Golf clubs can vary GREATLY when it comes to price. You can buy cheap clubs that will perform poorly and break easily. You can buy overpriced clubs that will perform great but really make a dent in your bank account. Or, you can make the best financial decision, and buy the best golf clubs FOR THE MONEY.
You work hard for you money. It’s stupid to buy cheap clubs that you’ll soon have to upgrade from. It’s stupid to buy overpriced clubs that will drop in price in 1 year, when the new golf clubs are released and the demand of the old one drops off a cliff.
Here’s a quick breakdown of why my site is always focused on the best value golf clubs FOR THE MONEY:
- I like saving money, and I bet you do too. Yep, I like investing money. I like looking for ways to save more money. Golf clubs are just another way to save money. I don’t settle though. I want the most bang for my buck, and I’ve always been that way. It’s for that reason that I typically write articles about the best value golf equipment on the market.
- The golf industry is stupidly overpriced and over-exaggerated. Golf club manufacturers are… wait for it… companies that want to make the most money as possible. If you didn’t know that, then I feel sorry for you. These companies have shareholders, and the company’s goal is to make the shareholders as much money as possible. These companies want to take as much money from you as they can from you. As a result, they will tease you with new releases, lie about how well the new clubs perform, and charge you $500 for a single driver. What the hell? I’m passionate about how much I hate the golf industry, so I strive to find the best golf clubs for the money for budget conscious golfers.
- It’s so simple. It really is. There is a simple equation that all golfers should know if they want the best golf clubs for the money. Slightly used clubs + slightly older models + the best rated clubs from that period = the best value golf clubs for the money.
How to Find The Best Value Golf Clubs for the Money
Again, it really is simple. Here’s the equation again: slightly used + older models + best rated, name brand clubs.
Let’s dissect the formula.
- Slightly used clubs: Brand new clubs are WAY more expensive, but well-used clubs don’t have enough life left in them. It’s important to find clubs that are slightly used. Tons of golfers use clubs, don’t like them that much, and sell them after only using them for 10-20 rounds. Or, those fools buy brand new clubs and upgrade AGAIN next year when new clubs come out and say that it’s the best driver of all time. Slightly used clubs give you the most bang for your buck. They are more expensive than well-used clubs, but you’ll get way more use out of them.
- Slightly older models (2-5 years old): this is a no brainer. Older model clubs (let’s say clubs from 2-5 years ago) offer the most value. Clubs from 10+ years ago are WAY less expensive, but they will lack the technology and improvements of newer clubs, so they won’t perform as well. In general, brand new golf clubs that were just released are maybe 1% better than golf clubs from 5 years ago. I’m not kidding. Is that 1% worth an extra $400? Nope, absolutely not, unless budget is no concern for you.
- Best rated, name brand clubs: This one is important too. You want to choose brands and models that were super popular and well-rated. You don’t want to buy a slightly used, older model off-brand club. For example, the Ping G410 is one of the hottest drivers that was just released. 2-5 years from now, the Ping G410 driver will be on the list of the best bang for your buck. For another example, the Callaway XR 16 driver is one of my favorite recommendations. It was one of the most popular driver in 2016, and it now offers the bang value for you money due to the consistent price decreases each year since then. This driver performs practically JUST as well as the $500 clubs from this year, but it only costs $100-$150 now.
Now, let’s talk about some golf clubs. I’ll break this article up into two different categories: beginner golfers (first set of clubs) and better golfers (mid to low handicaps).
For Beginners (Brand New Golfers)
If you are new to the game, then you need a set of golf clubs. Duh.
You have two options here that I’d recommend: buying a brand new complete set of clubs or buying a slightly used set of clubs.
Brand New Complete Set: Callaway Strata Complete Set
I’ve made lots of articles about the best, brand-new complete sets for beginner golfers. They offer a great value. You can take pride in knowing that no other golfer has used the clubs, so they will last as long as possible.
However, they are far lower quality than premium golf clubs. To be fair, though, most beginners won’t even notice it. There are a couple of “premium” complete sets, like Cobra’s F-Max Airspeed complete set. However, sets like that cost a ton of money.
The great thing about brand new complete sets is that they just make it easy. One purchase and you are ready to go. You don’t have to spend too long choosing the best one for you. Oh, and it will be at your door step in two days if you have Prime, or you can pick it up from your local sporting goods store today.
The best brand new complete set for beginners (for the money) is going to be Callaway Strata’s basic complete set. There is a men’s set (12 piece) or the women’s set (11 piece). It has everything you need, and nothing that you don’t.
