There is no shying away from the fact that golf is a very expensive sport. Memberships can cost a fortune, green fees are still expensive and the price of golf clubs seems to go up and up every year without anyone really questioning it too much. There are brands out there who offer sets of golf clubs at an affordable price, but they seem to receive more negative press than anyone else...
Back when I was playing in a lot of junior club competitions, your image seemed more valuable than your quality of golf.
If you rocked up to the Saturday stableford with a brand new TaylorMade driver, you were swarmed by other juniors who were all very impressed, but if you turned up using a set of Dunlop irons, you were ridiculed.
Now that I'm a little older and I know a lot more about the golf market, I can understand why brands like Dunlop and Slazenger are so important, as now more than ever it's crucial that we can get as many people as possible into golf, without making them feel as though they've been priced out before even trying the sport.
YouTube star Rick Shiels, who recently celebrated becoming the first golf content creator to surpass a million subscribers, posed a question about affordable brands on his Twitter page.
"I see a lot of jokes on here about Dunlop, Slazenger, Donnay etc golf clubs. Established golfers know these clubs aren't the best and they don't perform amazingly so it's easy to laugh at them but they are cheap and get people into golf - surely that's a good thing!?"
Shiels is right, many of us know that the brands he mentioned aren't going to be in the hands of regular golfers who play competitively, but if they introduce more people into the game then why do people still make fun of them?
Adults might be able to take a bit of stick off their friends, but for junior golfers who are buying their first set of golf clubs, being teased about the brand they use could make them want to stop playing altogether.
The tweet posted by Shiels, who now has almost 100,000 followers on Twitter, received nearly 3000 likes and hundreds of comments from golfers pitching in to defend affordable brands and the value they provide in terms of getting people into the sport.
I got into golf by playing with a set of very old no name clubs bought second hand (with bag) for £30. They were bloody hard to hit, but got me out on the course and then I went from there. Nobody should need to be spending £1,000+ on a bag of clubs just to get started!— Chris Noice (@ChrisNoice) August 17, 2020
The same thing happens with golf balls. I get laughed at for playing with Dunlop/Slazenger balls. For a golfer of my level they’re fine and I’d rather know I was only losing 40p everytime I send one into the drink or trees than £3+ a ball.— Paul Godfrey (@Godders2k12) August 17, 2020
I started with a set of Donnays. Bought a new in every once in a while and built up to a full set. They have a purpose.— Oli Poole (@olipoole) August 17, 2020
Don’t forget that Slazenger and Dunlop were top brands back in the day, just the usual British lack of investment in manufacturing that killed them.— George Morrison (@GeorgeDMorrison) August 17, 2020
Agreed 100%. I always see people, especially on twitter, making fun of cheaper equipment. Not everyone can afford top line stuff. Buy what you can afford and enjoy the game.— 3 putt bogey (@golfthisweek) August 17, 2020
First picture is a drive with a £15 Slazenger driver I got when I started. Second picture is a Dunlop 3 wood that I consistently hit that 200yd green with off the tee. I'm upgrading the driver to a second hand Callaway this week, but both clubs have let me learn and get into golf pic.twitter.com/yEnHLH28J9— Jon (@LufcJon) August 17, 2020
first set was a mix of Dunlop Power Master irons and 1.5 Wd (it’s was power something), Slazenger Jack Nicklaus blades (even though I don’t think he ever used that brand) a Solex 9i (Argos used to sell Solex Clubs), Wilson Nick Faldo SW, a Compass 3wd and a Palm Springs putter.— Rob Potter (@crashtest_dobby) August 17, 2020
Any way you can get into golf is a good thing here is my first club. My Dad got the shaft cut down and said go learn golf still got it pic.twitter.com/kwA4n2HEjq— Jonathan Platyes (@JPlatyes) August 17, 2020