With club releases by major manufacturers happening year-round these days, there is no shortage of new sticks out there to attract buyers. Almost all the new clubs added to the bag, however, means an old club is removed. Some golfers may be happy just to let old clubs collect dust in the garage, but for many, it makes sense either financially or for the space to pass these clubs on. With that in mind, let’s look at a few popular ways to sell clubs online and the pros and cons of each.
One of the most direct ways of selling old clubs is trading them into a store or dealer. This is convenient if you are planning a new club purchase and buy it from the same site. Most shops for trading in golf clubs fall into one of two categories, mostly selling new equipment and focusing on the secondhand market.
For new club sellers, some major retailers accept trade-ins, such as Dick’s owned Golf Galaxy. In addition to an online program where you ship clubs in, Golf Galaxy also takes trades in-store, which might be preferable if you have a location nearby. Online-only retailers like RockBottomGolf and Global Golfalso offer trade programs.
In both these cases, you select the clubs you are offering, give your opinion on their condition, and get an instant offer. The retailer will either provide a free shipping label if you accept the offer and it meets certain thresholds or deducts a fee for shipping. Once you send them the clubs, they’ll confirm the description and condition before issuing payment.
The advantage of using major retailers for trading-in clubs is that you know you are working with a safe and reputable company. Additionally, if you are looking to purchase new clubs and are trading in for store credit, these stores will sometimes give a bonus amount above the cash offer.
The downside for most trade-in programs is that the cash offer might be significantly lower than what you can get by selling directly to another golfer. This is because the retailer is hoping to turn a profit by reselling the club, and, combined with business overhead, this is subtracted from the private party value. For example, let’s look at a 2016 TaylorMade M1 driver in good condition and what a few sites offer as of this writing:
Golf Galaxy (PGA Value Guide) - $88.20
RockBottomGolf - $80.30 (or $100.30 store credit)
2nd Swing - $92.00
As noted, Golf Galaxy uses the PGA Value Guide as their trade-in network. This site provides another way to trade-in clubs and can also be a valuable research tool for determining fair prices.
eBay and Facebook Marketplace
To get the highest price back for your used clubs, you will likely have to sell directly to someone else. The largest online market for used golf equipment by far is eBay. Besides a traditional auction format, where potential buyers bid over a defined period, and the highest bid wins, eBay also has a “Buy It Now” format where a seller can set a sale price, and buyers can pay it directly. eBay can net significantly higher prices than trading-in used clubs but will take some extra work from the seller.
First, you’ll need to create an item page for the club you want to sell. While eBay’s step-by-step listing system makes this pretty simple, having an accurate, detailed description of the clubs and especially high-quality images will be very important to selling successfully. An additional hurdle to using eBay is figuring out shipping, as you’ll need to decide what the costs will be and who will pay, the buyer or the seller. Keep in mind that golf clubs require relatively large boxes and can be expensive to ship. While eBay can provide some of the best odds for selling your clubs to a private buyer, keep in mind that you will also pay significant seller and payment fees. Let’s look at the TaylorMade M1 driver again to see what a seller might expect to get from eBay:
Average eBay selling price - $155.37eBay seller fee - $15.54PayPal payment fee - $4.81Net price to the seller - $135.02(estimates from www.ebayfeescalculator.com)
While the result is more money than trading-in the club, around 15% of the buyer’s price is eaten up by fees. To avoid these fees, another option for selling clubs is listing on Facebook Marketplace. As one of the largest social media sites out there, Facebook does give a large pool of potential buyers. However, most sales in this format are local only, so if you don’t live in a large metro area, it might be more limited. Facebook has introduced a way to facilitate shipping through the site, but unlike free regular listings, utilizing the shipping system will incur fees.
If you're looking for a larger network of buyers, you could delve into the now-famous Golf Club Traders group (there are others as well if you do some digging).
One potential issue with using large sites like Facebook is that it’s hard to know if you are reaching a golf-specific audience, especially if you are selling specialty clubs that require a more knowledgeable audience to fetch a fair price. In this case, the best option for selling clubs might be on popular golf forums. Two of the most extensive options online are the GolfWRX forums and the MyGolfSpy forums.
These forums offer access to a reasonably large user base of avid golfers, many of whom frequently buy, sell, and trade all kinds of golf equipment. Since you would be selling directly to golf buyers on these sites with free postings, the potential will get the highest price back. To have a successful sale on these sites, the same suggestions for eBay listings become even more critical. You’ll want to have several high-quality photos of the item itself (not manufacturer images) that clearly show the clubs’ condition along with accurate descriptions and club specifications, including length and lie details when appropriate.
Additionally, since these forums are a community, there is at least some expectation of active participation. While not a requirement to make listings, if your first and only post on the forums is selling high-priced golf clubs, this will probably be called out by some members as suspicious. Last, like any classified listing, sellers will have to be on guard for scammers.
Since the site doesn’t facilitate payments, the transactions are done at your own risk. While online payments like Venmo and PayPal Friends & Family transfers can be made with no fee, there are also no protections available for the buyer or seller if something goes wrong. For more information about online payments, including PayPal and Venmo, here’s an article from DoughRoller covering pros, cons, and best practices for several different options.
One Additional Option
While golf clubs are expensive and trying to get something back on that purchase is certainly understandable, if your reason for getting rid of clubs is more about the space than the money, you can also donate clubs to help others get into this great game.
First Tee offers a simple club donation option facilitated through 2nd Swing, the used club retailer discussed above. Additionally, you can reach out to your local chapter or golf club to explore options. Last, golf clubs are always a popular item at charity retailers like Goodwill, so your old sticks can definitely do some good.