Why Are Golf Clubs So Expensive?

Some of us have experienced sticker shock when buying clubs before. It feels like clubs have been getting more and more expensive lately. Why are golf clubs so expensive? Are golf club companies charging so much simply because they can get away with it? To answer these questions we will analyze the financial statements of Callaway and Acushnet (Parent company of Titleist, FootJoy, and Pinnacle) between the years 2015 and 2017. The best way to understand something is to follow the money.

Firstly, we can start with the retailer markup on golf clubs. These markups average between 30-35% of the total cost of the club. This percentage sounds high at first, but that number represents the entire gross income of a retailer. That is where every expense is paid for the retailer. This includes the cost of salespeople, sales facilities, merchandising, rent, cashiers, etc. The golf club manufacturer typically decides the retail markup percentage. Interestingly, the golf industry is well below the common keystone pricing markup of 50%. After all expenses, the best golf retailers rarely profit more than 2-3% of the total cost of a club. However, as a whole, we can say that around 33.33% of the cost of a golf club is the markup from the retailer.  

The financial statements used to calculate the next percentages are publicly available because both Callaway and Acushnet are publicly traded companies. The reports analyzed include all items sold by either company and are not limited to the sale of golf clubs alone. However, the breakdown of company expenses will give a good indicator as to why golf clubs are priced the way they are.

We will start with total sales to gain a sense of scale between these two companies. Between 2015 and 2017, Acushnet recorded an average annual sales figure of $1,545,164,000. Meanwhile, Callaway averaged an annual sales figure of $922,000,000 between the same years. Now those are massive numbers, but it’s important to remember that again those figures are sales numbers and not profit. For example, Acushnet’s net profit in 2015 was less than $4,200,000.

If Acushnet’s net profit in 2015 was less than 0.28% of their total sales, then where did all that money go? Pro V1’s, Scotty Camerons, and Titleist clubs aren’t cheap. How did Acushnet barely break even in 2015? Well, Acushnet’s “cost of goods sold”, a term used to describe the material and direct labor costs of producing a product, was $727,120,000 in 2015. This number represents 48.38% of their total sales. Callaway’s numbers tell a similar story. The same year in 2015, Callaway’s cost of goods sold was $487,950,000. This represented 57.82% of their total sales that year. Overall, we can deduce that roughly 33.33% the price of a club is material and manufacturing cost.

If it only costs golf manufacturers half the price of a club to make it, then where are they spending the other money? Well, obviously golf clubs have to be researched and designed. Acushnet claims to employ, “Over 80 chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers and technicians” in their golf ball department alone.  Between 2015 and 2017 Acushnet spent an average annually of $47,643,000 on research and development. This equates to approximately 3.1% compared to their total sales. Callaway averaged $34,370,000 annually on research and development during the same time span. For Callaway, this as equal to 3.7% of their gross sales. Many will be surprised by this relatively low percent spent on research and development. It means that approximately 2.33% the cost of golf clubs is spent on research and development.

How can 53.5% of the cost of a golf club be used for the material, manufacturing, research, and development, yet golf companies are still making such a slim profit? What else are companies spending money on? This is where “selling, general, and administrative” (SG&E) costs come into play. This term refers to all corporate, sales, and marketing costs. Acushnet averaged an SG&E (not including research and develop) cost annually of $594,886,000 between 2015 and 2017. This was approximately 38.5% of their total sales. Meanwhile, Callaway in the same three years averaged annually an SG&E cost of $319,597,000 (not including research and development), which calculated out to 34.7% of their gross sales. We can estimate around 24.33% of the cost of a golf club is spent on corporate, sales, and marketing expenses.

This leaves 10% of the money from gross manufacturer sales still unaccounted for. Well, an approximated 3.3% (or 2.22% when compared against the total cost of the club) of that is accounted for by the manufacturer’s income tax and then that leaves just an estimated 6.6% for net profit. Acushnet averaged an annual net income of $50,097,000 after taxes between 2015 and 2017, or 3.2% of gross sales. Over the same three-year time span, Callaway averaged $81,760,000 in net profit after taxes or 8.9% of gross sales. These percentages are consistent with our estimated averages. This means golf manufacturers are approximately only profiting 4.46% off of the cost of a golf club.

