It seems like every day we have a new warehouse-direct product being advertised on our Facebook feed. When it comes to golf it’s no different. Most golfers have seen companies like Short Par 4 or My Golf Locker at least once. When it comes to direct-to-consumer golf clubs there are only a few that come to mind but nothing that most golfers take seriously.
Personally, I am skeptical to try any golf brand that hasn’t been in the business for a long time and isn’t an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM). I’m hesitant to even give them a chance because I can’t test it out up front. That changed when I stumbled across a post on Twitter.
Can't wait to launch this fall! We will have a full selection of premium golf clubs, hand built with full customization available. Brand new, exceptional quality equipment for a very reasonable price #sub70 #golfsub70 #golfclubs #golfequipment #golf #TheOpen #Carnoustie pic.twitter.com/WjZSsH5tS0
— Sub 70 Golf (@GolfSub70) July 17, 2018
I was intrigued to say the least. Once I found out Sub 70 Golf is located an hour from my home, I had to reach out to them to find out more. Tucked away in the small town of Sycamore, Illinois with a population of around 17,000 people, just 70 miles west of Chicago I found myself at their front door. They are housed in the same building as their sister companies Hurricane Golf and Diamond Tour Golf, but they are operating as a very different business.
Because they share the same space as two other entities, I had expected to pull up to a large industrial complex with rows and rows of warehouses. This wasn’t the case. Its a small building tucked just off the road and across from an apartment complex and some houses. I wasn’t sure what I was going to find inside, but I was eager to find out.
I was greeted at the front door by Jason Hiland and Jay Armour. These two guys are the brainchild behind the brand. This was the first surprise I encountered on my visit. I was expecting to be greeted by one of the staff members and taken on the tour. I didn’t actually expect the owners to clear out their entire afternoon for me.
This was the first time since I started writing for Golficity that I felt like a big shot. They took me through their shared warehouse straight to their master club fitter, Jeff. This guy is a golf-lifer. From picking up balls on the range at 12, to working at around 10 different courses, to playing at a competitive level.
Jeff knows how important a quality product is to a player. He showed me their entire process from order to completion. The building isn’t that large so all of the heads are casted overseas, but every club is assembled by Jeff and his building team. Because the clubs are 100% assembled onsite, the loft and lies are double and triple checked on each order. Their expected turnaround time from order to shipment is 3-5 days.
This is a big benefit over buying something off the rack from your local big box store. The clubs’ variance could be off two or three degrees. That’s the difference between hitting GIR or ending up long and in trouble.
After seeing how the clubs are built, I wanted to see their customer service department. I was curious how they tackle fitting the right club to the player. We talk all the time on how important it is to GET FIT! This was my question for Sub 70. How is a player properly fit to the club they are purchasing from you? Along with a fitting guide that will be available on their website, you can call up the customer service team and they will ask you some basic questions. How tall are you? What is the distance from your wrist to floor with your hands at your side? What size glove do you wear? On average what club do you hit from 150 yards? What kind of ball flight are you looking for? Basic questions that you could answer about your own game.
They do suggest going to a local fitter and getting all of the specs and sending those into them. If getting fit locally isn’t an option for you, they will do their best to get the right clubs in your hands upfront.
After meeting their staff it was time to head to Jason’s office for some more direct Q&A.
What is Sub 70 and how did you get started?
Sub 70 is a new, high end golf equipment company that will utilize a factory direct sales model. Our equipment will be made from the best materials available and will be hand built in Illinois. Our goal is to provide premium golf equipment at a reasonable price by removing advertising, distribution and retail markup costs.
How did Sub 70 decide to get into the club manufacturing business?
Our founder, Jason Hiland, has worked in the golf equipment industry for the last 25+ years and everyone involved with Sub 70 has an incredible passion for golf. We wanted to create great looking, distinct and elite quality equipment that we would want to put in the bag ourselves. At the same time, we wanted to offer those products to our friends and anyone else interested at a very fair price. We know it may be a bit of a niche product and we’re fine with that…but we’re very confident that anyone who gets involved with Sub 70 will love the products and the brand.
