Old Man Golf - Buying a Used Hybrid Club
One day I was addressing the ball...
when an announcement came over the loud-speaker:
"Will the gentleman on hole number one please not hit from the Ladies' tee box."
So I backed up, a little distracted, then approaches my ball again. Just then, the same announcement comes over the loud-speaker: "Will the gentleman on hole number one please not hit from the Ladies' tee box."
I was getting a little irritated now, and after backing away from my shot, I approached the ball one more time. This time the announcement came: "We really need the gentleman on hole number one to move off of the Ladies' tee box!"
So I turned around and yelled: "And I really need the announcer to shut up and let me play my second shot!"
Who Needs a Hybrid?
As I have worked my way through this Old Man Golf strategy, I have learned the importance of setting aside your ego and using whatever club you are most comfortable with off the tee. As long as you can hit that club straight 150 yards or so, you can most likely reach the green in regulation. It is so much easier to play from the fairway than the rough, and the embarrassment of not hitting your big fancy driver off the tee, is far less than the embarrassment of looking for your ball in the woods, while the rest of your foursome waits on you.
I have also learned to play the correct tees. I have totally stopped caring that the young guys I play with want to hit from the blacks, and enjoy the ride up to my tee box. And I revel in the fact that often, even when they do manage to hit the fairway with their driver, by teeing up 40 yards closer to the hole, I can almost always put my four iron near their best shots. Then I'm whistling on the cart ride all the way to the center of the fairway.
My four iron is the longest, most comfortable, straightest club in my bag. I have a three iron that I can hit a few yards further, but not as consistently. Now way back when I bought this set of clubs, a full set of irons consisted of a three through a pitching wedge, and if you were lucky, there might be a sand wedge. You would have a putter and a driver, and a couple of fairway woods that you may never pull out, but they looked good in the bag. Hybrid clubs were not invented yet, and gap wedges were for the pros. When I set out to improve my game, I intended to do so with the clubs that I owned. My theory was that until I learned to hit what I had, why spend money on the latest and greatest?
Maybe I Do?
But a few weeks ago, my grown daughter came for a visit. I had been telling her about my quest to lower my golf scores and so she brought her clubs along so we could spend a little daddy/daughter time on the range. I bought her clubs about ten years ago, and while we were at the range, I realized her clubs came with a five hybrid. I had never hit a hybrid club, so I thought I'd give it a try, and lo and behold! Even though it was a little too short for me, I was able to hit it straight and seemingly just as far as my four iron! Well, it did get me thinking. Even though I was dedicated to not spending any money of new clubs, I could see how a more forgiving, longer flying club just might come in handy.
Finding the Best Club for the Money
Being the cheap man that I am, I started doing my research into hybrids and how to get one as cheaply as possible. After all, I wasn't sure I could really use it, and why spend big money to try it? On the other hand, I am not the kind of man that will buy something just because it's cheap, and am more likely to spend more money for a quality product. My initial research revealed that I could purchase a new three hybrid for anywhere between $50 and $299. The cheap clubs looked and felt too cheap, and the expensive ones looked and felt, well, too expensive. I was considering a middle ground club ($120) when a friend suggested I look for a used club. I have to say that I had not considered this since I tried to buy a sand wedge off of eBay and the seller sent me a three iron, because he apparently didn't know the difference. But my friend suggested I check out the websites that specialize in used golf equipment. I had seen a few ads for these sites, but had never considered checking them out.
As it turns out, there are several really big used club suppliers out there. This may come as a shock to some of you, but apparently some people buy new clubs all the time, and trade their year old clubs in. I say “some,” but it's more like “a lot.” There were tens of thousands of three hybrids that were graded by condition and wear. They ranged in price from $30 to $200. After searching four different sites for a week or two, I finally settled on a Taylormade Aeroburner. It was probably three or four years old, but the condition was listed at “very good” on the Global Golf website, and it was only $60 and some change delivered, so what the heck? I bought it.
Buying a Pig in a Poke?
Let me say that the sites were pretty much all the same, other than a couple of them took pictures of the actual club, while others, including Global Golf used stock pictures. In some ways, I felt like I was buying a pig in a poke, but was very impressed with the communication and the speed of the promised delivery. Sure enough, the club came on the first day of the delivery window, in a nice box with the club well protected from the rigors of the US mail system. And I must say, it is a beauty. The condition was above what I expected, even from a very good rating. The person that owned the club before me obviously knew how to hit it, because all the wear was in the “sweet spot” and hardly any nicks or scratches anywhere else. My experience? A+.
But the question still remains, will this investment help bring my scores down? Will I be able to actually hit it as far and as straight as my four iron? And in breaking my “no buy” commitment, open the flood gates to more purchases? I'll be heading to the driving range in the next few days and we shall see, so stay tuned!
See you (hopefully) in the fairway!