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Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500



You have a golf trip planned in two weeks. One day after work, you head to your car to hit the range and get some grinding in for the trip. As you walk to your car you notice your car has been broken into and your clubs are gone. Not good. You need new clubs for the trip but aren’t in a position to shell out the $2,000-$3,000 for a brand new set. What are your options? I recommend hitting the used market.

Every year, thousands of used golf clubs go on the market. Some of the clubs had a rough life and some have barely been hit. As an exercise to see what you can get for your dollar, I browsed one of the web’s largest used golf equipment sites ( with a budget of $500 for a full set of clubs in my specs. What I found was really interesting.

Rules: 14 clubs for under $500 shipped. As close to my specs as possible.


Since I play a low loft driver with a low launch, low spin shaft, I knew I was in for a challenge with finding a driver. Once I took a minute to search, I found this beauty of a driver. I remember hitting the Ping G10 back in the day, and it was one of the most forgiving drivers at the time. Plus, it was very close to my specs at standard length, 7.5 degrees, and a mid-launch Grafalloy shaft.


While searching for a 3-wood, I had two things in mind, I needed a X-stiff shaft, and I needed it to be heavy. After about five minutes, I found this great Titleist 913 with a heavier X-stiff shaft. Normally I play a 13-degree 3-wood, and this 3-wood would allow me to loft it down to get the desired flight. Really a solid deal for $50.


In an ideal world, I’d be hitting a 2-iron or a driving iron here. The problem is that driving irons can sell for $100-plus fairly easily, so that was out of budget. After searching, I found a nice 17-degree hybrid from Ping with an X-stiff shaft. The shaft is a little lighter than I would like, but it is not a bad pick up for 80 bucks.


I knew I would want to spend the majority of my money on some solid irons. After searching, with the parameters being a 3-PW set with X100 shafts, I found this great Titleist combo set. I current play a MB/CB combo from another company, so this set fits well with what I am looking for if I was to replace my current set. All of this for $200.


Wedge shopping was hard because I needed a lob wedge with good grooves and a gap wedge that wasn’t trash. I got really lucky with the Ping lob wedge. It is in very good condition which is really what matters for the grooves since I will be using it greenside. Since it is blue dot, I can get it sent to ping to be adjusted for my specs. For the gap wedge, I picked up a heavily used 52-degree. Ideally, I would have more money for a slightly better grooved GW.


Can’t go wrong with a White Hot in my preferred length. Not much more to say.



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Trey is a former D1 golf recruit and the owner of College Golf Mentors, a consulting business helping kids achieve their dreams of playing golf in college. When not golfing, Trey is either paying the bills with his advertising job or powerlifting.



  1. Duncan Cheslett

    Dec 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    This guy went one better.

    A set of clubs for £25 ($30)

  2. Big White Eggplant

    Dec 20, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    The guy talking about the Wal Mart set is trolling. Don’t take the bait. It would have been a better experiment if the clubs had to be made in the 1999s.

  3. ChipNRun

    Dec 20, 2018 at 12:27 am

     It’s hard to play this game with the limited graphics of this Comment box. I assembled a set for $632 – including a bag which is a handy way to carry clubs. The specs were for someone who wanted basically S-flex, right-handed clubs.

    I can’t paste the JPEG summary grid for the set with Comment box limitations. Here is line-item report:
    * Titleist 909D3 Driver 10.5°/ $49
    * Tour Edge Exotics EX9 4W 16.5° / $51.99
    * Tour Edge Exotics EX9 3H Hybrid 19° / $51.99
    * Titleist CB 714 Forged Irons 4-PW / $244.99
    * Edel TRP Trapper 50* & 55* & 60* Wedges / $99
    * Ping ANSER 2 Putter / $49.00
    * GoPlus Blue 4-Divider Stand Bag / $45.99

    (Shipping costs, when not free, totaled $41.00

  4. Rick

    Dec 17, 2018 at 1:03 am

    I can afford a better driver if I spend less on those Hybrid and fairway 3 wood. Maybe enough for a Golf balls, tees and shoes… don’t forget lunch!

  5. Loc

    Dec 15, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Don’t you need a bag to carry these, lol!

  6. Kirk

    Dec 15, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Very easy to build a great bag for cheap, golf clubs drop off quickly once you move away from current year….after owning all current stuff last 5 or yrs now my gamer bag is all 3 yr or older clubs…(do have new stuff but not played consistently) and there is no loss anywhere in performance….can buy brand new set of Hopkins cb irons for $199, new gear is nice to have but extremely highly over rated usually by those who have inconsistent games….anything within last 10 yrs is sufficient if you have anything that resembles a decent swing….

