After finding success with products like golf balls, gloves, wedge sets and putters, it looks like Costco is ready to enter the chat when it comes to producing irons. With the popularity of inexpensive hollow-body irons in the marketplace, this isn’t a shock, but still a big surprise.
Based on a submission on the USGA website labeled ”(Version 2)”, this demonstrates the idea has been a continuous work in progress for some time. With the booming popularity of golf this makes a lot of sense.
The detective work
As I have touched on in a previous piece, it’s not difficult for an individual or large company to just pick out a club head from an overseas manufacturer and slap a brand name on it: How do startup equipment brands design and build clubs so quickly?
The difference here is Costco isn’t a startup and their gross revenue is larger than all of the major OEMs combined (to the tune of $226.954 billion, in 2022). It’s a massive company, so they have the resources to do it their own way.
Digging a bit deeper
Based on the USGA conforming list, the Kirkland iron looks to be made by Indi golf, a small golf company that produces wedges and putters. On the outside, this would appear like an unusual relationship — big Costco developing irons with a small niche OEM — but with a bit of digging, you can find the connecting fabric of this in the Southern California Design Company ( @socaldesignco).
Southern California Design Co. (SCDC) is the design company that Costco worked with to produce their Signature wedges, and if you look at the client list on their website, they have also worked with Indi Golf. Interestingly enough SCDC and Indi Golf actually share the same registered mailing address. There are a number of potential reasons for this, one being they are just the company managing Indi’s products and distribution, or potentially they are under the same ownership.
From SCDC’s website:
SCDC is a full-service product development consulting firm with expertise in sustainable product design, user experience, engineering, branding, marketing, sourcing, production, logistics, eco-friendly manufacturing, and global supply chain management.
What we know about the irons
Although we are only working with one picture we can infer a lot from it and the USGA submission. First up we have the small port out on the toe (the black dot to the left of the number 4 on the sole), which tells us this is in some way a hollow club.
The listing from the USGA site shows that the hosel says “forged,” so whether it’s the face, the body, or both — this is in some way a forged golf club.
It has some tungsten in it somewhere. Again we have no insider details of what these irons are all about, but based on the branding on the back heel of the club, there is some sort of tungsten weighting inside the head. Since these are golf clubs we are dealing with, I’m more than happy to assume it’s to help increase forgiveness and make it easier to launch shots into the air.
The only things we need to figure out now are when these new irons might become available and in what configuration. My hunch is we will see these in early spring based on Costco’s sales schedule, and from a configuration standpoint, 4-PW seems like the likely result since the iron they have submitted is a 4-iron and they likely don’t want to cannibalize any of their signature wedge sales by offering this down to a gap wedge.
Now we get to play the waiting game (and to see how close I am on all of this.)