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With the success of the Kirkland putter, what’s next for Costco and golf?

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It was like a raging fire that started with just a single spark—Costco getting into the golf market with a private label Kirkland Signature ball that challenged the conventional consumer mindset about what was possible from a non-traditional golf brand.

Enter the Costco putter

Almost four years later, Costco took it another step further when they introduced their very first private label golf club, the Kirkland Signature putter, the KS1, and once again the golf market and consumers took notice.

Within days of showing up online and at warehouses around the U.S., the KS1 putter was officially sold out and they were being resold online for more than double the price.  At GolfWRX we had an exclusive interview with Tim Farmer, Costco vice president, and general merchandise manager, you can read the whole story here: The story behind the Costco KS1 Putter

This leads us to the question “What could be next for Costco’s private label in the golf market place moving forward?” Like many Kirkland Signature products, Costco saw an opportunity in the marketplace and created a product to meet demand. They’ve already done it with accessories including the Kirkland Signature premium Cabretta leather golf glove, and the recent release of hats.

Is the KS1 putter just be the beginning?

When I spoke with Farmer about the release of the Costco KS1 putter we talked about other potential products without ever going into specifics beyond a potential replacement for the current 3-piece urethane ball.

The only answer, when asked about other clubs beyond the putter was, “We are always working on new products that offer value to our members,” and to this day the answer still has my mind thinking of the many potential options for a club that could offer value to golfers.

If we look at the current golf club marketplace every segment has a clear leader or a couple of companies the take up a major part of the category sales. When thinking about the general consumer and a club that requires the least amount of customizing of at least can be done quickly after the fact, I continually think of wedges—and this could be Costco’s next step. Perhaps a set of three wedges sold in a box with distinct lofts—most likely being 52, 56, and 60 degrees.

Why Costco wedges?

In the current market, brand new wedges from major OEMs sell for over $150 each, and most are bought off the rack with small adjustments like lie changes and grips done after the purchase. This makes a new set of three wedges cost over $450 before tax, and with that in mind, is why you see most consumer golfers, only replace one wedge at a time instead of all three at once—and there you have the sales pitch!

If Costco introduces a set of three wedges under the $250 price point (my assumption would be they probably settle around $225), then you give golfers a huge opportunity to replace a neglected part of their bag with three new clubs for the price of one and a half major OEM products.

Costco and the Kirkland Signature brand have time and time again proven people wrong when they launch new products in spaces where they are newcomers. In golf, it was the ball, and then the putter, and if my hunch is right, you may one day be able to buy yourself some KS wedges.

 

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Bill Barker

    Jun 25, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Well the balls seem to work well if you don’t mis-hit them and leave a cut which I haven’t seen on a ball in years.

  2. Charlie

    Jun 24, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    I have been very happy with the Kirkland golf balls. For me, they perform as well as name-brand pro model golf balls that cost 2-3 times as much. At my grip-it-and-rip-it local GC near Austin, TX, I lose very few balls but seems like every month I find lost Kirkland balls more often. Must be more and more golfer are using them.

  3. Delbert

    Jun 24, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    A bag deal with Justin Rose or John Daly is next. We find those Kirkland balls in the range bucket every day. They are taking over. Run!

  4. boydenit

    Jun 24, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Go Costco Go! Enough of the overpriced China stuff! Golf Shafts $399, Drivers $500, Bags $250, Putter $299, Golf Balls $52/12 that are off center! Kirkland balls are 24 for $30, Gloves are 4 for $20 and now a Kirkland putter! Golf needs healthy dose of Deflation!

  5. Brian

    Jun 24, 2020 at 8:56 am

    The Kirkland stuff prior to the putter would suffice, but I have to imagine this will be the start of more clubs. Can’t wait to see what irons or wedges the come out with

  6. Cody Reeder

    Jun 23, 2020 at 10:21 am

    So who is going to end up more disruptive? PXG with their ultra premium price strategy or Kirkland with the budget strategy??

    • simms

      Jun 23, 2020 at 6:16 pm

      PXG is playing the low end game also, where you been.

  7. jgpl001

    Jun 23, 2020 at 4:07 am

    Why would anyone want to buy this stuff when OEM’s last model and mint second hand clubs are heavily discounted – M5/M6, SM7 wedges, Cobra F9, Callaway Epic, Ping G400, Ping i200, etc.

    Would you rather bag a mint M5 with a top notch upgraded shaft for $250 or a Costco driver?

