The Joys of Golf Club Scavenging


Treasures in Old Golf Clubs


My father used to own a fantastic set of Pings. Not the most predictable golfer in the world, they were good for him, and he improved. The sweet spot was big, and he got to where he could play a creditable round of golf.

I would have much rather kept my dad and played with Good Will specials, but I lost him after all, and inherited those Pings, which did very well for me as well. Unfortunately, they were stolen, along with my car and a mountain of irreplaceable creative work in a Memphis neighborhood during a visit with friends. The shell of the car was discovered a mile or two away, and I must say, the thieves made a courteous gesture by neatly stacking my manuscripts and placing them gingerly in the front seat – thanks for that, guys – but the clubs – they had no idea what those clubs meant to me.

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I was so angry that I couldn’t bring myself to walk into a pro shop and buy another new set of Pings, or anything else. Those car-thieves shouldn’t have the power to put me through that, I thought, so I went off in a strange direction, using a strange logic, and through the years, it turned into something enjoyable I have become a scavenger for golf clubs that work for me, one club at a time. Yes, Good Will and Salvation Army Thrift Stores are included – yard sales, whatever, if there’s a golf club there, I’m going to look at it.

irons 2
The “woods” are now complete. I have never owned a big, block-headed driver, but some of them are just now being discarded, and I found a beauty in a Eugene, Oregon Good Will. At the range, this club, combined with a conscious decision to shorten my backswing considerably, gave me the highest percentage of straight drives I’ve ever had, along with about 5 to 7 extra yards of distance. My scratch brother, of course, put NASA’s newest driver in my hands and said “Try this!” Ok, I hit it a country mile (although “country mile” is considerably more modest for me than it used to be), but I didn’t hit it straight. Twenty drives and I didn’t hit it straight. With my youth gone from all but my imagination, I now want straight, and I want 18 of them!
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I found a three and four wood that acted just the same, even though I had to discard numerous clubs with better pedigrees. Bear in mind that most of these clubs are so scratched that I couldn’t even tell you the brand. But, they work for me. I’ve dropped more than a few strokes off my scores in the last year or two, so please don’t say “Try this!” anymore, all right?

irons 1Let’s see – there’s spoon, niblick and, oh yes, “shank.” My “shank” is better known as a pitching wedge. Many a time I’ve stood in front of green in regulation, and ended up in the concession stand eighty yards to the right. Well, in a brave moment, I threw the pitching wedge away, having found an old sand wedge (invented by Thomas Edison himself, probably) that is perfect for everything around the green, everything – true blue. I may swing like an idiot, but it’s never the club’s fault.

I got the thrill of a lifetime at Fiddler’s Green in Junction City last summer. finding the six-iron of my dreams, a still fairly modern Cobra, only about ten years and one or two club generations out of date. Same thing – short backswing, wait for the speed until I start the downswing, and boom – straight almost every time, and about five yards farther than my old six-iron. I ran back into the pro shop to the barrel from which I’d found this discarded club, eager to buy all the others. And wouldn’t you know it? It was a barrel of Cobra six-irons, nothing else – about twenty of them. In violation of my new scavenging habits, I have surrendered and gone online to find the rest of them. I love these irons.


I guess that life without those old Pings is all right now. I’ve gotten the clubs I want. The scavenging was a lot of fun, and I recommend it as a pastime. As for the car, they can keep it. It wasn’t that great – now, if only I could get my dad back.


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