Buying Used Golf Equipment
By kickntrue on 1/20/10
Sean Lensborn, author of the golf equipment review blog Deep Rough walks us through the process of buying used golf equipment. If you have questions for Sean you can reach him through his blog. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thedeeprough.
Trying to find the perfect gift for the golfer on your holiday list is never an easy task. Sure, you can take the easy route and buy that special someone a box of golf balls or a new glove…but where is the fun in that? We thought we would put together a little article on the ins and outs of finding and purchasing used golf equipment. Given the economy these days, shelling out $500 on a new driver is budget busting task that many of us just cannot pull off. So if that special someone has a new driver on his mind or you are just looking to treat yourself to an upgrade to your 1982 Spalding blades, you have come to the right place.
What is the deal with Used Equipment? Am I missing out?
From my perspective, used golf equipment has gotten a bad rap. People seem to equate used equipment to that dusty, smell rack of equipment in a dark corner of their local sporting goods store. While one could go out and spend $5 on a 1997 putter in awful shape…there are other options out there.
If you have been looking to upgrade your irons or that driver, and want to take advantage of some of the new technology out there, nothing says you need to buy the latest and greatest 2010 models on the market today. As someone who has reviewed a lot of golf equipment, I will tell you, there is not a huge difference in the clubs being released today and those released a year ago. Sure, there may be some small incremental changes, but, if you are looking at upgrading your circa 1999 cavity backs, chances are anything from 2008 through today will help you out on the course. This is especially true of drivers. Find yourself an FT-I or FT-5 driver from a few years ago for $100 at a place like CallawayPreowned, and you will see a huge difference in you long game (assuming you’re coming from a smaller headed or early 400cc generation driver).
Unfortunately (and I am certainly included in this), a lot of people get caught up in the hype of having the latest and greatest. You see all the marketing for that awesome new driver, and think that somehow it will fix all your golfing woes. Just remember, they had all that fancy marketing for the previous year’s model as well. If you cannot or are not willing to throw several hundred dollars at the golf shop for the latest and greatest, keep reading. We will show you some ways to save some bucks.
What should I look for when purchasing used equipment? Where do I go?
If you have ever been in a Golfsmith or other major golf specific retailer, no doubt you have seen their rack of used golf equipment. Often times I have found this to be an expensive place to buy used equipment. You are paying for the convenience of picking up the used clubs at a local retailer and are probably paying close to the retail price, especially when it comes to recently released equipment. Of course, there is a plus with purchasing at a brick and mortar retailer: if your gift recipient does not care for the club, they could return it and get some credit toward another purchase. Is it worth it? Not for me, but different strokes…right?
Now, a riskier option is an online auction site, such as eBay. You will most likely find the lowest price on use equipment (even clubs that may have been released a month or two ago). There is also an enormous selection of equipment. If you are looking for something specific, say a TaylorMade R7 425 10.5 degree driver with a stiff flex shaft, chances are you will find one. I have purchased numerous clubs through eBay over the years, and generally have not been disappointed. Unfortunately, it is not all sugar and sunshine on ‘the bay’. I was bit by a counterfeit equipment seller at one point, purchased a Cleveland Driver that was a complete fake. You also, generally, cannot return any equipment you purchase from sellers on eBay (unless there was some major defect – the item did not match the description, etc). I have found, though, that the goods generally outweigh the cons. If you find that you do not like the club, it is pretty simple to just go ahead and resell it on eBay: chances are you will get a similar price to what you paid. If you are smart about the process, make sure you check feedback on the seller, look at other items they have sold/purchased (is this the first time they are selling a golf club? Have other people purchased golf clubs and been happy with the item?), it is a painless process. If you want to get the absolute lowest price, even on some of the newest equipment, eBay is probably your best bet.
Now, for those of you who are put off by the auction process, want the ability to return an item, but do not want to pay top dollar, there are a couple options. Callaway Golf (http://www.callawaypreowned.com) and TaylorMade (http://www.taylormadegolfpreowned.com) both have put together online sites where they sell used clubs. They generally focus on their own equipment; however, you usually can find some equipment from other manufacturers at these sites as well. They often sell equipment in various conditions: ranging from excellent to average. I have purchased equipment from both sites, and have found that even the ‘average’ equipment is in very good shape. You usually can get a pretty amazing deal on the average equipment, anywhere from 50-75% of the original MSRP of the clubs.
I will throw one other option out there, and that is golf forum sites. There are a couple out there, GolfWRX and BombSquadGolf that have Buy/Sell/Trade sections of their forum. In these areas, members of the site will often trade or sell their own equipment. It is a little like eBay in that you are taking a risk, purchasing something from a relative unknown. However, one can usually do a little research. Find out how long the person has been on the site, see how many other items they have sold, contact other members who have purchased equipment from that person and check their feedback. I usually avoid purchasing used equipment from these sites, but sometimes you can find some good deals, especially on ‘rare’ equipment combinations (like high end shafts and tour level drivers).
I hope this has helped you better understand the process of purchasing used golf equipment. It really is pretty painless, and depending on your willingness to accept some risk, you can score some real steals out there. Given that the golf industry seems to come out with a new driver or set of irons every few months, it does not make sense to shell out a ton of money on this stuff. Let someone else ‘drive the clubs off the lot’, and then buy those slightly used clubs for half the price!
[ comments ]
How did you know the clubs were counterfeit? how obvious was it and do you have any recourse?
all my clubs come from callaway used golf clubs and I never had any problems
Very accurate and common sense article. I have done "the bay" with absolutely no issues at all, but the homework suggested in the article (and a bit more) was done.
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