- Pros: You’ll be the only one to use them, so you have some peace of mind that they weren’t abused by a previous owner. It’s a super easy option to get started with the game. It’s the most common option, and it doesn’t cost that much.
- Cons: Lower quality clubs in general. You’ll have to upgrade from them if you stick with the game and improve, unless you buy a “premium” complete set from the start.
Used Complete Set: Buy Locally
This is my favorite option. Buying a used complete set is the best way to get the best golf clubs for your money. There are lots of people looking to sell their clubs, because they are done with the game or because they are upgrading their clubs.
What to look for:
- name brand clubs (TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway, Cobra, etc) that are 2-10 years old
- complete set (driver, fairway wood(s), hybrid(s), irons, wedge(s), putter, bag.). The more clubs, the better.
- decent condition. If the club faces are completely worn down, then pass. You want at least the iron club faces to be in decent shape. Ask the seller for a picture of the club faces to see the condition before driving over there and being disasspointed.
How to research the clubs you find: Here’s what is going to happen. You are going to be looking at pictures (and maybe descriptions) of the golf clubs that are for sale. If you like what you see, you can just make a reasonable offer to save yourself some time.
Or, you can take a detailed approach. You need to find out the brand, model, age, condition, and value of the clubs. Examine the condition, and look up the models on eBay. Go to the “sold” items (left sidebar) and find the exact same clubs that sold in similar condition. Repeat for each club (driver, fairway wood, etc), and add up the total. Try to buy the clubs for less than that amount, far less if possible.
Here’s a couple different ways to get a great deal on a set of used golf clubs:
First, try family and friends. I’m willing to bet that you have a friend or family member that has a stash of golf clubs in their attic or garage. Lots of golfers hoard their old clubs, because they are too lazy/rich to go through the hassel of selling them. I’m positive that most of them would be willing to sell their old clubs for cheap, or… GIVE them to you for free. Golfers love golfers. If they can turn their family member or friend into a golfer by giving them a set of clubs, they will.
Next, try local, online marketplaces, like Facebook Marketplace, Facebook selling groups, and Craigslist. If you don’t have any friends of family with old golf club sets, then get your computer out. Start with facebook Marketplace, which has grown considerably in popularity over the last few years. There are tons of golf club sets under $200 in my area, and I’m betting there are in your area, too. If you see a good set, send them a message offering a fair price and offering to pick them up right now (people like that generally). If you think their price is fair already, offer 70-80% of their price. If you think it’s priced too high, offer 50-60%. They probably just want to get rid of them, anyway.
For Better Golfers (Mid to Low Handicaps)
If you are a better golfer, then you probably won’t be looking to buy a complete set of clubs. I bet you know what clubs (or at least the general idea) that you want. You just want to save money on them, right?
Here’s an example. If you want the Callaway Rogue driver, you can buy it new for $400, slightly used for $200-$250, wait two years and get it slightly used for $125, or buy the Callaway XR 16 driver (that will perform basically just as well) for $100. Four options, four prices. Your choice.
Here are three options for buying the best used golf clubs for the money as a better golfer:
Online sites: I recommend GlobalGolf, eBay, 3Balls, and 2nd Swing. These all have lots of used clubs for sale, in varying condition. Here’s an in-depth review of the best online sites to buy used golf clubs, where I outline the pros/cons of each site and the one that I recommend the most.
- Pros: They only sell authentic clubs. Far more likelihood of finding the shaft, shaft flex, condition, and lofts that you are looking for. You can search all sites to find the best price. Don’t have to deal with local sellers. Shipped to your door in a few days. Good customer service, generally.
- Cons: Can’t get a STEAL of a deal, like you can with local selling groups. Might have to deal with shipping issues (pricing and damage in transit). Have to wait a few days, or more, to get your club.
Local Selling Groups: I recommend Facebook (the Marketplace and local selling groups) and Craigslist. Facebook has become far more popular, but Craigslist still has some decent options if you can filter through the spam. Remember that you can get a non-local seller to ship you a club, but it brings in more problems (shipping, payment timing, unreliableness, etc).
How to Avoid Counterfeit Clubs: This section never would have crossed my mind, until I had a personal experience with it. I’m always searching Facebook and Craigslist for great deals on golf clubs. I like using them and/or selling them for a profit. I came across a brand new set of Titleist 718 AP2 irons at $400. Long story short, the grips felt “off” and they ended up being fake clubs, which I didn’t know even existed at the time. After calling him out on it, he ended up telling me that his uncle got them overseas, which is where they all originate. I have since reported him multiple times and stopped multiple buyers from buying his fake clubs.
