If I told you that someone was going to start a golf club company in Vermont and was planning to sell directly to golfers over the Internet, you would probably say that they were doomed to fail. I would likely agree with you knowing what I do about the golf equipment industry. Interestingly enough, this company does exist and they have been able to succeed. Their name is BombTech Golf and I recently got a chance to try out some of their clubs.
It's an interesting story...
It All Began With Broken Drivers
If you have never heard of BombTech, it was started by a guy named Sully who kept breaking drivers in his quest to hit the ball as far as humanly possible. His frustration led him to design what he considered to be a better driver head, with the help of the engineering department at the University of Vermont. This was back in 2012, and the first version of the BombTech went to market shortly thereafter.
I first heard about BombTech in 2015. Sully's model was to cut the middle man out, forego professional sponsor contracts, and use the Internet to his advantage. He made himself the face of the company and posted his personal cell phone number for customers to get in touch if they had any questions or concerns. Needless to say, it was not the normal way of doing business in the golf club industry.
Through clever social media promotion, aggressive pricing, and word of mouth, the company built up a rabid group of supporters. I've been watching BombTech from afar the past several years, and the success of the brand is a testament to what is possible these days if you position yourself properly online. While the direct-to-consumer model has been successful for certain ball and apparel brands, you don't see many equipment companies surviving with that strategy.
In 2018 the company boasts more than 150,000 golf clubs sold. BombTech offers a 60-day guarantee on all of their products and has expanded from the original driver into almost every club in the bag (except the putter). If you take a look at the reviews on their site and on social media, you can see that BombTech has a very real fan base that loves the clubs.
Are The Clubs Any Good?
Marketing is mostly hype in the golf equipment industry. BombTech plays the same game that many of the other OEMs do, just a little differently. While I admired what they had been able to accomplish as the underdog, I couldn't help but wonder if the clubs were any good or just a clever sales and marketing machine.
The unique selling proposition of BombTech is that you can purchase almost any of their clubs brand new at a steep discount compared to the big guys, without sacrificing performance. The driver has a retail price of $347 at the time of this article, but there is almost always some kind of pricing promotion going on (currently you can get a "free" three wood with your driver purchase). When they introduced their set of three wedges, they were only $99 total. It seemed kind of ridiculous. How could they make money at that price? I figured it was just a loss leader to get you in the door.
Recently, they reached out to me to try out their driver and wedge set. I told them I would put them up against my current equipment on a launch monitor, and their response was pretty much "game on."
The Bombtech Grenade 2 Driver
The entire BombTech brand is mostly built around the joy of smashing the golf ball as far as possible. That's a pretty good place to start because I haven't met too many golfers who aren't obsessed with hitting their driver farther.
Their current driver is the second generation design. Their claim is that they have improved the aerodynamics and location of the center of gravity to help you launch it higher with less spin (good things). BombTech also says that they offer a premium shaft that is more stable, lighter and has lower torque.
Here is a brief video from their website showing a little more info:
While I don't typically do many club tests on this site, I was very curious how the Grenade 2 driver would perform versus mine. Doing a one-off test with a singular golfer isn't a true indication of how a club will perform for all golfers, but it will shed some light.
My current driver is a Titleist 917 D3 with an aftermarket shaft from ACCRA. It is the perfect driver for my swing and it was custom fit by one of the best in the industry. To purchase a driver from one of the major OEMs with a premium aftermarket shaft and the fitting will set you back anywhere between $700 - $1000 all in.
I have to say I was surprised at the performance of the Grenade 2:
On some key metrics, it slightly outperformed my Titleist Driver on my launch monitor.
Despite looking a little different, and not having the cache of a big name stamped on the face, I was very impressed with the results. The Grenade 2 is definitely not a gimmick in my opinion.
Three Wedges for a Bargain
I also tried out BombTech's set of three wedges, which are 52, 56, and 60 degrees that retail for $149 total right now. These are the exact same lofts I carry in my bag.
I have to say when I first saw the wedges I was impressed with the design. They are very slick looking and attractive at address. Currently, I play Ping Glide wedges which are a premium product. You can expect upwards of $450 and beyond for three wedges at this level.
I've been hitting all of the BombTech wedges out of various lies and on my launch monitor over the last month. In terms of their performance handling various lies around the course, I would say they perform very closely to my Pings. They have a variety of bounces and grinds to make them versatile. They are not as soft at impact as my current wedges, but they feel nice. Truth be told, I prefer what I'm playing now, but these were not that far off.
Taking a full swing with the 56-degree wedge on my launch monitor produced almost exactly the same results as my Ping on what I consider to be key metrics:
The only thing that I can't account for, which is very important, is how quickly the grooves will wear out. My Pings are almost three years old at this point, and still spinning the ball plenty for me around the greens. Typically, you do get what you pay for with wedges. Lower cost material will wear out quickly, and not spin as much after moderate use.
I can't say how quickly the BombTech wedges will decay, but at these prices, you simply could replace them brand new if you really wanted to because they are so inexpensive.
So while I would still give the overall performance edge to my Ping wedges, these BombTech wedges are a great value based on what I experienced.
BombTech Is Not Full Of It
I had my suspicions about the performance of BombTech clubs before I tried them. Like many of you, I have been subjected to marketing from the major manufacturers for decades. All of them have built significant brand equity, and that means something in the marketplace. Any new company that enters the market like BombTech will usually be met with suspicion.
Part of my goal with Practical Golf is to let you know about alternate brands that are not getting as much attention. I do think BombTech is offering significant value for their golf clubs.
For a golfer who isn't attached to any particular brand, is not going to get custom fit, wants to save money, and not sacrifice too much performance (if any) - then I suggest giving them a look.
Hats off to Sully and his team; they have managed to go against the odds and build some quality golf clubs at affordable prices. You can learn more about BombTech and purchase their clubs directly off their website here.