What sets Sub 70 apart from other manufacturers?
Through various connections in the industry we were able to design and create equipment that we think any serious golfer would be proud to play. The key is that because of our factory direct model we will be able to build, customize and supply those products to the player at a price far lower than anything a typical OEM can provide.
How does Sub 70 direct to consumer sales work?
The large majority of our sales will be online, although local customers are free to visit our facility in Sycamore, Illinois. Rather than sending our equipment to middlemen who add their own 20%-100% margin, we will sell everything directly to the end user. We will have a full sales staff that can address equipment or fitting questions by phone, email, through social media, etc. We will also offer 60 day money back guarantees so that anyone interested can “test” the clubs. A demo program, where we send you a few options to test and determine which product is your favorite, may be available as well.
Because Sub 70 is coming out with a “full bag” of clubs (drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, putters) do you have different versions of clubs based on skill set/ handicap or are you targeting a particular class of player?
Absolutely. For example we will have several lines of irons when the clubs debut. A “game improvement” style iron, a cavity back, a muscle back, a two piece hollow head, etc. We truly believe that we will offer equipment that will work for and help players at any skill level. Scratch golfers to 20+ handicaps could game an entire Sub 70 bag with no issues whatsoever.
Where are the clubs built?
All clubs will be built when ordered in Sycamore, IL. Customers will be able to request specific length/lie adjustments and customized shafts, grips and other features. Nothing will be “stock”. Every set will be hand built and customized for each individual customer.
What is the turnaround time from order to consumer?
We have a full staff of 20+ which allows us to get orders sent out within 2-3 days of receipt.
Is there a satisfaction guarantee/ trial period/ return policy to reduce buyers reluctance to purchase from a direct to consumer without being able to test them at a pro shop first?
Yes, we plan on offering a demo program as well as offering a 60 day money back guarantee. We understand the hesitancy of trying new golf equipment and we will do everything we can to let people test Sub 70 for themselves without a major investment.
What is Sub 70’s opinion on Shafts? Do they have their own or do they work with a preferred Shaft manufacture?
For irons, any shaft option will be available. The stock shafts in our woods will be True Temper Project X shafts that were specially designed for Sub 70 clubs. These are not “run offs” or rebranded Project X shafts. They are high quality shafts built specifically for Sub 70 with input from shaft experts at True Temper. We will have three profiles that we believe will fit almost any golfer. Aftermarket shafts will always be available as well.
What is the MSRP on your products?
A full price list will be available at product launch. Prices will be dramatically lower than your standard OEM, but we want to stress that we have sacrificed absolutely nothing in terms of quality. The head materials, shafts and all of the other components will be top notch.
When Sub 70 launches at the end October/ early November 2018 will it be a soft launch of just a few types of clubs or are you jumping in with both feet?
We will have a pretty full lineup. A few items may come in later in the Fall/Winter but the irons, wedges, putters, hybrids and fairway woods will all be available. Our driver heads are being built and might be here for the launch…if not, they’ll be available shortly thereafter.
If a consumer wants to give Sub 70 a try, what’s the best way for them to get started?
Contact us online (through our Sub 70 website or social media @GolfSub70) or by phone. We would love the opportunity to discuss the products with anyone interested. We look forward to sharing these products with other passionate golfers and are 100% confident that they will be impressed by the performance, overall quality and customer service provided by Sub 70.
I’ve seen the warehouse, I’ve seen the assembly, I’ve met the customer service team and heard everything Jason and Jay had to say about the product. Now it was time to see if the clubs perform as well as they say they do. From the looks of everything, I expected them to perform well. The heads appear to not only be well made but they are visually appealing when they are sitting behind the ball.
We went over to their onsite simulator to start testing. Because I had gone through a “phone call fitting” earlier, Jason grabbed one of everything for me to test.
Because I currently have game improvement irons, it made sense to start with those. After a few swings, I could see that their model was just as forgiving as my current set. I saw absolutely no difference in the distance and ball flight from my current irons and the Sub 70 brand.
