What’s Old is New

Golf is funny.  Especially golf equipment.  I’ve seen people show up with the latest and greatest PXG irons and see an improvement in their game.  I’ve also played with people who hit 1994 Titleist DCIs that carry a single-digit handicap.

It brings up a great question: for those of us that aren’t pro (read: hit golf balls for eight hours a day), does the equipment make a material difference?  There are arguments on both sides.  Let’s level-set: this argument assumes that the golfer has had some professional instruction and/or club fitting (which I highly recommend), and formally tracks a handicap index.

On the one hand, there’s a confidence element in having the latest and greatest in the bag, knowing that there’s nothing else that can be done to get the most out of your shots.  At least from an equipment standpoint.  While this is a heavy financial investment, golf has a tendency to suck your wallet dry.

On the other hand, there are those that are confident in their swing and don’t have an equipment problem.  Most of these people usually take pride in what’s in their bag and take care of it to survive the long haul.  I’ve seen plenty of bags at nice clubs with older DCIs, older Ping irons, and Hogan Apex irons.  The classics, if you will.

My golf game has suffered over the last year.  Having our second boy a year ago has sucked a lot of time from my weekend schedule, and COVID/working from home has hurt the weekday schedule.  I do, however, see light at the end of the tunnel.  We’re getting into a groove where taking a couple of hours here and there during the week will be easier, and I plan on taking advantage.

You’ve all seen what’s in my golf bag, and as of now, I’m pretty happy.  I like my woods (Titleist), and really like my wedges (Titleist SM5s).  My irons are some older AP2s that I hit well, but as of now, they are subject to an annual review.  I’m planning on getting fitted either later this year or early next, and we’ll see what comes of it.  I’ve always been a Titleist guy and really love the new T100 irons.  That’s where I’m leaning as of today.

Bringing all of this full circle, there is one club that causes more frustration and glory than any other: the putter.  There isn’t a club that rotates more in and out of a bag…it doesn’t matter if you are the new equipment guy or the old equipment guy.

Scotty Cameron leads the pack.  No doubt their putters are works of art, and new releases are highly anticipated.  What’s interesting is that *new* is not necessarily better.  I’ve had multiple conversations with players that echo this sentiment…  Folks that bought a Newport 2 back in 2004, and keep going back to it, even though they might have purchased numerous putters between then and now.  It’s like your first love.  There is an emerging market for used putters and refinishers that has become much more than window dressing or Instagram art.

I have a love/hate relationship with my putter, which is why I bought and restored a second.  Both of my putters were bought second hand, and I restored them both to a subtle, timeless colorway.  I did a little research, and it seems that this is a trend that is catching on: the aftermarket prices for older Scotty Camerons have gone up significantly in the last year or so.  I remember when a Tei3 could be found on eBay for around $100-150 (today you’d be hard-pressed to find one for under $300).  Granted they needed some work, but the aftermarket buy baked in a $100-150 refinish into the cake.  The good news is that there are some GREAT aftermarket shops that do a fantastic job.  Check out Putnam Putting’s latest work on this bad boy:



I’m all for this trend.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but seeing these beauties restored and back to work is a good thing.  I like looking down and lining up a six-foot putt and know I’m striking it with a club that has been cared for and will hopefully treat me right.  It makes all my three-putts a little more bearable.



  1. ABW
    08/11/2020 / 4:07 PM

    I don’t know how to describe my relationship with my golf clubs, but it seems I am one of the few that is fairly apathetic. My dad and little brother are great golfers, shoot much closer to 80, and lil bro shooting closer to par. I’m a bogey golfer and often my dad just asks me if I want his old driver, or irons. I have a ping g20 and some ping irons. He asked if I liked them, I hit them straight, thought they were better than my old taylormades, and that was that.. Probably won’t shop around or anything, and just see if my family upgrades any clubs. i typically think if something is going wrong, the club is doing what it’s supposed to, and I am not. good write-up though, a scotty cameron is one of the few clubs I know i’d like to own one day.

    08/11/2020 / 10:44 PM

    I switched to PXG’s after playing Titleist for the past 7 years – went from a 10.5 handicap to a 6.5 in a year. The woods are that much more forgiving, which is where I struggled. To each is own.

    I have 4 Cameron’s from years past in the office. Played a Del Mar 1st of 500 for many; also moved to PXG – all in my head.

    Play what makes you comfortable, that’s it. At some point I’ll do a set of National Customs as long as Don White is still involved.

    It’s a beautiful game – hope you get the time to start enjoying it with your family again soon!

  3. Ben
    08/12/2020 / 10:30 AM

    For the last decade, the majority of my golf has been played with early 1920’s hickory shafted clubs. Why, because in so many ways the game of golf is better with them.

    Modern golf as been reduced to a game of darts, played as an aerial game with little regard for the land below. That’s not how the game was originally developed, it was predominantly a ground game where players would heavily rely on a ball running along the ground to steer their shot to it’s desired location. Players would manipulate their clubs to hit shots, working the ball across the course. This level of interaction with the ground has become lost on the game today and with it quite a bit of enjoyment that comes with it. For those of you who have had the pleasure of playing at places like Bandon, Scotland, or Ireland; one of the joys that players applaud after playing there is the demand those courses place on utilizing the ground and keeping the ball low. They have so much fun playing the game that way because that is exactly how the game was intended to be played.

    When playing with new players, they inherently have a litany of questions after seeing my bag, most wondering why I would subject myself to such an equipment handicap. That is a widespread belief that has little to no bearing and often by the end of the round they have a new appreciation for. Yes, hickory shafted clubs are not as forgiving as modern clubs, but to suggest they do not perform is flat out wrong. As I like to say ‘the sweet spot is still the sweet spot’, when you find it the hickory will work just as well as the modern clubs. Not only that, a great shot hit with a hickory is the achievement of the player, not the influence of the golf club!

    • TCB
      08/27/2020 / 2:10 PM

      Do you have fun shooting 120 with hickory clubs?

  4. ZMW
    08/12/2020 / 12:00 PM

    I started playing a few months ago with a set of Ping Eye 2 irons that are 33 years old — three years my senior. I now hover around 100; no reason to “upgrade” when there’s still so much life left.

  5. Kevin
    08/12/2020 / 12:04 PM

    Golf is a game of comfort and confidence. Athletic ability and equipment are behind comfort and confidence. I’ve always advocated to people to find clubs they are comfortable with and they’ll play better. This assumes that the gear has been fitted to the player in new and old clubs. Having clubs fitted to your swing is the real difference presuming your playing with gear made post 1980.Not to go DeChambeau on you but newer clubs will have a tendency to generate higher spin rates than older clubs leading to increase in distance. This is due to material & design enhancements with modern technology. Let’s be clear though same swing we are talking 5-10 yds max. Most players would be better served with something that decreases their left / right dispersion by 5-10 yds (professional lessons). In irons most players should be playing with a cavity back, if you’re serious about blades I hope your serious about practice.

  6. Cliff
    08/14/2020 / 11:17 AM

    Would love to have a follow-up on golf balls. As a weekend warrior bogey golfer, I tend to buy whatever golf balls are on special at the local big box store, though I do keep a couple sleeves of Pro V1s so I don’t look like too much of a slouch. My handicap has never been better than 14, and honestly I don’t think I could tell a big difference in golf balls. Anyone else?

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