With participation numbers soaring in the UK and the cost of golf equipment on the rise, it’s little wonder second-hand clubs are becoming increasingly popular. Whether you’re a seasoned campaigner returning after an extended break or a complete beginner, there is no shortage of value and quality on offer in the pre-owned market - if you know where to look and what to look for.
As Europe’s biggest dealer of pre-owned golf equipment, it’s safe to say Golf Clubs 4 Cash is well positioned to tell you everything you need to know. With around 25,000 clubs in stock, covering everything from the latest releases to decades-old collectors’ items, spotting a good second-hand club is their bread and butter.
We spoke to Dean Cracknell, Head of Marketing at Golf Clubs 4 Cash, who gave us some advice on the matter and revealed some of the pitfalls to watch out for.
“It's not difficult, I don't think,” he began. “There are specialist retailers like ourselves that sell pre-owned golf equipment exclusively. There are pro shops up and down the country that might have a small inventory tucked away in the back corner. There are charity shops, online marketplaces like Gumtree and Facebook, car boot sales.
“There are something like five million golfers in the UK and Ireland now and they’re guys that are playing once a year. Beyond that there's golfers that maybe are not playing as frequently because they've retired and they're not playing anymore, and they've still got a load of equipment tucked away somewhere. There's people that have picked it up and put it down because they didn’t really like golf. There's juniors that are sitting on equipment that are waiting to come of age.
“There’s just so much golf equipment in the market. I would challenge anybody that's looking for pre-owned golf equipment to not find what they're looking for with a few clicks, or a few phone calls.
“My advice would be to buy from dealers that offer the widest choice, the best service levels and competitive pricing - that's the nuts and bolts of it. As a consumer, just like anybody else, I'm price led to an extent, I want it relatively fast, and I want to know that I've got some comeback if I'm not satisfied. And I don't want to be scouring the world for products.
“If it's all under one roof, be it on a website or in a bricks and mortar store - and we have both - then go where the choice is. That's why places like Amazon are so successful.”
In spite of this advice, some people will always be on the lookout for a better deal, which can be their undoing in the end. Among the pitfalls, as Dean says, is that the market is full of counterfeit items that would be impossible to distinguish for the untrained eye.
Another inherent risk of choosing to buy privately is that the quality of the item can’t be fully verified until it arrives on your doorstep. And with no warranty to speak of in most cases, that leaves consumers out of pocket with nothing to show for it.
“Why I would always encourage the consumer to buy from a reputable dealer like ourselves is the counterfeit market,” Dean added. “It's rare to do a trading event, even at major championship venues, and not see at least one counterfeit club per event. The market is awash with it.
“If you're buying through places like Facebook marketplace or Gumtree, where you're dealing one-to-one with an individual, there is scope for you to not be buying the genuine article, whereas the likes of ourselves and reputable the dealers, not only do we have our own integrity to preserve, but also we’re qualified to actually ensure the inventory we buy is genuine and not counterfeit.
“Aside from that, there are things like rattles in club heads and steel shafts that are pitted with rust. If you're buying it online, you can't see that until it turns up in a box and often that's too late. These are indications they've been left in a garage or a garden shed for a long period of time.
“I think that's what I would be looking to avoid if I was buying new equipment. Things like grips are really quite easy to change and somewhat affordable. But shafts are less so, and a rattle in a head is not that easy to repair. So I would swerve those things.”
If you're in the market for second-hand clubs and want to ensure you're putting your faith in a trusted source, head to the Golf Clubs 4 Cash website or browse in-store to see the best prices from their incredible selection spanning more than 20 years.
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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