  7. bj

    Dec 14, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    905R 8.5
    Vsteel 16.5
    Adams boxer 20*
    R9TP irons 4-pw
    TM Y Cutter wedges 50,54,58
    cameron futura or odyssey 2ball 33″

  8. Maxflier

    Dec 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    “Bargain” condition clubs can be pretty rough sometimes…

    • shawn

      Dec 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      … particularly the chipped and scarred graphite shafts on the driver and fairways. Be prepared for a clubhead flying off the shaft or snapping the shaft at the hosel. Never a s s ume the graphite shafts are secure and solid. Caveat emptor…

    • Shallowface

      Jan 14, 2019 at 9:55 am

      Agree completely. $500 is a lot of money if one ends up with a bag full of junk. When I read something like this I come to the conclusion that it’s no wonder so many people are broke if this is any example of the decision making process they use in making purchases.

  9. Jagbor

    Dec 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    OR you could just go to a reputable custom clubmaker,like me, and I can build a set that is actually fitted to your game/swing etc. All the shafts would be the same instead of a mixed bag of…… Anyways…a bit ridiculous in my opinion…sorry

  10. Dave r

    Dec 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Hey Ogo are you the Smiz in cogneto . Relax buddy

    • ogo

      Dec 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Who is “Smiz”? … in congeto[sic] …. lol

      • Dave r

        Dec 14, 2018 at 7:35 pm

        Sorry ment to say incognito the Smiz sometimes went postal on here (lol) also

  11. Scott

    Dec 14, 2018 at 11:31 am

    You need better car / home insurance. You should be able to get your set replaced with a $250 or $500 deductible instead of sorting though a rummage bin.

    • SkiBum

      Dec 14, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      It’s a hypothetical, it’s not about car insurance. And the clubs he acquired are hardly “rummage bin” quality. Hey, it’s everyone’s choice. If people want to open your wallet and overpay for new release, they’ll add 10 yards, overhyped clubs, have at it. The club makers are hoping people will fall for the hype. But as Trey showed, with a little searching on the internet, you can put together a whole set for about the same as that new driver.

      Hell, if that Q school guy could shoot 63 and qualify for the tour using a made up set after his clubs were stolen, it helps to prove the old saying, “it ain’t the wand-it’s the wizard wielding it”

      • James

        Dec 15, 2018 at 8:04 pm

        If your insurance covered replacement clubs would you buy the same clubs you already have?

    • Speedy

      Dec 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm


      • Gerald Teigrob

        Dec 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm

        I would stay away from Ping myself and I was able to get some demo Cobra irons from my golf course as an employee for trading in my own clubs – Adams Redlines and Adams A7 irons. So I ended up with better clubs (Bio Cells and Baffler XLs) than I came in with.

  12. Sydney

    Dec 14, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I think you can do better than “bargain” condition…. unless you are brand new to the game, why buy woods with sky marks and irons with worn grooves?

  13. joro

    Dec 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Newer is not alway better, just more expensive.

  14. golfer

    Dec 14, 2018 at 10:55 am


  15. fanboy

    Dec 14, 2018 at 9:46 am

    had to do this in college after a mishap with clubs. Put together a bag built around some nice used ping irons and hand me downs from teammates for less than 400$ and used it in competition.

  16. James

    Dec 14, 2018 at 9:43 am

    I’m thinking the author got a skewed deal on his clubs… usually clubs that are senior flex, EXTRA STIFF FLEX and left-handed are significantly less expensive to buy used. I’d like to see a similar set-up with Stiff shafts. Bet we’re talking around $800 now.

  17. Cyril Zupan

    Dec 14, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Good work….
    Nothing wrong with those setups!
    Lots of good shots left in those sticks!

    • shawn

      Dec 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Not for a 15 y.o. boy who is just starting the game! Get him new clubs from Walmart and he will be happy.

      • Dad

        Dec 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm

        Shut the hell up Shawn. Literally no one wants to read your shit comments.

  18. Rob Ever

    Dec 14, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Everything in my bag is used. My bag is used. I don’t buy much from shops like 3balls as their trade in prices are low and their resale prices are high. Find a local shop that deals in used clubs and you’ll walk out with a full set of clubs and a bag too!

    • ogo

      Dec 14, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Obviously you are not a WRX forum gearhead who looooves his exotic golf clubs… all made in China even though they are branded with a USA or Japanese company.

  19. Simms

    Dec 14, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Whats really sad is to take that same idea and look at the trade in value places sale used clubs offer verse what they sell them back for…that $500 comes at about $250 or less in trade in value…..if you have any time at all Ebay will save you the most…

  20. Aristotle

    Dec 13, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    “I recommend hitting the used market.”


