The shelves at Golfbidder are jam packed with second-hand kit... and we've found the best of it
Note: We've got a new version of this article here
Modern golf equipment has never been more advanced. But carbon composites, movable weight tracks and hollow constructions come at a price; the top drivers now cost £500 each and a set of irons is likely to set you back over a grand. But there is an alternative if you want a newish club for oldish money – buy secondhand.
We've teamed up with the used equipment specialists at golfbidder to show you what you can get by buying used. We focused on three categories – drivers (best for £200), irons (best for £400) and putters (best for £150) and scoured our test archives to identify the best performing equipment. And to help you find the clubs most suited to your own game, we broke each category into ability sectors (head type for putters).
The clubs we discovered on Golfbidder's shelves prove you don't need to spend a fortune to get a brilliant club: www.golfbidder.co.uk
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BEST for... Forgiveness
• Callaway Big Bertha Fusion: £138
The Fusion didn't grab the limelight when it launched in 2016, probably because Callaway's XR16, which both Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson used to win Majors – made the most headlines. But make no mistake, Fusion is a high MOI, forgiving driver that's very powerful. It's a driver for golfers who put a premium on forgiveness over looks. The triangular head shape head won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it works. A lot of golf club for 37 per cent of its original cost.
• Wilson D7: £187
With equipment prices sky-rocketing we weren't expecting to find a 2019 driver for less than £200, but just two months ago the D7 was one of our test pro's longest drivers of 2019. Its head and shaft come in 19g lighter than a typical model, which naturally increases speed. The weighting inside the D7's three loft options is different, delivering lower launching and spinning shots in the 9° head and higher launch and extra spin in the 13°. Lightweight isn't for everyone, so you really need to try it to find out if one will suit your game.
• TaylorMade M4: £171
The M4 might be a 2018 model, but it's still won twice on the PGA Tour in 2019. There's 41g of mass located in the back pad, which makes it a really forgiving option. Twist Face tech – which has been proven to straighten out high toe and low heel misses – was brand new in 2018 and over the course of the year helped Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy improve their accuracy stats. Considering the M4's launch price of £369, you're saving the best part of £200 (though if you want a new M4, Golfbidder have those for £249 a piece, too).
BEST for... Low Spin
• TaylorMade M3: £183
For higher swing speed players or those looking to dial in very specific launch or spin conditions, the M3 is a serious piece of kit. It won three majors in 2018, and you can now pick one up now for 38 per cent of last year's cost. Pay close attention to the shaft in any purchase; golfers who bought one are likely to have been custom fitted for it.
• Ping G30 LS-Tec: £143
Ping equipment holds its value better than any other brand, so it can prove a challenge finding their gear for a real bargain price. The LS-Tec launched in 2015, and it was Ping's first family of drivers to really focus on aerodynamic performance. It lets you dial down spin by about 300rpm over a standard model, useful for anyone who spins it a lot.
• Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic Sub Zero: £192
One of our favourite drivers of the last three years, and that's because even as a low spin driver it's still very forgiving (as long as you keep the 12g sole weight in the back port). The head's aerodynamically shaped, and you get Jailbreak tech which takes on more load at impact to maximise ball speeds. This is a lot of club for less than £200.
BEST for... Draw BiaS or MoDEraTE SwinG SPEEDS
• Cobra f-Max Superlite: £191
The Superlite only launched late last year; finding one for less than £200 is surprising, but they are a great option for moderate swing speed players. The head's off set and draw biased to help curb a slice. The whole club is lighter to increase launch, speed and maximise carry distance, and there's a stripe on the crown to aid alignment.
• TaylorMade M4 D-Type: £180
Draw drivers have come into fashion in a big way in recent years and the D-Type is one of the best you'll find. Draw drivers aren't just for slicers – they're also great at improving ball speed for heel strikers, too. Perfect for golfers who don't want the clubface to look closed at address, but need a draw biased driver to ease them away from the right rough.
• Cobra King F8 HT: £172
The HT comes with an 11.5° loft, but thanks to the adjustable hosel it can be dialled between 11-14°. The adjustability, along with a 12g sole weight which can be switched into a heel/ draw position, makes it an excellent slice buster. A high-tech, powerful and forgiving option, too.
• Srixon Z 765: £291
Srixon are often overlooked when it comes to irons, but for those in the know the 765s are a beautiful Japanese forged model. They were a hit with Srixon's tour staff(Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Shane Lowry), and with no fast face tech and a lower MOI, con dent ball strikers can expect precise shotmaking results. This is an awful lot of golf club for less than £300
• Callaway Apex Pro 16: £315
Apex irons own a special place in the hearts of Callaway engineers because they're aimed at the pinnacle of players. Danny Willett won the Masters with his and they've been in countless tour pro bags over the last three years. If you absolutely have to have compact irons, with little o set, narrow soles and thin top lines, the Apex are a delight. Pay close to attention to the shafts in any prospective purchase, as it's highly likely better players would have got fitted for the set before you.
• Mizuno MP-18 MMC: £389
A brilliant set of irons that sit on the fence between player and game improver. The MMCs are just as forgiving as an old-school Ping Eye 2 iron (which had a deep cavity back), but they combine that playability with the looks of a players' model. Tungsten toe weighting and a lightweight titanium cavity badge ensure mass is positioned to maximise forgiveness, in what is a high-tech but beautiful clubhead.
• Callaway Rogue X: £325
Simply put, the longest iron we've tested in the last two years. Thanks to very strong lofts they're not for everyone, but for anyone who naturally flights shots high from the turf and wants to chase distance, you won't find longer.
• Cobra King Forged Tec Black: £270
Perfect for golfers who insist on using an iron that looks like a players' model, but also want to add yards. A great looking iron with a reasonable degree of forgiveness, best suited to above average golfers.
