Like most objects of desire, there are several roads to the path of ownership. Justifying a new bag of clubs to a wife or husband might require combat fatigues and a highly convincing case involving some crocodile tears. However, if the term “pre-owned” dropped into the conversation, there’s a high probability that any predicted backlash and resistance suddenly falls away. There are times, however, when it is perfectly reasonable to consider investing in new clubs.
Here are some considerations when weighing up whether to purchase pre-owned or new clubs:
Happy wife, happy life
Golf has a poor reputation in some households — it can take a parent or partner out for the good part of a whole day. And this disappearing act, done on a regular basis, results in the game — and you — taking a hit.
From a non-playing partner’s point of view, purchasing new clubs when your existing set are still in reasonable working order is akin to flushing money down the toilet! Maybe they are right. The reasonable compromise, to “keep the home fires burning,” is to balance your desire for a new set with a good quality, near-new set. There are plenty around, many of which have only been used as demonstrator clubs or floor stock. Keep everybody happy!
State of play
It can be difficult to justify new clubs if the number of rounds you play cannot warrant the expenditure. If games are infrequent, and if the quality of the game being played is dubious and fragile, then perhaps investing in pre-owned clubs is a sensible approach to managing resources. This is true especially for those clubs that are only a few years old. Showing up to your club week after week with all the latest and greatest clubs, but not an ability to do anything with them, will result in some guffawing behind your back.
Keeping up with technology
Every now and then a significant technological change might impact on equipment. If money’s no object, then investing in the latest and greatest equipment is not an issue. However, most would struggle to keep up with replacing drivers, irons, hybrids, wedges and putters each and every time an “improved” product hits the market.
Be selective. There is simply no need to throw the entire bag in the garbage. Sell your own clubs to help finance any new purchases. Select a club from the bag that might justify a single new investment. This might be a new driver, which need not be the same brand as the other clubs in the bag. Maybe it’s time to retire the 3-iron and invest in a “state-of-the-art” hybrid club that will offer more flexibility and get balls out of the rough with ease. The lower handicappers are more likely to go shopping for a range of wedges: pitching, sand, lob and gap. This justifies an investment in the newest and best that can be afforded. Putters, a club that is perhaps used the most, is worthy of a few extra dollars too.
Having said all of this, keep in mind that some companies, stores and pro shops, offer outstanding deals on near-new or demonstrator models. So while the temptation is always there to fire away a purchase on that new release Big Bertha, wait a short while. The very same model is likely to appear on eBay or in the pro-shop as a slightly used model. Some of the big brands manage their own pre-owned club site where clubs are checked and certified before being sold — with significant savings. As good as new!
Improvements in your game
Clubs should be fitted to suit your game at any given time. As skills and experience impact on the handicap, it would be perfectly reasonable to return to a club-fitting specialist to assess whether there is any advantage to investing in a new set of clubs. Often, if lessons are being taken, the teaching pro would also be making suggestions about whether it’s time to get new clubs that will enable further improvement or enhance the style of play. Your teaching pro is also well-placed to assess the range of clubs in your bag and give advice about replacement clubs to suit your game.
Regular players tend to get seven to eight years from a set of irons. Incidental clubs such as drivers, hybrids, wedges and putters might come go, but it is critical to be assessed for the correct irons and to invest in the complete set. Depending on your budget and commitment, this could be a brand new, recently released set or a near-new, pre-owned set. Critically, the clubs must feel right and fill you with confidence. There is no shame in being the proud owner of good quality pre-owned clubs. The only shame with owning brand new ones is not being able to play decent golf with them!
— N. Incoll