Brands tend to be pretty consistent in the golf industry. For example, a brand that started out as a prominent wedge company many decades ago will most likely still excel at making high quality wedges. The company that is always putting out the longest drivers on the market? Yeah, they’ve been doing that for a while. What about the brand that is know for their exceptional three woods and hybrids? That’s been the same for half a century.
Brands are typically very focused on one target audience or on excelling within one specific category of the golf game. Let’s get to the good stuff.
The Best Brand by Club Type
The Best Driver Brand: TaylorMade
TaylorMade… the #1 driver in golf. Kinda has some validity to be honest with you. They pretty consistently release the longest drivers each year. Do they have some dumb, gimmicky promises each year about how much longer their new driver will be? For sure. Compared to clubs that were made decades ago, the promises are probably true. On average, though, I think it’s safe to say their new drivers in 2018 are probably only 10 yards longer than their drivers 10 years ago on average. So an increase of one yard each year for the last 10 years. Not bad honestly.
Anyway, compared to Titlteist, Callaway, Ping, etc, TaylorMade produces the most popular drivers the majority of the time. They consistently perform well with regards to distance, feel, adjustability, and appearance. On amateur and junior tours, they are the most common driver. And that is saying something, as these guys aren’t getting paid to play certain brands yet.
Check out the best drivers here!
The Best Fairway Wood Brand: Tour Exotics, Callaway, Ping, or TaylorMade
Honestly, it’s hard to determine exactly what the best fairway wood brand is. Part of me wants to say Tour Exotics, which is by far the most underrated brand when it comes to fairway woods. However, Callaway, Ping, and TaylorMade have always been up there with regards to performance as well.
There is no clear winner here, as you can probably tell. Lots of companies make great fairway woods. Let me know if the comments below if you think there is a clear winner.
The Best Hybrid Brand: Adams
Adams makes incredible hybrids. They started out as a hybrid brand, and have since expanded to every type of club.
Their Pro, Red, Blue, and Tight Lies hybrids are all great quality hybrids. They make golf easier for a lot of struggling ball strikers, which is huge for growing the game.
TaylorMade and Callaway also make some great hybrids, but Adams is the first brand that comes to mind when I think of hybrids.
Here’s an article about the best hybrids that you can buy!
The Best Iron Set Brand: Mizuno
Mizuno makes the best feeling and performing irons in golf. They offer a wide variety of iron sets for all types and skill levels of golfers. If you’ve never hit a blade iron before, I’d encourage you to try to find someone that has a set of Mizuno blades to hit on the range for a bit. As soon as you hit one perfectly, you’ll be craving that feeling again for life.
Don’t think that Mizuno is only the best blade iron brand though. They produce lots of game improvement and players irons that feel and perform incredibly well as well.
Notable mentions are Titleist (for their AP1, AP2, CB, and MB sets) and Callaway (for great forged sets and super long game improvement irons).
Looking for the best iron set for you?
The Best Wedge Brand: Cleveland or Titleist Vokey
I don’t want to start a war here, I really don’t…. wait, yes I do. I think Cleveland Wedges beat out Vokey wedges. Fight me.
Nah, I actually go back and forth. I’ve gamed both in the past, and have tried both of their recent models. They are both incredible wedge brands in every way. They are so neck and neck with regards to distance control, spin, and feel. Might as well call it a tie!
I will say that I like the number of different colors and bounce options with the Vokeys, but I’m currently gaming my Cleveland wedges so don’t tell them I said that.
The Best Putter Brands: Scotty Cameron, Bettinardi, or Odyssey
Hmm, tough one here. Well, kinda. I think Scotty Cameron is pretty obviously the most prestigious putter company in the world. They produce so many high quality putters that there is almost no debating any other candidates. However, I am going to. Bettinardi is up there with the quality of putters that they make. Their milling process is absolutely incredible and their designs are gorgeous. Then you have Odyssey, the poor man’s brand compared to those two kings.
However, I think Odyssey putters are absolutely topnotch. They have lots of different models. There are surely 1-2 that fit any golfer’s eyes. They have both milled and insert putters, so you are free to choose which feel you prefer.
The Best Golf Ball Brand: Titleist
Do we even need to have this section? I feel like I am wasting my time in a way.
Titleist is 100% the best golf ball brand of all time. This was the easiest decision to make, which was nice.