2019 Father’s Day Golf Gift Guide

As Father’s Day approaches and you are met with the difficult decision of finding the perfect gift for the dads in your life, we thought it would be a great time to put together a complete guide of all the best gifts for any golfing dad! From personalized balls to new clubs to training equipment and range finders, below is a complete list of all the best tech, equipment, and apparel that would make the perfect gift. 

In case you already have an idea of what you want to get dad you can check out our Father’s Day Tech Gift Guide or our Father’s Day Golf Clubs & Equipment Gift Guide for a more specific list of products.

Otherwise, we have a complete list of all the best products for your dad below. Enjoy!

Technology

1.) Bushnell Phantom Handheld GPS

$129.99 -> Now $99.99

The Bushnell Phantom Handheld GPS is a compact, easy to use golf GPS with a magnetic mount that sticks to any surface but also includes a clip in case you want to attach it to a belt or bag. Preloaded with over 36,000 courses in more than 30 countries it has easy to read front, center, and back distances with up to 4 hazard distances per hole. It connects wirelessly with Bluetooth and has incredibe battery life so that they can get the information they need without having to worry about it dying. This is the perfect addition to any golfers game and will help them to better strategize their game, choose the right clubs and ultimately lower their handicap!

2.) Bushnell iON 2 GPS Rangefinders

$199.99 -> Now $179.99

The Bushnell iON 2 GPS Rangefinder is a functional watch with an all-purpose, comfortable design including a reversible band and wireless course updates using Bluetooth. This watch also comes preloaded with over 36,000 courses in more than 30 countries and has an even longer battery life than the phantom, allowing you to play more than three rounds before having to charge it. This watch has a short distance calculator, round odometer, an integrated fitness step counter, easy to read front, center, and back distances, and the Bushnell app to sync with their phone. Forget the Apple watch, if he’s a golfer, this is what he NEEDS!

3.) Bushnell Tour V4 Shift Patriot Pack Slope Edition Golf Laser Rangefinder

$449.99 -> Now $379.99

The Bushnell Tour V4 Shift Patriot Pack Slope Edition Golf Laser Rangefinder is the perfect combination of size, speed, and accuracy with the ability for the golfer in your life to easily be able to carry it around the course and use it with ease to plan out their perfect shot. This rangefinder helps you find the exact distance to the pin so that you know exactly which club is best, but it doesn’t stop there! This range finder also has patented slope-switch technology that lets them easily toggle in and out of a setting that measures their slope to the hole, giving the essential information to better their golf game.

4.) Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Patriot Pack Rangefinder

$329.99 -> Now $279.99

The Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Patriot Pack Rangefinder is similar to the shift, however, it lacks the slope switch technology to be able to understand the level of slope between you and the hole. As a result, you have less data, but that makes this range finder completely legal for tournament play. Otherwise, this incredible piece of technology has all of the same features as the Shift and is accurate to 1 yard from up to 1000 yards away with 5x magnification. AND, if that isn’t cool enough, it’s also waterproof! 

5.) Bushnell Hybrid Laser Rangefinder + GPS

$449.99 -> Now $349.99 

The Bushnell Hybrid Laser Rangefinder + GPS allows you to see distance like never before! This is the world’s first laser rangefinder and GPS combo unit with a fully integrated display featuring both laser and GPS yardages to get the most accurate reading possible. This device comes preloaded with over 36,000 courses in 30 different countries, wirelessly connects via Bluetooth, has the first ever integrated GPS/Laser Display, 5x magnification, and is accurate to 1 yard of the pin! This is the most advanced rangefinder out there and the perfect mix of rangefinder and GPS if you aren’t sure which one to get for that special dad this Father’s Day! 

