How to get good equipment on a tight budget: Box Store Edition

We continue our series on getting good equipment on a tight budget. Hopefully you had some luck this weekend at your favorite thrift store. Today we’re going to look at how to get a little bit nicer equipment. It’s time to learn how to approach big box golf stores.

When I say big box store, I’m talking about Golfsmith, PGA Super Store, Edwin Watts, or Golf Galaxy. When you walk into one of these stores, the massive displays promoting the latest and greatest clubs will be front and center. Your goal is to make it to the pre-owned clubs ASAP. When I go to a big box store, I am usually going to play this equipment and not resell it. You can find some good deals and make some money off of it as well if you’d like.

When you make it to the pre-owned there are a few brands to look for.

Adams– This is one of my personal favorite brands.They used to make some of the best equipment around. Recently purchased by Taylormade, this severely hurt their resale value. All of my woods and my hybrid are Adams

Callaway– Callaway had a few off years in the early 2000’s. They went super game improvement and suffered as a result. Starting around 2009 the equipment really began to improve, which has led to some of that stuff really holding its value.

Cleveland– Another favorite of mine. They have great quality stuff and are known for their wedges. For some reason Cleveland, doesn’t keep its value, but I love their clubs.

Cobra– Stick to newer Cobra. Anything from Amp Cell on is usually a good buy. You can’t really go wrong.

Nike– Like most Nike products, the stuff has a slight cult following. Some people love it, some people hate it. I am not crazy about most of their irons, but I do love their blades and players CB irons. Personally, I don’t mind anything from the Covert forward when it comes to their woods.

Ping– Ping is my top favorite brand. My problem is Ping is it’s almost always out of my price range. Pings hold their value like no other brand. You wont find it cheap, I promise.

Titleist– The elite club. I usually don’t get along with Titleist golf clubs, but honestly, this may be where you can grab something and resell it. If you like Titleist, its a great way to get a good deal on some older but high quality gear. Also within Titleist is Scotty Cameron and Vokey wedges, which are good quality. The resale market on them can flucturate wildly. The big winner here is if you score a Scotty. A Scotty under $100 will need to be purchased immediatley. If you use it great; if you don’t, go home and put it on eBay.

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When going into a big box store you have to be a little more disciplined. I usually follow a few simple rules. First, make a budget. If it is $100 stick to it. If it is $50, stick to it. Do not be afraid to leave empty handed. Second, when you go to a store, have an idea of what you need. If you are looking for a new driver and have a budget of $100, go to the preowned section and head to the drivers. Take a look around. Third, do not be afraid to grab a club and head over to the simulator and take some swings. Fourth, check the condition of the club. If the fairway wood or driver has a messed up crown, I usually stay away. When it comes to irons I try to avoid any browning. If the face has some brown on it I will stay away. That means the chrome has worn away and it is all down hill from there.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. I’ve gotten some great deals by asking if they can come down on the price. Sometimes they say yes, sometimes they say no. When I first grab a club to check the price, I check a few things. First, obviously, is the price. If that is WAY off it is usually  good indicator they will be high on almost everything else. I also check the date it was received, usually printed on the price tag somewhere. If it is within the last month they don’t usually want to negotiate. If it’s been there 25+ days, I will ask about it. Again have a budget! This will also help you negotiate. If your budget is $100 and the club you want is $100, go ask if they will take $75. If they do, great! Now you have some extra money to buy some golf balls. If they don’t, its fine, you are still in your budget. Don’t go in expecting to grab a $150 driver, fall in love with it, and then get it for 100. You will be disappointed.

Follow these rules, and you can get some killer deals! Just like the last post, patience is the key. With patience and some quick research, your results can mirror some of my finds like these:

Adams Fast 12 LS-  Bought for $25. It currently sits in my bag hitting drives down the middle.

Titleist 910F- Bought for $28. Sold tour issue shaft for $50 and then sold the head for $45.

Mizuno MP-32- Saw the entire set minus the 5 iron for $100. Asked where the 5 iron was and was told it didn’t come in with the set. I asked if they could do anything for me, and I walked away with the set for $50. Found a matching 5 iron for no expense to me and ended up selling the set for $120.

Scotty Cameron Studio Stainless- After trading in equipment I wasn’t using, I bought it for $25. Sold for $135.

Nike wedges- I broke my own rule and bought new clubs. These were on mega clearance. They were $50 each. I traded in some Cleveland (dime a dozen) wedges for $20 each. I walked out with 2 wedges for $60

If you consider those purchases alone, that would be a pretty sweet bag. All together, it’s under $200. Remember, this took time and patience. I typically go out to the store once a week. It’s become a fun quest for me, plus inventory is always changing.

I’ll see you tomorrow when we talk how to get a bargain at your local golf shop!

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