Their Pro V1 and Pro V1x models are simply the best ones that you can play. The best mix of spin, feel, distance, and distance control. Unfortunately, they do cost way more than golf balls should, at least in my opinion.
Looking to buy used golf balls? Here is the best website where you can buy used golf balls. Their prices are better than anywhere else…. trust me, I’ve tried them all.
The Best Brands by Target Audience
Best Brand for Juniors/Kids: US Kids
US Kids is such an incredible company. They produce top notch kids golf clubs. They are the leader by a MILE. Other companies (Callaway, Ping, Wilson) make kids clubs as well, but the quality is no match.
They have lots of different sets and sizes, all depending on the gender and height of the junior golfer. I teach golf part time to kids, and I see so many different sets of them. Considering how much of a monopoly they have on kid’s golf clubs, they surprisingly aren’t overpriced in any way. Great brand overall!
Best Brand for Beginners: Callaway Strata
No question about it: Callaway Strata is the best brand for full sets of clubs for beginners. They have sets for men, women, kids, seniors, etc. Their clubs are not the highest quality as you might expect. However, they get the job done. They don’t break after 10 rounds, while most cheap sets actually do.
They include everything that a beginner might need to play golf. By reducing the initial investment to learn this great game, they are a great asset for golf!
Best Brand for Seniors: Adams
Adams has always done well with seniors. Many guys on the senior tour are sponsored by them, and I guess that trickles down to the guys that are watching them play. Their clubs are always top notch and very reasonably priced. Adams is one of the most underrated golf brands in my opinion.
Their hybrids and three woods are great for golfers of all skill levels. They also make some complete sets that are much higher quality than Strata.
Best Brand for Women: Callaway
This was a tough one. For the average women (high handicapper), Callaway has a great hold on the market. Their Strata line is great for beginners. Callaway also has an offset called Solaire that produces some great golf clubs for women. Callaway, besides from Solaire, also produces lots of golf clubs that are focused on distance, which many women like.
The Best Golf Club Brands By Characteristic:
Distance: TaylorMade and Callaway
TaylorMade and Callaway have, for as long as I can remember, been focused on primarily distance. The longer they can make the ball travel, the more people would want to buy their clubs. Their advertising efforts have always been targeted for those that want a few (or 17) more yards.
They have done a great job of increasing distance, even if they do it partly by strengthening the lofts of their irons. Their drivers, woods, and hybrids have also increased in distance, though. Therefore, it’s a good thing their iron lofts decreased, or else there would be large gaps in club distances.
Mizuno and Srixon has some incredible feeling golf equipment. Their newer golf equipment, especially the premium irons, feel like butter at impact. Even Srixon drivers have a great sound and feel at impact, which is rare. For the US, Srixon is not as popular of a company as it should be. And we all know how great Mizuno clubs are when it comes to feel.
Owning and gaming Titleist equipment is not only about performance, let’s be real. There is some value and attractiveness is using the most prestigious company’s clubs. Everyone, even non golfers, know the brand Titleist. I couldn’t even tell you how though. That’s just how it is.
Titleist equipment is expensive, but it is typically worth the money. Everything they make is the cream of the crop, except for a couple of their latest drivers and woods (in my opinion).
For those looking for the best value, Adams delivers. Their prices are typically around half of the other top brands, and their quality is near the same. The designs and the stigma behind the brand need some work, but you can’t argue with results. They have recently released some great irons to go along with their already great hybrids and fairway woods. One good driver in the next year would make a big difference for the brand, as they have never had a super popular driver.
I’m always researching and looking out for underrated companies in golf. Four come to my mind immediately:
- Wilson: yes, they produce some really cheap stuff. That is targeted more for beginners though. They also produce some great clubs for their (albeit small) tour staff. Their players irons are top notch in every way, even though hardly anyone pays attention to them. They have also put out some decent drivers in the past 5 years.
- Srixon: Srixon just doesn’t have a good following in the US. Worldwide, though, it is a very popular company. They produce some stunning irons sets. Their wedges (Cleveland) are already top notch. Oh, and they make some long drivers and great looking putters! All around, they do not get the attention they deserve.
- Cleveland: In and of itself, Cleveland is a great brand. Obviously their wedges are incredible. But man do they also produce some great players irons and game improvement irons. A very wide range of iron options for sure. A few of their drivers in the past have been popular as well.
- Cobra: Not sure why Cobra is not more popular than it is. Their drivers are top notch. They also produce a wide range of iron sets that perform and feel great.