SkyTrak Launch Monitor – Basic Practice Plan

$1995.99 -> Now $1695.00

the SkyTrak Launch Monitor – basic Practice plan is Golf’s first portable and affordable launch monitor and golf simulator. The first personal launch monitor of its kind, SkyTrak is a realistic and real-time golf practice and play system. Keep your golf game sharp with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and Golf Simulator. This compact, portable unit wirelessly connects to your compatible device and provides immediate shot launch data and ball flight visual feedback as soon as you hit the ball. SkyTrak accurately measures ball speed, launch angle, backspin, club speed, side spin, and side angle and displays carry distance, offline and total distance to simulate practice and play as if you were on the course or practice tee.

SkyTrak Launch Monitor – Game Improvement Package

$2,244.99 -> Now $1,944.90

The SkyTrak Launch Monitor – Game Improvement Package allows you to practice and play golf rain or shine, 365 days a year! The first personal launch monitor of its kind, SkyTrak is a realistic and real-time golf practice and play system. Keep your golf game sharp with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and Golf Simulator. This compact, portable unit wirelessly connects to your compatible device and provides immediate shot launch data and ball flight visual feedback as soon as you hit the ball. SkyTrak accurately measures ball speed, launch angle, back spin, club speed, side spin and side angle and displays carry distance, offline and total distance to simulate practice and play as if you were on the course or practice tee.

GolfBuddy Voice 2 GPS

$129.99 -> Now $99.00

The GolfBuddy Voice 2 GPS is one of golf’s easiest to use talking GPS’.


The second generation to the best selling Voice, the Voice 2 comes with increased battery life, shows the Front/Center/Back of the green, and is water resistant.  This awesome piece of tech includes a distance measuring device that can detect distances to front, center, and back of the green. Automatic Course and hole recognition, shot distance measurement, a detachable unit to provide versatility, is legal for tournament play, and much more!

GolfBuddy WT6 GPS Watch

$129.99 -> Now $99.99

The GolfBuddy WT6 GPS Watch is a simple and easy to use golf based smartwatch to help you lower your score, make better decisions and just make golf more enjoyable. This watch includes automatic course and hole recognition, is preloaded with over 38,000 courses with free updates, gives you distances to the front, center, and back of greens, is legal for tournament play, gives you dates and times, and much more. This watch is the wearable golf caddy that will help you take your game to the next level!

GolfBuddy VTX Handheld GPS

$299.99 -> Now $199.99

The GolfBuddy VTX Handheld GPS is one of the most advanced talking handheld GPS devices on the market! Doing automatic course updates & wireless casting via Bluetooth, GolfBuddy’s latest handheld comes jampacked with new features like voice audio and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s slim, lightweight design makes it the ultimate rangefinder that offers the finest golf GPS experience. Pre-loaded with an industry leading 38,000+ global courses, the GolfBuddy VTX continues to innovate in the handheld category.

GolfBuddy aim W10 GPS Watch

$299.99 -> Now $249.99

The GolfBuddy aim W10 GPS Watch is the most advanced Smart Golf GPS watch out there! The aim W10 is GOLFBUDDY’s most advanced smart golf GPS watch with features that include a full-color touch screen display, green undulation and slope-adjusted distance readings to give the golfer better real-life views and more control around the course. Along with a 13-hour battery life in Golf Mode, convenient digital scorecard, and its new zoom sin/out functions around the green, the aim W10 is hard to beat. 

Garmin Approach S20 Bundle GPS Watch

$269.99 -> Now $239.99

The Garmin Approach S20 Bundle GPS Watch is an incredible mart watch for golf with 3 club tracking sensors! The Approach S20 GPS golf watch now comes bundled with the 3-pack of Approach CT10 club sensors for automatic game tracking and scorekeeping. Easily pair the club sensors with your Approach S20 watch to augment AutoShot performance while adding automatic game tracking of your score and shot stats for any club. The lightweight and secure sensors easily attach to the end of a club’s grip; you won’t even notice them while you play. You can order additional sensors to track all 14 clubs in your bag. Or you can stick with the included 3-sensor pack for your wedges and putter to track chip shots next to the green and your putts — while relying on your golf watch’s AutoShot analyzer to track and record your other shots. 

