There are several sources for obtaining hickory clubs within Australia. The most common are online sites such as Ebay and Gumtree. There are a few of things to watch out for when purchasing hickory clubs online (for play) in Australia.
Obviously the biggest pitfall when buying online is the inability to determine the condition of the club, particularly the hickory shaft. Always ask the seller for more information if the condition is unclear. If possible request additional photos before committing to a purchase. A proportion of iron heads sold online are rusted and will need refurbishing before use. A rusted iron head may indicate the club has been exposed to the elements for an extended period so expect deterioration of the hickory shaft as well. Look for signs of cracking and/or splitting both across and with the grain of the hickory. Superficial damage is often repairable but can never be guaranteed to withstand the rigours of hickory play. Similarly warped shafts with a bend of less than 40-50mm over the length of the shaft can generally be heated and straightened for use. Shafts with significant bending/twisting will need to be replaced.
New hickory shafts are available to buy from suppliers in the US but stocks can be limited and the cost can be prohibitive. Hickory Golfers uses and recommends new hickory shafts sourced from Tad Moore (Tad Moore Hickory Classics). Whilst a rusted iron head can often be refurbished for hickory play a wood head showing signs of cracking will usually be difficult to recover for use. Unless the cracks are superficial the continual force of impact will only exacerbate the damage.
A proportion of hickory clubs, mostly with varying levels of Australian golfing significance, are considered "collectable". Whenever possible clubs with relevance to Australia's golfing heritage should not be used for hickory play. Many of these will have a reference to a particular Australian golf course and/or Australian golf professional. If in any doubt contact the AGHS.
Not all hickory clubs are considered to have been created equally. From the turn of the 20th century until the introduction of steel shafts some 30 years later there.were many advances in both manufacture and design.
Many hickory golfers prefer irons from Scotland whilst others seek out the later produced stainless steel clubs from the US. Whatever your individual preference the best way to determine a clubs individual playability is to take it to the course and use it.
The most important determinant of whether a particular hickory club will suit your individual swing is the hickory shaft (see CLUBS page). Paying more for better quality clubs will amount to nothing if the hickory shaft does not suit your game. The playability and feel of the club is what makes the difference, not the makers stamp on the back of the club. SoHG has an excellent article on how to build a play set of clubs.
Outside of Australia the dominant hickory market place is Ebay.com (US site). The US Ebay site has hundreds of clubs available at any one time. The most reliable sellers are those who are hickory golfers themselves and have well established reputations as honest dealers. Bob Georgiade ("stixnstuff") and Brad Gregory ("cbgregory123") are two very experienced hickory enthusiasts who sell high quality play clubs and will go out of their way to help in any way they can. Their inventory can also be seen at www.woodshaftgolf
Remember if buying from overseas to factor in the exchange rate and shipping costs.
Other sources of hickory clubs are garage sales, estate auctions and second hand stores. These can be great places for securing a bargain priced set of clubs. It is amazing how many hickory clubs have been tucked away in a shed or garage and are discovered during a clean up.
For many assembling a play set is an integral part of the hickory journey which can become a never-ending quest to find that elusive perfect iron or wood.
Hickory Golfers is always looking to buy your unwanted hickory clubs. If outside of Brisbane we can arrange for courier collection and pay for all shipping costs.
If you're curious about the value of your hickory clubs or want to know more about their history drop us a line via the contact page and we will get back to you.