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Microbrand Irons Find Success Marketing Directly to the Consumer


The golf equipment industry has been a notoriously tough nut to crack for new equipment brands. The history of the industry is littered with brand names like Orlimar, Adams Golf, Ben Hogan and more that have fallen by the wayside, victims of the big industry brands.

Today, the internet is the great equalizer. No longer does an upstart brand have to spend a ton of money just to get their product into proshops around the world to compete with the titans of the industry. Today, new companies do just fine marketing directly to the consumer over the web. 

Some really interesting brands are making very competitive products today and they're no more than a click of a mouse away from your doorstep.

Haywood Golf is a Canadian brand based in Vancouver that makes very traditional looking irons with modern performance. Their Haywood Signature iron is a two-piece hollow bodied iron that incorporates a soft, 431 stainless steel body to a hardened, heat-treated 17-4 stainless steel face. 

As with other irons of this type, the result is a high-performance, forgiving iron that looks like a blade with a slightly chunky topline. Feel is soft at impact and performance is equal to similar irons from the big brands. All this goodness at less than half the price of a set of TaylorMade 790 irons.

Haywood also makes the Haywood Signature MB iron, a forged muscleback iron with very traditional lofts. This is a true blade intended for the better player and the price is just a smidgen more than the signature irons. 

Both can be had with the shaft of your choice and can be ordered bent to your specifications. Haywood also makes its signature line of wedges and a putter to match.

New level was founded by Eric Burch, whose claim to fame was inventing Club Conex, a quick release system to fit shafts to a variety of clubheads which has been instrumental for the burgeoning custom fitting industry all over the world. After building up Club Conex, he sold the brand and started New Level which specializes in the manufacture of forged irons, wedges and utilites.

The MODB-1 is New Level's hollow bodied player's distance iron. Like the Haywood Signature Iron, it too utilizes a 431-stainless steel body and a specially heat treated 17-4 face welded to it. The hollow body isn't injection filled but sounds and feels solid just the same. 

New Level's most intriguing iron is the 902 Forged Iron pictured at the beginning of the page. This forged player's cavity back was named to Golf Digest's venerable Hot List as proof of its quality. If features a muscle cavity with a deep undercut and like the MODB-1 is completely customizable directly from the factory at a fraction of the price of a forging of similar quality from one of the top brands.

Lest you think that these are cookie cutter designs, New Level clubheads are all original designs created in 3D CAD models. These designs are then sent to the manufacturing plant in China where they are milled to New Level's specifications from raw forged heads. The CNC milling process is extremely precise resulting in a high performance iron of remarkable consistency.

Other models for a variety of ability levels, from professional to novice are also available over the New Level website.

Sub 70 Golf is based in Sycamore, Illinois, in the heartland of the United States. Founded by Jason Hiland, the company makes several iron models from forged muscle and cavity backs to a pair of hollow bodied irons and a full on game improvement iron. 

The 699 and 699 Pro are Sub 70's hollow bodied irons. They vary slightly in the size of the blade length and in the amount of offset they present to the golfer at address. They can be custom ordered as a combo set or with the 699 U (utility) iron to create a high performance set of hollow bodied irons for golfers of a wide range of skills.

The 699 and 699 Pro are made of 455 Carpenter Steel and tuned to provide the hottest face and most forgiveness possible without sacrificing playability. They are an incredible bargain. Both 699 and 699 Pro are, as the other irons in this article, fully customizable to suit each player's individual requirements precisely.

Sub 70 also makes the 639 Forged MB and CB irons. These gorgeous forgings come in black and satin finishes. The lofts of both irons match up perfectly as they were intended to be specified in combination with one another. The golfer can specify the crossover point in the set to match it specifically to his or her requirements.

These clubheads are forged in the same factories as many of the major brands then CNC milled to Sub 70's specifications. These tantalizing irons are designed for ultimate playability at a fraction of the price of forged irons from the major brands.

If you're in the market for new irons and are reluctant to shell out the coin that the big brands demand, then Haywood, New Level and Sub 70 deserve your serious consideration.