Garmin Approach G10 Clip-on GPS

$129.99 -> Now $99.99

The Garmin Approach G10 Clip-on GPS gives you essential golf data in an essential clip-on form. It includes a compact clip-on style that can fit almost anywhere, is preloaded with more than 40,000 courses, displays distances to the front, back and middle of the greens, displays hazards, shows you the shape of the green and shows you a digital scorecard so you can easily keep track of your score and watch as it gets lower and lower!

Garmin Approach G30 GPS

$249.99 -> Now $199.99

The Garmin Approach G30 GPS is a small but powerful handheld golf GPS.
To beat the course, you must know the course. Victory is at hand with Approach G30. It offers a 2.3-inch color touchscreen display that provides full-color mapping, as well as Touch Targeting, which lets you touch any point on the sunlight-readable display and show the precise distance to that spot. And with a high-sensitivity GPS, you’ll see distance to greens, hazards and doglegs — even under tree cover.

Garmin Approach S60 GPS Golf Watch

$399.99 -> Now 349.99

The Garmin Approach S60 GPS Golf Watch is a classic golf watch with modern style. This watch is equipped with a slick GPS that reflects your passion for the game, large display so anyone can read it, instantly get your location on the course to be able to get exact yardage to the pin so that you can make better decisions and ultimately lower your score. Additionally, this watch comes preloaded with over 40,000 courses and will last up to 10 days before needing to be recharged!

Garmin Approach S60 GPS Deluxe Golf Watch

$499.99 -> Now $399.99

The Garmin Approach S60 GPS Deluxe Golf Watch is an advanced luxury golf watch with modern style. This watch is equipped with a slick GPS that reflects your passion for the game, large display so anyone can read it, instantly get your location on the course to be able to get exact yardage to the pin so that you can make better decisions and ultimately lower your score. Additionally, this watch comes preloaded with over 40,000 courses and will last up to 10 days before needing to be recharged! And, if that isn’t enough, this watch has a luxurious black leather band and a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel so that you are always looking sharp!

Garmin TruSwing Golf Swing Analyzer

$149.99 -> Now $99.99

Use the Garmin TruSwing Golf Swing Analyzer to Train Your Swing with Game-changing Metrics For golfers who want to improve their shot-making consistency. The easy-to-use TruSwing sensor provides the accurate metrics needed to identify and correct any faulty swing mechanics. Pair TruSwing with your compatible Approach series golf device and Garmin Connect. Use TruSwing golf swing sensor metrics to see how your mechanics affect ball flight and shot results. Metrics include swing tempo, speed, club-path measurements, critical club angles and more!

Garmin Approach Z80 Rangefinder

$599.99 -> Now $499.99

The Garmin Approach Z80 Rangefinder is THE Golf Laser Range Finder with GPS! Approach Z80 laser range finder with GPS is the most accurate laser range finder available. Giving you a new perspective on more than 41,000 courses worldwide, you can actually see a full-color CourseView and Green View overlay in 2-D for the hole you’re playing, showing distances to the front and back of the green. Then when you activate the laser range finder, you get an amazingly accurate distance to the pin — within 10”. Plus, the Approach Z80 automatically determines which hole you are currently playing to provide course layout and par information. Get the most accurate laser distance measurements, within 10” to the flag, up to 350 yards/320 meters with image stabilization that reduces shakiness and makes it easier to find and range the flag.

SkyGolf SkyCaddie SX500 GPS

$399.99 -> Now $349.99

Get unmatched Power With The Best View in Golf. With its 5-inch, high-definition touch screen driven by an ultra-fast multi-core processor, the SX500 is the most powerful way to measure yardage while providing the very “best view” in golf with vivid graphics and numbers you can trust. The SX500 comes in a highly water-resistant, rugged design to stand up to most anything that comes its way on the course. With the largest battery in the industry, the SX500 is ready for extended playing time for that emergency 9, or even 18 more holes. Using multi-constellation navigation satellite systems, SX500 provides enhanced accuracy and overall better performance under tough conditions or tree cover.

