For most golfers, the driver is typically the most expensive club in their bag and one of the clubs we use most frequently.
I use my driver on the range and the course. And I always use the drive par-5 or par-4, especially tee-off.
So, finding the right driver according to your play style and budget is essential. Due to its price tag, purchasing a used golf driver is a viable option for golfers of any skill level.
However, with the wide variety of clubhead shapes, the center of gravity (C.G.) placements, face technology, and adjustable technologies offer many different models of many other brands. As a result, finding the right used golf driver for you can be quite a daunting task.
That is why in this buying guide, we will share some actionable tips you can use when buying a used golf driver.
How to Buy The Right Used Driver
Yes, you are looking to buy a used driver. Still, the more straightforward approach in our experience is to think like you are purchasing a brand new driver: Research the market for the driver you’d like to purchase. And once you’ve found the right one according to your needs, try to find a used one.
So, first, we have to deal with finding the right club according to your needs: your playing style, current skill level, available budget (already considering the used club will be cheaper), and so on.
Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing between different driver clubs:
Clubhead sizes measure in C.C. (cubic centimeters), and the current regulations limit the size of the clubhead to 460cc. Most drivers in the market today are between 440 and 460cc.
The bigger the head size is, the more areas you can use to hit the ball so that the driver will be more forgiving.
However, many players determined that a more oversized clubhead is “ugly” due to the preception; more giant heads often associate with beginners and high-handicappers.
Smaller head sizes can also alter the club’s MOI (more on this later) and behavior to provide more workability.
Driver clubs are wood-made traditionally, but most modern drivers today are composite materials and titanium.
Titanium is lightweight while very durable, allowing manufacturers to create a maximum 460cc head without increasing its weight. The lighter the driver is, the faster we can swing the club, and so it will help in distance performance.
Many drivers use composite materials (a mixture of many different materials) to achieve the same objective: as hard as possible while being as light as possible. For example, carbon often uses as a lightweight material combined with hard but heavy materials like tungsten.
So, when researching different head materials, you’d want a lightweight head that also offers large MOI and much forgiveness.
MOI, or Moment of Inertia, is a physics term used to measure an object’s stability (stillness). For example, it measures how resistant a club head is to being twisted during impact in golf.
The higher the MOI, the more resistant an object is to being twisted, especially during off-center strikes. So, a club with a high MOI considers more forgiving as you can get better results during mishits.
Most golfers can’t consistently hit the ball in the center of the face all the time, so a high MOI is typically preferred.
Center of Gravity (C.G.)
Golf club’s C.C. refers to a dot or point in the clubhead where all the weight distributes to directions.
In practice, the C.G. place in a golf club would determine the ball’s flight characteristics as the club hits it and determine its forgiveness.
Lower C.G. placement will produce more backspin and a higher launch trajectory. In comparison, a higher order of C.G. will make topspin and quieter flight.
On the other hand, if the C.G. place is closer to the heel, it will produce more draw spin, which is good for countering slices.
So, for maximum forgiveness, look for a driver with low and back C.G. placement.
Loft refers to the angle that the face of the club slopes back. In driver clubs, the loft typically ranges from 8.5° to 15°.
In general, the slower your swing speed, the higher the loft you need, and vice versa. As a general rule of thumb, the average swing speed for most male golfers is around 80 to 90 mph, which will need a driver with about 10° to 12° of the loft.
Different manufacturers nowadays offer other models with varying shaft lengths, but typically drivers are between 43.5″ to 47″. The maximum size allowed by the current regulations, however, is 48″.
The longer the shaft, the faster the head will travel, translating to a better distance during well-struck hits. However, the longer the post, the harder it is to control and the less forgiving.
As a general rule of thumb, you should find the longest driver possible that is still comfortable for you to hit consistently.
Sound and Feel
The sound and feel of a driver (or a golf club in general) aren’t merely about aesthetics. But they are also crucial in providing feedback whether you’ve made a well-struck or off-center hit.
However, the satisfaction of hitting a pleasantly sounding driver is also essential, and many golfers will justify the purchase of a costly club based on sound alone.
Swingweight, in a golf club, refers to how much of the driver’s total weight is in the head. It is a factor that is often overlooked when choosing between different golf clubs but is very important if you want to make the most of your swing.
