Golf Club Depreciation: Do Clubs Hold Their Value?

After spending countless hours studying golf club depreciation on all different types of clubs made by different manufacturers at different price points, I’m finally ready to delve into some numbers with you.

To write this article I analyzed over 300 different golf clubs and their depreciation over time.

I’m not going to claim what I’ve put together here is perfect, but if you’re one of those golfers who are keen to know how much your golf clubs depreciate and potential re-sale values, I hope this helps.

First, a quick note.

Before we get into the actual numbers and percentages I just want to be clear in terms of what I’m talking about when it comes to depreciation.

Say you paid $100 for a new golf club 2 years ago and now it is worth $50.

In this case, your club has depreciated in total by $50 or 50% of its original value. Or looking at it another way your club will have lost 25% of the price you paid for it every year.

Or suppose there is 70% total depreciation on the driver you bought 5 years ago for $400.

That means the driver is now worth $120 and depreciated at a rate of 14% of the value you paid for it every year.

Let’s Start with the Conclusions:

Conclusion #1: Buying a new golf club does not make financial sense.

You can expect to lose just over a 1/3 of your new club’s purchase price within the first year you own it even if you hardly use it.

There are of course exceptions to that but that is the average.

To be clear, I am not saying for a moment that it is therefore a bad idea to buy a new golf club.

Of course it’s not.

Golfers will almost always buy a new golf club for the express purpose of helping them to improve their game as that it is what is most important to them and they’re willing to pay the money to achieve that.

It’s just that if when you buy a new club you are thinking at the back of your mind you can use it for a while, see if it works and then swap it out for another one with little financial impact, that’s unlikely to happen, especially if you opt to trade the club in.

Golf clubs on average depreciate by over 50% within 2 years and around 75% by the time they are 4 years old.

So if you do decide to splash out on that new club you should just be aware that it is unlikely it will be worth anything close to what you paid for it in a relatively short space of time.

And for those into the numbers here’s a summary of the depreciation data my research found:

Less than 1 year33.7%
1 year old52.8%
2 years old58%
3 years old63.9%
4 years old74%
5 years old75%
6 years old78.7%
7 years old77%
8 years old80%
9 years old81.7%
10 years old83%
15 years old89.8%
20 years old92.6%
Source: PGA Value Guide

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that the average depreciation I found for 7-year-old clubs was less than for 6-year-old clubs which potentially doesn’t make sense.

But the reason for this is simply based on the clubs of those ages I looked at. The resale values of golf clubs, like any other retail product, all depends on the club itself (the brand, the type, the shaft etc) and the demand.

If your 10-year-old putter is one of those ones people are still looking for it may be worth more than a much newer model which golfers in general didn’t like so much.

Conclusion #2: Although old clubs may not be worth a lot they are usually worth something.

If you are like me and have been playing golf for a number of years you will have collected a few old clubs along the way which are now lying either in the garage or basement or attic or all of the above.

Not all your old golf gear will be worth something but some will

I had a quick check this morning and I’ve got 16 clubs gathering dust around the house.

That’s 16 in addition to the 14 I currently have in my golf bag!

And how often have I looked at them?

Some of them I’ve maybe glanced at once at the start of a season, others – like my Ping Anser 2 putter – I forgot I had even kept!

And why am I keeping them? I’m not quite sure.

One of the options I’m clear I have now though after researching this article is to resell them and put that money towards a couple of upgrades.

Because what I’ve found that although new clubs may not be worth a lot they are worth something.

That old Ping Anser 2 I’ve got for example was shown to have a value of between $16-35 on different websites – the PGA Value Guide, 2nd Swing Value Guide and eBay.

Not very much I hear you say and you’re right but when I took out the 3 clubs I knew I had no business hanging on to the total resale value I found between them was just over $100.

Which gets me some of the way towards that new driver I’ve been thinking about.

So the comparison becomes $100 vs. 3 clubs I know I’ll never use again gathering dust in my basement.

So the bottom line really is if, like me, you’re just leaving your old clubs gathering dust somewhere in your house you are potentially missing out on some money which could potentially be put towards new clubs.

Or a new golf bag. Or new waterproofs etc etc.

