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The thrill of the hunt: Shopping for used clubs at Fore Golfers Only

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As golfers, we are always chasing; chasing the next course on our list, our career-best score, the sun towards the horizon in late summer and fall, and for many, that one club for the collection or just for fun. In the case of hunting for that one club, there is a mecca located in a small Southern Ontario town just a couple hours West of Toronto in St. Thomas, Ontario: Fore Golfers Only (FGO).

Interestingly, St. Thomas is the hometown of PGA Tour caddie Brennan Little, close to nearby VERY exclusive Redtail Golf Club (interesting history to read up on). Anyway, Fore Golfers is in a humble building that stretches across the side of a driving range, but in the era predating golf big box, Fore Golfers Only was the only game in town for hours in any direction. This offered a distinct advantage: being located in a hotbed of golf, both public and private in Ontario, Canada (fun fact: Canada has the most golfers per capita in the WORLD).

Even when a big box arrived, Fore Golfers was still the ONLY place that offered the opportunity to hit the clubs you were going to buy outside, off of grass, including new ones (demos of course) that weren’t at a green grass facility. Add to the fact that they are known for their massive used club selection — every OEM rep around knows that if a customer loses an iron out of production FGO is the first place they call. FGO features a friendly, knowledgeable staff that have been in the industry fitting clubs and talking gear for a long time. Add to this reasonable trade-in values, and you have a recipe for long-term success.

Very busy day behind the register

Speaking of success, even though the golf season doesn’t usually start until early April, there is one event that brings a ton of people together in preparation for the receding snow, and that is the annual inventory blowout sale at FGO. It takes over an entire hall in this small city of 40,000. Asking around, there were more than a few people that drove from two-plus hours away in hopes of scoring the last club to fill out their set, or that next “perfect” putter.

Now, in its 30th year, I have made the trek to the sale every spring for the better part of 15 years. I never really go with the intention of finding anything I “need,” but I also never leave empty-handed — I dare any gear junkie to try. Plus, there is just something about hanging out with a bunch of golfers and being able to buy a club that you’ve handled. Sure, eBay is fun, but hitting a few putts on carpet and actually inspecting a putter is just WAY more fun than scrolling on a computer. There is a BIG mix of new and old and some clubs you might have forgotten even existed in the first place.

Here are a few examples of some fun ones

Remember I said unique – NOT Pretty

Oh, these Maxflis were good!

The original HOT driver ERC – also known as the KCK: Kessler Career Killer

So, with all this talk of gear and treasure hunting, I’m sure you’re wondering what I picked up on my pilgrimage. I’ll get to that in a minute, but let me show off a few lovely gems I found around that I didn’t buy.

FTXs to be exact

Lots of Trusty Rustys

Muira Forged MacGregor PCB Tours

OK. So with all this gear, what did I come home with? Here’s the final haul (for the low total price of $220 Canadian).

One of the all time greats with a ProForce V2

Amazing shape PT with EI-70X, just to remind me that I can’t find the sweet spot anyway

Engage DS – Almost new just rusty. Pulled the shaft already for a project

9/10 Shape All Original JNP MacGregors just begging for a home

Last, but not least, a few putters to round out an already heavy collection filled with classics

People who know – know how good this is

Absolute $$$$

You NEVER say “no” to a PING Anser in great shape!

Like I said before, the thrill is in the hunt, and I can’t wait for my next used club shopping trip to see what treasures I can find. For more information on Fore Golfers Only and the annual sale, check out their website.

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. buckrogers71

    Mar 7, 2019 at 8:03 am

    we used to have a place like this in southern NJ, Wheat Road Golf. It’s where I bought my first “real” driver (Titleist 975d w/ a Graffaloy Prolite). Had the opportunity to actually hit it off a “real” wooden tee into a field. While I appreciate the low price of flea bay, swap and shop here as well as other places, it’s really a shame to see these small shops close up.

  2. Jose Pinatas

    Mar 7, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Nevada Bob’s in Madison, Wisconsin has a daily inventory like this. I’ve been there. They have everything that’s been made in the last 30 years. Easily could fill 2(TWO) halls. They’ve put big box retailers out of business in that city.

  3. KnowItAll

    Mar 7, 2019 at 5:08 am

    “(fun fact: Canada has the most golfers per capita in the WORLD).”