  21. Tommy

    Dec 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    A few months ago I took on the challenge to put together the best set I could for a friend’s 15 year old son who is taking up the game. Here is what I was able to purchase, mostly on eBay (including from some larger resale companies). All of the purchased clubs are in excellent 9/10 condition and the driver and 3 wood were virtually new. Here is what I was able to put together for $290

    TM Burner Superfast 2.0
    Cobra Bio-Cell 3-4 FW
    Adams 9031 Pro Black Hybrids- 20*, 23*
    Taylormade R7 Irons 4-9, SW
    Cleveland CG10 PW- 46*, 54*
    Cleveland 588 Black -60*
    Ping Karsten Anser 2
    New SuperStroke TX-1 Grips
    Titleist Stand Bag
    Includes all headcovers, etc

  22. Robert S. Sewell

    Dec 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    What about a bag?

  23. ogo

    Dec 13, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Why is the Odyssey putter $65 while the full set of Ti tleist 3-PW irons only $200 ?!! You can buy a brand new $25 Walmart zinc die cast knockoff that will do the job equally well… unless you are ashamed and need a used status putter for your fragile ego!!!

    • ogo

      Dec 13, 2018 at 6:12 pm


    • RJ

      Dec 14, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Hey OGO – Are you sponsored by Nitro Blasters Golf from Walmart?
      Shopping for golf clubs st Walmart is like saying a Yugo is the same as a Corvette.

      • ogo

        Dec 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

        … and you are obviously a gearhead who has impeccable taste and solid opinions on overpriced OEM clubs…. from Japan.

      • ogo

        Dec 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm

        I bet you looove to shop for new golf clubs on a weekly basis at yer local big box golf store… and you know all the sales people with whom you can discuss all the technical stuff.

        • Funkaholic

          Jan 17, 2019 at 8:43 am

          OGO just say you are too poor to play this game even at a discount and move on.

  24. ogo

    Dec 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Why is the Odyssey putter $65 while the full set of Titleist 3-PW irons only $200 ?!! You can buy a brand new $25 Walmart zinc die cast knockoff that will do the job equally well… unless you are ashamed and need a used status putter for your fragile ego!!!

  25. JP

    Dec 13, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Best and most spot on article I’ve seen here in a while. Good job.

    Hard to debate any of those choices. All well done

  26. Chris Stallard

    Dec 13, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Fantastic choices…. only query I have is hybrid is $80 and driver is $50…. I’d try to flip that around and perhaps get a better driver

  27. ht

    Dec 13, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    love this! I have this conversation with my buddy all the time and, in my opinion, I think it can be done cheaper

  28. Adam

    Dec 13, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Fully endorse the Odyssey. I game an Odyssey White Hot that I bought on eBay for $22 and it’s awesome and works for me like magic. Would not give it up even if someone handed me a $500 putter right now.

    • ogo

      Dec 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      … but how can you flaunt your status clubs if they are not bought new?

  29. Seth Mischke

    Dec 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Would totally bag that set up and feel great about it! Overrated technology CAN be.

  30. Shu

    Dec 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I started this same experiment last year and my original goal was under $100. I quickly realized this would be harder than I thought so I raised it to the price most spend on a new off the rack driver ($400). Goal was to shoot around my handicap (4) with the setup. Mainly to prove to my friends that keep blowing money on new clubs that learning how to hit them is more important. Current setup is Titleist 910 driver, Adams rpm 3 wood, Adams hyrbid, Titleist 762 3-P, Cleveland 588 wedges, Oddyssey putter. Total cost was around $350. It’s actually been a pretty fun project.

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Today from the Forums: “Recommend me a 14th club…”



Today from the Forums showcases our members helping out ewe8523 who is on the hunt for a 14th club. Per ewe8523:

“My home course is fairly short 6050 yards, so I’m not really in a position where I have to hit a lot of long fairway shots. There is one par 5 on each side – 548 and 449 respectively.

Open to other options as well.

Including current specs and avg distance.

  1. Driver – Cobra F9 – 250 yards
  2. 3-Wood – Cobra F7 – 220 yards
  3. Hybrid – Callaway Epic – 200 yards
  4. 5 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 175 yards
  5. 6 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 165 yards
  6. 7 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 155 yards
  7. 8 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 145 yards
  8. 9 Iron – Callaway Apex CF16 – 130 yards
  9. PW – Callaway Apex CF16 – 115 yards
  10. 50 Degree – Vokey SM6 – 100 yards
  11. 56 Degree – Vokey SM6 – 75 yards
  12. 60 Degree – Cleveland CBX – Bunker Only
  13. Putter – Scotty Cameron Newport 2
  14. ?”

