Trading in your golf clubs is easier than ever

Golf has changed so many ways in my lifetime that I can't even begin to count them. I'll just leave it at this — when I was a kid, we used to cut covers off golf balls, unwind the rubber stringing like a puzzle and speculate about what kind of toxic poison liquid was inside the remaining core. Fun stuff. I might as well be describing the engine in a Model T.

Fast forward to 2010: Apparently, I'm among the last to know that, thanks to a variety of companies and websites, trading in your clubs is now as easy and as common as trading in a car.

Your old clubs may not be worth a fortune in trade-in — just like your old car — but now there are avenues where you can trade or sell your equipment.

You already know about eBay and Craigslist. I decided to investigate the golf-specific sites and see what kind of deal I could make. Here are the sites I visited, and what I found out.

PGA.com Value Guide (valueguide.pga.com)
This is kind of like the Kelley Blue Book of used clubs. It bills itself, in fact, as "The National Standard for Golf Club Values." It's a good starting point. You can browse clubs by type or by brand. I've got a set of Ping i10 irons, brand new, and I want to see what they're worth. I click into their index of Ping clubs and find the i10 iron set with steel shafts.

The answer? Based on 630 transactions, the price range is a low of $156 and a high of $214. The estimated trade-in value for my set is $177. Great. I can get almost half of a new driver for that.

The resale value of my clubs, however, sounds a lot better. Resale value is what the clubs would go for if I tried to sell them myself, maybe on eBay, or if a golf retailer sold them. The range there is $312 to $428, with an average price of $355. I can pretty much afford a new driver with that.

All right, selling the clubs myself is too much of a hassle. Sad to say, I don't actually know how to take a photo with my cell phone camera and put it up on eBay, so I'm going the trade-in route. This is incredibly easy. All I do is get my estimate, print out a pre-paid UPS shipping label, box the clubs and send them in. In the return mail, I get a certificate for the value we agreed upon. I take that voucher to my local PGA Trade-In Network Facility, which in my case is my home club — Treesdale Golf & Country Club in Gibsonia, Pa. — and I've got $177 toward whatever equipment I pick out in the golf shop. Pretty slick. I also could've taken my credit to the local Dick's Sporting Goods, which is part of the PGA network.

Let's see if I can get a better deal.

Global Golf Trade In Center (globalgolf.com/tradein)
This online retailer not only takes trade-in equipment but also has everything for sale — clubs, balls, shoes, clothes, bags, apparel.

The process is similar at GlobalGolf.com. I identify the clubs I wish to trade by type (irons), brand (Ping), model (i10) and shafts (steel). I also have to check a box stating that the clubs don't need repairs. The set must have eight consecutively numbered clubs (if you're missing a 6-iron, for instance, no deal), and clubs must not have excessive wear, dents or rattles.

Bingo: GlobalGolf.com says my clubs are worth $175 in trade-in value. Now I can ship the clubs in. After evaluating them, GlobalGolf.com sends me a certificate for $175, which I can then use to shop on their website. Very easy. Now on to two major brands' sites.

CallawayGolfPreOwned.com
Here, you can trade in your equipment for Callaway gear — and that includes headcovers, bags and GPS units. I tried it out, and I liked that its check-in was more specific. Besides the usual info, I had to click on tags to identify the clubs as men's or women's, right-handed or left-handed, shaft type and set makeup. (In my case, 4-iron through pitching wedge, plus a sand wedge.) The value: $170. That amount is credited to your shopping cart, and you can then surf the website and purchase assorted Callaway equipment.

Also, the use of the phrase "pre-owned" just sounds better than used, doesn't it?

taylormadegolfpreowned.com
Very similar and also very easy to use. I identified my clubs, got a quote of $175 for trade-in value, and was then able to go shopping on the site using my new credit once I registered as a user and created a log-in.

There are many ways to trade or sell your unwanted golf clubs, but these sites are the best. It's easier than you might think.

Forecast
PGA Tour News
Trips
Travel & Courses
Lessons
Tips & Videos
The Shop
Equipment News & Reviews