Vintage / Antique Wood Golf Club Values and
First things first! If your looking for a value on your
shaft golf clubs, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that the shaft
is in fact made of real wood. Many club manufactures have produced clubs
that have metal shafts with a wood grain finish. Grab a magnet
and check this first, because if it's metal, you are already
wasting your time...
see if the magnet sticks mid way along the shaft since some
metal core shafts from the 1930's onward do have real wood
inserts at the top of the grip which could fool you into
believing the club has a hickory shaft.
Antique wood golf club
guides can help verify age.
How to estimate the value of old hickory shaft golf clubs
For starters, a good guide for determining a clubs value is the
Wood Shafted Golf
Club Value Guide by Peter Georgiady Learning about wood golf
clubs is where the fun merges with finding, collecting, and maybe
even becoming a dealer of these classic fairway relics. The
more you know, the better you will
be at spotting the really valuable, and sometime priceless gems
of the antique golf club market.
One thing you need to know right off the git-go is that rarity
is the major governing factor in high priced
wooden golf club values. Hickory shaft clubs are not really
that rare. Millions of hickory shaft clubs were made so there
are still oodles of hickory shaft
clubs still around.
The basic rule on antique wooden shaft golf club value is in
general, the older the rarer, the rarer the more value... Now
that being said, obviously there are some variables to that
rule. Quality, limited production, and history or original
famous owner or name like Tom Morris on a club are just some
other instances where value can be dramatically increased.
Some clubs tend to be more rare than others because they were
expensive, or made in limited quantities. This doesn't insure
your club is worth more, but many from this circumstance are.
It's important to realize that millions of low grade wood golf
clubs were made and sold through department, hardware, and
sporting goods stores when the sport was booming in the early
1900's. Spalding, Wilson, MacGregor, Burke, Kroydon, Hillerich &
Bradsby, George Nicoll, Wright & Ditson and scores of others
were made and sold everywhere.
Factors that indicate your clubs are common and at the low end
of the value chart include:
Stainless steel, chromed, or chromium heads
Clubs with dots, hyphens, lines or other face markings.
Metal caps at the end of the grip.
Yardage ranges stamped on the back (70-100) (100-125)
Numbered irons from sets, or "matched set" irons that have
numbers instead of the old names.
No manufacturer's name, or common names like: Hollywood,
Thistle, Biltmore, Bonnie, Metropolitan, Columbia, Ace,
Majestic and other commonly high produced, low quality clubs.
An average club in average condition
might be worth $30 + -, whereas a rare club set like the
Spalding Bobby Jones Hickory-Shafted Golf Clubs, ca. 1933
have an appraised value of $5,000 - $7,000.
Some of the features that indicate your club
is a more valuable, scarce or rare find include:
Wood headed putters.
Irons or putters with unusual shaped heads.
Irons with no face markings, or unusual face markings.
Woods that have a thick curved oval neck, covered with 4 or 5
inches of string whipping.
Smooth face irons with the following names: Anderson, Army &
Navy, Ayres, Carrick, Forgan, Gray, Morris, Park, and White,
and certain Condie, Gibson, MacGregor, NicoIl, Spalding,
Wright & Ditson smooth faced.
What to look for in the condition of your
hickory golf clubs for value and pricing purposes:
that show lots of use, rust, pitting, have a warped or cracked
shaft or hosel, bad or missing grips, are not of 'high
quality" or that have been cleaned, restored or refinished
are the "least desired" and bring lower prices. Cleaning and
restoring is generally a big no-no and will only harm the
For top dollar, collectors prefer the look of natural patina
and original, or slightly used condition to pay in the higher
price ranges. Original is best, original shaft, original
grip, original condition...
Putting a value on your golf clubs:
The approach for valuing antique wood golf clubs can vary quite
a bit, but It really depends on your ability to identify what it
is, it's age and condition, the manufacturer and how rare it may
be. These factors along with any influential history the club
may have (was it used by someone famous?) help determine how
collectible it is, and ultimately, it's value.
way to date the age of a wood golf club is by looking at the design of the "cleek mark".
These designs sometimes varied several times and can be used to
date a golf
clubs age. One of the best sources for cleek mark data is
Marks and Trademarks on Antique Golf Clubs by
Peter Georgiady, a valuable resource for deciphering these
Value is also influenced
by the package. Are the clubs all one original set with the
proper antique golf club
descriptions and markings (driving iron, mid iron, mashie, spade mashie, pitching niblick,
niblick or baffing spoon etc.) or are they a mix match set acquired
over time? Full matching sets are much more collectable when
looking to buy antique wood
Originality: Are the shafts and grips
Grips: If the grips are
same on a matching set, it's likely they are original.
Shafts: Look at the top of the club hosels (the part where the
club head and shaft come together). Check the "pin" that
holds the shaft in place, doest it look rough like it was
worked on, or is it not smoothly aligned with the hosel. Are there
are any dents or tool marks you can see or feel (not the little
notches at the top, but dings in the side of the hosel where
you would grip it with a tool for shaft removal). If any of
these signs exist, it's likely the shaft has been replaced. Also,
some club markers put their mark on the original shaft near the
grip. Original is better!
Completely smooth club faces are pre-1910. Hand imprinted
dots are older than smooth machine pressed dots. Machine
imprinted lines are usually later than dots.
Features of Woods - Wooden Headed Clubs
Long Nose Golf Clubs (pre-1885)
Woods (1885 - 1890)
Bulger Golf Woods ( Scared or
Splice Neck 1895 - 1910 )
Bulger Golf Woods ( Socket
Neck 1910 - 1935 )
Aluminum Head ( 1895 - 1935 )
Features of Irons - Smooth Face & Pattern face
Early Golf Irons ( pre 1850 )
Smooth Face Irons (
1850 - 1910 )
Pattern Face Irons ( 1910 - 1935 )
Features of Putters - Smooth Face & Pattern face
Steel Blade Head Smooth Face 1890's
Steel Blade Head
Aluminum Head (1895 - 1935 )
Headed ( Splice join pre-1900 )
Wooden Headed (
Socket join post 1900 )
Valuating a golf clubs fair market price:
In today's market, a full set of
conventional hickory shaft golf clubs will bring around $400 + -
Individual clubs in
good condition will bring around $30 for each club, unless
rare or unusual which will bring more.
Individual clubs in poor condition
may be worth as little as $5 each with warped shafts and
Smooth face clubs
are older and should be worth $60 or more per club, even
In general, less than 5% of all hickory wood shafted
clubs have value beyond decorative or playable worth.
Rough Ballpark Retail Pricing: Do Your Own Homework!
Club Prices General Condition
Club Prices Premium Condition
$20.00 to $30.00
$120.00 and up