How golf brands change the game

Clifton Jones

Whether it is a professional using the clubs or a college athlete, the brands in golf are seen merely to represent the manufacturer of the equipment they are using. 

The men’s golf team of Sacramento State choose their go-to brand not because one is “better” than the other, but what fits their swing the best. The technology of golf clubs have come a long way since the sport of golf was created, in which all companies are now on an even playing field.

“All of the same golf brands have the same technology for golf clubs and will perform similarly,” said senior golfer Ryan Williams. “So it doesn’t matter what brand you play with, as long as you are comfortable with the set of clubs you have.”

All of the men on the Sac State golf team have a mixed bag of clubs from top companies such as TaylorMade, Ping, Titleist, Callaway and Nike.

“Different clubs suit different players and you really see that with the different clubs I have that my teammates don’t have,” said junior golfer Jordan Swanson.

Swanson said his team has it pretty good compared to the smaller schools like Florida Gulf Coast University. He said one of the perks of Sac State being a mid-major collegiate team is that the Hornet golfers both men and women are able to get a lot of the equipment for a discounted price.

“Last year I was able to spend $300 on a new set of Titleist irons,” Swanson said. “So it saved me at least $700 on a set of irons that are worth well into the thousands of dollars.”

However, mid-major schools are not as lucky as some of the big time schools like UCLA, Louisiana State University, Cal and many other elite intercollegiate golf teams.

Williams said UCLA has a deal with TaylorMade which gives them the opportunity to get all of their golf clubs fitted for free because there is a nearby TaylorMade plant.

Although Sac State was recently given the best in the best golf technology there is, with its new additions of TaylorMade clubs, some players refuse to use the brand because they are already comfortable with their current clubs.

“TaylorMade gave us all new drivers and woods,” Williams said. “But I didn’t take a driver for me because I love what I have right now.”

Both Williams and Swanson agree the club a person plays with does not make them the golfer he or she thinks he or she should be, but rather the golfer’s comfort  with the club  which showcases the skill of the golfer by producing low scores.

“If we are not comfortable with the clubs we have in our bags then something has to change,” Williams said. “If I can not swing a good shot with the same club three times in a row then that club doesn’t belong in my golf bag.”

However, Swanson and Williams joked by saying they would not turn down a deal like some of the bigger universities and the pros get with club brand sponsorship deals.

“I was joking around the other day that if given the opportunity to be given a deal to have a new set of golf clubs from a specific golf company, I wouldn’t turn it down,” Williams said.

What the pros make off of sponsorships from the different golf brands is what drives their loyalty to that particular club. The sponsorships pay the pros a certain amount of money for the gear they wear during a tournament.

When the pros wear the gear in a tournament, the pros help advertise their sponsors products to the fans at home watching the tournament.

Swanson said if he was given the opportunity to use a brand’s golf clubs professionally he would. He says it just depends on the money each sponsor is offering at the time.

Swanson played Titleist for most of his life, but after he came to Sac State he made the change to TaylorMade golf clubs.

“Growing up I used Titleist golf clubs because they kept everything traditional in regards to technological advances,” Swanson said. “But ever since I have come to Sac State, I have really fallen in love with the TaylorMade golf clubs.”

Sac State may not have the deals on golf clubs like the more elite intercollegiate teams, but their skill certainly outshines what they are playing with.


Clifton can be reached on Twitter at @jonesSHsports