Yes, you can really buy a full set of sweet-looking, high-quality new clubs for less than $1,000.
By Jon Rizzi
Time was, being a disruptor rewarded you with a visit to the principal’s office. These days, industry disruptors are the principals—of companies like Lyft, Tesla, Harry’s Razors … and Stix Golf.
Co-founded in September 2020 by Gabe Coyne—a 38-year-old Chicago-based entrepreneur who grew overwhelmed by the choices, claims and prices when he went shopping for new clubs during the pandemic—Stix doesn’t promise longer drives, the latest technology, greater forgiveness or any of the other annual marketing claims made by the Callaways of the world.
Instead, Stix produces a slick-looking, all-black set of 14 clubs for $899 that appeals to golfers who are realistic about how significantly spending $600 on a new driver will improve their game. “How much are you willing to spend to hit it further out of bounds?” Coyne jokes.
“We feel there’s a very large number of golfers that are willing to buy a less expensive product that will perform comparably to and look better than anything else they have,” he says. Robust sales and high customer satisfaction have proven him correct.
Coyne’s R&D basically consisted of taking an off-the-shelf OEM model and experimenting and reengineering it. “It’s not rocket science,” he says.
He hired an industrial designer rather than a mechanical engineer to create the look and feel. The minimalist aesthetic and an enhanced finish that makes Stix clubs durable and noticeable also represent a rejection of the “noisy, high-tech and sci-fi designs that don’t appeal to a certain demographic.”
Additionally, Coyne notes, “Other companies charge extra for a black matte finish; that’s all ours come in.”
Who Should Pick Up Stix?
Demographically, Stix Golf’s sweet spot “is not the 5 million richest golfers who have to buy the latest and greatest every year,” Coyne says. “We’re not playing in the same sandbox as Callaway and TaylorMade.”
He is targeting the vast majority of golfers—many of whom came or returned to the course during the pandemic—who are lucky to break 90 or 100. These men and women are as comfortable playing golf on a simulator as they are in the great outdoors.
“Fifty percent of golfers in the U.S. are not on-course golfers,” Coyne says. “They go to Topgolf, X-Golf, Swing Suites and simulators in hotel lobbies and restaurants. A big part of that is the time it takes to play an actual round, and because golf is complicated and difficult to master. If you want to play, why not buy some reasonable, versatile and forgiving clubs that look and feel amazing? If you’re going to spend $2,500 on golf, take a trip instead.”
A Stix set consists of six cavity-backed irons, three wedges, a 3 and 5 wood and hybrid with heads all made of single-piece cast steel. The 460cc driver is titanium and the offset, plumbers-neck half-mallet putter features a milled face.
Stix clubs come with black graphite shafts in three flexes and five lengths. They require no fitting and can be ordered online.
Another difference between Stix and the industry? “We don’t make so-called ‘women’s clubs,’” Coyne says. “We don’t ‘shrink it and pink it’ and call it a women’s set. Different genders don’t need different models. Our active flex is a bit whippier than our standard flex, but the club looks and plays just like every other one we sell.”
The clubs, which are manufactured in China and sold online and locally at Scheels Sporting Goods stores in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, will be available at other big box stores next year. So will an apparel line and accessories such as bags, gloves and head covers.
“We continue to produce products that customers love,” Coyne boasts, adding that Stix has a golf-ball partnership with a fellow disruptor, Vice Golf.
“Using Stix clubs and Vice balls, I went from a 25 handicap to a 13,” he says. He’s not promising that the switch could also halve your index, but, rather, implying that improved performance can result without paying through the nose for equipment. https://stix.golf/
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