Can a $450 putter be a good value?

Golf is costly, but over the years I have shared many ways to save money and make wise purchasing decisions on gear. Get shoes with replaceable spikes to prolong traction, buy tees in bulk online and invest in good rain gear that will last for years instead of two or three cheap pieces that leak every time you try playing through a shower.

So, what I’m about to write might come as a shock, but I think it’s true: An ultra-premium putter, which easily can cost $450 or more, might be one of the best values for your game.

I get it: Paying a driver-like price for a putter is insane to many golfers. There are many high-quality putters that cost less than $200 and feature helpful technologies.

Getting custom fit and purchasing a putter such as the just-released Scotty Cameron Super Select Newport 2, a Toulon Design Memphis or a Ping PLD Milled Oslo 4 – all of which have a retail price of $449 – requires a significant outlay of cash. But consider these things before you completely dismiss the idea of owning one of these clubs.

1. The shapes are timeless.
If you put any of the aforementioned putters down behind the ball and like it, you will always like it. Shapes like these never go out of style.

2. The technologies are timeless.
When it comes to drivers, technologies change all the time. Faces are made thinner and faster, crowns become lighter and advancements in manufacturing lead to new ways to hit the ball farther every year. 

In contrast, putter technologies change slowly. Many of the most high-end putters are still milled from a single block of stainless steel, and in many cases materials such as aluminum and tungsten are strategically added to improve performance. Some of these putters have special face inserts or unique weighting systems to help you roll the ball more effectively. But as with their looks, the technologies you typically find in ultra-premium putters are time-tested.

3. Over time, they’re cheaper than drivers per shot.
Let’s do a little math. If you buy a new driver such as a Callaway Paradym, Cobra AeroJet or TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus+, you will pay $550 or more. If you are an avid golfer and play 30 rounds in a season, and you hit your driver off the tee on every par 4 and par 5 (14 drives per round), you will hit driver 420 times in a season. That works out to $1.31 per shot. If you skip a few generations of drivers and play the same club for five years, that’s 2,100 shots at $0.26 per shot.

If you buy a $450 putter and need 30 putts per round, in your first 30-round season you will pay 50 cents per putt for those 900 putts. A properly fit, ultra-premium putter can easily be played for five years or longer, so if you play 30 rounds a year for five years and take 30 putts per round (4,500 putts), your cost per putt goes down to $0.10 per shot.

So, per shot, an ultra-premium putter is cheaper than today’s modern drivers.

4. They maintain resale value.
Everyone should be careful when buying used equipment online to avoid counterfeit gear. If you are looking for bargains and check the prices of used putters such as the Bettinardi Queen B Series putters, you won’t find any for less than $150 to $200, and many are still fetching $300 or more. The supplies are limited, the demand is high and the value of ultra-premium putters can remain strong for years. So if you decide to part ways with a high-end putter, you can expect to obtain a nice trade-in credit at your local store or sell it outright for a good price. 

Being a good value does not mean something is inexpensive. Paying $450 or more for any golf club represents a real investment in your game, so be sure to get custom fit. Below are several ultra-premium putters that nearly any golfer would love to use.