    I thought Sweden had most, with almost 5% of the population being registered golfers?
    A quick google said that in Canadas case it’s .87%..

    • geohogan

      Mar 8, 2019 at 6:08 pm

      used to be 20% of Canadians golfed at least once in the year.
      Population of Canada is smaller than the state of California.

  4. Gerald Teigrob

    Mar 7, 2019 at 2:45 am

    I used to think that buying new was all the rage, but now that I play demo irons that I picked up from my golf course, I am noticing the benefits of used over new clubs. I finally moved from Adams Redlines and Adams A7 hybrid irons to Cobra Bio Cells, I am actually embracing the change. I did find my Redline 4 hybrid a keeper, but I have switched to Cobra and even replaced my all graphite set with steel shafts…but I am always in experiment mode, so I kept the Silver 4 iron as stiff graphite I like the option of a driving iron so that club will fill that role in my golf bag. In doing so. I have also proven that upgrading to the current irons can be a good thing but if you find something a little older like the Bio Cell irons for me, that can be just as rewarding!

  5. mud

    Mar 7, 2019 at 1:22 am

    This place is awesome !!!!I go there all the time, new and old equipment , current models being traded daily , so your choices range from the 5 dollar bins to all the latest models but where it really excels for me are the people who buy something new and trade it a week or month later and they take the hit and I get a great deal, being a club junkie I end up playing 5 or 6 current sets a season at a fraction of the cost , also with the range out back they give you balls to try the clubs before you buy !!!You can put a affordable couple times a year bag together or go top end all the way, your choice, the best part thou is finding the hidden gems , the minty 905R today($39C)

  6. Mike V

    Mar 6, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    So cool! I would love to wander around there. I found a mint set of Maxfli Revolution CB irons (almost never hit) for $100 US at a nearby Play it Again Sports in AZ. I was so shocked I started talking to the owner since these were the first players iron I bought as a junior and I mentioned I also wanted some Ping Eye 2 BeCu…and he had a set in the back (2-SW, square grooves)! Got both for $300 US.

  7. Guy LeBlanc

    Mar 6, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    This is a great place to search for old treasures as well as gently used current product. One of the last true independents that has survived the Golf Town takeovers.

    Great staff and always a great stop.

  8. Junk

    Mar 6, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    It’s good that we have places like this to throw away our junk so that the next mug could hit the same junk that don’t work but be glad he spent nothing for it while he mulls over whether he should go get the brand new ProV that just went into the river he hit with said junk club

    • The dude

      Mar 6, 2019 at 9:11 pm

      Haha….idiot (you took the time to write that)….haha

      -thanks for the laugh..

      • Junk

        Mar 7, 2019 at 1:47 am

        We’re all idiots for taking up this stupid game in the first place
        Look at how much time and money it consumes from our lives
        lol

  9. HKO

    Mar 6, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    umm. what is he looking at on their sign?

  10. Dan

    Mar 6, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    In 2003/4 I stopped in a local Golfsmith and picked up a Ping Eye 2 BeCu L for $27 and flipped it on eBay 3hrs later for $180.

    Never know what you’ll find randomly stoping in a shop

  11. Jack Nash

    Mar 6, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    They have so much stock you have to walk or shimmy sideways down the aisles. I’ve purchased a lot of single clubs. Brand new Taylormade 4 iron for 29 bucks. Great place to just look around, because you never know what you might see. I think I’ll head out there Friday lol.

  12. HDTVMAN

    Mar 6, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    I’d be in there for hours…days!!! From time to time I stop by Play It Again Sports hoping for a lucky find!

  13. Midwest Blade

    Mar 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Wow those putters are the real deal, great finds!

  14. flyingwedges

    Mar 6, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    This article reminded me of Pro Shop World of Golf in Skokie, IL, which closed about 20+ years ago. For decades it had one of the largest lost clubs and discontinued iron set rooms in the country and it was also one of the largest Ping dealer in the US with a very large contingent of business travelers from Asia who always bought multiple sets to take home and resell

  15. Spencer

    Mar 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    ARE THERE still collectable classics? I’ve got a Scottsdale Anser, Wison 8802, illwgal eye 2 sandwedge, Dynapower black button sandwedge, Taylormade xviii, Tpmmy Armour IMG, all close to worthless now.

