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09 October 2007

Budget Golf 101 Series - Part 2 of 5

... continuing from yesterday.
 
Third - Equipment. I am against the idea of a newbie buying a set of golf clubs right at the beginning. Different makes and models suits different players differently. For a newbie who has yet to develop his/her own game is it not a good idea to buy a set of clubs and trying to adapt to it. Instead, one should established his/her own game before selecting a set of clubs to best suit him/her.

So what do you do then? Simple. Borrow from friends. As long as you have golfer friends, there would be at least one of them who would just happen to have a spare set lying around. Yes, chances are, it would be a pretty old set of clubs but it shouldn't matter since your initial lessons are just to get your foundation basics.

Equipment would just about the biggest part of investing in this game and I would recommend delaying this financial commitment to the very very last (or at the very least keep it as low for as long as possible) and I have 2 reasons for this:

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Extracted from my post at SPUG Forum dated 01 Oct 2003

1) You may find out eventually that golf really is not your game. You didn't take it out because of the love of the sport but because of social/peer pressure. Therefore having less money out front makes it easier for you to exit the sport.

2) As you play, your game and stroke mature and stabilise. What may be a great set for you in the early stages may not be suitable later. So with a cheaper first set, it makes it easier to switch to the eventually set proper. That would be the time that you may consider buying first hand if your financials allow it.
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Ok, so you've finally reach the stage where you want to get your own clubs.

At present, I only know of 2 places that deal with 2nd hand clubs. One is located on the second floor of Far East Shopping Centre (next to Hilton Hotel) and the other is at Kreta Ayer --> Creative Golf by Joe (Lum). Here's a tip when it comes to getting the best deal out of the second hand shops. If you were to step in for the first time, you would surely be disappointed by the selection range on the floor. There is a reason why they are out there on the floor and not moving. The good ones never remain in the shop for more than a week. Someone is bound to snap it up. You need to be that someone if you want to get a great deal out of it.

To get a great set at a great price, you need to go there pretty often. The rationale is that when you go there often enough, you are increasing your chance that you may be there when a great set just arrive and you would be there to make an offer to buy it on the spot before anyone even has the chance to hear about its arrival.

Also when you are there often enough, you would surely make friends with the proprietors, or in the Kreta Ayer context, Joe Lum himself. We golfers are a friendly bunch. Once these guys got to know you, you are what is known as a "first person that comes to mind" i.e. they will be keeping a lookout for you and as soon as one, that matches your requirement specifications, shows up and you would be among the first they'd be calling. So stand by your phone and cash ready on hand.


For the rest of you guys who have lagi more cash and would like to buy a set right away, what make or model to buy? Good question that only you and yourself can answer as it depends on what kind of swing/game/budget you possess. Sure, you can try a couple of swings and hit a couple of balls with it at the shop or the range but ask yourself if it is enough data to make that investment decision? For those who are established golfers, I am less worried as like myself, we are knowledgeable enough to know what type of clubs are best suited for us. It's the newbies that I must advise against hasty decisions. If you are taking lessons, ask your coach / pro to advise since they would be in the best position to make that recommendation. However, do note that some of these coaches / pros may make a commission from their recommendations, especially those at driving ranges with a pro-shop in it. Granted that their intention may not be 100% noble as a result of the money, their recommendations won't be too far from the most honest pick. So I say, let them earn that extra buck. Baby's gotta eat and goo nee hoon ain't free, you know?

Next, I may agree that buying the entire set (woods and irons together) may present a better deal but I do recommend, if you can help it, to break down the purchase. I don't see the need to spend all the money all at once. Just buy the irons first since you will be starting your basics with them.

You may even go 1 or 2 years of playing without the need to go for the woods as the longer clubs are harder to master. Thereafter, when it's time to buy the woods, there is also no need to buy all of them at one go. Buy the fairway woods first i.e. 3-wood, 5-wood and perhaps even 7-wood as well. Leave the driver to the very last as it is also the most expensive club in the entire bag.

