Let’s Talk About Used Golf Clubs

Let’s face it… golf can be a very expensive game. Sure we’d all love to buy the latest and greatest clubs year after year but it seems like those pesky bills and mortgages get in the way.
ImageThe solution is simple… find yourself a nice cardboard box and don’t bother owning a phone or a television. The money you save can be put towards a new driver or set of irons. I’m kidding. Used clubs offer the average golfer newer technology at a decent price. Finding the right used club can be tricky but it’s a bit easier if you know what to look for. I think today we’ll dive into the world of used golf clubs…

You’ll find a little bit of everything in a used club bin. You’ll get the fairly new clubs, probably only hit a few times… more than likely a trade in from someone that had no patience with a spur of the moment purchase. You’ll find the clubs that are a few years old… usually well worn but not abused. These are usually traded in by someone that really enjoyed the club but has a need to upgrade. You’ll find the cheap clones and knock offs… usually traded in by someone that realized that they were nothing like the real thing. And then there are the “garage clubs”… clubs that were great in the ’60’s but have no value now. A word to the wise… don’t bother trading these in. We want them about as much as you do. Round up old clubs like these and donate them to a local golf course. There are millions of junior golfers out there that would die for their own set of clubs.

So what should you look for when browsing around the used section? Why don’t we have a look at what I look for when accepting a trade in at my shop…

Club Wear – A used club is bound to have some wear and tear but there is good wear and bad wear. Scratches on the sole are normal so don’t put too much stock into them. A deep gouge is never a good thing so watch for those. Most clubs will have some marks on the face. Marks that look like little explosions are usually caused by hitting dirty or sandy golf balls. These look ugly but don’t really affect the way the club works. Deeper dings on the face can lead to face cracks… wood faces are very thin and it doesn’t take much to damage them. Personally… I try to avoid taking in woods with serious “sky marks”. These can really affect the value of a club and many players don’t want to look down at a bunch of scratches. Avoid crown craters… they’re ugly, they totally devalue a club and they are often an indication of misuse and abuse. These marks can also alter the club's durability, feel and performance. Have a look at marks on the shaft. Graphite shafts can easily crack and pit and it doesn’t take much to dent a steel shaft. Find a good quality head with worn or damaged shaft? See about getting a discount or a good deal on a new shaft. Don’t pay too much attention to grips… they’re cheap and easy to replace.

Stock Shafts – I always pay attention to the type of shaft in a used club. A club with a stock shaft is a safe bet. You know that the club probably hasn’t been tinkered with and it’s easier to send a stock shaft back for repair. Many manufacturers will void the club’s warranty (on both the shaft and head) if it is reshafted by someone else. There are lots of great club repair guys out there and most of them do excellent work but it’s something to keep in mind. I’ve seen lots of “do it yourself reshafts” and I try to avoid them. Was the shaft properly installed? Has it been tipped properly? Is it a good shaft for the head? Your average golfer probably has no idea how to properly reshaft a golf club… see if you can get an idea of who did the work or have your local pro check to see if the work was done right.

Technology – So how much better is this year’s club over last year’s club? I think a better question should be… Will I notice a big difference between last year’s club and this year’s club? To be honest… probably not. You can read the brochures and learn about technological advances but most average golfers will find any brand name club from the last five years a huge improvement over what they have now. Sure technology makes clubs better every year but a club can only get so forgiving or so long. Think of it this way… I consider myself an “average” car guy. I don’t know lots about cars, I use cars for basic transportation and I don’t spend much attention to car ads. My parents happen to own two of the same cars but from different years. Do I find a huge difference between them? No. Is one faster than the other? I don’t know. Does one corner better? Who knows. A “car guy” might be able to tell the difference between the two but an average guy like me is just happy to be driving a newer car. Most technologies are simply tweaked from year to year. Consider most clubs built in the last five years to be decent options.

Headcovers – It might just be me but it seems that used clubs that come in with their original headcovers are usually in pretty good shape. Most people that can hold onto a headcover for years find a way to keep their clubs in good shape. I have some customers that won’t even consider a club that doesn’t have it’s original headcover. To each his own I guess…

So there you go… a look at used clubs. There are lots of great deals to be had if you know what to look for. And don’t forget to try before you buy! Happy hunting!

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