Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

Is purchasing second hand golf clubs a good idea? We weigh up the pros and cons to assist your decision making

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?
(Image credit: golfclubs4cash)

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

With the prices of the best drivers and irons seemingly rising year on year, it can be extremely tempting to start scouring the internet to find some deals on second hand golf equipment - but it is worth it?

Well there are plenty of factors that play a part in answering this question such as - who are you purchasing from? How old are the golf clubs you're looking to buy and what condition are they in? Now as someone who has worked within the game of golf since I was 16, I have seen my fair share of equipment that has been purchased second hand. Some purchases have resulted in a bargain and some have ended in outright disaster.

With the right knowledge you can certainly pick yourself up some incredible deals on previously loved equipment, but the pre-owned market is also where you are likely to see counterfeit-clubs in circulation, so you should always purchase from a reputable seller. 

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

Second hand clubs are considerably cheaper than purchasing newer models

(Image credit: GolfClubs4Cash)

I have bought second hand golf clubs as I went from beginner to single-figure golfer. Therefore, I want to dispel the myth that second hand clubs are only worth buying for new golfers or those who do not play regularly. When I began to play golf, I decided to buy a second hand set of clubs because I was unsure if I was going to continue playing and I viewed it as a more reasonable investment. Now, I am a single-figure golfer and I still search for second hand golf clubs; there is every chance you can find an absolute bargain. 

However, the main reason I continue to buy second hand golf clubs is when I want to try a club I am not sure will work for me before I buy a more expensive alternative. For example there are many irons that would work for beginners but aren't as sleek as some of the best compact golf irons that a more confident golfer would seek.  I would rather experiment with a $50 purchase than plump on one of $250. If you shop for second hand golf clubs it allows you to benefit from this flexibility.

Other times I have shopped second hand – and I know other golfers who have done it for this purpose – is when a club breaks or wears significantly and you want to replace it with the exact same model that has been discontinued. There is nothing worse than when old trusty gives up on you and the some of the newer models just don't stir the same feelings over the ball. Having a second hand golf club market means that, if you are not quite ready to part ways with a club, you hopefully don’t have to.

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

Buying pre-owned wedges if often not worth it due to the grooves deteriorating which leads to a lack of control 

(Image credit: Future)

There is clearly a demand for pre-loved (or pre-loathed) clubs, especially with the cost of living situation we find ourselves in. Even some of the best wedges now come with a punchy price-tag, so shopping pre-owned could certainly spare you some change.  While you'll never know the full history of the clubs, a proper inspection of the head, shaft and grip should alleviate any concerns you may have over the quality. If the defects are solely cosmetic and fairly minimal, you're on to a winner. 

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

Brands like Nike no longer produce clubs, but you can still get hold of models on the second hand market

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Certain clubs in the bag are safer to buy second hand than others. For instance, wedges tend to wear quickest in the set making them less likely to be at the top of your second hand wish list. Whereas putters tend to wear the least, so there is less risk in you purchasing a preowned flat stick. Among the best used golf drivers, there is a lot of choice, while the best used golf irons also provide plenty of options when it comes to performance.

As with every industry, in golf there are fakes which circulate. Unfortunately, they can be extremely convincing. If you buy new it is highly improbable you will purchase a fake golf club but try and check the club against imagery from a reliable source to make sure it matches. With the amount of investment brands put into their R&D teams, the performance on offer from a fake club will be significantly inferior to the likes of say some of the best fairway woods. Ebay has been known for selling counterfeit clubs in the past but many reputable retailers now have their own shops on the website to give you peace of mind that the product you're buying is authentic.

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

A real fairway wood (left) versus a counterfeit (right)

(Image credit: Future)

Another downside to buying second hand golf clubs is that often they do not come with a refund or exchange option although some reputable retailers like GolfClubs4Cash in the UK and 2nd Swing in the US offer a 30-day returns policy, although you may have to pay for the returns shipping costs. 

Unless you know exactly what club and specification you need it is hard to buy the perfect club second hand, especially when certain specifications are not given such as length, loft and lie (specifically regarding irons), so be realistic with your expectations when buying used. If you are unsure on what clubs you need it's always worth consulting your local PGA Professional or booking in for a custom fit to see what clubs would suit you best. A lot of golfers feel you may need to purchase clubs if you go for a fitting, but that is not the case, at almost every custom fit location you can book in to get an idea of what specs you need in your clubs for a designated fee which is normally taken from the cost of your new clubs should you choose to purchase through the fitting location. However, one upside of this is, if you do not get on well with a club you buy second hand and you decide to sell it on, the chances are you will take less of a hit than if you bought one brand new and tried selling it second hand.

Should You Buy Second Hand Golf Clubs?

Custom fittings are a great way to make sure you know what clubs will work for you

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

It is clear that there are pros and cons to buying second hand golf clubs. Being aware of the potential drawbacks of purchasing preowned clubs makes it safer, in the knowledge that what you are buying will be authentic and the right club for you. If that is the case, buying second hand golf clubs is certainly a viable option for the budget-conscious golfer. Alternatively, we have created numerous guides on the best budget golf drivers, best budget irons and best cheap putters if you are looking for a low-cost upgrade to your current equipment.

James Hogg

James joins the Golf Monthly team as a freelance equipment writer. He has a degree in English Language from Newcastle University and, most recently, an MA in Journalism from Kingston University, London, along with an NCTJ Diploma. James plays his golf in the North East of England where he enjoys playing links courses and fits golfers on a daily basis at a well-known UK retailer. While no other member of his family play golf or ever have, James developed a strong passion for the game in his teenage years and now plays off a 6.3 handicap index.

James' What's In The Bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero, 9°
Fairway Wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero, 15°
Utility: Taylormade Stealth UDI, 3 (20°)
Irons: Ping i210, 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX Zipcore, 52° & 58°
Putter: Nike Method Core MC-3i
Ball: TaylorMade Tour Response