Golf drivers are the most admired club in nearly every golfer’s bag. It stands the tallest, has the biggest head, and the longest shaft. It is often the most expensive club as well. Many golfers wonder, do they have to invest a fortune in a driver and how much does a golf driver cost?
Why are drivers so important?
They are the club that allows the ball to travel the farthest when struck well. Even slightly off-center hits can provide distance that you can only dream of with other clubs in the bag.
As you can see it is an important component of any golfers’ success. So, how much does a golf driver cost? The price can vary vastly, but in short, it can cost what you can afford.
Full package sets generally include a driver in the price, but these are normally aimed at golfers that are starting and want to get the feel of the game before investing heavily into equipment.
The cost of a golf driver increased substantially over the last decade as the technology evolved. Some golfers are dedicated to renewing their equipment annually or on the release of the latest of their preferred brand.
A few price examples
A new driver in the TaylorMade Sim range (Sim2, Sim2 Max, or Sim2 Max D) driver can set you back around $530. More exclusive drivers like the TaylorMade MySim2 driver can cost upwards of $630 while an older model SIM Max or M5 drivers can be as relatively inexpensive as $400.
In comparison, the Titleist TSi range of drivers is available at around $549.
Callaway is amongst the most popular drivers on tour and their Epic range is available at $529.99, Big Bertha B21 at $499.99 while the older Mavrik range is available at $399.99. At the top end of the Callaway, spectrum is their EPIC Max custom driver coming in at $599.99.
Although producing some of the finest drivers Cobra golf is one of the most competitively priced drivers with the King Radspeed range coming in at a competitive $449.99 with the Limited Edition Radspeed Palm coming in at $549.
PXG golf offers a wide range of drivers at various prices. The new 0811 Gen 4 comes in at $549.99 while at the lower end of the spectrum you can get a new 2021 0211 for a low $289.
A stalwart in the sporting goods arena is Wilson offering less expensive drivers that still provide good performance. Their top-of-the-range Wilson D9 driver is available at a reasonably priced $349.99 with the Cortex driver at a mere $179.99.
From this snapshot, it is clear that there are new drivers suited for nearly every budget. The pre-loved market for drivers offers great bargains from a variety of online merchants for golfers that want the technology without breaking the budget.
Why is a driver so expensive?
The Engineering and Design Process
Technology is ever-evolving providing improved ways to design and engineer using new materials and production methods.
The research and development invested by golf club manufacturers run into hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Any slight tweak or major breakthrough that provides more distance or forgiveness, even better a combination of the two, will boost sales and increased popularity.
Adjustable drivers, the flexible driver faces, a combination of the shaft to the driver’s head are a small sample of the advances made available through consistent engineering and manufacturing progress.
Although you will often find that a brand claims to have made a major breakthrough, it is frequently the result of years of improvement culminating in such successes.
The Materials That Go Into the Clubs
With the growth in research and development news materials are identified that will benefit the construction of golf equipment.
Golf clubs have undergone a tremendous transformation from the first clubs made from wood to the current high-tech drivers that blast the ball vast distances.
Materials used in the construction of drivers now included lightweight titanium, composite materials, and graphite shafts. All of these contribute to saving weight and increasing swing speed for more distance.
Expensive Clubs Are Made to be Durable
The increase in the cost of drivers means that some golfers have to keep a driver in the bag for longer periods and, therefore, require more durability from it.
Improvements in technology enable manufacturers to implement better quality controls. Gone are the days where a clubhead may stray after hitting an awe-inspiring drive down the fairway.
Increased durability allows manufacturers to offer better warranties providing you with peace of mind.
Manufacturers work on improvements and increasing the playability of their drivers and brands have to invest quite heavily to convince the mass market that their equipment is the best and will enable you to play your best golf.
This exercise is not cheap as many top golfers are paid enormous amounts to promote specific brands and using these clubs in tournaments viewed by millions of golfers.
Regular golf viewers will know that there are many adverts shown to convince you of the unique qualities of the driver you have just seen on TV. International marketing through various media makes it an expensive, yet necessary, exercise.
Do not see this as corporate greed as the revenue generated from sales allows the manufacturers to invest in more research and development, essential to continuous improvement.
Every company is in business to generate a profit. Golf brands are no different. Shareholders want to see a return on their investment and payback for all the research and development costs. If not, they will not invest in future development.
The components that are used in the manufacturing process adds up to quite a bit less than the sales price. This is due to the other costs such as R&D, engineering, marketing, and more.
The risk involved by investing so much into the process requires substantial returns for the investors thus necessitating a relatively good profit margin. Brands can generate up to 100% of the cost in profit margins, i.e. a driver that costs $200 to produce can be sold for up to $400.
Remember that the price you ultimately pay includes the retailer’s profit margin as well.
What caused the increase in price over the last five years?
The globalization of the workforce has driven costs up in countries where cheap labor was previously used to produce golf clubs. China’s labor costs have jumped by nearly 65% between 2011 and 2017.
The increase in labor cost combined with the increase in material cost have created a jump in the input costs and ultimately the selling price.
Top-end drivers are expensive and unlikely to reduce in price in the foreseeable future.
Fortunately, it is not all doom and gloom as there are sufficient entry-level drivers at affordable prices not to deter prospective golfers.
The durability of new drivers and their ability to strike the golf ball at high velocity for many a year ensure that you are not forced to replace your driver every year.
Ultimately, the buyers determine the price they are willing to pay for a product. If you believe you will not gain a specific quantifiable benefit from purchasing a new driver, keep the ol’ faithful in your bag.
Feedback and suggestions are always welcomed in the comments section below.
Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.