After about a dozen swings I moved up to their forged irons. Not only was I hitting them farther than my current clubs, I was able to have repeatable ball flight. I was feeling overly confident, so I grabbed their blades and stepped up to the ball. This was that moment reality hit. I’m not talented enough to play this style of club.
After half a dozen hosel rockets with a few decent shots sprinkled in, I knew that I was out of my league. I went back to the previous style and I was back on track. It proves the point playing the right style of club for your game is more important than your ego.
I was impressed with the irons. They are comparable to any OEM iron I’ve tried in the last year. With the iron testing done I wanted to try fairway woods and hybrids. Earlier this summer I demoed a few different brands of hybrids and fairway woods. I don’t have any hybrids right now and my 3 wood isn’t fit to my game. I have a general idea of how I hit these clubs but I don’t have a ton of personal experience currently since I don’t have them in my bag. These were loaded up with their cobranded Sub 70/Project X shafts.
Once again I was impressed at how comparable this brand was to the OEM’S. They look good behind the ball, the shaft is subtle but attractive and they preform well. The ball comes off the face hot with a nice ball flight and the distance was exactly the same as what I was getting earlier in the year when demoing the top brands.
Finally, I began testing their driver. They are still working out the final details, so it won’t be available right away. They are still working on design as well as ensuring it’s USGA conforming. It was onsite though so I put it through the wringer.
My driver is the only club in my bag that’s been fit recently. I was fit to my driver in the Spring (My First Driver Fitting) so I know what type of ball flight, smash factor and spin rate to expect with my swing. The weight was about the same as my current driver. We had a stiff flex on the driver head but not the same brand as my current gamer. I am a BIG fan of my current driver and I’m not looking to replace it any time soon but if I was, the Sub 70 Driver is good.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I gained 30 yards, my dispersion was inside 10 yards and I reduced my spin rate by 1500 RPMS. What I will say is that it performed EXACTLY the same as my current driver. No difference at all. My miss was still my miss, my average was my current average and my dispersion was the same. This probably would get adjusted up or down if I was doing an actual driver fitting, changing loft and shafts but that’s not what I was doing today.
The only club I did not test was their putters. They have three different styles, all forged with a milled face. They felt great in my hands, but I didn’t roll any putts with them.
From the time I walked into the building to the time I left, I felt welcomed. I never felt like I was being sold. What I felt was that the team at Sub 70 truly believe in what they are putting out and they stand behind it. Inside every order they will include a hand written note from the person who built their clubs – another special touch I didn’t expect but I was impressed with.
They don’t plan on putting out newer versions of their products every six months to make an extra couple bucks. After their launch we may not see any new models for some time but I believe that what is offered is a quality product. If you have questions beyond what I have answered above, feel free to reach out to them directly.
Not only will you be able to speak with one of their team members, but you can speak to the owners directly. Yes, I said the owners directly! Their phone numbers will be available on their site when they launch. All of the official pricing will be available on the site once it’s launched but the expected price is around $650 for a 7 piece, forged iron set. With a cost that low and their 60 day money-back-guarantee, the value is definitely there to give Sub 70 a try.
Check out the video below for the full tour experience:
- Duffs to Darts on a Dime – Month Two Check In - March 14, 2019
- SERIES: Duffs to Darts: My One Month Check-in - February 14, 2019
- NEW: Eddie’s Weekly Golf Round Up and Social Media Recap - February 4, 2019
- My Golf Club Fitting Experience with Sub 70 - January 29, 2019
- NEW: Eddie’s Weekly Golf Round Up and Social Media Recap - January 28, 2019
- Duffs to Darts on a Dime – Documenting My Journey to Better Golf - January 16, 2019
- Meet New Golf Club Company Sub 70 Golf: Redefining Expectations - October 29, 2018
- My “Pitch Perfect” Backup Plan to Get a Bad Round Back on Track - October 8, 2018
- The Ryder Cup App is a Must Download this Week - September 27, 2018
- There’s A New Contender in the Premier Club Game - September 7, 2018