Used Golf Irons Buying Set

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Used Golf Irons Buying Set

eBay sells literally thousands of golf irons every year, from new ones to second hand ones and for the novice and experienced golfer. There are two main advantages of buying used golf irons:

  • For those who are new to the game, it provides an inexpensive way to purchase a set of irons which may be upgraded later as the novice becomes more advanced
  • Pure affordability, as a used iron set will be substantially less expensive than new
  • A high quality set of golf irons bought second hand is likely to be higher than an inexpensive brand new set of clubs
  • There is a wealth of high quality iron sets from a huge range of brands available

What is a set of irons?

To most golfers a set of irons consists of a 3 iron to 9 iron – 7 clubs – plus a wedge and a sand wedge.

The categorisation and numbering system refers to the degree of loft on the club. So a 3 iron is relatively straight faced and used for hitting the golf ball relatively long distances - say 180m - 190m - with a relatively low trajectory and more run on the ball when it hits the ground.

The degree of loft increases with each number so that a typical pitching wedge has a loft of 48 degrees and is used for hitting high trajectory shots over a distance up to 100 – 110m and with less forward run and even backspin on landing.

The length of the shaft increases as the loft decreases, thus a 3 iron is longer than a wedge. This extra length puts extra pressure on the golfer’s hand/eye co-ordination and swing, making a 3 iron considerably harder to hit correctly than a more lofted club. Some golfers, mostly professionals or very low handicappers, add a 1 iron(driving iron) or 2 iron to their set.

Golfers tend to choose a matched set of irons – all the same type from the same manufacturer - rather than purchasing odd individual clubs. This is in order to have a consistency of feel and performance from one club to another. Different shafts, grips and even lofts would make it harder for the typical player to select the right club and get consistent results on the golf course. eBay has a vast range of complete sets available from a wide range of manufacturers.

These manufacturers continue to make and sell traditional sets of irons but the market has changed over the last 20 years with the introduction of specialist wedges and hybrid clubs or rescue clubs

Things to Look Out for when Buying a Used Iron Set

It is always helpful to understand the history of a used set of irons, and most sellers will be happy to answer questions to help a buyer come to the right decision.

  • How often and for how long has the set been used
  • How has it been stored and looked after
  • Is there any damage – either superficial or something more fundamental
  • Is the set complete
  • Why are they selling

What Type of Iron Set to Buy

The simple answer to this is one that you can hit with the right trajectory and relatively straight. The cost of golf equipment, lessons and green fees is very high. But it is worth spending some time and money getting the right clubs at the right price. The only way to be sure is to try a variety of clubs until one feels right.

See if you can borrow a selection of new and second hand ones, perhaps from your golfing partners, to take out onto the course or a driving range to try.

The following features of different irons will have an impact on the choice of clubs to buy.

Features to Look For

Carbon Graphite v Stainless Steel shafts

Irons used to be made with wooden hickory shafts, then stainless steel shafts and now woven strands of graphite shafts. The proponents of graphite shafts point to the reduced weight in the shaft which allows for an increase in swing speed of the club-head and a corresponding increase in the distance the ball is hit. Fans of steel shafts argue that the flex in carbon can lead to the club head twisting and sending the ball off line and prefer the stiffness of steel.

Shaft stiffness

Most shafts are produced as Regular but low handicap golfers with a very fast swing speed will often specify stiffer shafts. High handicap and elderly golfers will sometimes have a greater flex than regular to counter a slow swing and help maintain some distance.

  • Iron head – Cavity Backed, Perimeter Weighted and Blades
  • Blades are so-called because they offer a uniform thickness of metal at the back of the iron. Used by low handicappers and many touring professionals they offer greater ‘feel’ off the club face though at the cost of a slightly smaller ’sweet spot’. Generally less forgiving than other styles of iron which offer more help to the high handicap player
  • Cavity Backedirons have a thin face that is bolstered by weight at the heel and toe at the back of the iron on the basis that this extra weighting will increase the sweet spot and prevent off line shots
  • Perimeter Weighted irons are a style of cavity backed iron with weight all around the outside rear of the club. Also designed to improve trajectory and increase the size of the sweet spot.
  • Grips The key thing to look for here is that the size of Grip is appropriate to hand size. Check different sizes until a comfortable size is found and if buying used clubs ensure the grips aren’t worn, or get them replaced.

Features That Might Suit Different Types of Golfer


Handicap Level

Shaft Type

Shaft Stiffness

Head Type

Novice/High Handicap




Experienced/Mid Handicap




Experienced/Low Handicap






The pitching wedge and sand wedge found in the traditional iron set have been supplemented by a range of lob wedges and extreme lob wedges to help the golfer extract the ball from a variety of hazards from thick mud to thick grass. Designed to transfer swing energy into height rather than distance, they are also used to fly the ball over hazards between the golfer and the hole. Proponents of these clubs, like the American Phil Mickelson, have generated huge demand from club golfers keen to emulate their heroes. Many golfers now carry at least one extra wedge with a loft of anywhere from 56 – 64 degrees for these troubleshooting situations.

Hybrid or Rescue Clubs

Hybrid clubs are so called because they combine features and benefits of both woods and irons, without really being one or the other. Simply put, the hybrid has a shorter shaft than a wood, like an iron making it easier to hit, but with a larger head than a long iron, more like a small fairway wood. The club face and sole of the hybrid is also more like an iron in that it can cut through grass when a ball is in the rough. Hence, the name rescue club because it is often of use after a wayward drive finds the rough.

Many amateur golfers and many touring professionals too have abandoned the longer irons – from 1 to 4 – in favour of this style of club.

A Used Set of Irons

So, a modern golf bag will now typically have 2 hybrids of different lofts, 5 iron to sand wedge plus another lob wedge. Rather than buy a traditional set of clubs and then throw the 3 iron and 4 iron away it makes sense to take a look online with eBay. The ability to source individual clubs makes it viable to build your own matched set of 5- 9/SW and then supplement it by buying separately the hybrids and wedges.

Unwanted gifts often crop up as second hand items that are not used and even used items make it a lot more cost effective to buy a complete traditional set of irons before retiring the 3 and 4 irons – or offering them for resale separately on eBay.

As for the future, the life of a golfer is one long masochistic search for improvement. The time will come when the manufacturers develop yet another piece of equipment that capitalises on an advance in technology and it will become a ‘must have’. With eBay it’s not such a gloomy and expensive scenario. Those current much loved clubs can be offered for sale on eBay and go to a new owner while part funding the trade up to the new ones. Or you could take a chance and hang onto those old irons. Who knows, in the future they could be really collectable as the modern day equivalent of the hickory shafted clubs that sell so well in the Sporting Memorabilia and Antique 

Conclusion on Buying a Golf iron on eBay

When choosing to buy a golf iron the buyer must consider their individual needs for the type of club, their ability and any game improvement features they might prefer. If the buyer has not had a chance to practice with the desired iron it may well be worth searching for a single club first before moving on to buying a complete set. Image and brand are important but will have an impact on cost. The most important thing is to get the ball in the hole with less strokes. While eBay can’t do that for you, it can set you on the way by helping you to buy the right equipment to improve your game.

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