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.
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.
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.
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?
*We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.
Gerry T2 months ago
I’m now at the opposite end of the spectrum. I am looking a moving back to the F9 irons in all graphite shafts. I want to keep as much of my Speedzones as I can. Has anyone moved back to the previous set of because of the more traditional lofts from the F9 irons.? How did that go?
mark1 year ago
I’ve used Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to sell and purchase golf equipment. If you are selling you can see what you would be given for a trade on-line. If you’re interested on what they might sell for, check 2nd Swing (online) on similar clubs. Make sure you clean the faces/grips and take good photos, which can aid in the sale.
Ron A1 year ago
What I don’t get is there is no mention of actually upgrading your existing clubs. I had a set of Mizunos MP-32s up until last year. Had them reshafted twice as a result of data from a fitting. Had a Titleist 915 driver reshafted several times as my swing changed. The club head rarely goes bad and the distance increase in yardage between old and new every year over year is minimal but a good fitter can improve your driver with a $200 shaft. I just bought new but this will be a set I use for years to come but I am sure the shafts will change.
bettzke1 year ago
Are “new condition” clubs sold on Global Golf actually new clubs from the manufacturer? Or are they knockoffs? Why aren’t new hybrids sold with a headcover?
Mike1 year ago
From a reputable place such as that, I would absolutely bet they’re new. As to why no head covers, never really understood that since every new club came with a head cover. Sometimes companies & eBay sellers want to sell the head cover separately but that seems like such a trivial thing.
RT1 year ago
This is a touchy subject for me. I pay $1300 for a set of Tour irons new 3-pw 2013 I don’t play that much and they are in better than avg condition with new grips . The problem is the pga value guide has their worth at $76 and change.
I would rather quit golf before I give them away at such a stupid offer. Yet they would ask $370 + – retail.. What a mark up !!!! I found it’s more profitable to sell them my self at the local Golf course with a small percentage to the course.. I guess I will give them to a grandson and watch him grow into golf.. Golf is a sport that has expanded well past RICH . But it’s our society now Rich ain’t nothing you must be RICHER !!!!!! Pricing is killing golf. for the avg. person…Is Eliteism back ??????
Mike1 year ago
I feel your pain but why would you buy $1,300 irons & not play them? You should have sold traded them in once they became your “second set”. You’d make out much better selling them On eBay. But you do have to consider that the likely market for 8-year-old used tour level clubs is probably very small. But, all it takes is one interested buyer!
I do disagree with you that golf is way past “rich”. Although club prices are high now due to pandemic-triggered interest in the game, you can still buy great clubs for much less than the OEMs are asking for. You just have to know where to look. Especially for beginners and/or high handicappers, that place probably isn’t a big box store & it definitely ain’t club champion.
Francis1 year ago
I second this thought.
As soon as I buy a new club or set of clubs to replace my gamers, the gamer is immediately listed on eBay. That’s because the longer they sit there, the less valuable they become. And my gamer is usually a pretty recent model.
As far as my backup set goes, they’re older clubs that I’m comfortable with but they wouldn’t fetch a high price on the market. In other words, what’s in the backup set are clubs that won’t sell online.
A1 year ago
Sir, this is a Wendys
Mike W1 year ago
I’ve bought and sold a few clubs and driver heads on eBay in the past few years without any issues. I was a little nervous this past spring.when I sold my irons. I got a great price, and the 87% number in the article is pretty close. The price was so good, it financed about 2/3’s of my new irons! I wouldn’t rule out ever trading something in. The lower amount you get is the price of the convenience. There’s something to be said for that.
GC1 year ago
One thing not mentioned is left handed clubs. You take a massive hit no matter what platform you try to sell on. A lot of the time it is just easier to just trade them in because sometimes they don’t specify right or left hand and you get the right hand trade value.
I too am done with ebay as their policies are not fair towards the seller. I have only had one issue when selling and it was essentially something someone did not want (was not even a golf club). Fortunately ebay sided with me, but I see so many stories of them siding with the buyer even when it is unreasonable. I mainly sell on golf message boards/facebook if I don’t just trade in.
Jay1 year ago
Yes, I’m pretty much done with eBay as my source for selling clubs, for many, and all, of the aforementioned reasons mentioned above — with just too many variables and unsavory consumers, who reneged on their purchases, or tried to return an item that was not my originally sold one. Argh! That, along with the change from paypal services, and further, the upwardly increased fees, and the shipping process that was becoming more and more of a hassle. I mean, how greedy does eBay have to be? They’re generating billions and they want more? Gees.
