Hot List and Trade-ins

January 30, 2008

Lots of you are complaining about the price of equipment on the Golf Digest Hot List. (A number of you cited price in response to the Hot List article, which wondered why more amateurs don't upgrade. We made the point in response that trade-ins, easier than ever, helped bring down the price. Hold on, said Dr. Eric Addinall of Delaware:


As usual I studied this year's 'Hot List' with great interest. I noticed yet again however, the apparent surprise that more ordinary golfers don't change their clubs more regularly.

It occurs to me that one of the principal reasons is that if your clubs are over two years old, the trade-in value is almost negligible. I had a set of such clubs, wanted to buy one of the recommendations from last years list and was offered the princely sum of $40. I had paid around $700 for them 3 years ago. I still have them but hope to change this year if I'm offered anything at all!

This trade-in problem is worse even than for automobiles (and that is bad enough). Coupled with the fact that the mark- up on manufactured golf clubs is probably significantly higher than for cars, there is significant consumer suspicion around the idea that one must change clubs as often as urged by publications such as yours.

We just checked a couple of clubs from the 2006 Hot List, Cleveland CG4 irons and Callaway X-18 irons and the Cleveland's were over $100 on the PGA Value Guide in the mid range and the Callaways were around $170. If you didn't use the Vale Guide, do.

Mike Johnson of Golf World, one of the Hot List judges, says "Most of us feel their clubs are worth more than they can actually get in trade. And in categories where the technology has seen a boost, the value of older clubs goes down." Check out Mike's trade-in story in the Jan. 18 issue of Golf World.

Leigh Bader, a leading retailer who consults on the Hot List, thinks you can do better than the offer you got. Leigh operates the online trade-in program for the PGA. He advises that you check the locator on for stores near you that honor the PGA Value Guide. (He says there are a lots of them, and believes you'll do better than $40 at one of these. "The residual value of used clubs are higher and more available to more people now, more then ever! Something's amiss." That sounds promising. Love to hear back if you do better....

--Bob Carney

(Illustration by William Rieser)

PS: For another of those letters on equipment prices, continue on...