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Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper

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Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.

Driver

Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.

Wood

The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.

Hybrid

I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.

Irons

I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.

Wedges

Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.

Putter

And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.

Total

In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

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

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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.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. JACOB

    Jan 16, 2019 at 9:01 am

    RAZR HAWK TOUR DRIVER $80
    ADAMS SUPER LS 3 WOOD $50
    RAC MB TP 3-W $110
    AKIRA 52 $50
    CALLAWAY PM GRIND 56 AND 60 $80 EACH
    CLEVELAND FORM FORGED III PUTTER $30
    $480 TOTAL

  2. Dave in Fallbrook

    Jan 14, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    I’d suggest an Adams XTD ti driver. Much newer technology, in fact you’d be getting the same head slot technology that TM have in their latest m5 m6 drivers (arguably why they bought out Adams). Plus a couple of Adams super LS or xtd ti hybrids, I’ve tested with all the latest models and they still can’t be beat. Irons, either Cal Apex 2016 or even TM rac OS (yes they are still competitive). Wedges – Nike (VR), Cleveland or just about any big brand (maybe except Vokey) can be had super cheap in a non latest model. Putter? mallet or blade? Any old model ping blade. An older odyssey mallet, “Yes”, never compromise or Rife mallet can all be picked up cheap. My biggest splurge on any club in the last few years was $110 for a used Bettinardi Inovai mallet. My best purchase, a 19 deg Adams Idea Super XTD Hybrid for $9.99!!!. I bought it just for the fubuki shaft but after trying it out it is now a favorite in the bag, almost 5 wood distance but very accurate.

  3. Ej

    Jan 5, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    That r 9 is the domb diggity

  4. Joe M

    Jan 2, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    My (mostly) eBay sourced set.
    Ping G30 driver $125
    Ping G 20 3 wood $55
    Ping G 15 21* hybrid $30
    Mizuno JPX 800 4-GW $130 (Used rack @ Roger Dunn Golf)
    Mizuno JPx 56* SW $40
    Odyssey White Hot #9 $40
    Total $410 just enough left over for a bag, tees and balls
    All shafts are stiff OEM,
    Not a beginner, just cheap.

  5. WhoDat

    Dec 28, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Wow you have poor taste in old clubs… I mean the clubs are great but you don’t have to go back that far to find cheap clubs. Hell I bought a Big Bertha Alpha 816 for $50… You could get a Jetspeed driver for that price too. The older you keep going back the price of the club starts to rise again because it becomes more rare especially if in good condition. Golfers are very nostalgic so playing an old club they loved previously is worth more to them than the performance they may get from it.

  6. BC3

    Dec 26, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    So I gave this a shot and came up with the following from the GWrx classifieds and a couple of other places:
    Titleist 915 D3 9.5 Diamana stiff $135
    Titleist 906F2 15 4375 r flex $15
    Hogan Radial 5 (Old school) $5 (I was curious and didn’t know about hitting a hybrid)
    Titleist Forged 704 CB True Temper Dynalite Gold S300 4-P $49
    Brand New Cleveland RTX-3 CB 52, 56, 60 at $57 a piece, $171
    Odyssey Rossie $35
    Total $410

    Had some other items to add or swap out.
    New Adidas Tour360 Boost $70
    TecTecTec rangefinder $41
    TaylorMade V Steel 5 wood $15
    Titleist 917 5W $125 7W $105
    Ping 5W $120

  7. Peter G.

    Dec 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    You should try this challenge on 2ndSwing.com, a bigger selection of clubs. For my buddy who is a lefty, found a set of X-Hot Pro irons with Pxi 6.0 shafts for only $145. They have a ton of Srixon Z355 drivers ($50), woods ($44), & hybrids ($33) for cheap. Ping Gorge wedges (50, 54, 58) all $35-$30 each and in very good condition. Ping Sigma G Kushin for $94. You add some headcovers to that and I’ve got $508.88. For a lefty too! Most of those clubs in righty also.

  8. The Dook

    Dec 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Wait a minute…. what about us high handicappers???? Us mere mortals need some love too!

  9. Bogey Barker

    Dec 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I recently did the same over the last several months, but fared way better.

    Here’s my bag:

    (Note: Each club came with the stock stiff shaft. Almost everything came from a certain online retailer, too, and I think they own 3balls — except otherwise noted.)