    • August

      Mar 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      Hey- I think you raided my bag!

      I have exactly all of what you just listed + much more!

      But I certainly don’t think that they are “worthless”

      I just had someone contact me looking for a Shamrock Model 101 – which I have – and since there aren’t any more being made (haven’t been for over 45 years) there is a great deal of worth in that club.

  16. The Troll

    Mar 6, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Ryan, I traded in that Bridgestone J33 driver a couple of months ago. We could have just cut out the middle man.

    Love going to FGO.

    Great article btw.

  17. Bruce Ferguson

    Mar 6, 2019 at 11:55 am

    This reminds me of an annual “Golf Show” that used to come through my town for a weekend in March. You could pick through tables and barrels of used clubs, and occasionally you’d come across a “must have” gem.

  18. John

    Mar 6, 2019 at 11:42 am

    There’s a place called Roots and Relics in Honolulu HI that has an amazing sections of used clubs for sale. The Asian Tourist golf trade fueled this place in the 90’s. I am sure the inventory is even better today.

  19. Nack Jicklaus

    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Lools like tons of fun. I enjoy seeing clubs from the late 80’s through late 90’s as this was the time I really got into golf and equipment. Seeing and handling those older clubs brings back great memories.

  20. DJ

    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:25 am

    that equipment would be cool to look at… how clubs were made in the past, but I wouldn’t buy any of them. I prefer ebay where you can find a brand new discontinued club which you have in your bag; like a brand new set of Bridgestone J40 DPC’s. I do like the idea of hitting a demo right out on the range.

    • Benny

      Mar 7, 2019 at 7:55 am

      To each their own though. I like newer deals and search for them but do like finding something cool to play with on the range.
      Its all about how much you want to invest, bith time and $$. But if you are smart you can make $ or at least have fun breaking even while working on your game.
      For “junk” up top, players have been breaking par since the 1800’s with hand made shovels. If anyone thinks these clubs from 90’s and 2000’s are just junk wait until you get smoked by someone who bags them. I got spanked last year by someone with a 909 driver and McGregs that had rusty sweet spots with a Grace blade. I was told how good he was, laughed at his bag only to buy him an expensive lunch adter asking him tons of questions. He out drove me as well and I am no slouch… I completely bowed

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: P2 putter grips

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Product: P2 putter grips

Pitch: From P2: “The patented P2 technology is based on the way the shaft is housed through the bottom of the grip. This effectively elevates the golfer’s hands at address, locks the wrists in place and creates sought after shaft-forearm symmetry.”

Our take on P2 putter grips

Putting is the one part of golf that truly levels the playing field – a sliding two-footer is worth just as many shots as a 345-yard drive, and from beginner to pro, we’ve all experienced the simple agony of missing one we know we really should have made. With so much recent focus on redefining putter technology the one part of the club that is still highly overlooked is the grip — but P2 is trying to change that.

The key part of the P2 design is the Bottom Shaft Housing that positions the grip asymmetrically around the shaft – on the vertical plane (don’t worry the grip are 100 percent symmetrical). This design, fully legal under the rules of golf, has scientifically proven through the use of Quintic, results that show both improved strike pattern on the face as well as getting more putts started on line at the intended target.

Part of the reason this design helps golfers putt more consistently is that it puts the putter more inline and on plane with the forearm to help create a single motion. As much as we would all love a putting stroke that flows as smoothly as Ben Crenshaw or Brad Faxon the amount timing needed in the hands to produce great results through these methods is often too difficult even for the better player to achieve. In a way, the P2 Grip design helps you get into an “armlock” position without fully overhauling your putting technique (and it allows you to keep your current putter).

In my personal testing, I decided to use the P2 Core Classic. This was my preferred grip since it offers the smaller width while giving the full experience of the Botton Shaft Housing tech. My putter specs are generally flatter than most with a lie angle around 68 degrees, when using a traditional grip this results in having the butt end point more towards my belly button and, as I’m fully willing to admit, a more rotational stroke. I never had to adjust any of the specs on my putter to get the grip to do exactly what it says it will. The grip plane became more aligned with my forearm and after a small adjustment period to the new shape, I was 100 percent making a more pendulum stroke with less arc. So far, results inside have proven to be a success, and I’m looking forward to taking it out to the course once the season really gets started.