The worst are the buyers who tried to scam me, both successfully and unsuccessfully. Even when you win your case, it doesn’t feel like a win. It still feels like a loss and it feels quite personal. Oh, they are a miserable and loathsome lot, including the ones I purchased products from, who never shipped the item – that process is equally nerve wracking. You win, but it doesn’t feel like a win. It just feels like an assault.
The online trade-in programs are much less risky, a much simpler process and certainly less work entirely. I identify the club in the easy pull down menus, rate them, print out the shipping slip, box them, drop them off, and await their confirmation. So far, I’ve been completely satisfied with each trade in. I will find the clubs or products that I’m looking to purchase, and search for not just best trade-in values, but also to see if they have other incentives (which are frequent enough), such as higher trade-in when purchasing directly from that company, or some % increase on club trade-in values during that month. It’s frequently a pretty good deal if I’m buying a used club from the same company.
There are also a few brick and mortar shops that will give me a somewhat fair value for my trade-ins where I can actually hold the either new or used products in hand, before I trade them in – instant gratification for a golfaholic. I recognize that they may not give me the highest value, but that’s the cost of having it all take place in real time. I just did that last week. I went through my vast stock of no longer used wedges, hybrids and a couple drivers, and ended up with nearly $250 worth of trade in value. The store gave me a premium trade in value as score credit, versus a cash layout (most online programs do the same). That credit was immediately applied towards a practically new “DEMO” wedge, a slightly used 3 wood from last season and a new pair of golf shoes — all things I was looking to get even before I thought of the trade in. Both clubs were sitting in their used clubs rack, so it was an easy choice, since I was looking to purchase them new. Boom…done. Off to the course. Smiles inside and out.
No, I don’t look to make money on my used equipment. I bought the club or clubs with the intent to play them, not resell them, even if my clubs look barely used after a couple seasons. I got what I wanted out of them, and just feel good that I can get something for them when I am looking for new clubs.
The only reason I still use eBay is when I have old vintage clubs, like hickory shafted clubs that I’ve restored, but the people who are buying those generally aren’t trying to pull some scam, and they are simply pleased to receive them in good restored condition.
Now, back to those online con-artists — through time immemorial, they have been a plague, a scourge, the devil incarnate, on this planet, and they know no limit to their evil-doings, and I don’t know if that will ever change. I have no idea what the Creator had in mind for these demons, other than teaching us lessons in humility and patience. Still, I believe there is a very special place in – shall we say – “the afterlife” for those people. I will never understand that kind of person, nor do I want to, but I simply hope there is a balance in this universe that keeps a tab on their, as well as our, behavior while we are incarnates. I do believe in forgiveness, but as in golf, a penalty should incur, and the more flagrant the violation, the greater the penalty, including disqualification for the round or from all future events. Yeah, you think I may have been burned a few times?
Ray1 year ago
I have sold 5 sets of irons on Ebay. and got much more than I would have on trade in. One key is to put them on as soon as you get your new ones. The more clubs age the less they are worth. I never do bidding, I set the price a little high as a buy now because I take care of my clubs and they always sell even if it take a few months. In some cases when I bought the clubs used I almost got my money back in full after using them a few years .
Tim1 year ago
Nice fluff affiliate piece for GG, golfstix (2nd swing) usually pays out more.
indyvic1 year ago
I’ve been trading/upgrading clubs for years but never sold on Ebay but have bought many from their site. I have had to trade out more than average the past few years as injuries and age have taken a toll. From my experience I don’t use PGA values they seldom were useful at all. My best trade/sell numbers are from IGolf and Callaway pre-owned. Both sites are professional and seldom has any site offered more than IGolf if you are selling. Trading in is best in my experience, with Callaway Preowned and they also sell none Callaway clubs. I am able to trade for 1-4 year old clubs this way keeping up with newer technology. Buying and selling new clubs is as bad or worse than buying a new car and trading it in a couple of years later you’ll get hammered. The key is as I have found, find a couple sites that you can trust. Again when I sell clubs it’s IGolf for highest value and when I buy/trade in clubs it’s usually Callaway Pre owned. Recently from Callaway pre owned I got a new Mavrik driver for $204. in plastic with headcover and two Big Bertha hybrids with free shipping. Seldom have I had any issues but Callaway has superior service and will make things right, right away..
Evan1 year ago
Careful selling used Titleist clubs. Titleist fanboys get their panties in a bunch by the most bizarre made up things. I think they’re the ones who were fed noodles and butter by their moms until they were 18 or older.