    TaylorMade Rocketballz 10.5 degree bonded driver in near mint condition off the letgo app. $40.00.

    TaylorMade Aeroburner 3 and 5 wood in excellent condition. $90 for both.

    Ping Eye 2 Red Dot irons 3-PW, plus a 54-degree Ping Eye 2 Sand Wedge in value condition. $100.

    Ping Tour Gorge SS 58-degree Lob Wedge in very good condition. $30.

    Ping J Blade 5 Putter in very good condition. $30.

    Hot-Z 3.0 Stand Bag new from Rock Bottom Golf. $38.

    Puma Ace Men’s Golf Shoes from Amazon. $54.

    Dozen Wilson Staff Duo Golf Balls from local pro shop. $20.

    Foot-Joy Golf Glove from local pro shop. $11.

    All that for just a shade under $400. Just need a push cart.

  10. Kevin Grate

    Dec 19, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Why not just buy a box set of Tour Edge they make quality clubs for the right price and you definitely will be spending less than $500 and your new

  11. Blake O

    Dec 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve scored some good deals on used clubs negotiating with the sales person. My bag was just over $500 until I upgraded my driver this spring.

  12. Scheiss

    Dec 18, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Don’t you have any friends or family who have old clubs they’re not using in their garage? Why would you need to buy junk like this when your close ones have exact same types lying in their storage

    • James

      Dec 18, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Good job Trey. I didn’t realize I’d be getting my 15 minutes of fame via GolfWRX! My set, while playing to a 2-4 handicap, is all used with stiff shafts. My experience on used club websites is that the most popular shaft flexes are also the most expensive.

      Here are my clubs (also bought my Titleist bag used):
      Taylormade driver
      Titleist 3 wood and hybrid
      Callaway XR Pro irons
      Vokey wedges, very close to new for best face condition. 4 of ’em.
      Oddyssey #7 Tank putter

      For fun I priced them out. $860, not including shipping.

  13. McSlice

    Dec 18, 2018 at 10:45 am

    This was my set that really got me into golf, took me from 30 to a 16 handicap:
    Driver – Cleveland Classic XL (matrix ozik: new): 60
    3 wood- Ping K15 – Diamana shaft : 60
    hybrid – Ping K15 : 40
    Irons and wedges- Ping Eye2’s : 55
    putter and stand bag – Ping Anser BECU and some knockoff bag : 28

    243 bucks all purchased on ebay and local used stuff site. So yea if you are willing to put a couple weeks effort in you can get some decent clubs and a bag to boot.

    Liked that set, but really quite loved the Eye’s and the driver (driver is still in my bag). I’d happily game the Eye’s and the putter still as well.

    My latest iteration is pretty cheap as well and so far I am very happy indeed and sold some of the previous clubs to pay for it. Gotta keep it real!

    That said, the article said for a mid handicapper. .. so maybe a bit of an upgrade… I would say the irons that I have now: Mizuno JPX 850 forged (270 – 290 for them on ebay), the same driver (60 bucks), a cobra 3 wood or even a hybrid for about 60 bucks, I use a Vokey 460 : 08 Lob wedge I got for 2 bucks at a random garage sale, a Mack daddy sandwedge from Roger Dunn for 58 bucks and grab any used putter that feels semi ok, I personally still love the old Anser putters that you can get for nothing.

    Something like that. Would be nice.

  14. Doug

    Dec 18, 2018 at 2:32 am

    What is a mid handicapper?

  15. Gun Violent

    Dec 17, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Why did you get those terrible looking irons. Poor condition, and there are far better ones out there in that category at better prices. You’re not looking hard enough

    • Greg Conner

      Dec 17, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Agree w/the comment on the irons; Why would a mid-capper use those? Definitely better options out there…

  16. Tom

    Dec 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Buy used, re-grip and you (regardless of you playing level) will have clubs just a good as anything being introduced, “new” and “better performing” as USGA equipment rules made it impossible to go beyond their established limits. Remember next time you see an equipment ad making improvement claims, Sellers be Sellin! That’s how these guys stay in business, a shrinking business, just look how many manufacturers have disappeared!