Splitting up your purchase also allow you to mix and match your clubs without being tied down to a single make and model. Who knows? You may play well with with a set of Callaway X-14 irons, a set of Titleist 975 VJS fairway woods, an Odyssey Rossie II putter and a Cleveland Launcher 460 driver? However, if you were to buy the entire matching set, you are going to lose out of the freedom of customising your bag. Later on, I will devote an entry to let you have a glimpse of what's currently in my bag and how much it would take to set up my bag configuration. You may be surprised by the number.

And finally, we come to the controversial topic of clone clubs. These are imitation clubs to put it bluntly. They could be factory overruns (same factory as original equipment but not sold via official distribution channels) or simple fakes (generic clubs but with the branded sticker logos).

They are usually priced at a fraction of the real deal but some of you may have an ethical issue against counterfeits which I would totally respect that stance.

Still, contrary to popular belief, some of the better clone clubs actually play very well and so for those with a tighter budget, this may be an option worth considering.*

* I am not advocating that one should buy fake goods. This will have to be a purely personal decision on your part. I am in no position to advise you on this.

BALLS! Ok now that I got you attention at this point of a very long entry, here's the low down on these little white critters. For beginner's who are still at the range. There isn't really a need to buy balls at this point in time as the range balls are there for you to hit. On the flip side, it doesn't mean that you can take the range balls out of the driving range for personal use. Some golf clubs are known to suspend players if they are caught playing range balls. Range balls are strictly for the range. Period.

Anyway, it may be a good idea to have half a dozen for the practice greens.

For those beginners who are starting to go down to the fairways, do not buy brand new balls. Go for used balls cause you are not going to see for long before they disappear into the jungle or water. A good number to have in the bag for beginners is about 10 to 20.

* Image Credits: http://content.costco.com; http://www.abc-of-golf.com

... next up. Proficiency Certificate and Handicap.
- Voxeros

1. aloe left...
Tuesday, 9 October 2007 9:29 am
oo ooo ooo... it seems like what I did when I was young.... I used to pick up "lost" tennis balls so that my bros can use. LOL!!! I think you can do the same for golf too. Just keep a lookout for "lost" balls. =P


2. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 9 October 2007 1:03 pm :: 
Aloe: It is kinda hard to lose a tennis ball considering how far the tennis ball and fly and how visible it is. Those balls you picked are probably abandoned ball i.e. are probably deflated to an extend that it is no longer playable.

Golf balls on the other hand is way more durable and chances are that you definitely lose it before the ball is totally unplayable.

In the US, the best time to pick golf balls are Mondays where the weekend is just over and there are balls everywhere.

I believed this is a cultural thing whereby Americans don't really look for their golf balls when their shot goes awry. They would simply take out a new one and play one.


3. aloe left...
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 9:29 am
er.. no leh... you just have to go outside the fence area. Some people are lazy to pick up balls that flies out of the fence area so you get to pick up balls that are relatively in good condition. Pick up deflated balls for what? =S Cannot play too mah! =(


4. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 10:11 am :: 
Aloe: Deflated not in the flat sense but that it no longer bounce as well as it used to be which would affect it playability, especially when you have a mix of old and new balls.

Slower balls, however, are better for beginner players.


5. Aloe left...
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 8:56 pm
ahhh.... i see... but we also saw relatively good balls among the mix.
well... it's a way of saving cost the environment too. Recycle!! LOL!


6. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 11 October 2007 9:29 am :: 
Aloe: Must be some rich neighbourhood that you are staying. I was have gone for the ball even if it is down the stinky longkang if (a) I was the idiot who hit it there or (b) some sibeh chiobu hit it there.


7. aloe left...
Thursday, 11 October 2007 10:17 am
no leh... they usually go to book some tennis court somewhere at some ulu sami area de...


8. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 11 October 2007 11:25 am :: 
Aloe: Correct lor. If too near then where got chance to rev their supercharged engines in the likes of Ferraris and Porsche and what-have-yous? :P

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