Peter1 year ago
Replace your clubs after 3-6years? I got enough grief from the Office of Management and Budget for just replacing the grips after 3 years!
Gerry T1 year ago
I’ve sold golf clubs on Kijiji which here in Canada is a free version of eBay. Often you end up selling your clubs at a fraction of their value. Sometimes you get your asking value…other times you take a sale at a reduced cost. If I am looking for an individual iron or a few irons that are tough to sell because they’re not a full set, already having a set puts me in the drivers seat.
Would I post again on Kijiji. It’s not worth the effort of trying to get my asking price. Is it a good option for used irons at bargain prices? It can be if I do my homework. Very well done, and remember that even posting for free doesn’t mean you’ll get your asking price. After my recent experience with Golf Town and trading up to an amazing set of graphite Speedzone 5-GW, I wouldn’t go any other way but trading to get the clubs I really want!
Tom1 year ago
The article does a great job of summarizing the available options for “subsidizing” my new club purchases. Although the eBay fees plus shipping costs are hefty, I still find it the most profitable way to dispose of my gently used “old” gamers versus trade-in. I will sometimes go the trade-in route for less expensive items, e.g. sand wedges, etc. or a brand that does not seem to hold as much resale value as say Ping or Titleist.
Nate1 year ago
The other element not considered in the eBay equation is the fact that eBay has started collecting taxes for many states, which can add to the headache of trying to sell something. You’ll list it, have a winning bidder, and when they go to pay they’re surprised to see sales tax added and refuse to pay. Sure, you can report them as a non-paying bidder, and try to do a “last chance offer” to the next highest bidder, but a) those are usually for substantially lower amount, b) require more work and waiting to sell your club and c) usually don’t work anyway.
The bottom line in all of this is that it’s a personal value equation for speed and convenience. If you’re not in a hurry and don’t care about doing some work, sell on eBay or other platforms. If you’re in a hurry or place a high dollar value on your time, trade them in and be done with it.
Charles1 year ago
When I got my new clubs my wife asked me if I was going to sell my old ones.
Oh man, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard before.
Dave Sonius1 year ago
I always sell, almost exclusively via eBay. I keep my clubs in excellent condition and don’t oversell the condition or quality. Over the past two years, my take was considerably more than double the trade in values.
Mike1 year ago
My sentiments exactly. You always take a chance of an idiot buyer on eBay but that’s life. And selling on eBay has become less attractive due to higher fees and much higher shipping costs (which can make things look less attractive.). I did trade in my driver earlier this year, got 75% of what I’d get selling it but it had a noticeable smudge on the crown that would have noticeably dropped its value on eBay (the store didn’t care about that).
Mike1 year ago
Pretty solid information in the article. Over the past 12 years I’ve sold 100 clubs on eBay for every 1 I’ve traded in. But I had to learn the intricacies of eBay before I became proficient. I understand that taking the time to do that may not be worth it for some folks.
These days, pre-owned clubs fetch great prices on eBay, I recently sold 2 clubs for more than what I paid for them a year ago. But I’m pretty meticulous in terms of my descriptions & the pictures I show. I don’t ‘low ball” my prices just to make a sale but I don’t make them stupid-high either.
What’s hurting me (& probably others on eBay) are the highly increased shipping costs, especially USPS. There’s only so much cost I feel I can pass on to the customer, so on occasion when I’ve sold higher price clubs to folks on the other side of the country, I’ve probably ended up eating a few bucks worth of shipping. But it still worth it in the end.
Kyle1 year ago
Chris if you are having that many issues than you are the bad seller. There is a certain time frame (30 days) that items can be returned typically. If you have legit pics and a good description, eBay will back you. Maybe look at how you are selling….
Chris1 year ago
I have been selling on eBay for nearly 20 years with a bunch of success, the last few years have gotten bad.. I no longer sell anything of value over $100 that I’m not willing to lose. Buyers have 30 days to request the return for “item not as described” and 15 business days (3 weeks) to ship the return. Covid extended this even longer. eBay will almost always side with the buyer regards of how BS the claim is. I have saved messages between myself and the buyer with information contradicting what he told eBay yet they sided with him. I had another customer return a set of severely beat up irons of the same model but with different shafts and serial numbers. Which I was forced to accept and credit him even after offering proof to eBay that he was in the wrong. PayPal disputes go up to 180 days from transaction and go separate from eBay cases. Bottom line the time and effort to resolve the problems isn’t worth it to me and the few bad deals I’ve had in the past 2 years have soured my opinion on the platform. I’m glad you experience recently has been better than mine.
