited about combining it all for our fans and customers to create really unique products. We feel the sky is the limit, and we hope this headcover illustrates that.

 

 

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Equipment

New XXIO Prime woods, hybrids, and irons aim for lightweight power

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XXIO’s latest club offerings, XXIO Prime, looks to offer easy distance and easy accuracy for the moderate swing speed golfer, according to the company.

XXIO Prime woods

xxio-prime

XXIO Prime Woods feature a new re-designed hosel structure, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the driver shaft, which is designed to help moderate swing speed golfers to close the clubface through impact.

Forged from Super-TIX PLUS Titanium, the new cup face includes a sweet spot that is noticeably larger than previous designs, which aims to increase distance performance significantly. The Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face is thinner, lighter and stronger than previous additions, creating a maximum COR across the face, which aims to increase ball speed and distance.

According to Chuck Thiry, Vice President of XXIO USA

“The speed increases, higher launch angles, and draw bias of the new Prime will show immediate results from swing one. It’s legit lightweight power for the players that absolutely need it the most.”

Featured in the XXIO prime woods is the SP-1000 shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin, which creates a strong but lightweight club. Along with the lightness in the shaft, XXIO has made weight savings in the grip and club head, which aims to produce woods that are both fast and easy to swing.

The XXIO Prime woods feature an expanded toe and narrowed heel, a tungsten-nickel inner weight that is low and deep, a lighter hosel repositioned closer to the center of the face, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the shaft, all with the aim of offering golfers with maximum forgiveness from their woods.

The XXIO Prime woods will be available from March 1 and will cost $579,99.

XXIO Prime hybrids and irons

The new XXIO Prime hybrids feature an expanded COR and a lower center of gravity, which is designed to increase distance and ball speed while delivering a straighter ball flight.

The hybrids from XXIO contain a Forged Maraging Steel Cup Face which includes a large sweet spot which aims to increase distance performance.

Just as with the woods, the XXIO irons also feature the Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face, though along with this, they also contain a CNC milled speed groove, which significantly increases the COR, creating a larger sweet spot, designed to provide greater distance, ball speed and accuracy.

Both the hybrids and irons include the SP-1000 Shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin. The hybrids and irons also feature weight savings in the grip and club head, with the aim of increasing swing speed.

With an expanded toe and narrowed heel, plus a crown step that moves weight low and deep, XXIO claim that this is their most forgiving suite of Prime hybrids. While with two high-density tungsten nickel sole weights and an overall profile that is 3mm shorter than the previous model, the company also claims to have created their most forgiving irons yet.

Speaking on the new XXIO Prime series, Chuck Thiry stated

“XXIO Prime is, quite frankly, the most unique and beneficial product ever available to moderate swing speed players. Period. People might think that is marketing hype, but they simply haven’t hit Prime yet.”

Both the XXIO Prime hybrids and irons will hit retail stores on March 1. The Prime hybrids will cost $379.99, while a single graphite iron will be available for $259.99.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Mitsubishi shafts

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The Diamana shaft line from Mitsubishi Chemical is probably one of the most iconic in the sport. Released in 2005, Blueboard, Whiteboard, and Redboard, were the first generation of shafts.

Photos of the full fourth generation Diamana lineup, offering new materials and technology, along with new names, have surfaced in the GolfWRX forums. Like previous generations, each color shaft offers different ball flight and spin characteristics.

“RF” is the highest launching and spinning in the Diamana line, offering high launch and mid spin, while the “BF” is the mid-launch and mid/low-spin model. Finally, the “DF” is mid/low-launching and the lowest-spinning shaft in the lineup.

All of the fourth generation Diamana shafts use updated technologies and materials that you would expect from a premium lineup. DIALEAD pitch fiber is helps reduce shaft deformation, while still producing exceptional energy transfer.

Each shaft contains MR70 carbon fiber that is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials and Boron fiber for its compression strength and shaft reinforcement. ION plating has been done before in the Diamana line, in vacuum chambers — silver alloy ions are bonded to the shaft to give it a chrome-like finish that can’t be replicated by paint.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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