• TaylorMade M2: £299
The original M2s launched in 2016, and they still o er a brilliant combination of forgiveness and power. Lightweight REAX steel shafts generate extra speed and help launch shots high for maximum carry distance. A great looking iron, too.
Game Improvement Irons
• Cleveland CBX: £306
Cleveland probably aren't first on the team sheet for many golfers looking for a new/used set of irons, but the CBX look great and they're a very solid option. These have pretty deep faces compared to other irons in this category, which helps maximise face and ball speed. We're big fans of the compact head, Tour Zip milled grooves and the stable Dynamic Gold DST shaft, which helps flight shots higher for plenty of carry
• Callaway Apex CF16: £269
The Apex CF16 is a timeless classic. It brings together lots of everything modern golfers want in an iron. It's forged, so expect decent feel. There's some fast face tech so shots catapult off the face really quickly. It's pretty compact and really attractively shaped, and it boasts decent levels of forgiveness. All that makes it one of the most desirable irons for club golfers over the last few years, and an absolute bargain at £269.
• Ping G400: £353
We're not quite sure why, but Ping equipment holds its secondhand value better than any other brand. Some will say the G400 has a pretty long, boxy head, but it's exactly this trait that helps raise MOI and forgiveness. We're also fans of how the shorter irons morph into a more compact shape. Just be aware that a lot of Ping equipment is sold custom fitted. It means you really should know the specs of any prospective purchase (lie angle, Ping's colour code and shaft type especially) before opening your wallet for a secondhand set.
Super Game Improvement Irons
• Callaway Big Bertha OS: £338
Perfect for golfers who want a good looking but forgiving iron. The lofts are nowhere near as strong as Rogue X, which makes them easier to launch and flight at average swing speeds. Incredibly Golfbidder has this set brand new; last year they had an RRP of £849.
• Ping G: £249
It could be argued the G is more of a game improver iron than a super game improver model, but because it's bigger than the Ping G400 we reckon it sits well within this category. A fantastically forgiving iron that really won't break the bank.
• Wilson D200: £176
Yes the D200 are big and chunky, but it's exactly those attributes that make the iron so forgiving. For less than £200 we reckon the D200 are perfect for a new golfer. The Uni ex shafts suit a decent sized window of swing speeds.
• Odyssey Oworks #7 Red: £122
Red putters may not be as common as they used to be on Tour, but some top players still swear by theirs. Odyssey's #7 head is legendary and every bit as good toady as when it first launched. The shape helps with alignment and set up, but the pronged back also shows the putter's path brilliantly, too. Give some thought to the hosel on any prospective purchase as this model came in several options (the double-bend shaft is face balanced, where a short slant gives toe hand like a typical blade).
• TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs +: £138
Stability is massive in putters right now, and they don't come much more stable than the counterbalanced Daddy Long Legs +. Yes, it's big, and there's plenty of shapes and lines to look at, but we'd forgotten how good the DDL was until visiting Golfbidder – we almost left with this putter ourselves! A brilliant model to switch in and out of service, as the standard length, counterbalanced shaft and high MOI head gives a very different feel to a typical putter.
• Scotty Cameron futura X: £143
Finding a Scotty for less than £150 isn't easy, but we've proved it is possible. The Futura X is one of the best stability putters Cameron has ever produced. Two heavy backweights draw the centre of gravity back from the face, enhancing forgiveness on off centre hits. The X is absolutely not for everyone, but if like us you can turn a blind eye to the backweights (they're actually a long way back from the face) the face balanced design feels fantastic on slick greens.
• Ping Vault Anser 2 Platinum: £149
Ping dabble at CNC milled putters, as often they prefer to cast putters and use a multi-material face insert to get the sound, feel and performance they're after. The Anser 2 has plenty of toe hang so it's well suited to an arcing putting stroke. Its CNC milled head with a single sightline is the height of simplicity. As long as the condition is good, for 53 per cent of the Anser's 2017 RRP you can get your hands on a classic, that will last for years.
• Ping Sigma 2 Anser Stealth (adjustable length shaft): £141
Ping's Sigma 2 putters only launched late in 2018, so we didn't really expect to find one within our budget. The real win with Sigma 2 is the adjustable shaft length, which comes into its own when you realise eight out of 10 golfers use the wrong length putter. A brilliantly simple putter, just make sure the adjustment wrench is included within the sale price.
• Odyssey Oworks #1 wide: £125
We're big fans of short, stubby blade putters at TG as they bring a less intimidating, wider look to the blade party. Pay close attention to which hosel you're buying into as there's at least a couple of different options with the Wide. This double-bend model suits slightly arcing strokes. Consider different finishes, too; Golfbidder had Versa, Red or Blacked out which should cover o most players' needs for their putter's looks at address.
• Ping Vault Oslo Platinum - £134
You won't find a simpler CNC milled mallet. The wide body and long sight line is super easy to set up and align. Tyrrell Hatton has been a fan for several years. Thanks to True Roll face tech off-centre putts speed up so they travel the same distance as centre hits, meaning distance control is enhanced. A lot of putter, when you consider the original price was £279.
• TaylorMade TP Collection Ardmore Red: £129
Golfbidder don't just sell used gear, they dabble in new and clearance equipment, too. So the Ardmore, which has been used by both Jason Day and Justin Rose, is actually a brand new putter for just £129. It means you get an unused grip and a clean headcover, but for £100 less than the cost last year. Brilliant for straight back and through stroke
• Odyssey Oworks 2Ball Fang: £135
The OWorks insert launched in 2017, and microhinge face tech helps lift putts into a better roll on the green. Two years ago our testing had it among the best for reducing skid and improving forward roll, which is still relevant tech today. A great mid-sized mallet with iconic 2Ball alignment help.
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