    If the answer is the Costco driver than you are on the wrong website…

    • Ryan Barath

      Jun 23, 2020 at 9:06 am

      It’s a very valid point, but we have to remember that there are a lot of regular golfers that don’t want or like to buy used equipment, and also want to be able to buy a club/clubs and immediately use them.
      Costco has built one of the biggest businesses in the world by delivering exceptional value and building a strong relationship with its members. “If Kirkland is on it, then it must be a great product” is how many shoppers view Costco products and if they do deliver something as I have hypothesized then it will sell and it will be a great value for those golfers looking for new wedges.

      • jgpl001

        Jun 24, 2020 at 9:31 am

        And you make a good point also, but the look of a bag and the clubs you play means a lot (snob value is alive and well) and a Kirkland bag with Costco clubs leaves me a little flat. For me the point is if you go into any golf shot there will always be bargains in OEM lines, discontinued models, etc., just pick them up, pay and go out and play

  8. je

    Jun 22, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Not sure about it. Many good major brand clubs will be heavily discounted a couple of years later. I even got mint callaway 2019 wedges for $60 from callaway preowned. Last year, it was $160. I know many were curious and bought ks1. But aren’t those good odyssey putters half off years later? And aren’t those odyssey putters better? For wedges, they lost values even quicker as new wedges will give more spin (at least they claim so). Looking at the price of a few year old vokey wedges, the most popular brand in wedges, I’m not sure how many would buy kirkland wedges.

  9. gwelfgulfer

    Jun 22, 2020 at 11:53 am

    If they want to change opinions, do a 50/54/58 set rather than 52/56/60 given the jacked lots of things, it would better suit gapping. Well, unless you have one of those sets that has 2 ‘wedges’ before you even get to a the 50/52 degree range…

  10. Carolyn

    Jun 22, 2020 at 11:15 am

    At my Costco they are selling 2 dozen VICE 3 piece urethane balls for $29.95…the last issue of the 4 piece ball was a flop…they still had a few putters this week but I did not see it as such a great deal, just an Odyssey putter with a different name plate. What next maybe a Driver from the same company that makes the Tommy Armour for Dick’s they can sell for $199?.

  11. Fredo

    Jun 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

    There is 2 chances I would game any big box stores equipment, slim to none, and slim left town. Sorry had to get that in. The real reason is that I want my local golf retailer (Alameda GolfWorks and Corica GC) and golf courses to stay open, so I support LOCAL!

    • Tyler Durden

      Jun 22, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      NOBODY CARES

    • brian

      Jun 22, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      I’ll support my local golf courses by playing more rounds with the money I save on golf balls, gloves, and gear from Costco.

  12. brian

    Jun 22, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I have to say, I’ve been very happy with the Kirkland golf products I’ve used. The original 4 piece ball was fantastic and the 3 piece is a great value proposition and performs very well. However, in my opinion, the Kirkland gloves are the real winner. The sizing is a little bit inconsistent, but the quality for the price ($5 per glove) for a piece of equipment you replace with regularity cannot be beat. They’re also very durable, from my experience.

    • Brandon

      Jun 23, 2020 at 12:05 am

      Agreed. I have enough K Sig gloves in the closet to last a few years.

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Equipment

Golf 101: 5 Tips to building your golf bag with CH3 (+ Charles Howell III WITB)

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I think at this point it’s safe to say that Charles Howell III is the adopted son and patron saint of WRX.

Not only is he a member of the site and visits regularly, but he’s also an avid club nerd and tester. I’ve become friends with CH3 over the past couple of years and have had some fun gear geek sessions with him. Want to know the coolest thing of all? He’s still as passionate and curious about gear as we are and not just Titleist (who he is on staff with) he’s curious about it all.

So who better to ask about how to build a great golf bag than with a man who knows it, does, and plays for his livelihood week in and week out?

These are 5 Charles Howell III golden nuggets that any golfer can learn from—and oh yeah, his take on the future is spot on.

Rule #1: Stability over speed no matter what

“Even for the guys on tour, stabilizing the clubface is paramount to good driving. One of the reasons I love testing shafts so often is to see if there is that magic combo of speed and control. However, the stability of the clubhead and shaft have to be there—I could find a combo that’s 20 yards longer, but if it’s something I can’t control, it doesn’t have a place in my bag. Extra yardage is fun until it isn’t.”

Rule #2: Find wedges that can do it all

“I chose the Vokey SM8 M Grind in the 56 and 60, because as the grind spectrum goes, they fall dead in the middle for me but everyone is different. I discovered that finding a middle ground grind wise solves the “different wedges for different grass problems” some players find themselves in. Even at Augusta, there was more Bermuda sticking out than normal which made shots from behind 15 different for example a little trickier. Not only are you chipping back towards a downslope with water behind, but it’s also now into the grain. Knowing I had wedges to combat either scenario made it that much easier. As a player, you have to put all the grinds through the paces and see what one checks off the most boxes. It might be something you never considered.”

