By Gary Van Sickle
Thursday, February 18, 2010

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. Value Guide (
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.

\nLet's see if I can get a better deal.

Global Golf Trade In Center (
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 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: says my clubs are worth $175 in trade-in value. Now I can ship the clubs in. After evaluating them, 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.
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?
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.

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