Careful with that putter, Eugene: Buying preowned

Here’s the deal:

It’s a new season and you want a new putter, but you don’t want to shell out $320 for a new Scotty Cameron. For many, preowned is the best option.

And in the Twin Cities, there are more than a few places to pick up a new flat stick, hybrid or last year’s driver. Here are a few places, and few things to keep in mind.

Four things to consider before you pull the trigger on a preowned club:

  • Has the club been messed with? I would estimate that 25 percent of preowned wedges have been cutdown, added to, or had their loft/lie tweaked in some way. I, personally, like my wedges a little shorter, so I have them cut down a half-inch. Maybe a good idea would be to bring in your current wedge, and compare them side-by-side before buying the new one (and trading your old one).
  • The club’s condition. Are the grooves still groovy? Has the finish become dull? Is the ferrule loose? Is there a rattle in the driver? Is the same serial number on all of the irons? Have they been reshafted? Is the grip worn? All things to consider. In my experience the average preowned wedge goes for about a 1/3 of what it was priced at new. This might be for a good reason.
  • Just because the price is right doesn’t mean the club is. Ask yourself: How long do I plan on owning this club? If it’s more than a year, chances are it’s a good deal. If it’s a year or less, wait for a sale on a new(ish) one and pick it up. And know – all preowned prices are negotiable (with the possible exception being PING, which doesn’t like retailers to discount its clubs very much). I’d say ask for 20-25 percent less than what’s marked and you’ll probably get it. If the grip is worn, tell ’em you’ll buy a new grip if they’ll do the work for free.
  • Chances are you’ll find the used club of your dreams on E-Bay. But remember, you’re buying the club as-is. This means you need to ask many of the questions listed above to ensure you’re not getting scammed. If you’re an inexperienced E-Bayer, there’s a good chance you’ll get scammed. It’s best, IMHO, to stick to 2nd Swing, Golfsmith or Golf Galaxy. Always check out PGA Value Guide before you buy. The other option is to buy your doctor-friend’s G15 driver that he’s already sick of for half the price. You might be surprised how quickly they’ll sell you the club – if it’s a driver less than two years old, offer him/her $100 cash if you really love it. But remember, the same one is probably sitting in your local Golfsmith, along with 5-6 others you can demo.

Good luck on your search for the Holy Grail.

Anything in particular you are looking for this spring? What are the best places in the TC to find good used clubs?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Careful with that putter, Eugene: Buying preowned

  1. Adam

    Good tips. I definitely agree with 2nd Swing. They always seem to be willing to negotiate. Unfortunately my problem doesn’t ever seem to be not having the right club for the situation but rather having varying levels of confidence depending on what I have in front of me.

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