While some golfers might look to change their clubs annually, it’s generally accepted that most replace clubs every three to six years. In many cases, these clubs are still usable and retain plenty of value. Given the price of new clubs, it’s only natural to consider selling your old set to help offset the cost.

What’s the best way to go about that? Let’s look at two of the most common and convenient options: selling via eBay and trading in.

We’ll use the example of a golfer with a set of 2017 TaylorMade P770 irons in decent condition. After a transformative experience at a recent demo day (we’ve all been there), they want to upgrade to the latest model.

Let’s see the pros and cons of eBay and trading in and which potentially gives the best return.

Option 1: Selling via eBay

When considering selling clubs via eBay, the best first thing you need to do is get a general idea of what your clubs could sell for. The site will give a rough estimate during the listing process but we recommend searching completed listings. This will show you what’s been sold recently and for what price.

Searching Completed Sales

To do this, select the “Sold Items” option on the left side of the page under the “Show Only” filter (you’ll need to scroll down a bit to see it). You can further refine the sale type (Auction and/or Buy It Now). You can also select details such as “set makeup.” For clubs that have the same name across different model years (such as the P770s in our example), you may need to play with the keywords to get the most accurate results.

In this case, searching for “TaylorMade P770 Forged” produced several of the 2017 results we wanted to see.

Creating Quality Listings

Our search returned a wide range of successful sales with 4-PW sets going for between $450 and $700. Differences in salesprices could be due to the shafts or just general condition. Also, timing and listing quality can play a part. If you decide to list, here are a few of the recommendations made by eBay for achieving the best results:

  • Use quality photos.
  • Make a strong title, front-loaded with keywords.
  • Write clear descriptions and accurate specifics.
  • Allow offers.

Sounds straightforward enough, right?

With a decent quality listing, you could expect our example set of 2017 P770s (4-PW) to sell for at least $500 and potentially more. That’s not the end of the story, however, as there are other factors that will impact how much money makes it into your pocket.

Fees and Final Values

Your first consideration is shipping. Free shipping can be a great way to attract buyers but shipping a set of irons can easily cost $20-$30 (even for the cheapest option). To get the most accurate estimate, you’ll need to know the dimensions of the box and weight.

Second, you’ll want to understand the fees that eBay will charge for a sale. The site charges final value fees, payment processing and a number of other fees depending on listing options. For the most accurate estimate, there are eBay fee calculators online.

In general, sellers can expect to pocket around 87 percent of the sale price minus shipping. If our example P770 irons sold for $530 including shipping, our “profit” on the sale will be roughly $460. Keep in mind that eBay invoices their fees on a set day every month. You’ll initially receive the full amount minus payment processing. eBay will charge you the final value fee later.

Option 2: Trading In

While eBay provides easy access to a broad audience, there is no guarantee your clubs will sell. So the most convenient option for upgrading your clubs may be trading in your old set. Many brick-and-mortar stores and online golf retailers offer trade-in services where you can either exchange old clubs for store credit or sell them outright at a set price.

UTrade-In

Global Golf offers store credit trades via their UTrade-In site. Here, golfers can simply select their clubs (or golf tech) and add a few details to receive an instant quote. If you accept the offer, you simply ship the clubs via a provided shipping label and, after the clubs are quality checked and verified, the store credit will be added to your account. Additionally, for trade-ins valued above $99, shipping is free.

Getting a quote only takes about 30 seconds and eliminates the need for the photos and descriptions that eBay requires. The downside of trading in is that what you’ll get is often significantly lower than what you’d get in a private sale on eBay. It’s basically the equivalent of trading your car in at the dealer versus selling it on Craigslist.

For our fictional 2017 P770 irons, Global Golf is offering a base credit of $249.38.

Trade-In Bonuses

On its face, this may seem like a sucker’s play, considering you could get around $500 on eBay. But remember sites like Global Golf (or a partner site) still have to resell these clubs. This includes creating listings and storing them until they are sold. And, of course, if they don’t make money on the deal, it doesn’t make much sense on their end.

To really compare the two offers, you’ll need to keep in mind the eBay fees, shipping and everything else attached to that sale. Trading-in offers maximum convenience but how much that convenience is worth is up to the individual.

Another potential benefit to trading-in is that, while $249.38 is the current base credit offered, Global Golf frequently offers trade-in bonus promotions. As of this writing, the site is offering an additional 50-percent trade-in credit on clubs. That means our P770s will net us $373.50. This gets us a bit closer to our net profit from eBay without any of the listing hassles or having to deal with a slew of bargain hunters asking if you’ll take $150.

Once the clubs are shipped and checked, the store credit is applied. Then, you’re ready to find the right set of 2020 P770s from Global Golf. Picking up a used set might be the fastest way to get new-to-you clubs, given the more than six-week lead time on new clubs right now.

CHECK TRADE IN VALUES

The Decision Is Yours

When you’re ready to upgrade your clubs, you’ve got options for turning your old ones into cash. The key consideration will likely be whether you want the maximum dollar value or if expediency and convenience are more important.

Private sales via eBay or even places such as Facebook Marketplace or the MGS Forum Buy-Sell-Trade channel will typically fetch the highest price but they also take the most work and success isn’t a given. On the other hand, trading in your clubs via resellers like Global Golf may bring in fewer dollars but with significantly less hassle—and the sale is guaranteed.

The best option varies by the individual golfer and situation. Both are viable if you are looking to help fund some new sticks. Your garage has only so much space for clubs so why not get them back out into the wild for another golfer to enjoy?