In general, choose the right swing weight and total weight according to your swing speed, arms’ strength, and swing tempo. It will significantly help in improving the consistency of your strikes and lower the percentage of mishits.
How To Determine The Quality of a Used Golf Club
Now that you’ve decided on a driver based on the above criteria and found a used driver of the same model, how can you determine whether it is still in good condition? Also, how much cheaper should we pay for the club compared to a brand new one?
In general, there are three main areas you should consider when assessing the condition of a used club:
Typically modern drivers nowadays are using either steel or graphite shafts. It’s relatively easier to assess the condition of a steel shaft. It is likely in fine shape if it’s straight and not dented with a pretty decent finish. It’s also harder to damage a steel shaft, so it should be easy to tell if it is in good shape or not.
However, graphite shafts are relatively more complex to assess the condition, as even a tiny crack in the graphite can lead to future problems. Therefore, we’d recommend avoiding even a minimal amount of scratches/splits in a graphite shaft. And it is only getting a graphite shaft in a near-mint condition (or it should drive down the club’s price).
Check the condition of the grip. You can easily replace the grip for only around $10 to $15.
However, if there’s a sign that the grip replaces in a worn condition, it’s a vital sign for club uses a lot.
Check the grooves/mills on the club’s face and make sure they are still in a pretty decent condition. It’s okay if the tracks are a bit worn, but if it’s in a terrible state, it can be tough and expensive to regroove. Also, make sure the head is still mounted securely to the hosel, and check the condition of the hosel itself.
Determining The Value of The Used Driver
Now that you’ve correctly assessed the condition of the used driver based on the above factors, how can we determine how much we should pay?
When everything is available online, the best approach is to do online research and compare different available products. For example, you can check platforms like eBay or other sites specializing in 2nd-hand golf clubs and look for a similar driver.
Suppose the driver you are interested in and the ones listed on these platforms are around the same value (after considering the condition). In that case, it’s likely a fair value.
Also, check the price for the driver in a brand new condition and the brand new price of newer driver models from the same manufacturer/brand. Contrary to popular belief that a golf club is an ‘investment,’ golf clubs decrease in value relatively quickly, especially when a new model release from the same manufacturer.
For example, suppose the driver was priced at $1,000 when it was released. In that case, a newer model from the manufacturer is now available. Then $800 for a used driver for this model is, in most cases, too expensive, even if it’s in excellent condition.
Tips When Purchasing Used Golf Clubs
Do your research carefully.
Just because you are getting a bargain deal with a used driver in a near-mint condition, don’t underestimate the importance of research.
Treat this purchase just like when you are going to buy a brand new club or iron set:
- Check for online reviews.
- Know when it launched the driver and its original price.
- Compare it with the latest model offered by the brand.
For example, suppose a used driver offers $500, but the new model from the same brand is $600 with much better tech. In that case, it’s probably better to pay that extra $100 and get the newer model.
Know your needs
Understand your playing style, swing speed, and overall preferences. Yes, the used driver might be in excellent condition and offered at a reasonable price, but if it’s the wrong loft for you, you might not get too much value from it.
Use our tips above, understand the various factors that will affect the driver’s performance, and get one according to your needs and preferences.
Regrip the club
Be prepared for a regrip when purchasing a new driver (unless the previous owner has put a new grip immediately before trading them in, although it’s rare).
Thankfully, regripping is pretty affordable nowadays. Although not all used clubs might need a regrip immediately, prepare for one.
Be aware of fake clubs.
Yes, there are many counterfeit clubs in circulation, and some of them can look pretty similar to the original one. Again, do your research online and collect photos of the model so you can compare logos, grips, adjustable weights (if any), and other minor details.
If you purchase from a trustworthy platform, check whether they have experts to review their clubs for counterfeiting. However, in general, if a golf club is offered too low, then you should be extra careful.
Check the club in person.
Although this isn’t always possible, try to go and see the driver in person before you make your purchase.
If it’s not possible, ask the previous owner (or the platform you are purchasing the club from) for a seven-day trial if possible. So, if you aren’t happy with the club’s condition, you can send it back and get a refund.
Although purchasing a used driver (or any used golf club in general) can be intimidating and scary, nowadays. I have various platforms, online review sites, and even social media networks. So, I can easily ask around and do our online research on whether a used golf club is a good deal.
What’s important is to understand yourself as a player: your swing speed, habit/tempo, and what you need from a driver before hunting for one.