New-To-You Gear
By mjaber on 1/14/13
oober Mike Jaber just can't get enough. He's already submitted three guest columns and we're only a couple of weeks into 2013. I hope he inspires more oobers to share their on- and off-course experiences with us in the future! Enjoy!

It's almost that time of year. The PGA show is right around the corner, and everyone will be salivating over the newest, latest and greatest it tech for everyone to hit the ball longer, straighter, and higher. Even new balls will be on display, promising more yards, more spin, and more feel. I love tech stuff. I get excited over things like the CES show in Vegas. I don't get excited about the PGA show, as much as I get excited about what it means for me, as a budget golfer.

All the big names will be showing off their best, their brightest, their “new and improved” gear. That means that last years stuff is now (to quote an old Garfield cartoon) “Old and Inferior.” At least, that's what they want you to believe. Don't fall in to the trap of thinking you need to have that bright, shiny new club. I don't care what new alloy they are using, how many slots they have put into the sole, or what color they have come up with to make it more appealing. At the end of the day, it will not perform that much better than last years that you need to spend the extra money on it over buying the club that was debuted at last years show.

If you live in an area that has 4 seasons, at least one of which prevents any type of golf, chances are that your clubs are in a closet, the basement or the garage. Mine are in the garage, and won't see light again until at least April. In the spring, when the snow melts, you'll dust them off and head out. You might be thinking about last season, and upgrading or adding a club into the mix to help your game. You probably read about the PGA show, and have checked out the different Hot Lists, read reviews and articles about different new clubs, and have settled on something, in theory. Ask yourself something before you go demo the club and fall in love with it. Ask yourself, "What model did this club replace?" Then go find it, either used or on a clearance rack. Try it out. You could save some big bucks by getting last years club.

With the new clubs coming, it won't be long before last year's clubs are being cleared out to make room, with discounts from 20-70% at most big retailers. Even better though, is the discounts you can get by waiting a little bit longer. Once the newest clubs have hit the stores, keep an eye on the used section, watch your favorite second-hand golf site, or stop in to a good second-hand store (sports-related, if possible). There are many people who believe that they simply have to have that new driver, and in order to prevent their wives' from looking too closely at their golf bag, they need to do something with the old one. So, they trade it in, or sell it out right. That trade-in is usually valued at about 10-20% of original retail MSRP. It's then marked up, and re-sold. I have yet to spend over $100 for a single club. I have bought 2 drivers at about $60 each. Even better, if you are replacing a club, you can probably get a few bucks for your old one, provided it is still usable. Most websites use the PGA Value Guide to tell you how much your club is worth. If you're at your local 2nd hand sporting goods store, you'll probably get a better deal, if you take a store credit instead of cash. They may even take stuff that isn't on the value guide, and give you a couple of bucks for it.

The only clubs I will never buy used are wedges (unless it's a Taylormade xFT wedge, and it comes with a new faceplate). Yes, there are deals to be had on this type of club, just like all the others, but the trouble is that there is no good way to find out how much use is left in them. I've read that you can test the sharpness of the grooves by dragging your thumbnail over the face, but I'm not sure I really trust this method. There are too many variables. Leave the used wedges on the racks, and go check out the discount section.

I'd love to have all new gear. I loved pulling the plastic off my first set of clubs, knowing that I was going to be the first person to ever use them. For most of us, though, money is tight. If you need to replace a club, or even your whole set, you can save at least enough money buying used, and clearance to play 20 rounds of golf at the course closest to me ($30/round, walking).

This was written by Mike Jaber, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

Have an idea for a guest column? Send it here!

