Sooner or later it’s going to happen. You go into your golf bag for your sand wedge, 9-iron, 4-iron (ouch), whatever, and it isn’t there.
It must be there. That’s the place it always is! Maybe it’s behind the 6-iron. Maybe it’s tucked up under a head cover.
Nope. It’s not there.
Well, maybe not panic, but you are going to freak out a little.
It just happened to me, and it’s going to happen to you, if it hasn’t already. I realized on Sunday while standing on the driving range that my Titleist 2014 AP1 4-iron was missing. This is the third golf club I’ve lost in the last 40 or so years. Why is there a barrel full of found golf clubs at every course in the world, but not once has any of my three clubs been turned in? The Golf God of Lost Clubs is not in my corner.
Therefore, in preparation for what to do when this happens to you, here is a step-by-step primer of how to deal with a lost golf club.
Where Are You When You Discover It’s Missing?
This matters. Are you ready to step onto the first tee when you realize you don’t have your driver? Are you on the range, reaching for your 4-iron when you realize it isn’t in your bag? (ouch). Is it when you’re cleaning your clubs and you do a count, only to discover it’s not there?
If you’re cleaning your clubs, you have a chance to recover your emotions before you play your next round. If you’re walking to the first tee without your driver, you don’t. And you’re not going to play a great round of golf. First, you’re going to be pissed you don’t have a club you need. Second, you’re going to be mentally spooling through the last day-week-weeks- to maybe discover when and how it went missing. So, you’re not going to be concentrating on your game.
That’s normal, and expected. Just understand and accept you are not going to set the course record today.
Step 1- Determine the Time Frame
Make a list of anywhere and everywhere you might have played since you last had the club in your hands. Don’t forget to include driving ranges and courses you may not regularly play. Depending on the club, this might be just a few days if it’s a driver or putter; or, it might be a few weeks if it’s an 8-iron you don’t hit as often.
In some cases, you will know exactly where and when you lost your club. “I left that sand wedge next to the bunker on that long par-3, the fourth hole….I can’t believe I did that…”
In some cases, such as mine, you will simply have no idea.
Regardless, narrowing down the time frame will help when you get to Step 2.
Step 2- Call
Call every place you think there is a remote chance you could have left it. Golf courses and driving ranges get these calls all the time. Describe the club in detail, not just a Titleist 4-iron, but a Titleist AP1 4-iron with a white grip. Leave your number. Make a note to call back in a few days just to see if it could have somehow turned up later.
Step 3- Acceptance
In the five stages of grief, the fifth stage is Acceptance. Everyone will do this in their own time, but sooner or later, after multiple calls and visits to the course(s) to check with no luck, you will have to come to grips with the fact you aren’t getting your club back.
There are exceptions, however:
My golf buddy for 20 yrs lost his 6i after punching out from huge azalea 🌺 planting on hill behind 17th green
Six yrs later🙄my best buddy since 7th grade found the lost 6i after my best buddy since 7th grade hit his ball in same spot 6 yrs later while playing w/ my Buddy & I😂
— Hap (@EsqCGolf) May 28, 2018
If you aren’t willing to wait six years, here are some resources you can utilize to replace that club in your bag.
Step 4- Your Next Club
Depending on the age and make of your club, you may have an easy, or not-so-easy, time of replacing it. If it’s a driver or fairway metal, now may be the time to get that driver fitting you’ve always talked about anyway. Same with a wedge. There are so many wedges, grinds, and lofts on the market that being fit is a smart thing to do if you lost an older wedge.
If it’s an iron from a set, your options are much more limited. If your set was fitted, then you should accept that only by luck will you be able to find another club of the same make, model, and year that also is the same shaft, lie, and length. You have a decision to make: Do you search until you find the exact 5-iron you lost; or, do you find the same head and commit to finding and buying one and having it placed on the same shaft, with the same specs, as you now have? In my case, and I suspect yours, it will be the latter.
Full Set Vs. Replacement Club
A replacement club for a brand name is going to cost from $50-$100, plus shipping. A used full set is going to run around $250-350. Is it worth buying a few spares, or do you just want that one club, knowing that for the rest of your life you will be checking your bag every three holes to insure all of your clubs are still there?
Replacement Club Companies
The following companies all have a large inventory of replacement clubs, and used sets from which you can cannibalize a club you need:
Amazon and Ebay
First, if you just realized your lost a club, give it a few days after calling the courses to see if it might turn up.
Second, if no luck there, determine if you want to possibly go in a new direction and be fitted for a new driver, or fairway metal, or wedge (or set of wedges), or even putter. It’s possible you were thinking of replacing an older set of irons, and this is the catalyst to do so.
Third, if it’s an iron from a set and you want to keep what you have, then accept the probability that you aren’t going to find an exact match. In my case, none of the club replacement companies had a 2014 Titleist AP1 4-iron.
Well, one did, but it was left-handed, so…
I went to Ebay, and found one. It’s on order. I’ve already talked to a guy I go to who does golf club fittings about matching this up with my current set.
Finally, make it a point, set yourself a reminder, create some kind of memory trigger, do whatever it takes, but check your clubs before you leave the course or range. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It is much easier to find a club on the course you just played, then to mentally backtrack two weeks trying to remember the last time you had it.
I hope this never happens to you, but if it does, maybe the checklist here will help ease the pain a little.
Good luck, and Enjoy Shooting Your Age!