When buying golf equipment online many people think of eBay (particularly for used clubs) and the ‘major’ online golf stores. However, there are many more options available for buying golf clubs online.
Yes, there’s eBay, and it really can’t be beaten for online auctions. eBay is unmatched for choice and volume. However, it’s possible to get stung on eBay if you’re not careful (see the tips section below). Here are some other auction sites you might want to try:
o Online Auction (US) – I found about 200 golf items available for auction here. Mainly golf balls, gloves and other bits and pieces…..not much in the way of clubs. May be worth a look
o Golfbidder (UK/Europe) – mainly sell secondhand golf clubs, sourced from golf club professionals from around the UK (a small % are sourced directly from the public). While most clubs are sold as ‘Instant Buys’, some are auctioned. There are usually 30-odd items being auctioned at any one time and you may be able to pick-up a good deal
o Grays Online (Australia) – sellers on this site are mainly manufacturers, distributors or retailers trying to move excess or slow moving stock……not consumer to consumer auctions. Not necessarily a bad thing as this reduces some of the risk, but it also reduces the range. While there were only about 40 golf items for auction when I last looked, there were some good deals. Worth a look
I would generally avoid buying new golf equipment through online auctions. While you can take some precautions, it’s difficult to know whether you’re getting the genuine item or just a knock-off. Large, recognized eBay sellers are probably an exception.
MAJOR ONLINE STORES
There are quite a few well established online golf stores that stock a huge range of equipment and have a lot invested in their brand. Some are better than others, but you shouldn’t get any surprises and you should expect quality service, prompt delivery, a refund policy and plenty of information for buyers (eg buying guides). Some of the better ones include:
o The Golf Warehouse
o Callaway Golf
o Rockbottom Golf
o Golf Outlets USA
o Golf Discount
o Austad’s Golf
o Golf Galaxy
o Snainton Golf
o Online Golf
ONLINE GOLF FORUMS
Some great online golf communities have formed over the past few years and you can now choose from literally dozens of online golf forums to be part of. Some of the larger ones have an area for buying, selling and trading golf equipment.
Because golf forums are small(ish) communities of people with a shared interest, it’s a pretty supportive and safe environment in which to buy and sell equipment. If you’re not sure whether a seller of golf club is genuine, you can simply ask other forum members.
There’s a lot of combined knowledge in these forums, so the bad apples get found out quickly.
I reckon these are the best and they have a very active buy/sell/trade area:
o Golf WRX – approx. 79,000 members (primarily US)
o Golf Magic – approx. 77,000 members (primarily UK/Europe)
o iseekgolf – approx. 75,000 members (primarily Australia)
USED GOLF EQUIPMENT STORES
Stores that sell used equipment are a very good alternative to eBay, classifieds and other online auction sites. The larger used online stores will often have: (1) a used club inspection and certification process, (2) no questions asked returns policy, (3) 12 month warrantee; and (4) shipping damage guarantee.
While many of the big online golf stores sell used golf equipment as well as new, there are a few online stores that sell only used:
o Callaway Pre-Owned – sell other brands too, eg Nike, Titleist, Ping, TaylorMade. Offer 12 month warranty, money back guarantee and 90-day buy-back
o TaylorMade Pre-Owned -14 day money back guarantee and 12 month warrantee
o Golfbidder (UK) -7 day ‘no quibble’ returns policy, 12 month warrantee and some good buyer’s guides to help you choose the right clubs
USED & NEW
o Golfsmith – 30 day returns policy. No warrantee – they defer to the manufacturer’s warrantee (which has probably expired!)
o Edwin Watts Golf – 30 day returns policy. No warrantee – they defer to the manufacturer’s warrantee
o Direct Golf (UK) – used clubs sourced from trade-ins at Direct Golf stores. 14 day money back guarantee. No warrantee
The Amazon marketplace is big……..very big. And there’s a good range of new and used golf gear here.
Amazon’s marketplace is a bit like eBay in that sellers (big and small) register with Amazon to sell their new or used golf equipment. The difference is that the items aren’t auctioned, they’re sold at the advertised price. It’s also a bit less risky with Amazon’s purchase guarantee – they’ll refund your money if you don’t receive the item you paid for, or if it’s not what you expected.
Amazon also offers a free subscription to Golf Digest or Golf World if you spend more the US$25 (US only).
Check out Amazon Golf.
EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER SITES
There’s really only one top club manufacturer selling online, and that’s Callaway. The others, such as Titleist, Ping, Nike, etc obviously have websites to market their gear, but generally sell clubs through retail stores.
A few manufacturers (listed below), while not selling equipment online, provide information and tools that would be helpful to online buyers:
o Titleist – Titleist provides really comprehensive description of their products (incl. Vokey wedges and Scotty Cameron putters), as well as a catalogue of their previous models. There’s also some information on spotting fake Titleist gear
o Ping – the Ping site has an online club fitting tool that would be useful if planning to buy Ping equipment online elsewhere. Ping also has some information about spotting fake gear
o Odyssey – here you can find a pretty good online tool to find the right putter. You can buy Odyssey putters from the Callaway website
o Callaway – can buy equipment direct from Callaway at their online shop
Online classified sites are another option, mostly for used golf clubs. The local classified paper has moved online, so it’s very likely that you’ll find a classifieds website for your local area. While you may not find the biggest range of golf clubs, if the seller is close by you can drive over to check the clubs out.
Craigslist hosts classified ads that service the entire globe, so you should also have a look here. It’s the 8th most popular website in the US, with around 50 million unique visitors per month!