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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.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Maurice Carter

    Apr 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Hey Ryan,

    It’s wonderful to read your article and touch base with my learned friend, Ryan. I’m considering coming out of my five year golf hiatus. Interestingly enough, I was searching for the 2007 TM Burner driver and decided to check out the Fore Golfers Only website. I kind of knew they didn’t have a log of their clubs on-line, but I checked it out anyway. Hence, I saw your name and perused your article. Someday I’ll make the sojourn to the mecca that is FGO, until then, it’s great touching base with you. Nice piece, Ryan.

    Be well,
    Mo

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. HKO

    Mar 6, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    umm. what is he looking at on their sign?

  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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Forum Thread of the Day: “Best ball for players with slower swing speeds?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from ghoul31 who created a thread dedicated to finding the ideal golf ball for players with slower swing speeds. Our members have their say on what is the ball most suited to slower swing speeds, with a variety of models receiving a mention.

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.

  • Hogan9: “My SS is 80 to 85. I play the Titleist AVX. Many people on these forums tell it’s wrong for me. I’ve tried several brands and types over the last year ( Pro-V-1 and 1X, Cally Supersoft and Chrome Soft, TM TP5X, Wilson Duo Soft and the Snell MTB. The AVX gives me the best overall performance for my game. I’ve had to slightly adjust to how it reacts on chips and pitches, but the extra distance off the tee is well worth it. “
  • North Butte: “Maybe 90mph driver swing on a good day. Driver 205-ish hit 6-iron from 150. Pro V1x but I have played AVX, B330, TP5 with pretty much similar results to my favorite V1x. Also played the Chrome Soft for a while but it seemed to fly a little low and sometimes have trouble holding greens (or maybe I just didn’t give it a long enough chance to know for sure).”
  • Hat Trick: “Pro V1X – Spin and higher launch keeps it in the air longer, but at the same time that spin holds the greens – SS 96-98 mph.”
  • Kmac: “My SS is right around 95-100, and I find the QST to the perfect for my game. I will also play the AVX or Chrome Soft Truvis. But for the money, nothing beats the QST.”

Entire Thread: “Best ball for players with slower swing speeds?”

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Single length irons stunting development?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from rbark11 who has sparked an interesting debate over single length irons in our forums. Rbark11 has been playing single length irons for the past seven months, and he is concerned that he may have issues changing back to regular length irons. Our members give their take on the matter, as well as discussing single length irons in general.

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.

  • mcs4: “No, it will not. Both my father and I are currently playing Cobra One Length irons after decades of playing variable length irons. It took both of us maybe a few rounds to feel comfortable with the switch. This weekend I played a round with my old irons, and it was different but not a big deal. My opinion is that there are pros and cons with each approach, but I don’t think picking one will make any particular negative impact on your ability to later switch to the other.”
  • Quadra: “I’ve played both. Right now I am back to VL clubs ( Wishon 560 irons). Find VL gives me more shot-making options. With uneven lies, especially with the ball above or below foot level, the shot seems easier with a more upright or flatter lie, rather than trying to manipulate a shot from clubs with only a single length/lie. VL = more shot possibilities.”
  • Aucaveman: “I played Cobra ftbo for a year. Shot my best scores ever. Our club switched to Mizuno exclusively, so I had my first real fitting. I switched to the 919 forged and had to sell the Cobras to fund the mizunos. Really wished I hadn’t. I really liked the Cobras. The shafts in the Mizuno’s are better suited for me but had I put the same shafts in the Cobras; I’d prob been better off. At some point, I’ll prob do it and go back to one lengths. I was perusing eBay yesterday actually.”
  • Brandons68: “I think that the consistency you gain from SL irons is pretty great. I have not played them personally, but have talked to several people that have, and they really like the feel of the irons and the fact that they swing every iron the same because they are all the same length.”

Entire Thread: “Single length irons stunting development?”

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Top 5 coolest things at the PGA Fashion & Demo 2019 in Las Vegas

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If you are doing an apples to apples comparison, the Orlando PGA Merchandise Show and The Vegas PGA show are on two different planets. It would be like comparing the Death Star to Marty McFlys’s hoverboard in “Back to The Future.”

However, the best thing about the PGA Fashion & Demo in Las Vegas is the laid back nature and quality time you get with the brands that show up. So, as I made my way around the Sands Expo at The Venetian, I did find some seriously awesome swag that will be coming out in the next six months…and oh yeah, Sherry Major, the woman who runs both shows, is a unicorn and deserves a street in her name.

OK, here we go.

DORMIE WORKSHOP MASTERS-INSPIRED HEADCOVER

The title says it all, the Nova Scotia, Canada-based creators do amazing custom pieces for not only individual clients but also for some of the most exclusive clubs in the country.

Cost: $100-$300

Check em out here.

G/FORE MG 4.1  

Let’s be honest G/Fore doesn’t miss much. I own a pair of the original release of the MG 4.1, and I get asked about them on the street allll the time. This new color and the rest of the new line will be quite the must-haves, I reckon. And yes they are REALLY comfortable on the course and in the street.

Cost: $185

Check em out here.

VINEYARD VINES MENS BELT

I’m not super familiar with VV, but these ridiculously well-crafted belts are not only awesome with the Shinnecock and Oakmont themes, but they remind me of the belts my old man used to rock. I’m all for the modern gear making its way into the market, but who doesn’t want an Oakmont belt?

Cost: $58

Check em out here.

DUNNING GOLF “PURE” ACCESSORIES

This is a cross-collaboration between Dunning, Imperial Headwear, Dormie, and others to promote golf as it is…PURE. The name represents so much and the simple high-end hats, head covers, etc. express the word that we say when something in golf is better than most and represents the essence of the game: It’s pure.

Cost: $35

Check em out here.

TOUR STRIKER PLANEMATE

Lots of buzz about the brainchild of David Woods and Tour Striker’s Martin Chuck. I have tried it, and I can honestly say it helps in multiple ways. Once you follow the protocol that they send, once you become an owner, you have a swing device that builds in the sensation of “shallowing” the golf club and you don’t need a teacher there yanking the club down to show you how to do it. I love working on things at home and this thing is a gem.

Cost $162.99

Check em out here.

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