The powerful features of the SX500 are easily tapped with its large, intuitive touch screen and automated features such as auto-course search, auto-hole advance and auto-zoom making it basically “touch-free” from the parking lot to the 18th hole. The large HD display combined with HD quality course graphics, only available from SkyCaddie, provide the best view of the most reliable information in the game to allow you to play your best golf.

2UNDR Swing Shift Boxer Briefs – 2 PACK

Limited Time – 2 pack for $45.99

2UNDR Swing Shift Boxer Briefs – Perfection, in your pants! With 2UNDR™ you can feel it right away, pure heavenly softness. The SWING SHIFT™ caresses the skin with the -pack includes one pair of Black|Grey and one pair of Night Camo 6in Swing Shift Boxer Briefs. this underwear has the finest beechwood fiber in their signature modal fabric. Additionally, the material resists shrinkage and is less likely to fade or pull as a result of friction. The smoothness of the fabric also rejects hard water deposits, allowing it to stay soft through repeated wash cycles.

Volvik Vivid XT Golf Balls

$29.99 -> Now $34.99

The Volvik Vivid XT Golf Balls are some of golf’s best golfballs with an awesome Matte Finish that yield Extreme Power and Distance! The matte finish coating provides reduced air resistance and therefore increases the distance you can hit it and on top of that, it also has dual power core technology that enhances the distance you can hit it. These things combine come together to create consistent shots and excellent flight stability by lower driver spin. Then, once the ball hits the ground the bright VIVID color increases visibility.

PING Golf Glide 2.0 Wedges

Graphite – $159.99 -> Now $119.99

Steel – $139.99 -> Now $109.99



Get more grooves and more control with the Ping Glide 2.0 Wedges. The grooves are spaced closer together to promote increased friction and allow for additional grooves. Higher lofted options (54 – 60 degree) are engineered for finesse shots around the green have 2 more grooves than original Glide. Lower lofted options (46 – 52) are designed for full shots have one additional groove compared to original Glide. New precision milled grooves increase spin rate approximately 350 rpms on full shots and 200 rpms on shots around the green compared to original Glide Wedge. Soft 431 stainless steel heads with hydro pearl chrome finish repel moisture to reduce sole friction.

PING Golf Glide 2.0 Stealth Wedges

Graphite – $159.99 -> Now $119.99

Steel – $139.99 -> Now $109.99

Get a perfectly soft feel and beautiful attractive finish with the PING Golf Glide 2.0 Stealth Wedges. Combining the soft, responsive feel of 8620 carbon steel, sharp loft-specific grooves, and a distinguished dark finish, the durable Glide 2.0 Stealth wedges will fit the game and the eye of players for whom performance and appearance go hand in hand. The QPQ finish is highly durable and improves ball interaction with the precision-machined grooves. 

Cleveland Golf Launcher CBX Irons

Purchase a 7pc Launcher CBX Iron Set and receive a FREE CG Cart or Stand Bag. $139.99 VALUE

Don’t just hit it, LAUNCH IT!

The Launcher CBX Irons feature a cup face design, V-shaped Sole, and Tour Zip Grooves to deliver maximum distance with wedge-like accuracy. Large, easy-to-hit long irons transition to compact, easy-to-control short irons, helping you get closer to the hole from anywhere on the course. 

The leaders in wedge spin and turf performance bring you that same technology in every iron to help you get closer from everywhere on the course. 

Cleveland Golf Launcher HB Irons

Purchase a 7pc Launcher HB Iron Set and receive a FREE CG Cart or Stand Bag. $139.99 VALUE

Don’t just hit it, LAUNCH IT!

Hybrid Technology in Every Iron

The Launcher HB Irons bring the forgiveness and trajectory of hybrids, all the way through your irons. Start hitting it higher, straighter, and farther today.  With these new irons, Cleveland is hoping to bring the everyday player a better combination of performance and ease of use with a focus on higher launch, straighter shots, and more forgiveness. This is the perfect gift for a dad who is just getting into golf.