Here are a few examples of some older clubs old I found which still had some reasonable resale values attached to them despite their age:

Ben HoganApex 50 Irons2003$138
CallawayBig Bertha 2006 Irons2006$138
TitleistScotty Cameron Detour Putter2006$110
PingG10 Steel Shaft Irons2007$212
Tour EdgeExotics CNC Forged Irons2007£131
BridgestoneJ38 Cavity Back Irons2010$212
MizunoJPX 800 Steel Shaft Irons2010$198

Conclusion #3: Wedges depreciate the fastest. Putters and Irons hold their value the best.

As part of this research I looked at the resale values of the 6 different types of clubs – drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, iron sets, wedges and putters.

The table below shows the average % of the original value the clubs in each category lost per year:

Fairway woods24.2%
Iron sets19.1%

Wedges, as we can see, lost their value the quickest which makes sense.

Given how versatile wedges are and the number of shots they can be used for it is likely wedges will wear faster than other clubs golfers carry.

They are frequently used in abnormal conditions such as paths or other ‘heavy debris’ areas which leads to faster wear and tear.

Bunker shots also, for example, essentially sandblast the face of the wedge.

So even after only a few rounds, the value of a wedge is likely to be greatly diminished.

For example, the Cleveland RTX-4 wedge which would have set you back $245 new I found had a resale value of $91 and a trade-in value of only $43.20 after just one year!

Putters and irons by comparison held there value much better.

Irons in particular I found could hold on to some of their value for a long period and I found some sets – such as the Titleist 680 Forged Irons – which despite being over 15 years old were still showing a resale value of close to $250.

Drivers, the other heavily re-sold club, was much closer to wedges than to irons and putters which again made sense given how frequently new models are being introduced in the modern golf market.

Although a driver may only be two years old it could be 4 or even 5 iterations behind the latest model.

The faster the technology moves in a club category the faster the depreciation is most likely to be although there are always individual exceptions which can be found.

Conclusion #4: Ping clubs on average depreciate at the slowest rate but don’t throw away those old Ben Hogan irons!

There has been a lot of movement in the golf club manufacturer arena over the last number of years.

Old brands such as Spalding and Maxfli have disappeared while others such as Ben Hogan, have disappeared for many years and only just re-appeared again on the scene.

New players, including Honma and Miura, from the ever-expanding Japanese golf market, have also recently arrived.

Given they have only been producing clubs for the other main golfing markets for the last couple of years though it’s hard to estimate how well their clubs will hold their value longer term compared to other main manufacturers.

For those interested though here’s what we found out when we compared the depreciation of the clubs made by the big golf club manufacturers.

Titleist18%61.7% $430$184
Cobra19.8%76.5% $395$89
Mizuno20.3%72.1% $374$113
Cleveland20.4%70.4% $305$88
TaylorMade21.6%71.7% $378$112
Tour Edge26.3%71.5%$356$96
Source: PGA Value Guide

As I mentioned Ben Hogan golf equipment has just re-emerged into the golf club market and based on how well their old irons have held their value they may be worth keeping an eye on from a resale perspective.

I found 3 of their old APEX iron sets – Apex Edge Pro, Apex 50, Apex FTX – all of which were made over 15 years ago, all listed as still reselling for over $102 and $138.

Although they have likely cost you over $1000 new all those years ago if you’ve got those irons in your house somewhere don’t just through them out!

Conclusion #5: Getting the best value for old clubs is an art rather than a science.

Supply and demand.

It’s the old adage of selling and like all retail products the resale value of your old golf clubs is going to be determined by that and only that.

It may seem unfair that you spent over $500 on a driver just over a year ago and it’s now worth less than $200 when you check out its resale value but that unfortunately is the reality of how the market works.

If you are planning on selling your old clubs it’s best to remove the word ‘fair’ from your thinking and unfortunately there’s no science to work out the optimum time to sell.

Unlike cars for example where resale value has a clear linkage to the number of miles the car has done there is no such comparable linkage measure for golf clubs.

Golf clubs just get used and get old.

There is no odometer to tell anybody how much mileage a golf club has done to therefore help tell you how much it is now worth.

The value of some golf clubs can drop off a cliff very suddenly, especially if a new technology is launched.

Or the average golfer’s consumer preference may simply change on a whim.

