No, that collection above isn’t mine!
As this golf season comes to a close, I’ve found myself taking inventory – both physically and mentally. I played some pretty good golf this year and even though my game is probably the best it has been top to bottom, I’m still a step away from where I want to be as a player. Where is that? I want to be able to play comfortably and competitively in the best skins game in town and be able to compete in my (or any other) local city championship in the scratch flight. This means I need to be able to tee is up with the best high schoolers, the scratch/club champ type mid-ams, and the junior college level of golfer. You will get some D1 college players in the action I’m interested in but I think it’s probably a bit a stretch to reach D1 given my physical abilities and quantity a practice time available (not too much).
Since I have no interest in buying my way to better golf, the only way to go is to dig it out of the dirt. To that end, I’ll probably spend less time writing and more time practicing next season. I’ve already started to ease in that direction but I’ll make sure PGT get consistent, if less frequent attention.
But this post was meant to be about taking physical inventory as well and by that I mean gear. It’s been a couple years now since I started getting interested in seeing what traditional golf clubs were all about. With everything so cheaply available, it’s pretty easy to get caught up collecting gear. $20 dollars here, $30 dollars there – pretty soon you will have a whole garage full and that’s exactly where I was about 6 months ago. I had always tried to buy only items I intended to put in play but even so, there was a bunch of stuff that needed adjustment or just didn’t look right or needed regripping, etc. This stuff had to go! But how to go about it? Even the stuff that wasn’t playable was attractive and historical, right?
Well, at the end of the day I never really wanted to be a collector. I wanted to be more of a connoisseur – able to appreciate the most exquisite designs of the last 60 or so years but not necessarily own them all. I convinced myself that the process of down selecting – getting rid of everything that isn’t of the utmost personal importance – is meaningful in itself. Making the decision to liquidate can crystallize previously clouded thoughts, forcing the golfer to assign a value – even if a relative one, to the tools of their trade. Which items really invoke thoughts and feelings? Which gear would you want to show to your children as you taught them the history of the game? Once I was able to figure that out, it became a matter of moving everything else.
But what to do with it? How to thin a collection? Here’s what I did:
- Bundle all the mid – low grade stuff. This is the stuff that might be perfectly playable but have no collectors value or visa versa but not the highly sought after stuff. These were complete sets and usable clubs that I just didn’t play much anymore or had any number of liens against them – too whippy, too stiff, too upright, too flat, etc. I wasn’t interested in making profit off these – just finding a good home for them and making sure they didn’t get forgotten in a shed somewhere. Here are some items from the bundles I created:
- Sell the good stuff on Ebay and do it individually. There were a few items that I could do to part with but still had decent value. These items I sold on Ebay. This can be a hassle as the auction format has a sellers fee and runs the risk of not selling for much. The buy-it-now option runs the risk of lingering unsold and requiring constant attention to answer questions, update the listing, etc. Nevertheless, Ebay gives you access to a lot of eyeballs so that’s where I went with my Z-101′s and TP Mills Tour Issue Putter.
- Donate – there were a few half sets and unfinished clubs that really weren’t even worth the effort to ship. The best way to get anything out of these guys is to donate. Since there isn’t a stable youth golf program serving underprivileged kids in the area I chose to give them to Goodwill. I hope they find their way into a beginner’s bag somewhere.
So what items did I hang on to? As it turns out, the clubs I wanted to keep were the ones I had history gaming. My M85′s are my favorite vintage set and weren’t going anywhere. My 80′s Staff Blades have been in the bag for over a year and obviously won’t be leaving. I also kept my Turfriders and 1 set of 90′s Hogans. That means I kept 1 set from the 50′s, 1 from the 60′s, one from the 80′s, and 1 from the 90′s. Any of them can go into the bag to change up the look or enjoy a set from a different time. Same with the persimmons – trimmed down to a few gamers, most from the 50′s or 80′s. That may still seem like a lot but the total value on my irons now are probably less than $400 with about $2-300 worth of persimmons. That’s a lot less than any newish set of clubs and now the few sets and few persimmons I have left are easy to manage, move, and admire.
There you have it… the thinning of a collection. Never easy, but sometimes if you love something you have to let it go. For those others who have significantly cut down- let me know what you did and why. I’d be interesting to hear your motivations behind your decisions.