Rule #3 Forgiveness looks different for every player

“Iron set makeups have changed so much in recent years. Pay attention to the soles when choosing your irons, even in the longer irons. It would be easy to think that bigger heads wider soles would be a no-brainer to hit, but to be honest, it’s not that simple. Sometimes finding a sole that will help the club get in and out of the ground easily will get you that center contact you were looking for. Although guys on tour may choose beefier long irons, it’s pretty rare to find one with a really wide sole. Soles that large encourage a player to try and sweep it off the turf which is counter-intuitive with an iron in your hand. When getting fit, pay attention to attack angles and center contact with your longer clubs; you may find that thinner soles help you more than anything else.”

Rule #4 Enjoy the process of learning and testing

“Obviously playing for a living gives me the advantage of testing a ton of stuff, but it’s just as fun doing the research at home (online) and understanding what certain equipment can do and the idea behind it. I still rely on testing as much as I can to see what works but it’s the pursuit of knowledge that keeps it all fresh week in and week out. Technology is so good these days but like anything you have to ask questions, look around try some stuff and then make a decision. Remember it’s your golf bag, take some pride in demanding that every inch of it works for you.

Eyes on the future…

“I think as we go down this Bryson/distance chase, the ultimate result on tour will be a lot of two driver bags. Look at it this way, having a 47-inch driver for long bombs, and a 44.5 inch for tighter drives, and a 4-wood isn’t all that hard to imagine. Players can tweak lofts in the irons and wedges easily to adjust to gapping. It’s not rocket science, and I don’t think we are that far from seeing multiple players on tour doing it that way.”

Charles Howell III WITB

Driver: Titleist TSI3 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 TX

3-wood: Ping G425 LST (14.5 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 8 X

7-wood: Ping G425 Max (20.5 degrees @20)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 9 X

Irons: Titleist T100 (4-6) 620 MB (7-9)

Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48-10F @47, 52-12F, 56-08M, 60-08M)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009M

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

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GolfWRX Classifieds (12/3/20): Mavrik SubZero, rare Scotty Cameron, Wilson Staff

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member CLRMTgolfer – Wilson Staff forged combo set

This is one extremely nice custom combo set of irons from Wilson golf – from blades, all the way to the Staff utility, this set has everything you need for shotmaking.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Wilson staff iron set

Member EHSgolf1 – Callaway Mavrik SubZero driver

Your chance to get an almost new Callaway Mavrik SubZero for less than new price!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Callaway SubZero

Member Champ 2430 – Scotty Cameron Timeless longneck prototype

As they say “if you know you know” and this rare Scotty Cameron Prototype longneck is a thing of beauty – the only thing is I really hope you have a big golfing budget.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Rare longneck Cameron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Adidas X Vice Golf launch The Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas

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Adidas has teamed up with Vice Golf to launch the new Vice Golf Shoe inspired from off the course which includes a dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime x Adidas golf balls.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas contains ultraboost and a signature lime-green colorway to accent the designs for life both on and off the golf course. The shoe features a camouflage pattern in gray and white on the top of the shoe, while a brand-new drip pattern decorates the boost material at the bottom.

The shoe features branding “discoverables”, such as a subtle Vice logo on the tongue of the shoe while a collab logo is celebrated within. The company’s motto “Embrace Your Vice” runs down the spine of the heel, while another Vice logo lives underneath the 3-stripe caging on the inside of the foot.

If golfers want a brighter color pop, the alternate neon lime laces give that option.

“Based in Bavaria like Adidas, we have always looked up to this global ambassador and brand that has made big moves in both the golf and footwear in recent years. It is a great honor to finally present the result of 22 months of work with tears of happiness when the final pair of shoes arrived” – Vice Golf founder and CEO Ingo Duellmann

In addition to the shoe, the packaging of the Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas is made to look, feel and act exactly like their signature golf ball packages. 

The bottom of the box is wrapped in a neon lime camouflage pattern, and the top cover features the exact, embossed Vice logo colored in neon lime drip pattern as seen and felt on the brand’s golf ball packaging. The connection continues after lifting the lid and discovering an actual box of Vice Pro Drip Lime golf balls, with Adidas logos, sitting in its own compartment.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas (plus one dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime X Adidas golf balls) costs $219.95 and is available to purchase from December 7, 2020, 11 AM EST at ViceGolf.com.

 

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