I will try and keep this short. The majority of the pricing on the “high end” shafts is driven not by the cost of materials, processing, manufacturing, etc., like other products. It is driven by marketing and how the company wants the consumer to perceive the product. Many people equate quality to price, especially in golf. If you took the most expensive material, the latest and greatest processes and machinery, and even sorted product to the tightest of tolerances, the actual cost of the product would probably be in the $70-$90 range. There are differing costs of pre-preg and resins and processes and some manufacturers do truly have higher costs associated with the product they produce. May of the costs are marketing costs, which are a necessary and real part of the cost structure of any product. Do these costs justify the higher price points they ask for? Not in my opinion. In some cases, for example, a $350.00 shaft might have a +- 2 gram weight tolerance. To do that they have to add processes, etc. that will drive up the cost. Still, the cost is NOT anywhere near the selling price. General tolerance might be slightly higher than that. We have seen flex profile consistency from shaft to shaft be tighter on some of the more expensive shafts, but we couldn’t say that is always the case.
I don’t want it to sound like I am bashing the higher priced shafts and manufacturers. It’s like anything else in the marketplace where companies set pricing to set the perception of quality. Sometimes it may be justified to some extent because the quality is better than the competition, for sure. In golf shafts, however, again in my opinion, I believe the premium charged over the actual realized cost of the product tends to be elevated.
As a side note, when we have our Advanced Shaft Technology classes we do a little exercise where we have the students hit a few different shafts that are all painted black. They can’t tell what they are. One is a $350.00 retail shaft and the other is under $20.00. Specs are as similar as we could get them and the vast majority of the time they can not tell the difference based on the feel, or the ball flight data.
I am proud of the product we have developed and believe we could charge more for the quality they are and the performance they produce. I am also proud of the partnerships we have with the shaft manufacturers and the influence we have had in offerings that they have made available through us that are in the more affordable price ranges. Of course we will carry many of the higher priced options and will gladly sell them to those who want the product. It is good product. Each consumer simply has to decide if the product they choose and the price they pay is worth the enjoyment they will get from it. Guess that’s true for Watches, Cars, Blue Jeans, etc.