Chris1 year ago
The buyer protections with eBay make it very difficult for a once in a while seller to consistently make decent profit. google “eBay item received not as described” these cases are settled 99.999999% of the time for the buyer and the seller is SOL. I’ve been bit by this several times where buyers basically used my clubs for several months for basically free, returning them and I ended up eating shipping both ways, other fees, and receiving negative feedback. PayPal disputes are another animal all together. Cash in person or trade in are by far the safest way to get your money quick and for good.
Francis1 year ago
This is a good point worth mentioning.
I’ve been burned by this — thankfully only once — when the buyer alleged that there were visible wear marks on the club which I didn’t disclose and obviously I don’t have the club in front of me at the time to object. Was forced to give refund and pay for shipping.
Upon receiving it back it was complete BS. I checked the club up and down and it was mint. I guess the buyer just decided to go in another direction.
Charles1 year ago
Return policy details
Seller does not offer returns.
I do this all the time and if there is an issue I ask the buyer to refer to it.
This doesn’t mean I won’t take a return but the buyer needs to give me a solid reason.
TR1PTIK1 year ago
The problem with what you suggest is that eBay offers guarantees to buyers that circumvent the seller. I don’t offer returns on any of the items I sell on eBay since I only do it once in a while, but got burned by eBay because the buyer claimed the item wasn’t as described. I wound up having to pay more than what the item is worth in shipping and fees. It’s not simply up to you and the buyer, eBay has a say too which has pretty much ruined the site for me in terms of selling anything.
LJ1 year ago
Callaway’s trade in trade up program the best. And if you are patient and buy the previous years models on their preowned site, you can get off the shelf new clubs (albeit last years model) and a fraction of the original MSRP, and get a fair trade for your old set whereas the outlay for completely unused, “new” irons is quite manageable, if not a steal.
Francis1 year ago
Another point against the trade-in route that the article failed to mention is that with the trade in (even if you get a bonus) you get store credit that you can only spend at Global Golf (or another outfit you used). What if you want to buy a new set of clubs elsewhere? Or maybe you don’t want another set of clubs and you just want cash in your pocket?
That’s a really huge negative with option 2.
BenS1 year ago
Trading in you’ll always lose a ton of money. If you got a steel on off the rack clubs maybe. But if you were fitted at a higher end fitter then you’ve got expensive shafts and components. You’ll get raped on a trade in. Always sell them or keep them. Many times it’s nice to have a back up bag for guests or family taking up the game. That is worth far more to me than 200 bucks for a set 4 years old that cost 3,000 dollars having sentimental value on holes in one or eagles made or memories made. Allowing to pass the game onto others.
Marty1 year ago
My problem with Ebay is that they’ve stopped using Paypal and now want to directly access your bank account and, from what I’ve been able to get from Ebay, do not offer the fraud guarantees that Paypal does. As someone who has been burned by credit card fraud, it’s hard for me to give someone access to my bank account.
Joe Bales1 year ago
When selling used clubs, I’ve found the PGA Value Guide to be the best resource. Here you can see both the trade-in value and the “retail value” of a comparable set. If you’re selling on sites like e-Bay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, this is a great way to determine your fair price and evaluate your options. Personally I prefer selling and have found that listing my clubs at 15-20% below the expected retail price usually gets me a quick sale.. Having sold over $1000 in used clubs this past year, the longest it took to make a sale was 10 days.
Chris1 year ago
just a FYI…..Global Golf (Global Value Commerce) is the company that creates and manages the “PGA Value Guide”. Its a great place to do research on where to price stuff but not exactly the KBB that people believe it may be.
indyvic1 year ago
That is correct in my experience also.
David B1 year ago
Very accurate article. I’ve done both and the results are about as you described them
downtoo1 year ago
Completely agree with the comment and the article.. When using eBay you’ll need to ask yourself “if the juice is worth the squeeze.”.
John T1 year ago
I am facing this decision and appreciate the honesty and assistance.
Golfjim1 year ago
Well written! I’ve sold many golf clubs on eBay, and ALWAYS gotten more than I would have gotten trading them in for new clubs with an online or brick-n-mortar retailer. Keeping covers on your clubs, so they show little sign of wear when you’re ready to sell them, taking lots of pictures for your eBay ad, and including as many details as possible will get you the best price for your used clubs.