Other variables which can affect the resale value of golf clubs include frequency of use (or misuse!), quality of the club and materials, the brand and of course its condition at the time of sale.

Some say a good rule of thumb is to consider selling around the 18-month mark but as I say it is far from an exact science.

If you are a golfer always keen to keep up with the latest clubs and want to get as much as you can for your old clubs the best advice is to sell too soon rather than too late but don’t be disappointed if the resale value doesn’t match your expectations.

The best approach is probably simply to treat any money you get from the resale or trade-in of old clubs as a bonus as the chances are, as we’ve seen above, is that if they are more than couple of years old they are unlikely to be worth that much.

Conclusion #6: The trade-in values of golf clubs are on average less than half of the resale value.

So far I have talked in the main about the resale value of old clubs.

And that value is simply as it sounds – the estimated value of the old club should you choose to resell it on eBay for example.

Cool fact: EBay is single-largest seller of golf equipment today

That value should not though be confused though with the ‘trade-in’ value.

The trade-in value by comparison is the value a retailer would give you for the old club should you ‘trade it in’, typically in exchange for a new club.

Indeed some golf retailers will only let you ‘trade-in’ old golf clubs when you are buying new golf clubs.

Others however will offer a gift certificate or let you buy almost anything in the store – such as golf balls, golf shirts or sometimes even lessons or food and beverage.

Callaway itself, for example runs it own Trade In! Trade Up! scheme, while there are other specialists in used gold club equipment buying like PGA Value Guide and 2nd Swing in the US or Golf Bidder in the UK, who offer services to enable golfers to trade in their old clubs.

The one thing to be very aware of here is the ‘trade-in’ value will always be significantly less than the ‘resale value’.

My research estimated the difference between these values was around 55.8%.

In other words the trade-in value was on average 55.8% less than the resale value.

Therefore if your old club only has a resale value of $30 for example that doesn’t leave much of a trade-in value.

So in short if you want the most money for your old clubs stick it on eBay or Craigslist or Gumtree in the UK.

Or if you can’t be bothered with the hassle which comes with selling them yourself then the companies I’ve mentioned above will let you just send the clubs to them and send you some money in return.

Just be aware the ‘trade-in’ price they will give you will be much less than what you could potentially sell them for yourself so it’s simply a case of weighing up whether you want to put in the extra bit of effort to sell your old clubs yourself or take the easy route and ‘trade-in’.

Depreciation on Drivers, Fairway Woods & Hybrids

The following table shows the depreciation information I was able to determine for the key long game golf clubs that are drivers, fairway woods and hybrids.

I got to these numbers after reviewing the new and resale prices of 179 of these golf club types going all the way back to some drivers which were released in 2003.

Fairway woods24.2%71%$275$83
Hybrids 27% 65.7%$227$82

Depreciation on Iron Sets

The market for used irons is the strongest compared to other club types.


Most likely because golfers change their irons the least frequently compared to other club types.

The following table shows the depreciation information I was able to determine based on the sale values of 67 different sets of irons.


I found some iron sets – Mizuno’s MP-14s and Ping Zing irons – made all the way back in 1992 were still listed with a resale value of over $102.

Depreciation on Wedges & Putters

While both targeted at the short game my research showed putters clearly hold their value better than wedges. Why?

Because as we have already noted the versatility of wedges makes them some of the most heavily used clubs in any golfer’s bag and frequently from ground conditions which do not help them to stay in top shape for long!

Find yourself on a stone path or other heavy debris areas and chances are it will be the wedge that is reached for to get you out of trouble leading to more excessive wear and tear compared to other clubs in the bag.

Putters by comparison held their value much better and almost as well as sets of irons. Here’s what depreciation data I found in relation to putters and wedges.

Final Thoughts

Many of you may have read this and not understood for one minute why anybody would be interested in the resale value of a golf club.

You buy them to help you play better and not to worry about how much they will be worth after a few years.

That is entirely understandable and makes perfect sense.

But if you really don’t care about what happens to those old clubs lying around the house which you don’t use there’s still an option for them – donations.

Charities will often take golf clubs, especially if its good quality banded stuff and you never know.

It may help someone to get a starter set of clubs they may not have otherwise been able to which then gets them into the game.

More great articles relation to this topic

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