New golf clubs are crazy pricey – as in “$599 for the latest must-have driver” expensive.
But hold on: over at Golf Alley in Palm Desert, those same six Benjamins will easily cover a complete new-for-you set of woods, irons, putter, and golf bag, with enough left over to buy your foursome lunch this weekend.
Golf Alley is Greater Palm Springs’ go-to retailer of used golf equipment. Offering club repair and rental as well as try-before-you-buy sales, the Alley opened its doors back in the 1990s and moved into its current Cook Street location more than a decade ago.
Owned and operated since 2011 by PGA professional Ron Maciosek, the shop is crammed with thousands of sticks that are lightly used, still perfectly playable – and always priced right. “There’s real sticker-shock nowadays, especially for newcomers to the game,” says Maciosek. “They can’t see themselves spending $3,000 on a new full set.”
Though price may be the prime consideration for many of the Alley’s shoppers, it doesn’t account for all that motivates Maciosek’s varied clientele. “Some of the older clubs are preferred over the newer products,” he explains.
“For instance, if I had a set of 2004 or 2006 Callaway Big Berthas, they fly out of the store. Same goes for the 2002 to 2004 TaylorMade RACs, and the 2007 TaylorMade Burner. A lot of the older clubs may still to this day outperform some of the newer clubs.”
Maciosek runs Golf Alley with a genuine personal touch. His goal is to enhance individual performance, and matching each customer with what will work best for him or her.
“I believe in personal results. I don’t believe in machine results,” he says. Not surprisingly, this philosophy is in evidence when Maciosek talks about his own choice of clubs to play with. For example, his preferred driver is a vintage Titleist 975J. This classic was first in play back in the 20th century.
PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS MEAGHER
Finding a 975J among his current stock, Maciosek explained what it is about this particular make and model that tees up timeless appeal for him.
“When I try to hit with a big, clunky new driver, I don’t like the look of it – I prefer a smaller head,” he say. “And when you talk about old technology versus new technology, the 975J has a feature you don’t see, called a ‘bore-through’: the shaft goes all the way through the bottom of the golf club. It makes the club a little bit stiffer in the tip and, when I hit it, it just feels more solid; I know exactly where on the face I made contact.”
There’s no doubt that new technologies have made golf easier. No sane hacker in 2019 would prefer having a 1-iron in hand, rather than a hybrid, to attack a distant well-bunkered green.
And yet golfers were making pars and birdies before this year’s hot gear hit the shelves, weren’t they?
So before assuming that brand new is your only hope for playing better and scoring lower, consider Golf Alley. After all, the only thing that $599 driver is 100 percent guaranteed to do for you is lighten your wallet.
Golf Alley, 42-829 Cook Street, Ste. 101, 760-776-4646, golfalleypreowned.com.
WHERE ELSE TO LOOK:
Pete Carlson's Golf & Tenis Shop, petecarlsonsgolf.com
PGA Superstore, pgatoursuperstore.com