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I played a round of golf yesterday with Fuzz. Fuzz doesn’t look like he used to, but he was a good partner. I shot an 82 with him, yet he’s so unfazed by the triple-bogey and double-bogey that blighted my round that he’ll be back with me next time I play.

Fuzz is not Frank Urban Zoeller. Fuzz is the brand name of a golf ball that I’d never heard of until I found it in a ditch at Riverside Golf Course in San Antonio. Fuzz is yet another reason I’m able to Golf Like You’re Poor.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a golf ball. Seriously! I think it’s safe to say that since I had my college job as a cart jockey at Bear Creek Golf Course at DFW Airport about 25 years ago that I’ve probably bought just one box of balls. And I did that because the rag-tag collection of pellets I had in my golf bag would not have allowed me to follow the rules by playing a tournament round with the same make of ball.

It was that summer job, when I’d find balls left behind in carts and lost in bushes next to the practice range, that I gave my golf game a great gift -- a lifetime supply of golf balls!

Through my GLYP blog I always try to support my cheap ways by providing figures. The fact that I scoop up lost golf balls doesn’t save me much. If I found “recycled” golf balls on a retail website, I could pay $33 (not including shipping and taxes) for 60 Titleists on golfusedballs.com. If I play about 30 times a year and average the loss of two balls per round (that’s a high figure), I’d save that $33 list price by continuing to dig balls out of the ditch.

But I’ve learned that if used golf balls play quite well, wouldn’t other pieces of equipment? Yes! I bought my driver (Titleist 975L FE) used, and I hit a 322-yard drive with it -- and Fuzz -- yesterday. I bought my Adams 3-metal used, and it is a dependable club off the tee and off the deck. I’ve hit that thing as far as 270-yards off the tee, but mainly I have a consistent draw with it that finds the fairway. Both times I saved more than $100 -- bare minimum -- by buying used.

Here are some quick things, all common sense and nothing groundbreaking, to keep in mind while buying used clubs:
* Every big-name retailer has a used club rack;
* Auction sites and classified-ad sites (craigslist) sell golf equipment;
* Lots of golf associations now offer a consignment area, so that’s a must-see when buying clubs;
* Wherever you buy, always test the club (or at least have an easy out to return the club). Don’t buy it if you can’t test it.

The only thing I buy new is golf grips. I refuse to believe that the technology of this year is markedly better than last year, or five years ago. So I refuse to buy what is, for lack of real technological advances, a marketing gimmick given “legitimacy“ because someone on the PGA Tour is using it. Do you get paid to use your clubs? White-headed drivers? Please!

My blogs are listed here, and if you're interested in more stories you can go to Tim Price Sports Books. There is also a Twitter account @golflikeurpoor. Enjoy the reading, and your golf, no matter if you're rich or poor.

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Golf has fallen. At least this what I’m reading in newspapers and magazines and hearing as I watch Golf Channel. A recent Boston  Globe article written by Michael Whitmer states there were 1 million fewer golfers last year than in 1990.

Whitmer also quotes Barney Adams (Adams Golf), who likes the idea of scooting up the tees to boost interest in the game. That’s fine, though I’m sticking to the tips.

What golf needs, I think, is lower startup costs. It’s shocking, pompous, to see what golf equipment companies expect for their new clubs. Now, I do like what they are designing, but when it comes to purchasing equipment, I’m following this IDEA (sorry, Barn‘):

The best plan is to profit by the folly of others.

That quote is from Naturalis Historia, written by the Roman known as Pliny The Elder. He never played golf, but he’s a favorite of mine, and mostly regarded to be heroic in his actions during the eruption at Vesuvius in the 1st Century. He’s a character in the historical novel Pompeii written by Robert Harris. Good read. Good stuff.

Through that one quote I’ve been inspired to do my best at learning patience, judgment, humility.

Pliny, a military officer as well as an observer of all things and a writer, is believed to have come about the words during the Empire’s military incursions into Germanic lands (oh, how that quote came back to haunt the Romans). But I’ve found it has applications as I invest in sports wagering: “Does that team really deserve to be supported by the wagering public to the point it’s a 9-point favorite on the road, or are there valid reasons for that to be proven as folly? Can I profit?”

We can all see the applications in the business world as to stocks, real estate, you name it. Great investment opportunities don’t reveal themselves every day. And when they do, and are acted upon successfully, they are no sign that you have everything figured out. Thus -- patience, judgment and humility.

I applied this, finally, when I bought the Titleist 975L-FE driver I still use today. I only bought it after I impatiently did not follow my own judgment.

I went to a Golfsmith location and asked for the used-clubs rack. The salesman pitched me on a new Lynx driver, which the salesman -- at least -- identified as a brand Golfsmith pushed, or owned. I paid more for the new club, and the face cracked in a year.

I went back to the used-club rack and luckily found the Titleist driver. The fellow who handled that consigned club told me “Yeah, a man from Horseshoe Bay (an upscale development in the Texas Hills) bought it new and used it a few rounds and found something else he wanted.” Well, I bet it didn’t take long before that fella from Horseshoe ditched that next driver he bought, or the putter maybe, and went out and got another new one.

That’s folly. And I think I profited from it by spending less than $70 on the club as opposed to $350 (or higher?).

Keep in mind that I still used the forged blades I bought (for $345) about 25 years ago. Besides that mistake of buying the driver the salesman pushed, it’s the last new clubs I’ve bought. And, yes Barn,’ I have a used Adams 3-metal in my bag and love it.

So I close by quoting another wise feller, this from one of the main characters of my next book that will be released in late 2012. Though it’s about target shooting, I’ve found that target shooting and golf are closely related.

“Get a good gun, and stick to it.” -- Ad Topperwein

My blogs can be found in this section of Secret in the Dirt, and if you're interested in more stories you can go to Tim Price Sports Books. My writing also can be followed on Twitter @golflikeurpoor. Enjoy the reading, and your golf, no matter if you're rich or poor.

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