Make certain that you are not paying more for the used set than you would be for a new set of the exact same model. Many times a golfer pays $599.00 for a new set of irons and then sells them a year or two later for $450.00. If the irons are in good shape this price makes sense, unless, as often happens, the manufacturer has changed model designs, head graphics or marketing strategies. That $450.00 set may be available brand new for $399.00. Demos may be available for $349.00 or $299.00. Always go online and check the current prices.
This phenomenon happens with great regularity in the golf equipment industry. Sometimes the manufacturer is overwhelmed with inventory. Sometimes they simply “reposition” their clubs making one model less expensive and a new, premium version more expensive than the original. Sometimes entire product lines are dropped and prices can become ridiculously low.
How To Buy Used Golf Clubs
Check for face wear. Grooves should be sharply defined if you expect the ball to behave as it should. The edges round down with extended use. Moderate wear can be offset with a groove sharpening tool. Don’t buy a club with obvious gashes and scrapes in the face.
Inspect each face and shaft for rust pits. Small ones will make little difference in performance, but larger ones will. Rechroming a set of clubs is an expensive proposition.
Steel Shafted Irons
Check to make certain that none of the irons has been reshafted in an inept or inappropriate manner. Line all eight irons up in a row in numbered sequence – short to tall and examine the set thoroughly. Look to see if the shaft banners all match in design, name and location. Also look carefully at the step pattern of steel shafts. The steps should start on each iron 1/2″ higher up the shaft on each club up the line. The spacing between the steps should be consistent from iron to iron. Every model of steel shaft has its own unique pattern. There should be no misfits. The overall length of the clubs should step up 1/2″ each club as well. The 9 and the PW are often the same length. Sometimes the 9 is a bit longer.
You will also want to sight down each shaft to check for straightness and for any sign that any one of the shafts had been bent and restraightened.
Check to see if any excessive wear has occurred due to extended friction with the top of the previous owner’s bag. Paint which has been worn away will have little effect on performance, but check to make sure that the wear has not extended into the graphite shaft itself. This can seriously reduce the strength of the shaft.
Aside from excessive wear, check for cracked or splintered shafts. You do this by holding the grip firmly in one hand and the clubhead firmly in the other. “Torque” the head by twisting it clockwise then counterclockwise. There should be very little give. If the rotation is noticeable, examine the shaft carefully for splitter cracks running up and down the shaft. Poor hits are inevitable from such defects.
As with steel, make certain that sets of irons or woods do not contain poorly reshafted clubs. Performance between graphites varies enormously.
All should be the same style and size. There should be little club to club variation in thickness’. Alignment should be straight. Texture should still have some tackiness left and there should be no cracks on the bottom edges – that means dry rot. The butts of the grips should have a visible brand name. If not they are cheap factory seconds and may have a very short life expectancy.