  17. Bob Baker

    Dec 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Punched shank by mistake…………my bad

  18. JuannyBravo

    Dec 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Spot on about the Lefty stuff being cheap. I’m a lefty and here’s what I’ve spent on my current setup, which is mostly 2016 or newer except for a few single clubs:
    Ping G Driver w/ Speeder 661 shaft: $105 total, head, tip and shaft were purchased separately.
    Fairway: Callaway X2 Hot 3 Deep $50 or so
    Hybrid: Cobra T-Rail $22 on ebay
    Irons: Taylormade M1 with DG Pro Shafts: $320 total, irons were new eBay ksouth9 listing but had senior flex.
    Wedges: Ping Tour S, Cleveland Precision Forged: about $70
    Putter: Odyssey o-Works tank in red: $169.00 brand new.
    Total of $736 including all grips, supplies, etc for anything that needed reshafting or new grips.

    I’ve also made back some of that money on certain things such as the old iron shafts and old 3 wood shaft that I relisted on eBay.

  19. the dude

    Dec 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    IN YOUR FACE JAMES!!!!!…..

    • James

      Dec 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Dude… please see my follow up comment to Trey.

      • James

        Dec 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm

        Follow up comment for some reason isn’t showing. GolfWRX, what’s up? It was complimentary and reasonable with no swear words. Frustrating that I would craft a kind response and you won’t publish it. Takes all the fun out of engaging. Where can I find your comment publishing guidelines?

  20. JJ

    Dec 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

    If you want some bargains on used clubs, check out the course that your local First Tee operates out of. Clubs are donated to them and what they don’t give to kids gets sold at bargain prices to help support the program. I have a friend in Pittsburgh that gets great deals all the time

  21. twh

    Dec 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I feel you on the iron issue. So many really good older sets out there to be had. With all of the promos callaway pre owned puts on this time of year, you could probably go even cheaper. Good read, thank you

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Equipment

Bettinardi signs Jason Kokrak (he’ll play custom Tour Department DASS BB8 Triplane putter)

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Bettinardi Golf has announced Jason Kokrak as the latest player to join the companies Tour staff, and the Canadian will play the companies custom Tour Department DASS (Double-Aged Stainless Steel) BB8 Triplane putter.

Kokrak began using the Tour Department DASS BB8 Triplane putter which features Bettinardi’s  F.I.T. Face Milling at the Honda Classic back in February. Since then, the 34-year-old has risen over 40 places in the Official World Golf Ranking up to 65th, and he has also leapt 30 spots in this season’s strokes gained: putting category in the same period.

Speaking on the new partnership, Kokrak praised the “quality, touch, and feel of the putter” from Bettinardi.

“Since switching to a Bettinardi putter earlier this year, I have been so impressed with the quality, touch, and feel of the putter. Bettinardi has the ability to craft anything I want from a solid block of metal, all milled in the USA. This was a big confidence boost to my putting and I look forward to a great partnership.”

Speaking on the addition of Kokrak to the companies tour staff, Robert Bettinardi, President and Founder of Bettinardi Golf stated

“Since switching to a Bettinardi putter earlier this year, I have been so impressed with the quality, touch, and feel of the putter. Bettinardi has the ability to craft anything I want from a solid block of metal, all milled in the USA. This was a big confidence boost to my putting and I look forward to a great partnership.”

Kokrak will next tee it up at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Course next month after finishing T23 at last week’s PGA Championship.

 

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Mark O’Meara’s Scotty Cameron putter”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases Mark O’Meara’s Scotty Cameron flat-stick. The 62-year-old is teeing it up at the Senior PGA Championship from Oak Hill this week, and his putter has impressed our members, who in particular have praised the clean finish and sole shape of the flat-stick.

Here are what our members are saying about the putter, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • BearQ: “Clean. Love the sole.”
  • Bdmac79: “Looks similar to Tiger’s and Rickie’s with the neck placement. I would guess that he’s had it for a bit.”
  • mBiden2: “So fresh and so clean, clean!”

Entire Thread: “Mark O’Meara’s Scotty Cameron putter”

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm WITB

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Driver: TaylorMade M5 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX

3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 85 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M5 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Hi-Toe (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Grip: SuperStroke Ultra Slim 1.0 P

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x (#10)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Red/Black Midsize (1 wrap of tape)

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