SRIXON Golf Balls

Buy 3, Get 1 FREE! Plus, FREE Personalization

Srixon golf balls are some of the best golf balls on the market for all levels of golfers! From beginners to advanced golfers you can’t go wrong with Soft Feel, Q-Star, Z Star or any other Srixon balls. For a limited time buy 3 and get one dozen free personalized Srixon golf balls of your choice! From soft to more firm golf balls, you can make your choice of which balls you would like (maybe even some for you) and after you buy 3 dozen you can get one dozen personalized balls for free.

Puma Shoes

Get a free PUMA Golf Pounce Adjustable Cap with purchase

For a limited time, with the purchase of any pair of Puma Shoes, you get a free puma hat to wear out on the course. Puma is known for their exceptionally comfortable golf shoes and sneakers with great support and durability. Puma is one of the best brands on the market for shoes and now, for a limited time, you can get a simple, breathable hat for that dad in your life. If you’re looking for 2 gifts for the price of one this Father’s Day then this is the steal for you!

To pick up any of these great gifts for Dad, head into the Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop, located at 3645 Fulton Avenue in Sacramento or shop online at mortongolfsales.com. We offer free shipping on most items over $50 when shopping online at mortongolfsales.com!

What does a 460cc Driver mean in golf?

“cc” stands for cubic centimeters and the USGA dictates the maximum volume a golf driver can be is 460cc

According to the USGA Rules for 2019, “The volume of the clubhead must not exceed 460 cubic centimetres (28.06 cubic inches), plus a tolerance of 10 cubic centimetres (0.61 cubic inches)” (Page 49). Ok cool, now what does that mean and why should the average golfer care?

The volume of a golf club can be broken down to mean the amount of space that the club head occupies. Unfortunately, for many people that definition is not much clearer. Luckily though, we can break this down even further. In our day to day lives, one of the few things measured in volume is liquids. For example, soda is commonly sold in 2-Liter bottles. The “Liter” is a unit of measurement of volume and is defined as 1,000 cubic centimeters (cc). Therefore, the USGA is saying that the maximum size of a golf driver head must not exceed roughly ¼ the size of a 2-Liter bottle of soda. So great, a driver head can’t be bigger than ¼ the size of a soda bottle. How do they measure that though? I assure you, Titleist is not shoving TS2 drivers into soda bottles to see if they are compliant with USGA rules.

The measuring process is actually very simple and uses the Archimedes Principle. I assume everyone is familiar with Archimedes of Syracuse. We all know his work along with his colleagues Diocles and Apollonius from the end of the 3rd century BC and the beginning of the 2nd century BC, do we not? Ok, I’ll quit pretending we all paid attention in high school history class. I for one, was busy trying to get the cute girl sitting behind me to like me. So how does this old Greek guy pertain to golf? He was good with water. He figured out how to calculate buoyancy and water displacement. Sounds scary, but pretty much it just means if you submerge a 460cc golf driver in 1000cc of water, the water level will rise to 1460cc. Same reason if you climb into a bathtub, the water level rises. The USGA official test is a bit more exact but it is the same principle.

Now why don’t companies just make club heads with holes in them to let the water flow into the club to decrease the water displacement? That one is pretty simple. The USGA said they can’t do that. The club head must be fully enclosed and divots or cavities with a collective volume greater than 15cc must be filled in with waterproof clay for the measuring process. That means that those old Nike Covert and Vapor drivers had to account for the volume that Nike “cut out” on the sole.

What does all this mean though? Why does it matter that a club head can only be 460cc? Think about the clubs in your bag. Your hybrids go further than your irons, your fairway woods hit the ball further than the hybrids, and your driver hits the ball the farthest of everything (or it should if you have a decent driver). The larger the club head, the more energy is going into the ball, and the further the ball is traveling. The USGA is simply trying to limit how far drivers can hit the ball. They don’t want people out on the course swinging bowling ball size drivers.

Authored by Taylor Morton