Within the P2 lineup, there are four shapes and two weight categories to choose from to allow the player to find the exact fit for both grip method and balance. The original “Core” series is on the heavier side of the grip weight spectrum, but for many players using modern heavier putter heads this could be a huge advantage to help give your putter a higher balance point, and at the end of the day, produce a smoother putting stroke. As the current trend of research from multiple OEMs has proven, a higher balance point through weight distribution can lead to some big improvements in stroke consistency.

Whether its a claw, cross-handed, or more of a traditional grip method you use, there is a P2 grip that should fit your style and hopefully help you sink a few more putts.

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Puma polos

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Product: Puma polos

Pitch:  From Puma “A world leader in high-performance sports clothing, Puma launched their first golf collection in 2004 complete with Puma golf shoes and clothing. The collection has gone from strength to strength ever since its creation, with tour pro golfers wearing the range out on the course. With bold colorful clothing to classically sporty and smart pieces, Puma golf is a versatile collection certain to appeal to golfers of all preferences.”

Our take on Puma’s polos

It’s difficult to look past Puma’s 2019 polo collection without seeing its Paradise golf shirt. Showcased by Rickie Fowler during the Island stretch of golf to begin the new year, the unconventional all button up shirt may not be to everyone’s taste, but anyone who pulls the shirt on will likely agree on its comfort. The shirt will channel your inner Ned Flanders, “feels like I’m wearing nothing at all,” and the ultra-lightweight feel combined with the looseness makes it an ideal summer shirt for swinging the club freely on the golf course.

Puma has a lot more polos on offer in 2019 than its Paradise shirt though, and one of the most visually striking shirts of theirs is the Aletknit Radius Golf Polo. The shirt comes in three vibrant colors (blue, white and green), and its camo inspired pattern is subtle and discreet which gives the shirt a cool look without being distracting. Also a lightweight polo, the Aletknit Radius Golf Polo features a clean three button look, as well as a very comfortable fit, and its dryCell technology means you won’t be drenched in sweat this summer.

Then there’s the Rotation Golf Polo which comes in both solid and stripes styles. The shirts offer a very modern feel and look, and you certainly won’t be disappointed with the selection of colors which the shirts come in, with an abundance on offer.

On the throwback front, Puma has you covered with their Nineties Golf Polo, with a striped shirt style and color. There are five different color blocks to choose from which are about as representative of spring/summer as I’ve seen, and the shirts also come with Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which is a nice summer touch.

The Faraday Polo is according to the company itself “one of our best”. Lightweight and one of the softest shirts they provide, it’s hard to disagree with them in terms of comfort level. The only off-putting feature of this shirt for me is the odd unfinished lining around the pocket.

The exhaustive selection of golf polos provided by Puma is impressive, and they’ve covered everything you’d want in a golf shirt in each of their styles. Prices range from $50-$70, and no matter what your taste, you’re bound to find a great summer golf shirt to add to your collection from their 2019 lineup.

 

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Sexy, slick, minimal irons?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Glowbal who is on the lookout for sexy, slick, minimal irons ala Scratch Golf’s old SB-1 iron set. Clean, as little branding or markings as possible and lofts instead of numbers on the club, are all the things Glowbal wants from an iron set, and our members have been on hand sharing their suggestions.

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.

  • Fried Slice: “National Custom Works are Scratch. Same grinders and owners I believe. I’m sure they can hook you up. http://www.nationalcustomworks.com 
  • 11forgedblades: “When I was looking for irons without any logo, Geotech blades only had the numbers on them…completely blank.”
  • ivygynonc: “I have a set of Kyoei MB’s black.  They are nicer than my BBs as far as feel and looks.  Look great at set up.  Can’t go wrong with these.  And they are on the low end as far as costs for JDM blades, at least they were when I bought mine.”
  • kmay: “Another for National Custom works, incredible products, and from what I see watching there IG every day, they will make them to your exact requests, any stamping you want (or don’t) any shape muscle you want, sole grinds you want, seems like everything can be customized starting from forged blanks. True craftsmen.”

Entire Thread: “Sexy, slick, minimal irons?”

 

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