WRXers have been giving their suggestions on what could work best for ewe8523, and also discussing what they have found most useful from a 14th club standpoint.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • heathpitts: “Very similar setup and gapping to my setup. Although my wedge lofts are a bit different. I have wedges at 50, 54, 58, and 62 but generally, only carry 3 per round. I adjust the 54-62 based on where I’m gonna play. I do also have a graphite shafted 3 utility iron that I play around with as a driving iron, but I see that you haven’t really found one that you like. I adjust the 14th club based on the course or conditions or time of year (due to different wedge grinds) sometimes but try to keep it as simple as possible. I think your setup is pretty good honestly. I always seem to score better with fewer options, so I don’t try to get cute with shot selection 🙂 I play 13 clubs a lot of times.”
  • MP4444: “I agree with the others on a club to hit that 185-190yrd spot. Either a hybrid or an iron with extra help compared to the CF16s. I personally have a 4 hybrid and a more game-improvement style 5 iron that I use interchangeably for this spot in my bag depending on how I’m striking the ball. When my ball striking is on, I usually prefer an iron in this spot because my misses are smaller, but it’s nice to have the help of a hybrid when I’m not feeling so on with my game. If you go the iron route just be sure to check out the lofts to ensure the proper gapping. Some game improvement and super game improvement type irons have stronger lofts so you may need to look at a 4 or 5 iron depending on the model. I would also recommend hitting both on a launch monitor and comparing peak height and spin numbers. You are still typically looking to hold a green at this distance, so you want to make sure you are getting enough height and spin to have a chance.”
  • Z1ggy16: “The obvious choice is like a 188-yard club but if you never need that shot… Why spend the money? Other option is like a 64* wedge, but that’s probably going to get you into trouble more often than not. I’d lean toward the 185-190 yard club, probably another hybrid, gives you more flexibility if you play other courses that are longer.”
  • crapula: “Higher lofted Callaway Epic?”

Entire Thread: “Recommend me a 14th club…”

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Today from the Forums: “Best 54/56-degree wedge for a sweeper?”



Today from the Forums we take a look at 54 and 56-degree wedges which are effective on full shots from tight lies. WRXer, 10of14, is a sweeper of the ball and has reached out to fellow members who have been giving their suggestions in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • dhen9: “M grind or ES Glide 2.0.”
  • PowerCobra98: “Callaway MD4 or MD5 with the C Grind.”
  • bsb70x7: “I am a sweeper and a low bounce player. I play Vokey 54 with 10* of bounce (as my highest bounce). You may want to go with 8* of bounce if you use your Lob wedge in the sand.”
  • NYCGolfNut: “I’m the same. M grind Vokey – 8 deg bounce, heel and toe relief. Works great.”

Entire Thread: “Best 54/56-degree wedge for a sweeper?”

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Today from the Forums: “Searching for a 5-wood”



Today from the Forums we take a look at 5-woods, with WRXer, RAMDAN, on the hunt for a new addition to his bag. Our members discuss the options on the market and give their take on the best models from their experiences.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Golf64: “Cobra F8 and 9s are still out there, and the new SZ is nice too. I prefer Ping, love the look and feel and easy to get in the air!!”
  • KGilma: “I just replaced my F6 baffler with the F9. It is a definite upgrade. I still have the F6 if you’re interested.”
  • bjh1: “Recently got an Epic Flash 5 wood (regular, not sub-zero), and I am loving it! Can’t go wrong sticking with the Callaway.”
  • jah7838: “I agree with those mentioning the Baffler and the other various Cobra offerings. F8+ and F9 Tour are really good clubs. I just got the F9 Tour 3 wood, and it’s really easy to elevate with the right shaft. I still have my Baffler that I’m going to mess around with as my 5 wood. I was using it as my 4 wood for last season, and really liked it, but I found a good deal on a like-new F9 Tour 3 wood that I couldn’t pass up. The issue I’m going to have with the Baffler as my 5 wood is that I’ve had my Adams 19* XTD Super Hybrid that it’s going to have to beat out. I’ve had that club for so long now, and I’m going to have a hard time not keeping that one in the bag. It’s not a knock on the Baffler; it’s just how much I trust the XTD.”
  • AG12: “I just was given a PING G410 5W to try, and I think it’s the easiest FW to elevate and just wants to go straight. I think j the Tour 75 shaft that PING offers is a great shaft as well. Worth a look if you’re in the market.”

Entire Thread: “Searching for a 5-wood”

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