The only way to avoid counterfeit clubs is to buy from reliable sellers. They ensure that all clubs that are a part of their inventory are real, authentic clubs. Again, Global Golf, 3Balls, 2nd Swing are great options. Be careful on eBay, and only buy from reliable sellers in the US. Look at their feedback. Only buy from sellers with great reviews and LOTS of feedback (tens of thousands ideally). Avoid ALL Chinese sellers, no matter the price and how real the clubs look.
If you don’t know exactly what clubs you want, I’ll make you a simple guide to the best golf clubs (driver, fairway wood, hybrid, irons, wedge) for the money. Putters are personal, and they basically all work the same, so I won’t offer a putter suggestion. Just find one that works for you and looks good to you and stick with it.
Driver: TaylorMade M2
TaylorMade releases great driver after great driver, year after year. The TaylorMade M2 driver was one of the best performing drivers of all time, and things haven’t changed much. Sure, their new release (the SIM line of drivers) may have improved by 1%, but the steep price increase is not worth it.
There is a 2017 M2 driver, and the original 2016 M2 driver. This is about the 2016 version, which is lower priced and practically the same club.
When it comes to value, you can currently pick one up in slightly used condition for around $150. That’s an incredible price for the value that this club will provide to your game. The distance you want, the forgiveness you need, the price your wallet likes… what more do you want?
Fairway Wood: Callaway Razr X Black
I’ll admit I’m a little impartial to this fairway wood. It’s been the one that I’ve gamed for 5+ years, and I don’t see a change coming anytime soon. It’s simply a great all around wood. I like the flat sole of Callaway fairway woods, compared to the more rounded sole of other brands like TaylorMade. The sweet spot of the Callaway Razr X Black fairway wood feels huge, and that’s what I like when I stand over a 250 yard approach shot to the green on a par 5, or on the tee of a short par 4.
At the time of me writing this article, you can pick up this club for around $35-$50. That sounds super low, but I can guarantee it’ll perform just as well as the $300+ new fairway woods on the market.
Hybrid: Titleist 910H
This is one of my favorite hybrids of all time. I’d still be gaming it if I wasn’t gifted a newer one. The Titleist 910H hybrid is super old, but hybrids haven’t improved much over time. This model is as forgiving and high launching as they come, and that’s what you want in a hybrid club to replace your long irons.
The Titleist 910H club can be picked up for around $30-$50 with free shipping, just like the Callaway fairway wood. The price depends on the condition, shaft, and loft of the club. Compare that to the new Titleist TS2 or TS3 hybrids, which will set you back $280 plus shipping and tax.
I can’t say enough good things about Mizuno forged irons. The JPX set is a great way to blend the forged feel, great forgiveness, and plenty distance. That’s a combination that any golfer will benefit from.
The Mizuno JPX 825 iron set comes in two options: standard and Pro. The standard option is more forgiving and has more offset. The Pro option is more compact, less forgiving, more appealing, and has less offset. In general, I’d recommend the Pro irons, as you’ll like them more as you progress in ballstriking. Plus, they will improve your ballstriking faster, as they require you to hit closer to the center of the clubface for a good result.
Price-wise, the Mizuno JPX 825 irons can be bought for around $250 in gently used condition. Compare that to their original price tag ($900), and the price tag of the new Mizuno JPX 921 irons ($1400). Huge difference, huh? Practically the same clubs, too, just a different year and design.
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0
Wedges haven’t improved much over the years, either. Therefore, you might as well go with an older model like the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 wedge. They have made lots of new models since then, but they aren’t any better than this one.
You don’t necessarily have to buy used wedges to get the best bang for your buck, but you sure can. I’d recommend either buying barely used wedges or brand new wedges, as the club face condition is very important. You don’t want to buy a wedge where the grooves are completely worn down.
If you want to buy a barely used Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0, you can get one for around $40, and a new one would be around $90. If you wanted a set of 3, used would be $100 and new would be closer to $210.
Putter: Older Odyssey Model
There are a million putters on the market. Odyssey putters are my favorite mix of price, performance, and feel. In general, though, all putters perform practically the same, truly. I don’t care if they are milled, cast, plastic, wooden, soft, hard, long, short, etc. A putter is a putter is a putter. Odyssey putters are simply a great brand name to stick with if you are looking for value.
Find one that works and stick with it, through the thick and thin. You can find a good, older model Odyssey putter in good condition, for less than $50 EASILY. I like the White Hot Pro line of putters, personally.
If you put it all together, this set of clubs is only around $600 or so. Pretty sick set of clubs for that price. If you like the style of this article, you’d probably also like the set of premium golf clubs for under $500, and the best compilation of clubs for under $400.