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[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
I am with you, Mike. All my clubs are purchased lightly used or new but 1 or 2 model years past prime. Nice column (unless one is an OEM!).
GolfSmith7 says:
I like making my own clubs with parts from or what I am trying to find is a non-name brand adjustable driver. The money I save this way is similar to buying brand name used.
legitimatebeef says:
More uncommon sense from MJaber. Good stuff. I am all in favor. When it comes to golf spending I'm stingy. But it's not just a matter of hoarding pennies it's also about saying SHOVE IT to all the OEM's and their regrettable snake-oil tactics. I just picked up a Titleist 905R, it's pretty old. It's from the Bush administration I think. It was a simpler time. People still had faith in the economy. Tiger Woods was still a respected member of the PGA Tour. The "Golf Boys" wasn't so much as a glimmer in Ben Crane's unfunny eye. A simpler time, some would say a better time. So yeah the driver's old but its pretty minty and it feels new to me. The Graphite Design shaft is a current model. The whole club costs me less than the price of the very same shaft on the aftermarket right now. Screw you Titleist!!!
GBogey says:
Another way to further the savings from buying "not the newest stuff" is to get on the email lists for either Golf Galaxy or Golfsmith. They send out sale specials / coupons about every month which can almost always be used on last season's models for another 10-20% off. One warning - if you are stuck on Ping, Titleist, or Mizuno, they are frequently excluded but almost of the other OEM's participate.
Duke of Hazards says:
i haven't bought brand new in a while. ebay and golfwrx BST classifieds are good places to pick up newer stuff that some dude bought new, hit a few times and then put up for sale at 70-80% of the original cost.
Tim Horan says:
Great post MJaber good timing too as I just bought a brand new Callaway Diablo Octane driver for £100 with a Project X shaft. It was in the ex- demo bucket at my club. It was never used and still had the plastic on it but is now not current model. Although the shaft is not ideal @ £100 I will re shaft with my usual shaft and recycle the Project X shaft into an older driver.
mjaber says:
I'm not sure how prevalent they are in other parts of the country, but we have franchise chains called Play It Again Sports. They basically take the stuff you can't/don't use anymore, give you cash or store credit for it, and re-sell what you gave them. They won't take everything (like my starter set- they didn't want it), but they'll take alot. It depends on the season, though. Right now, they'll take skis, ice skates, hockey equipment. In a couple months, they start taking golf clubs, baseball/softball equipment, roller skates/blades. It's really a great setup. I stop in a couple times each year, usually on a lunch break or on my way home from work.
Torleif Sorenson says:
GBogey: That's valuable information, since I'm kind of sweet on Mizuno's irons.

Mike, thanks for another excellent column that references a comic strip. And for somebody like me, with a limited budget, your article makes for worthwhile reading. Whether it will ultimately overcome my case of "gear lust" is yet to be determined. :)
Kurt the Knife says:
I can't think of buying new clubs. I figure until I can develop a decent, consistent swing, a 200.00 (My Mizuno MX-100s) set will deliver the ball as well as a 1000.00 (Miz JPX) set. The only clubs I ever bought new were my SCOR wedges.
My take on the major brands is they must come up with some new gimmick every year that really isn't going to be worth the difference in price c/w last year's model.
Really amounts to a lot of hype.
mjaber says:
@Kurt the Knife- You don't think changing the color of the insert on the back of the club makes the ball fly higher, straighter and longer?
bkuehn1952 says:
Oh oh! Mike Jaber may have inspired the next innovation, interchangeable driver crowns. White when it is cloudy, a matte black for sunny days, neon yellow for late evening play and "Tiger Woods" red for days when you want to intimidate the opposition.
Mr_X says:
Great article Mike. I agree completely. I too am a frugal golf equipment addict. I own 4 drivers, 3 fairway woods, 3 full sets of irons, plenty of wedges, 4 or 5 hybrids, 4 putters and 3 golf bags. (Thank god I have a basement!) The only clubs out of that motley crew that I bought retail were my Eidolon wedges and my newest Yes putter. And those items were at least 50% below retail. My best source for used clubs is golfWRX. These seller are guys who needs to try the latest and greatest clubs which don't work out. They sell it 6 months later to get something for their money. The equipment I have bought through them is in great shape, even the wedges. Most of what I own was purchased for 25% of original retail value or less.
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