When it comes to golf club manufacturers, they aim to disprove the "It's the Indian, not the arrow" adage. If you're playing with the wrong tools, they suggest that you're not reaching your true potential. In their marketing, they harp on the fact that you're losing distance off of the tee or you're losing spin with your current set of wedges. Or they're claiming that the sweet spot on your irons could be larger and more forgiving, if you would only upgrade to the latest model. The golf industry markets performance, with data and superlatives to intrigue you on their latest products.
But are golf clubs actually getting better? Of course they are, and there's no doubt about it. Things have changed drastically over the years. Especially when it comes to fitting a player for their unique swing and body type. But what can be said about all of the golf brands out there and how they are perceived by the player? If you deeply believe in a brand, will it give you more confidence on the course? A recent study conducted by the University of Notre Dame looked at the placebo effect on putters. They wanted to find out if playing a brand that you deem to be superior actually leads to better scores. The test involved 200 students charged with sinking putts from different locations on the green. Half of the testers were told they were using a Nike club, viewed as an elite brand, while others were told they were using a generic flat stick. Both groups were actually given a generic putter, but the group that thought they were using a Nike putter needed 20% less strokes than the other group of testers.
These results suggest that the use of a strong performance brand causes participants to feel better about themselves when undertaking a task. Long story short; your strong belief in a golf brand might actually improve your golf game. If you believe in the marketing and the players on tour that use the product, it might just be the difference between making the putt or missing it on the 18th hole for your personal best score. Is it the indian or the arrow? Maybe, it's both.