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Buying Used Golf Clubs

Club Basics

A set of golf clubs includes a mix of irons, drivers, and wedges, as well as a putter. A standard set is made up of 3 woods, 8 irons, and a putter.

Each club is used for a different purpose.

  1. A driver or fairway wood is used when the golfer is farther than 175 yards from the green.
  2. An iron is used when the golfer is within 200 yards of the green.
  3. A wedge has a specific purpose related to its type:
    • Pitching wedge: used to play the ball from the fairway to the green;
    • Sand wedge: used to play the ball out of a sand trap, or bunker;
    • Lob wedge: used for shorter distances on the green; and
    • Gap wedge: used for plays between the pitching and sand wedge.

Beginners or golfers with mid to high handicaps can select clubs with features that correct their mistakes to some degree. Woods with larger club faces are more forgiving, allowing reasonably good shots even when hit badly. Irons that feature perimeter weighting carry more weight on the outside of the club head. This allows beginners with less accurate, slower swings to hit the ball straighter and more solidly than with an un-weighted club. Hybrid clubs are small-faced metal woods that are easier to hit than longer irons.

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Buying Second Hand

Get a Good Fit

Most golf clubs come with a standard length shaft. People who are taller than 1.98m or shorter than 1.52m should consider a slightly longer or shorter shaft length.  Getting a club fitted to your height will mean clubs will be more comfortable and easier to use.

Check the Clubs

While checking the clubs may seem like an obvious piece of advice, it is important to know what to look out for when buying used clubs.

Club heads

Club heads should be unworn and undamaged since dents and wear may affect the distance and trajectory of the ball when hit. Check for rust, nicks, and indentations.

  • Steel-headed clubs should be checked for wear on the face of the club. Worn clubs will show a shiny spot right in the middle of the face. Clubs with this type of wear won’t hold the ball well. Grooves mustn’t show too much wear, and should have well-defined edges.
  • Heads made of wood, alloys, and multi-materials (like carbon fiber or titanium crowns) are more vulnerable to aging and wear from use. Dents and areas that have been touched up with paint could be indications of weakness.


Shafts should be in such a condition that they won’t break or bend with normal use. Again, one should check for rust, dents, and nicks.

  • Steel shafts should be straight. Sighting along the shaft will give one an indication whether the shaft is bent.
  • Graphite shafts should not have worn areas or indentations that could cause weaknesses.


Although golf clubs can easily be re-gripped, this should be added to the total cost of the set. Cracks, worn areas, and splits could be indications that the grip will have to be replaced in the near future.

Do the Clubs Match?

If all the clubs in the set are not part of the original batch, it could lead to loft progression that is out of kilter and inconsistency between shots. Club lengths should progress naturally, with no big differences between one club and the next.

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