Lately, I have been thinking it might be time to upgrade some of my golf clubs, specifically my Nike irons. Especially since Nike decided to get out of the golf equipment business and focus on golf apparel. Now, having bought new and used golf clubs over the years I began to think. What approach do other golfers take when they are looking for new golf clubs?
New or Used?
The first question always is, do I buy new golf clubs or do I buy used golf clubs? In a way, golf clubs are like a new car. As soon as you drive a car off the lot, or hit that first golf ball, depreciation sets in. When I first started out playing golf, all my clubs were used. I was not very good; I was still figuring out my golf swing and trying to get more consistent. As my golf game improved, I began to take golf more seriously and I began to think about using better golf equipment.
As a result, over the years I have bought a number of used sets of irons. I have also bought new and used putters and drivers. When I buy used golf clubs, I am selective. I will not buy used clubs with a lot of wear. Because of this, my wedges have typically are purchased new. So what drives the golf buying process, at least for me? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start with the club everyone loves to hit on the golf course, the driver. I have gone to golf outlets and bought used drivers out of the bin and I‘ve bought new ones. I purchased a used Cleveland driver a number of years ago that I absolutely loved. I could hit it straight, my distance was good and I felt confident with it. I used it for 6 or 7 years because every time I would try a different driver, my accuracy or distance suffered (or sometimes both!). I would hit new and used drivers; try out my friends drivers on the golf course, always looking for something better. Finally, I bought a new Ping driver that I use today. Again, I am accurate with it, my distance improved over the older driver and I am confident off the tee. As a guy who started golf with a big banana slice, that is huge!
I have typically bought my irons used, not new. When I am looking for new irons, I will visit the various golf warehouse stores near my home and try out different styles and brands. When I find something that feels solid, I will start shopping. If the local golf warehouse has the irons I want, they are not heavily worn and the price is competitive I will typically buy from them. One major plus of buying from the local golf warehouse is there is typically a 30 or 60-day period where you can exchange the clubs for different ones. Often what feels great in the store does not feel so great after a round or two or on the golf range.
I have also bought clubs online. When you shop for used golf irons online they are typically rated as to how heavily used they are. I am always going to select the most lightly used clubs I can find if I go that route. The times I have done this, I have been quite happy with the results.
Unless they have come with a set, I have always bought my wedges new. Normally my Pitching Wedge and my Gap Wedge are part of the iron set I purchase, but I also like to carry a Sand Wedge and a 60 degree wedge. That means I am buying at least two wedges. The ones I have purchased new have typically been Cleveland wedges. I cannot tell you why I started down that path but I like them and I continue to use them today. I do not recall every buying used wedges.
Last but not least, certainly not least, is the putter. I have always preferred a heavier putter, even as a kid heavily into mini-golf. This led me to using a large head putter. For a long time I used a Ping Craz-E putter with great success. I bought it used out of the bin at an outlet warehouse.
Then for a Christmas gift one year, I got to pick any new putter I wanted. For some reason I went to a different style putter, a smaller mallet head that was not as heavy. As a result, my putting suffered. I never had the same confidence I did with the Craz-E. After using the Christmas gift putter for a number of years, I decided to make a change. I went back to a larger head Ping putter that I bought new online. I have seen good results with it and feel much more comfortable. As a result, my confidence on the green has risen again.
So, what is your approach to buying new golf clubs? Brand-new? Used? A mix? Have you bought clubs online? Any concern in doing so? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments section.